"Honky Chateau" has always been my favorite Elton John album, with "Don't Shoot Me ..." a close second. If these two had been released together as a double album, I think they would be even better than "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". As great as they were, the three albums prior to "Honky Chateau" ("Elton John", "Tumbleweed Connection", and "Madman Across the Water") just hinted at what was to come. Although Elton had always used great musicians (Caleb Quaye, Roger Pope, etc.) this is the first album where Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson play on the entire record. For whatever reason, this combo just clicked when it came to playing good old fashioned straight-ahead rock & roll. Add a few Frenchmen on horns and the great fusion jazz player, Jean-Luc Ponty, on electric violin and you wind up with one hell of a rockin' record. If you haven't already done so, check out "Susie" - one of my all-time favorite Elton songs - which just exudes funk. Ponty's electric violin solo on "Mellow" is also something you don't want to miss. Finally, "Honky Chateau" and "Don't Shoot Me" are the only two records I've had on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, and CD. What better recommendation could I give?