- Album name: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
- Artist name: Elton John
- Year: 1975
- Number of discs: one
- Label: MCA Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- Clipped top right corner of album
- Scratched into side one of LP: MCA734 W14
- Scratched into side two of LP: MCA735 W19
- Buy it on Amazon: $27.97
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve never heard this record before, but I have previously reviewed five by Elton John:
- Tumbleweed Connection (1970): 2/5
- 11-17-70 (1971): 3/5
- Madman Across the Water (1971): 2/5
- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973): 3/5
- Caribou (1974): 1/5
- Elton John Rock Hits Played By Kings Road (1975): 3/5
What I expected
The “Captain Fantastic” cartoon motif seems to have been taken pretty far, and it also seems pretty different from Elton John’s usual aesthetic, so maybe this record will be the Elton John record that I think is excellent?
What it was actually like
This was not excellent, but parts of it were tolerable, despite Elton John’s really annoying vocal style and abuse of the piano.
The record’s best song was the title track Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, which started as an acoustic country-folk song, then got more electric, becoming a good rhythmic rock song (and the piano was absent).
On the subject of the piano, (Gotta Get a) Meal Ticket was good example of a rock song that was made worse by the piano, which should have been left out, and I stand by what I wrote when reviewing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road:
… I was… distressed at the amount of piano. I really think Elton John could have created much better music by focusing on a rock style and minimizing non-rock instrumentation.
Tell Me When the Whistle Blows had a disco sound and was pretty bad, but its guitar solo was ok.
The record’s worst song was Writing, which had a terrible calypso style.
I did recognize one song, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, but it was awful.
2/5: bad, but I was able to listen to the whole thing