Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Are The Kids Alright?'


The reviewer makes the breathtaking assumption that Gus Dudgeon would approve of the current producers methods. Typical of the teenage scribblers and telly dollies (both genders) that seem to be running HQ in the media world now...somebody I bet wouldn't have a scooby doo how he approached an Elton album in the early days. Which had its different phases, the Trident albums done in a different way to the Chateau and Caribou ranch albums. In turn showing how he could adapt to various style changes. Style changes that Elton conjured up at alarming regularity. Madman and Honky Chateau, while sharing similar DNA, are both different species. Even though they had less of a 6 month recording gap between them.
What this reviewer may not know, in fact I'd be surprised if he did, is that Gus would not have approved of this recording method. Shortly after SFTWC was released he was asked about the production style of the album. He said he would have recorded Elton's vocal in digital and put the overdubs on in analogue, to get the best possible sound quality and the benefits of analogue. So a mixture, but not fully buying into this whole rustic method. Tape hiss...who needs that!!

Now onto the new song, Mexican Vacation. Again it's another inoffensive presentation, mid tempo with a breezy solo in the middle. Great piano work that means the song will work great solo. But for goodness sakes, the production. Or lack of...what is this guy getting paid to do?! Elton, a basic rhythm section and the odd backing vocal contribution and some faint organ. It's so 'not there' you wonder why they bothered. They just don’t bring or add anything to the mix. Read one of my earlier items and you'll know what I mean. Either leave Elton on his own or put something on it that the song requires. Not leave it hanging, unfinished. Whether it was a brass part or some sort of electric guitar part. Because those elements put the layers on the song and make more of a communication to the listener if the melody isn’t punch resistant strong. Which I just don’t think either of the tracks are. They’re pretty enough, but very lightweight in terms of all the buildup we’ve been promised. Mexican Vacation has been mentioned as somewhere between I Never Knew Her Name and The Wasteland. Which are far better songs, developed to a much better degree. The Wasteland is edgy, mean and bad. So best not restart the old comparison test again or it’ll come unstuck. Leave it as it is and let the song have it's own life. It just sounds unfinished...listen to Madman (album) for reference and you'll hear too much space on this one. Space is vast, they say...

I’m still waiting for the ‘big one’ to appear, as bad as The Union turned put to be at least a month or so before it came out we got Gone To Shiloh live Ray Cooper. Now that was sit up and take notice track. An instant standard that worked excellently in the Ray Cooper mode and in the band mode. Nothing lightweight in it. Which brings me around to the live clip I posted above, Elton’s vocals for some reason are indistinct at times. I‘ll put it down to first performance nuances…or just plain poorly recorded. No wonder they dropped the price of the super de-luxe...


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    1. If by a serious problem you mean I get abusive answers like yours then you're not wrong there. I await you're reply to every other article here, hopefully something will meet with your approval. Thanks for the contribution, limited as it was...