Saturday, September 7, 2013

'Just One More Time For Old Time's Sake'

One listen...this is the one. Yet Again we have another live version of a new song...yet Again we come to the same conclusion. but we are Home with the band...the studio version is a dull, lifeless. anaemic, albino like in it's presentation. This on the other hand is the opposite, exciting, full of life, get's the blood flowing and evokes colour. Elton's vocal and piano, truly excellent. He's working on the nuances of the phrasing...always a good development of an Elton song. The band excel here...Nigel rolls back, as he does when the need arises in a song, and inserts ocassional fills, fleshy but not flashy. John Mahon is doing some tasty parts, cymbals coasting like the waves he creates. This is one for him. Daveys's guitar on the solo is lamenting, the same can be said of the backing vocals throughout. Angelic without being preachy...but the real menace, which always acts as a great device in an Elton ballad, a good menace mind, are the 2Cellos. They weave in and out like swallows, the hard heavy notes the perfect response to Elton's airy playing. Maybe not much going on, yet it sounds wide and all encompassing. But most certainly it's all relevant. And wonderfully executed. Speaking of executions, I must go get the guillotine oiled up...a certain producer may be heading that way...(see what I did there?!)

Oscar Wilde Gets Out slips into the same category with ease...Birdslike in it's structure, Honey Rollish in it's jumpy thumpy opening verses. The piano flows with a mesmeric lilt. The plucking strings licks give it a lovely pop, the addition of the banjo by Davey is no accident or coincidence. That's what'll be missing from the album...Davey obviously knows the song's characters background, Oscar Wilde being Irish of course, so the banjo is an obvious next step. The banjo an instrument that Davey excels at. The character of the song and the instrument share a common heritage...that's the sort of stuff the producer missed out on his narrow outlook. The bridge is typical Elton with the drop down change of chord. The band are excellent on this, all parts are complimentary and vital. Easily the best track off the album so far...along with the one above.

The irony of the lyric to Home Again is not lost on me. The use of the band for these live presentations is truly a Home Again moment. If you read the words, be mindful of what we are seeing, hearing, experiencing. The band with their combined talents and wealth of experience bringing it back Home Again as the Americans would say. Elton has come back Home for me Again. He got the band to put their stamp...the Elton sound stamp on these two songs and we are now hearing the album we should have heard...and most likely won't hear unless we get a soundboard recording of the entire album done live. A tragedy...a waste...we all dream of it, spending all our time doing it, maybe we have wound up back home...I know I have when I hear these live versions...and I never tire of hearing them one more time...

Gosh how useless and blinded is the producer, these two versions prove that he was so far off the mark I'm surprised he didn't end up hitting himself. This piano 'up front' notion was the main argument for not using the EJ band. That canard, one which I knew would ultimately be exposed in front of it's peers, has now had a coach and horses ridden through it. A big horse and a very long unless you're of the Pinball Wizard persuasion, it's fairly obvious at this stage what way the land lies. The band have worked themselves around these songs like the pros they are, the doubters have now headed for the hills. How do I know? The same coach and horses picked them up on their desperate escape!! Some people will trot the old chestnut of 'haven't we got the studio versions too'. All they do is prove how inferior they are to the live versions and vice versa. I don't need another version thank you very much. Where does it end? A Hungarian gypsy folk band next, the only reason because it's different. Good can be many things to all people. The best is a unique animal, mould breaking and standard defining. That's what the EJ band brings to these songs...when I hear the best, the rest kind of don't make see what I'm getting at...the studio versions are second in my view. And you know what they say about prizes for first loser...


  1. Your endless haughtiness leads you to now write as "we"... Man, you are almost alone in this baseless glorification of the band. The "producer" is someone who has such a deep, unique knowledge of music, instruments, arrangiaments that you or you friend Davey can only pray to own a minimal fragment of it. In any case, this live arrangiament is like a murdering of Wilde: useless keybords, banjo, double drums all add something to sink the overall quality; bring confusion where semplicity shines. Ruin the song, betray its spirit. Thank God, one week and the world will hear the studio version. I feel sorry for you, thinking you will go back listening to this live version.
    Ps. It was not the "piano upfront" idea to lead to not using the band. It was an Elton's request and you should know that. As everybody around Elton know.

    1. Thanks again for your input, well put in spite of the spelling errors. The Google translation from Italian to English betrayed you there...
      I'm quite well aware of the origins of this album. The absence of the band I believe, and if I'm wrong I will stand corrected, is due to the fact the producer would not use the band so Elton obviously had to seek alternatives. Now with this unique position, we now hear the songs from two different perspectives. One of which puts the other in a far more loftier position. I take one view, you take the other.
      But that's where the roads diverge as you, whom I do not know, see fit to query another as to the validity of their opinion. I am well aware of your standpoint...which unfortunately started out on a personal attack and ended as such too. Whether that diminished your argument, I'll leave for others to decide...