Saturday, May 23, 2015

'From The End Of The World To Your Town'

We've seen a lot recently about Captain Fantastic and it's big four O. No need to expand on that here, though a couple of years ago I did this piece looking at it in general terms. What I will say it is one of, if not, the best album of all time by any artist. Not a biased view, just an accurate one. However it's initial release and all the paraphernalia surrounding it at the time was overshadowed by the propagation of an urban myth by Elton himself.

The Mid Summer Music at Wembley has long since gone down as the being the biggest mass movement of humanity since the Red Sea parted and Israelite's followed by Egyptians all marched en bloc through the parted ways. The exodus being out of the stadium as the whole album was played live. Elton gave an interview to Rolling Stone the following August in which he mentioned that incident which since became gospel. Here's the truth in the word; ask anyone who was at it (I have) and they'll tell you no such slow stampede occurred. Elton could have sat their for a week reading the Radio Times and nobody would have moved. So that myth has been expunged from the records.

Which lead into the purpose of this update. I'm going to look at three separate shows over 30 years froma round the world in different towns. All of which had special Captain moments in them. Some odd, some off the wall spectacular.

We all know the story before the release of the album. I'm not going to rehash it, as far as I'm concerned sacking Nigel and Dee was stupid with a hint of slight musical barbarity. To do so when Elton was about to play to his biggest audience to showcase the album they helped to create was cruel and ultimately counterproductive. Because they eventually came back in triumph (which we'll see later). If that wasn't enough heaped upon that monumental error of judgment was the resulting replacing of them by inferior musicians. Two wrongs made a greater wrong. Hindered by a grossly inferior rhythm section how would Elton cope on the night?!

Rock Of The Wembley's...He coped wonderfully. With a devil may care attitude he threw himself into it. The gap between this show and the opening US tour show in the US though was a chasm of pic proportions. For the last time in the 70's at a band show he was relatively sensible in terms of playing and singing. After this the hill on the other side was steep and deep. He played here with great precision and sung without any infections of any obvious distractions from the sherbet dip. Let's look at each song in turn:

70's live rock piano is an oddly sounding beast. Low in the mix without any cut or thrust in terms of range. The original album has loud bright piano so you don't hear it live. What do we get to hear is James Newton Howard right from the start on electric piano. I've said this before but his interplaying on that instrument with Elton on acoustic piano is like a wondeful world that was never developed as much as it should. It's terrific! Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter on the pedal steel with his influx of contrasting melodies throughout sets a classy tone that isn't maintained. The awful fakery of the country style intro with it's twee drumming at the wrong end of that spectrum. The opening piano lines should have had but of course don't have the dancelike basslines. Kenny Passarelli absent (as he usually was throughout) without leave.

Like I said earlier the heavy basslines of the recorded piano is missing here, a vital and key element of the introduction. The bass guitar is heavy without saying anything constructive, the dual heavy hands of Roger Pope and Ray Cooper on drums trying their damnest to get Nigel's studio sound to the crowds ears. Davey Johnstone's solo at the end is aided by late arriving licks from Caleb Quaye, the two guitarists worked well throughout. Caleb gives Davey all his lead lines without too much interference. The outro is a stunning mix of rasp and jangle, James introducing a string synth part that harmonises with the raging guitars.

A frantic chorus, the backing vocals of the Pillars are sorely missed here. Though that gaping wound will become infected later on. A decent version here otherwise.

'Skunk' on the pedal steel adds a critical element here, a sidebar sound to fill in where the strings are absent. Filling in that vacant space is James again on electric piano. Through Roger on the hi-hat adds his trademark overuse of that particular type of steelwork. The chorus vocal phrasing is slightly altered here, the melody seems to descend at a steeper rate than on disc. Davey and Caleb thrust and pull with some tasty licks, the outro like a conference between them and Skunk on pedal steel. Distinctive voices having their say with Davey having the last word.

Big Elton moments are always the best moments. Magic in delivery. However for this big one, big one's are missing. No slow drumming right from the off. Nigel tapping his ride cymbal lightly with gentle hi-hat as much a trademark as Elton hammering the riff out, though it's slower here than we've become accustomed to. It's absence is felt, heartfelt as much as Dee's bassline non appearance. The pedal steel is a curio here, appearing unexpectedly. As much as surprise as the electric guitars coming in slightly ahead of time. If the elements I mentioned earlier are lost treasures, then the lost backing vocals are almost a criminal act. Lazily arranged, amateurishly executed with the multiple 'sugar bears' all melting into something that is not caramel. Ray on extra drums again trying to replicate in a desperate strive with Roger Nigel's cracking smacking of the skin's. The bridge when the synth strings are introduced are slightly mixed down (not for the first time).

If ever the three guitarists had a moment to shine it was here. James’s nutty flavoured clavinet as zany as the three axes chopping their way through the Wembley air. The mixing down of James' synth lines occurs at the wrong time here again, as the solo comes into full view he appears from behind the twin towers to sit neatly on top of it. Definitely one of the highlights of the night...until the outro kicks in. And kicks. And kicks till it has no more legs left in it. Too long, but would get longer.

The opening bombardment of piano and voice makes you yearn that the song would go on like this for it's duration. Elton's voice posh's up a bit, a nice attention to detail here. The mould smashing double tracked drums by Nigel on the record is dutifully tasked to Ray to replicate on the timpani, drowning out Roger without any hint of it being unnecessary. What is necessary on this song is the backing vocals. However the backing singers seems to have lost their cue sheets and lost their watches. Only 'oohs' appear late, the 'la la las' failed to arrive at all. No wonder they didn't get this gig again...

This version is fairly rudimentary here, sticks closely to the original as best they can.

The big moment now...a hurried intro is expertly escorted by James on the Mellotron. Davey's solo is tearful and exquisitely executed, Caleb steps back again and gives it to him. Light string lines from James and similarly intricate vibe work from Ray needs to be cranked up. What does shine through is gorgeous vibrato on the electric piano from James. Curtains are drawn back with the bell's too low again, massive tom rolls on the other end are at the high end of the spectrum. Electric guitars strum on the hard side of restraint, the pedal steel like a reinforcement brought in to launch the full frontal assault. Tension builds as the industrial heavy riffs are driven hard, the pedal steel tapping it along. Steady and purposeful for what seems like an eternity, Davey breaks from the ranks; his solo being announced by a crashing gong. The wailing felines of the six strings, like pussies in heat, sound like they’re about to go over the edge. And so they did...for some reason one of the greatest outro’s in terms of emotion and feeling is vandalised like a china shop having a coach load of boot boys steaming through. The destruction of a priceless and delicate material is almost irretrievable. It's reconstruction would take years...

Subtler parts (roots instruments for instance) were tossed aside for a more muscley, at time brutish delivery. Backing vocals were haphazard at best, hapless at worst. Essentially what transpired was Captain Fantastic done in the style of Rock Of The Westies. To put that in perspective, imagine The Diving Board done in the style of Leather Jackets...expectations to hear the album as it sounded on disc were dashed. But the dashing would be back...

Not quite on Wembley proportions, this mini revival of an old hit has enough in it's cannon to satisfy the most picky of appetites. Because everything on the tray is edible...first thing to say here is Elton's singing and playing are top notch here with no question marks over them. Secondly and just as important the 'PiIlars' were standing tall with no sense of decay. In fact their roots had grown stronger. The joy of the three of them playing together with Elton shines through...

First thing to notice here is how bright and chipper the piano is. Now we hear the melodious line with a truer accuracy. Another truth is Dee's dancing bassline at the start, the previous live editions had those vital pages missing. A manly swagger to them with class oozing out of them. Light guitar strokes are careful nods by Davey, as is Nigel holding back on the drums. Less is more and when he comes in they mean something. A lot in fact. More pronounced and eloquent, his restraint of the hi-hat for instance a perfect example. The guitar riff on the chorus is subtler and distinct, it wraps itself around the piano and goes as one unit. The outro is bluesy and nostalgic, like a fine old age brandy being poured slowly.

A tighter bind on this one, energy channeled into a more efficient machine. Elton’s more mature vocal catches the lyric sentiment and delivery of its snarling attitude is pitched at the perfect angle. Meatier drumming (Nigel can rock, sorry to those who don't think so) the bass is aggressive with that touch of panache only Dee can throw into the same swathe. Piano is booming here, the solo is zany and the outro is clear, clean and is like a donkey’s trot. Short and very sweet!

Now we're talking...listen to Nigel come in straight away as Elton begins his eulogic statements on the piano. You’ve heard it without and with...only one choice here! As essential a part as a bind in a book. And what a better bind to have than Dee on bass, full of strong lines keeping it all in tow. The backing vocals are accurate and authentic, unlike earlier attempts. The harmonies are carefully placed and positioned, all the sugar bears appear on time. Elton’s piano playing has a broader sense of expression, the narrower band sound of this lineup sending it on a concise journey. Davey's guitar appears like a a wave to Nigel to introduce his big fills on the bridge, they’re not frenetic or frantic. Just carefully expressed. Just like his ruffle on the hi-hat to begin the outro, the guitar solo from Davey is rakish; he barges and squares off with Elton's piano whilst all the time Dee is till bookbinding underneath.

A brisk intro, full of deeper lines with more character and charm. The rhythm guitar equally effervescent, the rhythm section kicks in, seizes the melody and snares it for keeps. The backing vocals are incredible here, 4 people sound like the 40,000 snacking on loaves and fishes. Perfectly executed (and why not, they created them in the first place) they each sound bright as buttons.

What we end up here was a minimalist showcase of a very full album. The '82 tour 'rock edge' polished and brassy handled the songs with care. As it could (and should) have been seven years earlier. Dee's bass lines tell a story throughout, always present and correct with something wise and essential to say. Not merely a wallflower as in the previous example, faded or otherwise.


One word to describe the entire latter day performance; sublime.

Elton giving us that rarely used sound of the Yamaha, the electric element. Underpinned by Bob's punchy tight style on bass, his precise diction leads to no misinterpretation of the facts. Elton's vocal is tempered with a greater degree of worldly experience, a crucial key to his vocal delivery on the night. Davey on a unique double neck, especially made for the night. The light colour of the mandolin on the verses a jovial affair whilst the right side of caustic on the introduction of the electric 12 string giving lyrically enhancement every time being the right time. Nigel has his fills and breaks with bite, the same sharp snap of the jawbone from John. Guy, not for the last time on the night, inflects his own influence with a typically classy embellishment. A slightly wistful, greatly hopeful synth line. The outro is indeed like that ride off into the sunset.

The less frantic, more finesse, tactic works here. Davey and Guy combine forces throughout the measured chorus, it's steadiness says more than somebody running at you.

If you ever needed an example of why Guy Babylon helped shape Elton's live repertoire in the late 20th/early 21st century then listen forthwith. His combination of the strings, accurately deployed, and clavinet is incredible. Two separate keyboard lines that weave in and out giving it that proper degree of authenticity. His dexterity switching back and forth to deliver such a variable myriad of sound collages is amazing. But it doesn't end there, he gives us that broad horn sound on the chorus. We were spoiled back in the day. Davey's guitar can appear in your face with its licks almost touching your own!

The big Elton moment, now we've arrived. A gargantuan piano sound backed by Nigel's cymbal chorus,  Guy giving a master class in harmonious electric piano. He gives a liquidy impression of the original example. The backing vocals are a terrific soundscape, the Atlanta Voice Choir step up to the mark here. As they did all night. The song is seamless in its movements, the transitions from chorus to verses never drops off in pace. The Lesley guitar sound a la the original encapsulates why having the original lines and sounds is needed at all times where possible. Bob’s bassline drops a heavy note near the end, the solo a beacon of hope. Every time it comes around that conformation is built upon.

The clavinet shadowing the piano is a joy here, at a slightly slower pace than the two previous examples. Which gives it time to think and navigate it's way to Davey's no nonsense solo. Elton's vocal has some unexpected, surprising and of course welcome rephrasing.

The backing vocals here are a choralastic heaven. True and very faithful to the original, triangle included. Everything is perfect here from start to finish.

The best till last...not only on the night...but in this reprise. Listen to Elton's vocal at the start, the pauses and intakes are timed exquisitely for maximum effect. Flute Mellotron by Guy conjures up an aura of times past, hard to pinpoint when and where exactly but still full of clarity. The guitar rises up and Davey gives us one of rocks all time great solo's, another biased but true opinion. But we're being spoiled rotten now as Guy infects some harpsichord into the mix. Nigel and Bob steady themselves; they're already ticking along with metronomic precision, something which will be maintained till the end.

Curtains culminates the set. Davey's classy choice of putting an acoustic guitar to gather the momentum and energy before it all kicks off again. Tension simmers, the dynamo that is Elton is generating the energy needed to see out the final curtain call. When the rhythm section kicks in and dive bombs from Davey on the electric guitar fall from an unimaginable height it's a friendly blitzkrieg. Lum de lumming outwards, piano ripples are underscored by a deep filtered synth vocal by Guy, like an unseen character in the wings. No need for speed like thirty years earlier, the journey is a joy and the view is fantastic.

To say that a lot of work went into this showcase would be like saying there's a few bricks in the Great Wall of China. True but only a percentage of the actual story. The preparation and attention to detail is immense, Guy Babylon stand up and bow where ever you are now. His insistence on using the correct sounds and programming, Mellotron and harpsichord for instance, makes the whole thing pay off with massive interest. Tell Me When is a first rate example of this, a multi instrumentalist playing multi tracks live. Davey's excellent instrument choices (mandolin, acoustic guitar) offer us the proper rustic sound we craved earlier. Nigel yet again balances power with the intricate precision work that he weaves and waves. Adam Chester’s work in taking a vocal ensemble new to Elton's material and intertwining them with the bands experienced choral styles ends up being bang on the money also. Harmony parts, solo sections and individually separate lines are all dealt with equal attention. Elton's vocal, as only passing time can, gained that worldly experienced deep rooted feel especially as the lyrics are genuinely harping back to times gone. But not to be forgotten nor looked upon with sadness.

Monday, May 11, 2015

'Revving The Jazz Up'

Lazing on a sunny afternoon...not. The work rate dished out and the reciprocating feedback was not something anybody of a loungey attitude would be able for whilst in the vicinity of this show.

Thanks to this brief but bountiful pro shot presentation of Elton's appearance at the New Orleans Jazzfest last weekend we too can work up our own sweat from just watching. The first thing that struck me was the late afternoon/early evening setting was visually very similar in impact as the Central Park concert in 1980. Capturing that same standpoint were frequent crowd shots from a high altitude helicopter which gave a grandiose view of the much smaller crowd than the one that stood on the lawn all those years ago. But the comparisons with that earlier barnstorming show didn't end there though. 

This time last year I put forward the case for Elton to gatecrash Glastonbury, kick some heads in and dish out a few slaps.  All metaphorically on the piano of course! Bonnaroo last year kick started this new curtain for or's bound to ultimately end up in that field in the south of England. It's also been said recently that the current touring setup is rocking harder than ever. Which is a good indicator for the new album. Apart from that acknowledgement of the future release there'll be no further comment here until I've heard it. Plenty of others have poked into that dark room and have felt the humps. Maybe it's a camel, maybe it's not. Anyway, further evidence of this fact is highlighted on this short broadcast, Levon being the first to pitch up. Taking up nearly a quarter of the entire broadcast...and for good reason.

I said on my review of last December's show that Levon in 2015 shouldn't be missed. And who knew I would be soon as the touchpaper for the outro is incinerated, there's nobody able to call Elton or the band back. Heading off with his own tail wind as an accelerant, Elton hammers and drills his way through a route that has many straight lines, each incredibly wide. Every band member is (and on) key here. Davey with his sweet licks that he can rein in and out as Elton repositions himself each time to attack from another direction. One such bombardment finds Kim and Elton locked in a wrestling match that blurs the lines you know you want to of piano and organ. The elongating of the jam from the end of last year is now reaching critical mass. Matt on a couple of occasions stops the bass in order to refresh the main theme of the musical melding as John hands out to the crowd just what is needed...more cowbell. It's at this point when it seems as if the steady pace has become the accepted point of departure Nigel butts in. Having so much fun as Elton would declare in a later song that evening, with his welcome always...he signals a new phase with his tempo change. Just like his skin slapping moment on the outro to Bite Your Lip at Central Park his relentless 'stop gallop', like running on the spot or spinning tyres, ramps up the tension between everyone on stage. Nobodies going anywhere until Nigel engages gear. Elton takes cue from this as Matt's bass hesitates with a heavy line, Kim's organ line like a scream waiting to be uncoiled. But it's not over yet. Coming around for a third time, they all begin to find the necessary gear to engage with. Opposing teeth interconnecting at speed and precision as within an instant full power has been regained with the throttle wide open. 

By the end of it the usual odd mix at festivals...sightseers, day trippers and even music fans...will have been snapped into attention. 

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is excellently broadcast here, the orchestral mix high up and to the fore. Saturday Night's Alright again has Central Park over tones. When Davey assumes command on the jam it's up front rock with no veil of softness over it. That softness is further trampled underfoot as the introduction of the breakdown section is a temporary fusion of feedback and Elton's heavy left hand killing it gently in the background. Even as the crowd participation section tails off the re-engagement of the main riff is still waiting to be called back in as another fusion contrasting moment takes place between Matt's banging bassline and Elton's crystal bright up and down lines.

The curtain might have begun dropping for the final time...but it'll be like draining the ocean with a tea cup. A very long process...

Monday, May 4, 2015

'Back From Yesterday - CD Review'

Once upon a time a man of no importance, as Oscar Wilde would have said, offered me the chance to join his inner sanctum. To see his wonderful delights he offered me the chance to be his Charlie to his Wonka. With visions of secret societies and rolled up trouser legs my visions of the type of funny handshakes he might have offered me changed very quickly. As quick as shaking out some Nescafe beans...anyway I decided not to take up his offer of entering some sort of Harry Potter theme park and made my escape before my pocket was emptied of all its Ducats.

Thanks to Stray Arc Records I've had this release for several month's but due to recent events I've not been able to do a full review of it. However I've now noticed that this release which went under the radar at the time has now surfaced in another form and is flying without fancy. The double disc set is mix of old and new. All old new tracks but some new to this ear and I suspect most other's too. I'm going to look at the one's that caught my interest on this wildly diverse collection covering nearly 40 years.

Disc One opens with some samples from the ''Dick James Demo's'' era. Most songs from this period aren't actually demo's but the finished tracks of an unreleased album. The tracks we do have range from the primitive to the corny. But there are some gems in the selections. We get the 'long' version of Scarecrow for instance which is historically important. A couple of others here have been lifted straight from scratchy acetates and are of poor quality, soundwise and I suspect in terms of content. Mostly full of Pepperish psychedelia that was already out of date by the time they were put down on tape. You see nearly every other artist from the summer of 1967 onwards were channeling their inner kaleidescope of sound in order to replicate The Beatles sound but when the Beatles themselves released the 'White Album' in late 1968 all their work was in vain. The ‘new’ sound and style was instantly so the scramble was on to find another new sound that was far away as possible from the effects laden efforts of the previous 18 months.

Hence The Bread And Beer was the answer to that new question. The tracks from those sessions were recorded in early 1969 just as hard/power rock was beginning to come into vogue. Clean lines that speak for themselves without having to be reversed to have a better meaning. The heavy backbeat from Roger Pope being ideally suited to this style. Breakdown Blues with Caleb Quaye on lead guitar being an ideal choice for this compilation. Around this time Elton was doing his bargain basket Top Of The Pops recordings. On this selection one of his best efforts, Bridge Over Troubled Water, is featured. Mimicking the original Larry Knechtel piano line impeccably, Elton puts aside his own style and takes someone else’s without any loss of quality. The way he adopts it so easily is another string on a very cluttered bow.

Jumping forward at this point to about 1979/80 is Bobby Goes Electric. Based on a semi true story (the Zimmerman being plugged part did happen in Newport) it has to be one of the greatest demo's from Elton of a song he never completed. But does it need to be? In a recent Tim Rice interview he explained how when he heard the demo of Circle Of Life it was complete in itself and would have been hit even in that form. Which is what we have here. A hit that was unfinished but is ultimately the finished article. Choppy. pounding rhythms that create enough of a backbeat on their own that drums and bass are not needed. Elton’s left hand giving more kick that right foot on a bass drum ever could. His vocal infections and phrasings are key here, his drawl on the 'Albert Hawl' a real standout of his vocal talents.

Jumping forward again to the Ice On Fire/Leather Jackets era we find Elton in an area that is often cited as his lowest point personally and musical. No personal discussions on Elton's life are to be found on this blog. What I can comment on is the music part. It's an era on that front that's never as bad as others would suggest (the '85-'86 tour being the first exhibit). Second exhibit would be the better songs of the earlier mentioned albums. Some real curios here though, the demo of Rollercoaster being a loose song that has an even looser guide vocal. Timothy an uptempo number backed by that 80's child, the drum machine. Dripping over into Disc 2 from this era is an early incarnation of Go It Alone. It's opening bassline like something off the hit a few years Black And Gold by Sam Sparro. Devoid of the production layers it's meanness is still accentuated as much as the final version, ligher guitar licks from Davey the very model of understatement compared to the equally good Leather Jackets cut.

By some fate quirk we're now in the mid 90's, Elton a more balanced creature now and the music more clearer. None moreso than on this song, 'Couldn't Have Loved You More'. Simply put, it's the best thing on this set. I would go so far to say it's the best unreleased fully finished EJ/BT track that was never officially put out. Light years ahead of anything on the last studio album wouldn't be light compliment either. Recorded for the Love Songs compilation and produced by Chris Thomas, its catchy and uptempo. Uncomplicated old time rock and roll with great accessibility. It's easy flowing, effortlessly played out and full of everything that we've come know off a classic Elton track. The piano is up front and clear ably kicked along with a simple yet hypnotic line by the rhythm section of Morgan and Birch that are fully in tune with each other. The guitars of both acoustic and electric variety are expertly placed by Davey and John that drench all the necessary parts but leave enough dry patches for Elton to keep a solid grip. Bernie's lyric is his typical 'hands up in the air' exasperated look at love. The piano solo at the and is about a minute and a half of pure pleasure. Incredible intricate changes occur throughout its duration, little bursts of slide guitar and beautifully played organ by Guy are the ideal colours for Elton to work out on the piano, keeping the original line but adding something new each time he comes around. The new album is supposed to be full of this type of thing, it's even half as good as this track then it'll be infinitely better than anything from recent years. You’ll not get Board with this one, whether you be ducking or Diving...

A couple of other tracks form The Big Picture era pop up. Past Imperfect, a mid tempo poppy type song that doesn’t fall into cliches. Back From Yesterday is in demo form but still has enough meat on its bones to be considered as good as finished. The Live Like Horses 'backing track' is incredible here. Only last week I mentioned how good this one is with vocals, but without them it has an eerie atmosphere. Missing voices and character doesn't make the song worse, just different. One thing is for certain, it shows how great all the musicians of the band were at the time that they could carry the song on their own. Long way From Happiness in the form it is on this disc is a fine example of a song before major surgery. The operation being slowing of heart pace and changed lyrics. This version has a totally different set of opening verses and the tempo is faster (not by much though) with the same overall arrangement. Were the changes cosmetic or a medical emergency? Postcards and answers to the usual address...

The last chunk of the set is chock full of late 90's, early 00's musicals material. As always and like a chefs hold all, this mixed bag has out takes from Aida, Billy Elliott and Lestat. The demos of Aida and Lestat are the best unreleased albums Elton has ever done. No doubts in my mind there, unlike Lestat. I never got into it, I thought it was so over the top it if it were any bigger it might have been called a circus. But that doesn’t mean it's not without its high points. From the briefest of musical existences we have the studio cut of Right Before My Eyes (only available before in live form) that has a slight brisker walk about it than the briefly performed version from 2006. Some faux accordion from Guy is neatly reflected by Davey's trademark mandolin style. Elton's vocals fall into that old 'Broadway' trap at times unfortunately. Grossly exaggerative, he doesn't need to bring that something into them that's not needed. Being himself is all it takes and it works.

If Aida and Lestat are for the fantasists, then Billy is for the realists. The ironic comment here of 'Solidarity' is a clever description of the social unease in the north of England in 1984/85. The verbal foul mouthed (in its full earth glory on disc!) jostling between striking workers from the locality and the police who in most cases were not gives an insight into the social and geographical divergences.

To close out the set I'm going to look at two final pieces. One is the piano demo for Basque which was a Grammy award winning track performed by James Galway. This time Elton's version has a wonderful counterbalanced feel, as if it were recorded in sub zero temperatures but generates enough heat to heat an Earth's core. Alternating ascending and descending chords on the main them give snapshots of Elton's pure composing and musicianship style. The demo of For Wanting You which was recorded by Marianne Faithful in 1998 is a classic EJ/BT that finds itself in a proper setting. Marianne was one of the great 60's vocalists in the class of Shaw, Springfield et all but time hasn't been kind to her vocal prowess. If I weren't kind I'd say her voice was fit for stunning and then a quick end. In complete contrast to some of the musical demo's, Elton’s vocal style is lean where it should be and fattens up without becoming obese at the equally appropriate places.

I've only touched a few highlights of this disc but as we're still waiting for the official releases then Stray Arc Records will continue its quest. So there'll be no need to enter strange sanctums with equally incredibly strange people just get a bite of something you know not what for crossing the oily palms of miserly Shylocks! The moral of tale being, be patient and wait for these good things. Don’t be a proper Charlie and avoid the Wonka’s of this world…