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> The Captain And The Kid, Then And Now
rocketman
Posted: October 03, 2012 05:48 pm
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When The Captain And The Kid took its first spins in my CD player, I was pretty blown away. I thought at the time that it was the best Elton John album since Captain Fantastic. I thought that Bernie and Elton did a very good job of covering 30 to 40 years in 10 songs (though I would have preferred 11 or 12 tunes to listen to, since ten just seems a bit of a shortchange in this digital age).

I still like this album, and it can still be argued as Elton's best work since the 70s, but my feelings about it have wavered a bit over the years.

For one thing, I don't listen to it as much as I thought I would. Also, after the first six songs, the album declines in quality. I no longer feel like it's his best work since Captain Fantastic, since I would rank Rock Of The Westies and Blue Moves ahead of it. And while some songs such as Tinderbox definitely recapture the 70s mood and sound, other songs, such as Lost It On The Wind, have never grown on me since 2006.

How do you feel about this album in comparison to when it first came out?


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BobbyFord
Posted: October 03, 2012 06:18 pm
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Very similar to how you feel about it. A lot of that has to do with TU which showed me what EJ was REALLY still capable of.

I also think the best run of songs is in the middle - Tinderbox to The Bridge plus the title track - superb songs. "Lost it on the Wind" could've been good but the production is poor at best. I don't think Matt Still was up to the job in all honesty and it sounds a bit amateurish - something that many critics picked up on at the time of release, saying that it sounded like an album of demos.

I still think it's a solid album and much better than PTR but nowhere near as good as TU or SFTWC. It's was a little/extremely contrived and sounds a bit 'cartoony' compared with the original masterpiece.


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09/12/04 - Hallam Arena, Sheffield (Elton & The Band)
18/12/04 - The Apollo, Hammersmith (Elton & The Band)
03/06/05 - Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield (Elton & The Band)
27/06/06 - Capital FM Arena, Nottingham (Elton & The Band)
24/05/07 - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield (Elton & The Band)
03/06/07 - Brunton Park, Carlisle (Elton & The Band)
13/07/08 - Mercedez-Benz World, Weybridge (Elton & The Band)
31/12/08 - O2 Arena (The Red Piano)
22/09/09 - Royal Albert Hall, London (with Ray Cooper)
28/10/10 - The Roundhouse, London (with Leon Russell and T-Bone's Band)
25/11/10 - The Union Chapel, London (Solo)
01/12/10 - Vorst Nationaal, Brussels (with Ray Cooper)
26/06/11 - Sussex County Cricket Ground, Hove (Elton & The Band)
02/09/13 - London Palladium, BRITs Icon Award (Elton & The Band)
04/09/13 - Leeds Arena (Elton & The Band)
12/09/13 - The Roundhouse, London (Elton & The Band)
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RegD432
Posted: October 03, 2012 08:48 pm
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I still feel really good about the album. In fact, I think it accomplished what it set out to do, and that was to be presented as a whole work vs. individual songs. I never listen to just a song off of this album, if/when I'm in the mood, I listen to the entire thing. It is really the only Elton album that I do that with.

I HAVE TO start with Postcards and go all the way through The Captain and the Kid. I never skip songs, and for me it's just better that way. It just feels like a complete treat of an album, and something Elton did just for us fans. He put a lot of heart into it, and the end product showed that. It was also the end of an era that started with SFTWC in my opinion. SFTWC, PTR and The Captain and the Kid are the perfect Elton trilogy for the 2000s. Now we are in the T-Bone era and about to get our second dose of that. Hopefully that ends up being 3 or more albums as well. Elton always pushes forward and TCATK was the perfect end to that particular chapter.


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rocketman
Posted: October 03, 2012 09:52 pm
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QUOTE (BobbyFord @ October 03, 2012 06:18 pm)
Very similar to how you feel about it.  A lot of that has to do with TU which showed me what EJ was REALLY still capable of.

I also think the best run of songs is in the middle - Tinderbox to The Bridge plus the title track - superb songs.  "Lost it on the Wind" could've been good but the production is poor at best.  I don't think Matt Still was up to the job in all honesty and it sounds a bit amateurish - something that many critics picked up on at the time of release, saying that it sounded like an album of demos.

I still think it's a solid album and much better than PTR but nowhere near as good as TU or SFTWC.  It's was a little/extremely contrived and sounds a bit 'cartoony' compared with the original masterpiece.

I think The Union has had some effect on my feelings about this album too, Bobby Ford. I feel that it's superior (though T-Bone's production, to my ears, is in about the same league as Matt Still's, which means it's passable but not great) to the Captain And The Kid overall.

I think I understand what you mean by "cartoony" too. Songs like Richard Nixon and Noah's Ark, while very enjoyable, don't come across as well as other autobiographical songs. Maybe it's the lightness lyrically. In terms of lyrics I prefer most of what's on Captain Fantastic and even the individual autobiographical songs Weight Of The World and Made In England. I should add though that 'Nixon' definitely feels 1970-ish, especially so the opening piano, so it is an very good lead-in to the rest of the album.

As RegD432 comments, I agree that this album should be taken as a whole, and I usually listen to it that way too. I often do the same with Captain Fantastic. The lone exception might be The Bridge, which perhaps is why it was released as a single.

And while I like 'Any Other Way' (NYC), I just don't know if we needed yet another song about New York.


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nix
Posted: October 04, 2012 06:47 am
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I agree that best part of the album is in the middle + title track.
Even with all it's flaws (and there are some) it's still great album to me and best from 2000's.
Production may be kinda empty, but it's fine to me. It's brilliant on 'And the House Fell Down' and 'Blues Never Fade Away'... NYC too, while on some other songs like 'The Bridge' or 'Postcards' it seems there is lacking something.
I also don't like NYC and Noah's Ark songs, but it's still great album to me. SFTWC and TU, even though very good albums, sound somehow dry to me. TCATK is much more colorful.
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rocketman
Posted: October 04, 2012 07:33 am
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QUOTE (nix @ October 04, 2012 06:47 am)
I agree that best part of the album is in the middle + title track.
Even with all it's flaws (and there are some) it's still great album to me and best from 2000's.
Production may be kinda empty, but it's fine to me. It's brilliant on 'And the House Fell Down' and 'Blues Never Fade Away'... NYC too, while on some other songs like 'The Bridge' or 'Postcards' it seems there is lacking something.
I also don't like NYC and Noah's Ark songs, but it's still great album to me. SFTWC and TU, even though very good albums, sound somehow dry to me. TCATK is much more colorful.

I agree with you on 'West Coast' Nix. It's consistency perhaps works against it. It lacks peaks and valleys. This isn't a bad thing - it's a good album! But to my ears nothing jumps out and really grabs me, and by the same token, every song is at least decent, hence no letdowns. The listening experience for me is a bit like Made In England (though I like West Coast better). 'England' is very consistent throughout.

Back to 'The Captain', I'd summarize it as opening strong, darned good first 'side', then a decline. Not a steep decline, but once 'Blues' is over, it starts to lose me just a bit.

What should be a climactic closing song, the title cut, is instead a musical letdown for me. It's lyrically interesting, but comparing it (quite naturally) with the title song of Captain Fantastic, it's not nearly as good. In my view, Captain Fantastic is one of the best songs Elton and Bernie ever wrote, and I had hoped the bookend song at the end of this album would at least approach it, but to me it falls far short. Again, it's not bad, but I had hoped for more.


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commodore orpington
Posted: October 04, 2012 07:45 am
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I still haven't head The Union, but as far as I'm concerned, I haven't heard any Eltonbernie greatness after SFTWC.


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BobbyFord
Posted: October 04, 2012 09:30 am
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QUOTE (commodore orpington @ October 04, 2012 07:45 am)
I still haven't head The Union, but as far as I'm concerned, I haven't heard any Eltonbernie greatness after SFTWC.

He's back!!! Nice to see you here again Commodore.


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09/12/04 - Hallam Arena, Sheffield (Elton & The Band)
18/12/04 - The Apollo, Hammersmith (Elton & The Band)
03/06/05 - Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield (Elton & The Band)
27/06/06 - Capital FM Arena, Nottingham (Elton & The Band)
24/05/07 - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield (Elton & The Band)
03/06/07 - Brunton Park, Carlisle (Elton & The Band)
13/07/08 - Mercedez-Benz World, Weybridge (Elton & The Band)
31/12/08 - O2 Arena (The Red Piano)
22/09/09 - Royal Albert Hall, London (with Ray Cooper)
28/10/10 - The Roundhouse, London (with Leon Russell and T-Bone's Band)
25/11/10 - The Union Chapel, London (Solo)
01/12/10 - Vorst Nationaal, Brussels (with Ray Cooper)
26/06/11 - Sussex County Cricket Ground, Hove (Elton & The Band)
02/09/13 - London Palladium, BRITs Icon Award (Elton & The Band)
04/09/13 - Leeds Arena (Elton & The Band)
12/09/13 - The Roundhouse, London (Elton & The Band)
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Chelseaboy2007
Posted: October 04, 2012 03:59 pm
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I have to admit that fter the first year or so, this really doesn't get listened to much anymore.

Tinderbox, The Bridge, Old 67 and The Captain And The Kid are tracks that I listen to frequently, but I rarely to never listen to the album as a whole.


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- Elton John: June 6th 1998: Wembley Stadium - Face To Face 1998
- Elton John: September 5th 1999: Leeds Castle - An Evening With Elton John Solo
- Elton John: June 24th 2006: Kassam Stadium - Elton John 2006 European Tour
- Elton John: September 5th 2007: O₂ Arena - The Red Piano Show Europe
- Elton John: July 13th 2008: Mercedes Benz World - Elton John Rocket Man Tour 2008
- Elton John: September 22nd 2009: Royal Albert Hall - Elton John and Ray Cooper
- Elton John: May 29th 2010: Vicarage Road - Elton John Tour 2010
- Elton John: January 28th 2011: Royal Opera House - Elton John and Ray Cooper
- Elton John/James Morrison/2CELLOS: September 21st 2012: Wembley Arena - Peace One Day Concert
- Elton John: September 4th 2013: First Direct Arena - The Diving Board Tour 2013
- Katy Perry: May 8th 2014: Odyssey Arena - The Prismatic World Tour
- Elton John: June 24th 2014: Capital FM Arena Nottingham - Follow The Yellow Brick Road Tour
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- Little Mix: March 22nd 2016: Echo Arena Liverpool - Get Weird Tour
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lapras53
Posted: October 04, 2012 07:23 pm
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This is a great topic & it's been interesting reading a lot of thoughtful responses.

For me, I was one of the ones who was absolutely championing "The Captain & The Kid" upon it's release. I loved the way this board came together around the songs, and how we were all able to get into each track as the releases came one-after-the-other, leading up to the albums release.

I think this slow new trickle actually helped in my overall view of the album as a big picture record. When I put it on, it's never to hear one specific track, but rather to go through the whole experience again. My memories are so fond of this record, and those feelings all come back as I listen to it, even today. There were several tracks that overwhelmed me so completely that I was crying upon first listen.

I'll forever maintain that "Wouldn't have You Any Other Way (NYC)" is the most underrated track on the album (and possibly of the entire run of SFTWC, PR, TC&TK). Elton's vocal inflections & dynamics in the first verse are more subtle and controlled than he'd been in decades. Even the quick ascension to to the high note in the chorus is very infrequently done in recent Elton work. The soaring synth tone was the emotional peak of the song for me. It harkens back to the classic 70s produced material, if only as a poignant echo.

Other tracks like "Tinderbox" and "And the House Fell Down" featured unique melodic structure and a "catchiness" or "hit-potential" that Elton hadn't really achieved since his 90s work.

Coming off of the questionable Peachtree Road and a live voice seeming to be losing it's grip at an ever-increasing pace, I was absolutely blown away by his vocal takes throughout the record. He sounded smooth, in control and rehearsed, and it all worked toward this album feeling purposeful.

I agree with many who've noted that the production takes this work down a notch, in the scheme of things, but what remains so encouraging about this album is the fact that Elton showcased his ability to craft a heartfelt start-to-finish classic pop record. It very much felt like a record for those of us who've appreciated what he's done in his career, and that it was one of the better records since the 70s was absolutely astounding, coming at this late stage in his career.

"The Union" hasn't really eroded my fondness for "The Captain & The Kid". "The Union" felt like a coronation, as if the entirety of the 'line-in-the-sand' work had led to it. There's no question I would place Elton's collaborative album with Leon near the very top of his best work, even rivaling his 70s output, but it only feels natural that Elton is progressing in such a fashion. He's at a stage in his life where recording isn't vital, and each new work now has more purpose and meaning by very definition. Else, he wouldn't bother with it. That's what makes me so excited for "The Diving Board".


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commodore orpington
Posted: October 05, 2012 02:02 pm
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QUOTE (BobbyFord @ October 04, 2012 09:30 am)
QUOTE (commodore orpington @ October 04, 2012 07:45 am)
I still haven't head The Union, but as far as I'm concerned, I haven't heard any Eltonbernie greatness after SFTWC.

He's back!!! Nice to see you here again Commodore.

Thanks very much, Mr. Ford.



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nix
Posted: October 05, 2012 02:05 pm
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QUOTE (commodore orpington @ October 05, 2012 02:02 pm)
QUOTE (BobbyFord @ October 04, 2012 09:30 am)
QUOTE (commodore orpington @ October 04, 2012 07:45 am)
I still haven't head The Union, but as far as I'm concerned, I haven't heard any Eltonbernie greatness after SFTWC.

He's back!!! Nice to see you here again Commodore.

Thanks very much, Mr. Ford.

I call him Sir Bobby, but Mr. Ford is fine too, I guess.
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rocketman
Posted: October 06, 2012 07:56 am
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QUOTE (lapras53 @ October 04, 2012 07:23 pm)
This is a great topic & it's been interesting reading a lot of thoughtful responses.

For me, I was one of the ones who was absolutely championing "The Captain & The Kid" upon it's release. I loved the way this board came together around the songs, and how we were all able to get into each track as the releases came one-after-the-other, leading up to the albums release.

I think this slow new trickle actually helped in my overall view of the album as a big picture record. When I put it on, it's never to hear one specific track, but rather to go through the whole experience again. My memories are so fond of this record, and those feelings all come back as I listen to it, even today. There were several tracks that overwhelmed me so completely that I was crying upon first listen.

I'll forever maintain that "Wouldn't have You Any Other Way (NYC)" is the most underrated track on the album (and possibly of the entire run of SFTWC, PR, TC&TK). Elton's vocal inflections & dynamics in the first verse are more subtle and controlled than he'd been in decades. Even the quick ascension to to the high note in the chorus is very infrequently done in recent Elton work. The soaring synth tone was the emotional peak of the song for me. It harkens back to the classic 70s produced material, if only as a poignant echo.

Other tracks like "Tinderbox" and "And the House Fell Down" featured unique melodic structure and a "catchiness" or "hit-potential" that Elton hadn't really achieved since his 90s work.

Coming off of the questionable Peachtree Road and a live voice seeming to be losing it's grip at an ever-increasing pace, I was absolutely blown away by his vocal takes throughout the record. He sounded smooth, in control and rehearsed, and it all worked toward this album feeling purposeful.

I agree with many who've noted that the production takes this work down a notch, in the scheme of things, but what remains so encouraging about this album is the fact that Elton showcased his ability to craft a heartfelt start-to-finish classic pop record. It very much felt like a record for those of us who've appreciated what he's done in his career, and that it was one of the better records since the 70s was absolutely astounding, coming at this late stage in his career.

"The Union" hasn't really eroded my fondness for "The Captain & The Kid". "The Union" felt like a coronation, as if the entirety of the 'line-in-the-sand' work had led to it. There's no question I would place Elton's collaborative album with Leon near the very top of his best work, even rivaling his 70s output, but it only feels natural that Elton is progressing in such a fashion. He's at a stage in his life where recording isn't vital, and each new work now has more purpose and meaning by very definition. Else, he wouldn't bother with it. That's what makes me so excited for "The Diving Board".

Lapra53, I felt the same way upon first listening to 'The Captain' - a lot of emotions welled up, since I was listening to what I thought at the time was the final album from the artist who had shaped my youth musically.

For me personally, the fact that Elton continued making albums (well, one anyway, with another on the way) somewhat diminished that feeling for me. It doesn't take away from the album itself, but my response to it is no longer quite the same.

Of course, I'm glad Elton went back to the studio. I'd rather he keep recording and writing!


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nix
Posted: October 06, 2012 08:43 am
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I think that Elton is under too big influence from other people. I really don't want Elton to start to write some boring blues tunes with predictable chords and tones. And he is dangerously close to that.
The album that some fans don't like based on some unimportant things that is extremely melodically creative is The Big Picture.

Thought of hearing some generic songs like 'They call her the cat', 'Noah's Ark', 'Monkey Suit', 'Never too old', '800$ shoes' makes me somehow scared. If I want f***ing blues I would listen to billions of other blues musicians and not Elton.
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Elton
Posted: October 06, 2012 11:38 am
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The Captain has some great songs, I agree production lets it down, however production is fantastic on NYC I wouldnt have you and Blues never fade away, these are imo 2 of the better songs and part of that is probably the production. More synth & string arrangments please!


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