Elton John’s classic album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, is one of my most cherished CDs in my CD collection. I was a wee one in 1975 when this album was released, and my teenaged sister played the LP constantly. As an adult, I dug that scratchy old LP out of my parents attic one day, and played it –memories from my youth came flooding back, good memories. I bought a copy of the CD shortly afterward, and it has received countless plays on my stereo.
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is, in my opinion, Elton John’s finest album, showcasing the incredible talents of the legendary song writing team of Elton (the Captain), and Bernie Taupin (the Kid). This album is their finest collaboration — Bernie Taupin’s lyrics are sheer poetry; Elton’s music and vocals are magic and compliment the lyrics perfectly. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is actually an autobiographical album based on the early years when Elton and Bernie were first writing songs together — a theme album if you will.
Just about every song on this CD is a gem. It starts off with the title track “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” (my all time favorite Elton John song), and includes two of Elton’s big hits — “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (which was based on an actual event when a friend of Elton’s persuaded him to call off his marriage plans), and the haunting “We All Fall in Love Sometimes”. The album also contains the more rock orientated tracks “Tower of Babel,” “Better Off Dead”, and “(Gotta Get a) Meal Ticket.” This reissue CD also contains 3 bonus songs, most notably the 1974 hit “Philadelphia Freedom”, a song Elton wrote for his close friend, tennis star Billie Jean King (her tennis team was called the Philadelphia Freedom).
These songs are played exceptionally well by Elton and his band: Dee Murray- bass, Davey Johnstone–guitar, and Nigel Olsen (one of my favorite ’70’s drummers). This album has everything — melody, excellent musicianship, rich harmonies, excellent lyrics, a great production, and one of the coolest, most psychodelic album covers I’ve ever seen. I’ve listened to this great album so many times I have all the lyrics memorized. This is a timeless masterpiece… a true classic album that still inspires, mesmorizes, and captivates 35 years later..