The Elton John CD Review

Rock of the Westies (1975)

1.Medley (Yell Help,Wednesday Night,Ugly)
2.Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)
3.Island Girl
4.Grow Some Funk of your Own
5.I Feel Like a Bullet
(In the Gun of Robert Ford)
6.Street Kids
7.Hard Luck Story
8.Feed Me
9.Billy Bones and the White Bird

Bonus Tracks:
11.Sugar on the Floor


The second of Elton's albums to debut at number one. Also, the second album ever to debut at number one. This was more of a threat than an accomplishment. At this point, no matter what Elton did, it was easily gobbled up by the record buying public. Sad to say is that this release marks the beginning of one of his downward spirals from the top for Elton. Although he would never be the figure he once was, he showed brilliance at times well into the next century when he was well into his sixties.

The third studio album to be released at Caribou in Colorado which was West of the Rockies --hence the pun of the album title. The overall style, which was started on Caribou and (thankfully) skipped on Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy , was a more funky seventies blend of tunes. Because of this, the album has also aged poorly. Another sad note was the departure of longtime band members Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson. Further irony was that in addition to replacements for these two guys, a second guitarist and a second keyboard player were added to the Elton John Band. With seven total musicians banging around on the songs, it's easy to see why the album seems too cluttered with too many instruments fighting each other to produce a marketable sound. The road was wearing thin on Elton as well, and in addition to him looking tired and beaten on the album pictures, he sounds rough in his singing as well.

Having said the above, it must be pointed out that this is not really a bad piece of work. With all the shortcomings there's still something special that makes the album enjoyable. The lead off track, unmistakingly called simply Medley seems to be three (four?) songs carelessly tossed together. It does work, however as the listener is treated to a catchy singalong, if not sarcastic opener. It follows with Dan Dare about a futuristic space pilot. Musically and lyrically, this track easily amplifies the comment of poor aging made above - it's definitely stuck in the seventies. Island Girl is the most known piece, being a single on both sides of the Atlantic about a Jamaican prostitute. The piece has great reggae influences, but again too cluttered. Grow Some Funk of Your Own was a single in England and is basically a companion piece to Island Girl. I Feel Like A Bullet was released in the US and is a refreshing breath of air after all the cacophony. It's a nice ballad that doesn't suffer from time as many of its companions. Side Two is nothing special it itself. It's basically a continuation of Side One. Street Kids and Billy Bones and the White Bird are good rockers though. None of the songs on this album are featured in Elton's live repertoire these days. Will they ever resurface?

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