The Epic 2017 Project #135: 170515
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
The seventh studio album by Elton John, released in 1973. The album proved to be extremely popular, selling over 30 million copies worldwide, and is regarded as one of his best. It was recorded at the Château d’Hérouville in France after problems recording at the intended location of Jamaica. Among the 17 tracks, the album contains the hits “Candle in the Wind”, “Bennie and the Jets”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” plus “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” and “Harmony”.
Originally intended as a regular single album, the experience in transferring from Jamaica to the château proved to be conducive to producing such quality material that it was released as a double album.
In 2003, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and ranks at number 91 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The Epic 2017 Project #131: 170511
Elton John – Madman across the water (1971)
This was Elton’s last album to feature his regular touring band (Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson) on only a single song. Later band member, percussionist Ray Cooper, makes his first though. As with allsongs during this period, the lyrics were penned by Elton’s writing partner, Bernie Taupin. This was the last album to be recorded at London’s Trident Studios, although subsequent albums would be remixed or overdubbed there. Caleb Quaye and Roger Pope wouldn’t play with John again until Rock of the Westies in 1975, following Murray and Olsson’s departure from the band.
Madman Across the Water only reached No.41 on the UK Albums Chart, spending just two weeks there, and has been the lowest-charting album of his career to date. The album fared better in North America, peaking at No.8 on the US Billboard Top Pop Albums and placing at No.10 on the year-end list of 1972. It received Gold by the RIAA in February 1972, achieving $1 million in sales at wholesale value just in the United States.
The title song was set to be released on John’s previous album Tumbleweed Connection. However, it was set aside and was re-recorded for this album. The earlier version (with Mick Ronson on guitar) was included on the remastered Tumbleweed Connection CD.
When it was released in ‘The Classic Years’ collection, it was the first album not to feature any bonus tracks. One known track recorded at the time, “Rock Me When He’s Gone”, was released on the 1992 compilation Rare Masters. The song was written for and recorded by one of John’s long-time friends, Long John Baldry. This was John’s first album in which he plays his piano and no other keyboards and the first album on which Davey Johnstone played, a role that would continue for decades, and he contributed acoustic guitar, mandolin and sitar; he would join John’s band full-time for Honky Château.
Madman across the water was Elton’s fourth studio album
The Epic 2017 Project #130: 170510
Joan as Policewoman – The Deep Field (2011)
Joan as Policewoman is American musician, singer/songwriter and producer Joan Wasser’s stage name. She began her career playing violin with the Dambuilders and played with Black Beetle, Anthony and the Johnsons, and Those Bastard Souls. Since 2004 she has released her solo material as Joan As Policewoman. This includes five studio albums (of which ‘The Deep Field’ is the fourth), one EP, a number of singles and a collection of covers. Throughout her career, she has regularly collaborated with other artists as a writer, performer and arranger.
The Epic 2017 Project #103: 170413
Ben Harper – Both sides of the gun (2006)
Released as a double album, the title suggests the two sides of Harper’s musical nature. The first disc (“White”) is made of mostly acoustic and string-driven songs hinted at on the last track (“She’s Only Happy In The Sun”) of Harper’s previous album Diamonds on the Inside. The second disc (“Black”) is made up of the more rock and upbeat material and touching on genres such as hard rock, funk and gospel.
The album saw Harper playing the majority of the instruments on both discs; an approach that he had rarely used on his previous albums. However, the Innocent Criminals would appear on a few tracks whilst his later band, Relentless7, would appear together for the first time on “Serve Your Soul”, the last track on the second disc.
The album became Harper’s first US top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts, entering and peaking at number seven on its release. To date, it is his highest album entry in that chart.
The Epic 2017 Project #102: 170412
Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant (1967)
Arlo Guthrie’s debut album is essentially all about the song ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacre’ which dominates the whole of side 2.
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” is a satirical, first-person account of 1960s counterculture. It was also the inspiration for the 1969 film of the same name.
The song is Guthrie’s most prominent work, based on a true incident from his life that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965 with a citation for littering, and ended with the refusal of the U.S. Army to draft him because of his conviction for that crime. The ironic punch line of the story which is (of course) an open invitation to listeners to join together to resist the draft for the Vietnam war, goes like this …
I’m sittin’ here on the Group W bench ’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army — burn women, kids, houses and villages — after bein’ a litterbug.
The Epic 2017 Project #095: 170405
Ghost Poet – Shredding Skin (2015)
Shredding Skin was Ghost Poet’s third studio album. It was subsequently (and deservedly) nominated for the 2015 Mercury Music Prize.
The Epic 2017 Project #060: 170301
Eagle Eye Cherry – Desireless (1997)
Desireless is the 1997 debut album by Swedish singer Eagle-Eye Cherry. The album was released in Sweden in 1997, by the small label Diesel. In 1998, Work Records picked it up for American distribution.
The album went platinum in the United States and sold over four million copies worldwide. The singles “Save Tonight” and “Falling in Love Again” were a major part of the album’s success. The title track, “Desireless” is a cover of a song by Cherry’s father Don Cherry from his album Relativity Suite.