Rock of the Westies [Bonus Tracks]

Rock of the Westies [Bonus Tracks]

by Elton John


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Less than four months after issuing the landmark and autobiographical Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975), Elton John re-emerged with a new band and a slightly modified sound. However, the departure of Dee Murray (bass) and Nigel Olsson (drums) would ultimately begin a deceleration in terms of John's success, which rivalled only the Beatles' and Elvis Presley's in terms of global acclaim. The revamped band grew to include new associates James Newton Howard (keyboards) and Kenny Passarelli (bass) as well as Roger Pope (drums) and Caleb Quaye (guitar), who had both performed with John as far back as his first long-player, Empty Sky (1968). He also retained the services of Davey Johnstone (guitar) and Ray Cooper (percussion) from the most recent lineup. Musically, Rock of the Westies (1975) maintains the balance of harder-edged material and effective ballads. In fact, one of the album's strongest suits is the wide spectrum of strong material. The ballsy no-nonsense "Street Kids" and the aggressive gringo rock of the ZZ Top sound-alike "Grown Some Funk of Your Own" contrast the poignant power balladry of "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)" or the dark and brooding tale of addiction on "Feed Me." Perhaps inspired by the crossover R&B appeal of "Philadelphia Freedom," the up-tempo "Island Girl" bears a distinct and danceable groove that lies somewhere between a slightly Jamaican vibe and disco. Perhaps more soulful in the traditional sense are the boogie-based "Hard Luck Story" or propulsive Bo Diddley beat that drives "Billy Bones and the White Bird." While the increasingly fickle public as well as lack of a strong follow-up to the chart-topping single "Island Girl" may have prevented Rock of the Westies from becoming the heir apparent to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, in the wake of John's flawless predecessors it remains a strong and worthwhile entry that also sets the stage for its follow-up, Blue Moves (1976). [The mid-'90s CD remaster of Rock of the Westies also includes two supplementary cuts -- the outtake "Planes" and the Kiki Dee-penned "Sugar on the Floor" -- which were issued as B-sides to "Island Girl."]

Product Details

Release Date: 05/14/1996
Label: Island
UPC: 0731453243224
catalogNumber: 532432
Rank: 6098

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elton John   Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Labelle   Vocals,Background Vocals
James Newton Howard   Synthesizer,Harpsichord,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Clavinet,Mellotron,Elka
Kiki Dee   Vocals,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Davey Johnstone   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar,Voice Bag
Kenny Passarelli   Bass
Ray Cooper   Percussion,Castanets,Conga,Maracas,Marimbas,Tambourine,Vibes,Shaker,cowbell,Jawbone,Bell-tree,Wind Chimes,Kettle Drums
Clive Franks   Percussion,Vocals,Background Vocals
Ann Orson   Vocals,Background Vocals
Roger Pope   Drums
Caleb Quaye   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals
Kenny Oassarelli   Bass,Bass Guitar,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Elton John   Composer
Kiki Dee   Composer
Davey Johnstone   Composer
Gus Dudgeon   Producer
Bernie Taupin   Composer,Lyricist
Jeff Guercio   Engineer
John Tobler   Liner Notes

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