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Elton John: Rock Of The Westies

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by lijazz, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Hadn't heard this album in almost 20 years. Just downloaded it to my ipod last night. What a great piece of work. IMHO, it is his best album overall. I think that the fact it is such a great group of material even without the efforts of Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson shows how great the songwriting was/is.
  2. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    Great point about Elton John as well as a super band behind him. I will download that album asap........:cool:
  3. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Being a huge Dee/Nigel fan I hated that album.
  4. Also a big fan of the Dee and Nigel days, but was not so much of a fan of the songwriting on the earlier albums as much as I am of RoTW. That being said, there is not much to like after RoTW, at least for me anyway. I don't care for anything EJ did after 1975.
  5. Thanx for the reminder, I'd forgotten all the great songs on that record except for the hits which I hated, ain't that the way.
  6. Best album? You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but that's a bold statement (better than GBYBR?...okay).

    I must agree about the quality of the material. Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves are both severely underrated later efforts.

    But the "Elton John Band," as it were, was a very different animal. Very streamlined, almost sterile. Studio cats. Great playing, tight arrangements. But, for those like me who bought all of Elton's vinyl right from the first release, the inventive, creative, unpredictably amazing playing of Nigel and Dee is conspicuously missing. The new band always sounds like "Elton Light" to me.

    Passerelli is a monster, don't get me wrong. I think his Jazz bass is taller than him, but he is a great studio player.
  7. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I don't think it was ever better than when it was just these three.
  8. There's a strong case for that. Why these guys are not mentioned in the power trio or blues-rock trio discussions is beyond me. Incredible energy.

    I think Elton's later pop success overshadows their roots sometimes.

    BTW, love the matching shirts. I've never seen that picture. Thanks for sharing.
  9. EddieT


    Jun 21, 2008
    Simplicity itself in terms of equipment and numbers...I would probably agree that this was the ultimate line up, much as I think Davey Johnstone is a tremendous and underrated guitarist. In fact there is a cross over period in '72 when Davey joined the band and they toured the Honky Chateau album which had more in common with the trio sound but with guitar added on top. That and the 1984 band with Fred Mandel added - that was rockin'.

    I was/am a big fan, but can't stand Elton's current sound even with Nigel Olsson in the band. It's slick and professional, but it's foot off the gas stuff without any edge like earlier years.
  10. monkeyking


    Feb 6, 2009
    ROTW isn't one of my favorites, but that's not even close to saying it's not a great album. It's more a statement of the astounding amount of great albums that EJ put out in the early years. Been on a real Elton kick lately.

    I'm not even sure I could pick a fave from that era as there are a lot of different flavors involved. I will say that the writing, playing, and production are stellar. Nigel and Dee are great together and it may be just as amazing that a great player like Elton never once seems to get in their way.

    Just picked up a recently expanded version of Here & There which doubles the amount of music in the original vinyl release with great liner notes and predictably great sound.
  11. EddieT


    Jun 21, 2008
    I actually like RoTW as an album and there are some great songs and sounds (no one can deny Pope/Quaye/Passarelli/Newton-Howard/Cooper/Johnstone's collective and individual talents). It's an awesome sounding record. Turn Street Kids up and it blows you away...

    My own view is that that band matured on Blue Moves and it would have been hard to move on from there whereas the Murray/Olsson/Johnstone unit was more flexible in terms of playing styles. They could still rock out - you only have to go to Youtube and find any 1982-84 era live stuff to see that, but could also more comfortably back Elton on the ballads which by then seemed to be where he was heading in the early 80s.

    The expanded Here and There double CD is excellent, particularly the MSG half of it.
  12. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Here and There has John Lennon's final live performance on it.
  13. EddieT


    Jun 21, 2008
    Does indeed. Cracking version of Whatever Gets You Through the Nite!

    Going back to the original thread though, it would be nice to hear some songs from RoTW played live. Surely Elt could knock out Grow Some Funk or Island Girl or I Feel Like A Bullet. Might need to get a second guitar player in again.

    In some ways I wish he'd ditch the synth player and percussion player and get back to the core piano/drums/bass/guitar sound and be more inventive with that line up, but I suppose at the age of 65ish he's not in the mood to re-invent himself.
  14. EddieT


    Jun 21, 2008
    Incidentally, going back to RoTW, I found this Kenny Passarelli

    suggests that RoTW tracks were recorded on a Hofner Beatle bass which I would never have imagined!

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