Elton John, The Captain & the Kid

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.24.12 in Reviews

The Captain and The Kid

Elton John

Whereas 1975′s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy recounted Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s early pre-fame years together in late-’60s England, this 2006 sequel begins with their first US tour in 1970 and goes on to chronicle their rapid international ascent, decline and continuing partnership.

Chronicling Elton and Bernie’s rise, fall and continuing partnership

It’s far more straightforward than Fantastic, both musically and lyrically: The continued presence of longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olsson emphasizes ’70s grooves with rolling chords and shuffling rhythms, but John and Outkast producer Matt Still’s production maintains the sonic realism of the piano man’s post-millennial output: There’s little of Gus Dudgeon’s lushness, and no strings whatsoever.

But the lyrical candor charms: No longer coyly writing around what were, in 1975, Elton’s open secrets, Taupin here lets down his guard about the groupies, drugs, conmen, lovers, losses and excesses that came with their stratospheric union. His partner similarly sings their shared story simply, and with kindness: Yesteryear’s fireworks are no longer appropriate, nor necessary.