Release Date: September 19, 2006
The Captain And The Kid is billed as the sequel to Elton’s seminal Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy album and that alone lends the project a ridiculous amount of expectation. And, while the record isn’t as sonically diverse as Captain Fantastic, lyrically it follows nicely. Most importantly, The Captain And The Kid is Elton’s best record since the seventies.
A nostalgic tone lingers over the record, which in itself could be dangerous. But, the classic Elton melodies are here and they suit the material well. In addition to the expected ballads (the heartbreaking Blues Never Fade Away and The Bridge), The Captain finds Elton genuinely rocking out again. Maybe his newfound friendship with the Scissor Sisters has rejuvenated his much-loved seventies persona. Catchy rockers like And The House Fell Down and Just Like Noah’s Ark successfully achieve what the album is about: bringing music back to a time when it mattered. There isn’t anything especially glossy or produced about the songs, but they’re addictive because they’re passionate. Best of all is Tinderbox, a gorgeous sing-along nearly worthy of Tiny Dancer status.
Towards the end of the album, the songs begin to show their country and blues roots a little more clearly, culminating in the closing title track, a soft country shuffle which is perhaps the most transparently nostalgic song, where Elton is painted as “an urban soul in a fine silk suit,” and Bernie “a heart out west in a Wrangler shirt.” It’s a partnership to be celebrated, for sure, and The Captain And The Kid does so in amazing form. A-
Key Tracks: Tinderbox, And The House Fell Down, Blues Never Fade Away