Elton John - Caribou

Limited 180 Gram Heavyweight Vinyl Remaster

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Caribou is the eighth studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John, originally released in June 1974 via DJM Records.

Can an album be recorded in only nine days? Sure it can. The Beatles needed less than 13 hours in the studio to record their debut LP, and it’s a classic.

By contrast, Elton and his seasoned touring band had a little more than a week to complete all the tracks for Caribou. Recorded in January 1974, just before the boys were embarking on a tour of Japan, producer Gus Dudgeon spent some time adding backing vocals and additional instrumentation before the album’s release in late June 1974. It quickly shot to No. 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K.

But is it a classic? Hard to say. It’s definitely sandwiched between two undisputed masterpieces, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Compared to those epics – the former a double album full of hits and legendary deep cuts, the latter a song cycle chronicling Elton and Bernie’s trip into superstardom – most albums probably wouldn’t measure up.

Perhaps “classic” is too strong a word. Let’s say instead that Caribou is a really solid effort by Elton in what’s easily his most creatively fertile and successful period.

Two of the tracks have gone on to become signature songs. The opening cut, “The Bitch Is Back”, is a staple of Elton’s live act and classic rock radio. It’s become sonic wallpaper, but give it a closer listen next time it stumbles into view; the Tower of Power horns kill and Davey Johnstone’s guitar is still so fresh and so clean.

The other classic track, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, almost didn’t make it to the record. Apparently the session where Elton recorded his vocal was difficult because he was never satisfied with his efforts. At one point, according to Philip Norman’s Sir Elton: The Definitive Biography, he listened to a playback and remarked, “That’s a load of crap. You can send it to Engelbert Humperdinck, and if he doesn’t like it, you can give it to Lulu as a demo.”

What’s magical about “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” isn’t just Elton’s vocal; it’s what happens around it. Ray Cooper adds just the right flourishes on tambourine and sleigh bells. The echo of the drums calls to mind Phil Spector‘s productions. And recognizing the debt some of his songs owed to them, Elton invited The Beach Boys to participate in the backing vocals; Bruce Johnson and Carl Wilson both add their distinctive voices to the mix. The pieces and parts may seem cheesy on their own; taken together, they’re a powerful testament to Elton and Bernie’s songwriting, and the strength of their ’70s-era band.

On other tracks, the band continues to take centre stage, including Elton’s own keyboard skills. The up-tempo rocker “You’re So Static” kicks off with a deep funky groove and quickly builds to a frenzied crescendo of distorted guitar, horns, and tambourine - every instrumentalist firing on all cylinders, goading each other to the limits of their skills. At the centre is Elton’s piano, his fingers on a manic sprint up and down the keys. “Pinky” offers a lighter vibe, a mid-tempo ballad punctuated by Cooper on bongos and Dave Hentschel on synthesizer. Johnstone slips in between the lines of the chorus with spot-on acoustic guitar licks.

The album closes with a powerful piano and vocal only track "Ticking" that contains a story about gun culture in the US that is just as relevant today as it was when Taupin wrote the lyric back in 1974. 

Caribou represents the simple pleasure of a brilliant rock songwriter and performer working quickly at the top of his game, surrounded by an incredible band. Even if its ambitions are small, it fully realises those ambitions. Caribou doesn’t have to be a classic to be a great listen.

Check out the tracks: “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and “The Bitch Is Back”. 

This reissued LP with reproduced original artwork, digital download code and remastered audio is pressed in Europe on 180 gram audiophile vinyl.








The Bitch Is Back









Dixie Lily



Solar Prestige A Gammon



You’re So Static



I’ve Seen The Saucers






Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me





SKU 602557383102
Record Label Mercury Records
Label / Model # Universal
Catalogue Number 5738310
Country EU - Europe
Release Date (Year) 21 July 2017
Original Release Date (Year) 28 June 1974
Barcode # 602557383102
Shipping Weight 0.3000kg
Shipping Width 0.005m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000493000m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition LP Record, 180 Gram Heavyweight Vinyl, Printed Inner Sleeve, Remastered Audio, Reissue, Original Album Artwork Replicated, Digital Download Code
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Rock & Popular

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