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“Benny And The Jets” Basic Tracks Reviewed

You’re in for a treat.

Behold the basic tracks to “Bennie And The Jets.” Without the master-class lyrics, cheers, boot-stomps or any other embellishments, this recording just…kicks.

So many thoughts on this one. First, I remember my mom and I trying to describe the song we had just heard on the radio to the poor soul at the back counter of Colony Records, when the whole rear of the store was a still a huge array of 45s. When we finally sang the “bu-bu-bu-bu-buh” part he said. “Oh, yeah, THIS one!” He blasted it out through the speakers as mom and I danced with joy and abandon. Maternal memories don’t get much better than that.

Next, the influence of Elton’s oft-cited hero Leon Russell is very pronounced here, and to great effect. I usually judge keyboard players by their left hand, but Elton’s right hand is soooo damn good on this one.

OK, let me narrow this down if I can, because I could go on about this recording for days. Gus Dudgeon’s production shines when these basic tracks are revealed: no matter what was layered on top, the power and energy of the original take was never compromised. Last – for now- is how Elton obviously had all the later overdubs in mind, because he either supports or leaves space for all the touches he would add down the road.

And damn, what a rhythm section: all hail Nigel Olsson and Dee Murray. I don’t curse much these days, but this is just fucking glorious. Enjoy.

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