Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Honky Cat

Piano, both acoustic at first and then a jaunty electric, usher in the lead cut from the Honky Chateau LP, as well as a whole new direction for Elton after the often ponderous Madman Across the Water album. It's a new, friendlier, more open and accessible Elton we get this time out, and the success of this record paved the way for the hit records to follow.

"Cat" tells a story that Taupin liked to visit and revisit, that of the small-town greenhorn who goes to the big city, likes what he sees despite the warnings of the jaded jet-setters, but soon realizes that it's all sizzle and no steak and yearns to return to a simpler lifestyle. As far as this song's concerned, though, it's all good for now. As lead cut it provides a bookend with the world-weary, penultimate track "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", and he would return to the theme on the title song from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, as well as several years later on Blue Moves' "One Horse Town".

Musically, Elton provides a bouncy New Orleans R&B, Meters-like shuffle; the bass part almost sounds like reggae, and its punctuated by a lot of brass. It's catchy and infectious, and was a #8 hit in the USA, for good reason.

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