Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sixty Years On

An ambitious Buckmaster orchestral arrangement is the highlight of another of Bernie's Tales of the Old West.

In this track, a soldier imagines a bleak future for himself at the end of his days, in which he is blind, feeble and useless- as he puts it:

And the future you're giving me holds nothing for a gun
I've no wish to be living sixty years on


Relatively speaking, instrumentation is sparse; after the opening salvo of hornet-like buzzing chamber strings, Skaila Kanga's harp is featured with the full orchestral compliment, then recedes quickly as Elton sings the verses accompanied by a Spanish-sounding guitar, adding to the Spaghetti Western-like feel of the track. Buckmaster returns in the middle section with an arrangement that is alternately staccato, swirling, and gliding, then gives way once more to the guitar with an organ and the strings in the background. He sings the final lines a capella, as if to suggest the dread the soldier has for his vision.

The next cut is the gospel-ish "Border Song", and this serves as a really nice segue into that track. One wishes Taupin had used a bit more care with his rhymes; one stanza has him rhyming the word "gun" twice, and when he writes

You know the war you fought in wasn't too much fun

it sounds more flip than I think he intended.

A lot of rock and roll musicians on both sides of the pond were strongly influenced by film scores, a lot more that I think people realize- and a track like this is certainly an small example of that.

1 comment:

Roger Green said...

Musically, one of my favorite EJ songs EVER.