Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gulliver/Hay Chewed/Reprise

"Gulliver" is a surprisingly effective song about a most unusual subject, especially in 1969: a faithful sheepdog who has passed away. Yep, it's a rock version of Old Yeller.

Elton sets the verses in an ambling, slightly jazz-tinged arrangement that builds up to surging Beatlesque chorus, that really gets across the affection the singer has for his pet and companion, ending with a "Day in the Life"-style section of "aah-ah-ah"s.

Coming in right at the fadeout is a jazz-rock instrumental based on "Hey Jude", hence the pun, that boogies along for a few minutes before segueing into a very McCartney-esque idea: a reprise featuring excerpts of each Sky cut. Each snippet of song is only a few seconds long; some are fairly predictable: the title cut is represented with the chorus, as is second track "Valhalla". However, on a couple of tracks less obvious choices are made- the rocker "Sails", for example, is represented by a snatch of its outstanding Caleb Quaye guitar solo, and "Gulliver" gets the surging chorus vocal at the end.

Novel way to end an album, for sure, and one which would point to how well Elton and Co. had assimilated the lessons that Paul and the Lads had taught.

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