Friday, October 26, 2007

Valhalla

Bernie must have been reading up on his Norse history, because here he has taken its mythology (making it a spiritual cousin to Led Zep's "Immigrant Song" in a lot of ways) and has crafted a ruminative paean to a favorite subject in the 60's: searching for your own way in life. Honestly, in my opinion it's an unlikely marriage and not all that successful.

Fortunately, Elton saw fit to craft a beautiful, harpsichord-enhanced melody to go with it, and sings it warmly. The production sound, which strikes me as intimate and nuanced a la Phil Spector's work with George Harrison on All Things Must Pass, also helps a lot. In fact, the accompaniment works so well that this listener, at least, can enjoy the song without paying attention to the words.

I've seen this cut spelled out, in various sources both on and off-line, as "Val-hala"; I've never seen it spelled this way anywhere outside of this context. My 2nd pressing (cream color label instead of rainbow on black) MCA vinyl copy of Empty Sky spells it correctly, so that's what I'm going with.

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