Personnel includes: Elton John (vocals, piano); Rufus Wainwright (vocals); Bruce Gaitsch, David Channing (acoustic guitar); Davey Johnstone (guitar, background vocals); Rusty Anderson (guitar); Stevie Wonder (harmonica, Clavinet); Billy Preston, Patrick Leonard (Hammond B-3 organ); Paul Bushnell (bass, background vocals); Matt Chamberlain, Nigel Olsson (drums, background vocals); Jay Bellerose (percussion); Tata Vega, Kudisan Kai (background vocals).
Engineers include: Joe Chiccarelli, Brian Scheuble, David Channing.
SONGS FROM THE WEST COAST was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. "I Want Love" was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
"Original Sin" was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
SONGS FROM THE WEST COAST is the album for all those who idolize HONKY CHATEAU and CAPTAIN FANTASTIC but feared that Elton John had become Disneyfied beyond repair in the '90s. Whether the inspiration was aesthetic hunger or mid-life crisis, Elton decided to team up with lyricist Bernie Taupin--the man who helped pen all those '70s classics--to produce a more direct, stripped-down album than he's seemed capable of since his glory days. There's no overblown orchestration here, just simple arrangements based quite rightly around Elton's piano and voice.
Playing to his strengths, the piano man concentrates largely on ballads, from the somewhat Beatlesque "I Want Love" to the stately, elegiac "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore." Still, Elton didn't become the master pop craftsman that he is by constructing monochromatic records; "The Wasteland" is a churning bluesy number, and "Dark Diamond" employs a modified reggae rhythm. After years of wandering around in a star-studded artistic netherworld, Elton serves notice with SONGS FROM THE WEST COAST that he's putting them together and belting them out again like he did in his heyday.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (10/11/01, p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...It aims to recapture the expansive sounds and sensibility of MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER, HONKY CHATEAU and other early vehicles that blasted pop's rocket man into the AM-FM stratosphere....Elton's spirit and ambition have finally come back home."
Q (10/01, p.125) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This LP has an alt-country lope, some old-school close miking and is far removed fromt he 'bad years'....with superb, Dylan-voiced songs..."
Mojo (Publisher) (11/01, p.108) - "...Outmusic for outpeople..."
- Emperor's New Clothes, The
- Dark Diamond
- Look Ma, No Hands
- American Triangle
- Original Sin
- I Want Love
- Wasteland, The
- Ballad Of The Boy In The Red Shoes, The
- Love Her Like Me
- This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore