The 1996 reissue of CARIBOU includes four extra tracks. "Sick City" and "Cold Highway" were the B-sides of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" and "The Bitch Is Back." John's cover of the Who's "Pinball Wizard" was recorded for the movie "Tommy." "Step Into Christmas" was a British single. The album has been digitally remastered by the original producer, Gus Dudgeon, using original master tapes and digital processing equipment at 20-bit resolution. According to Dudgeon (ICE newsletter, January 1996), the results are "100% better" than the two previous American CD issues.
Personnel includes: Elton John (vocals, piano); Davey Johnstone (acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, background vocals); Ray Cooper (whistle, vibraphone, snare drum, congas, tambourine, bells, castanets, watergong); Chester Thompson (organ); Dave Hentschel (Mellotron, ARP synthesizer); Dee Murray (bass, background vocals); Nigel Olsson (drums, background vocals); Gus Dudgeon (tambourine); Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Jessie Mae Smith, Dusty Springfield, Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Toni Tenille, Billy Hinsche (background vocals).
Tower Of Power Horn Section: Lenny Pickett (soprano & tenor saxophones, clarinet); Emilio Castillo (tenor saxophone); Stephen Kupka (baritone saxophone); Mic Gillette (trumpet, trombone); Greg Adams (trumpet).
Principally recorded at Caribou Ranch, Colorado. Originally released on MCA. Includes liner notes by John Tobler and Gus Dudgeon.
This is part of Rocket's Elton John: The Classic Years series.
To follow up an album that pretty much couldn't be followed--the flashy and brilliant GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD--Elton John hid away in the Caribou Ranch studio outside Denver, Colorado and recorded a certified pop mish-mash. CARIBOU contains bits of arena-rock corn ("Stinker") alongside period-pop pieces that could have passed for showtunes ("Dixie Lily"), complete goofs ("Solar Prestige A Gammon") and the usual magical ballads. It's easy to overlook CARIBOU when reviewing John's '70s catalog, but to do so is to miss a couple of his greatest singles. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," which features a chorus of two Beach Boys and Toni Tenille, is a gospelly ballad completely worthy of those contributions, and the strutting "The Bitch Is Back" is rock arrogance of the highest order--it became Tina Turner's signature concert opener.
CARIBOU also contains some compelling filler. Among the lesser-known tracks are the lovely ballad "Pinky," which seems to be about some sort of secret liaison, "I've Seen The Saucers," an odd little number about UFOs that happens to feature one of John's most committed vocal performances, and "Ticking," an epic ballad about a mass-murderer.