Personnel: Elton John (vocals, piano); Davey Johnstone (voice bag, acoustic, electric & slide guitar, banjo, background vocals); Caleb Quaye (acoustic & electric guitars, background vocals); James Newton Howard (harpischord, electric piano, Clavinet, Mellotron, Arp & Elka synthesizers, synthesizers); Ray Cooper (vibraphone, marimba, kettle drums, congas, tambourine, maracas, castanets, jawbone, shaker, windchimes, bell-tree, cowbell); Kenny Passarelli (bass, backround vocals); Roger Pope (drums); Kiki Dee, Ann Orson, Clive Franks, Labelle (background vocals).
Recorded at Caribou Studios, Colorado. Includes liner notes by John Tobler.
Digitally remastered by Tony Cousins (Metropolis Mastering, London, England).
When Elton John went into the studio to record ROCK OF THE WESTIES, he did it with a revamped line-up. Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper stayed on while Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson were replaced by Kenny Passarelli and Roger Pope respectively. Also added to the band were old mate Caleb Quaye and synthesizer player James Newton Howard, whose keyboard talents combined with John's and considerably broadened the unit's sound. WESTIES found EJ sounding revitalized after scoring seven consecutive top five hits in the preceding two years (The tropical-flavored "Island Girl" kept the streak alive by ending up at number one).
With the Bernie Taupin/Elton John juggernaut creating up-tempo numbers such as "Grow Some Funk Of Your Own" and "Street Kids," the new band played with such magical synergy that even oddly titled numbers "I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)" and "Billy Bones And The White Bird" had their own quirky appeal. Although most of this record is fairly obscure, ROCK OF THE WESTIES is a sprightly collection often overshadowed amidst better-known albums like TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION and HONKY CHATEAU.
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