Although it was viewed as one of Elton John's more lightweight efforts upon its 1975 release--possibly because it followed only half a year after the acclaimed Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (and partially bec... more »ause many thought the album was released to fulfill a contractual obligation)--Rock of the Westies appears in retrospect to be his last great rock album. It certainly does rock consistently harder than any other John album, with guitarist Davey Johnstone even getting cowriting credits (with John and Bernie Taupin) on the opening "Medley: Yell Help/Wednesday" and "Grow Some Funk of Your Own." Lyricist Taupin seems to be going off the deep end here at times with titles like "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)" and "Billy Bone & the White Bird," but "Island Girl" was another huge hit for the pair. And the CD version adds the wonderful pop gem "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart," which turned KiKi Dee into an eternal Trivial Pursuit answer. --Bill Holdship« less
Although it was viewed as one of Elton John's more lightweight efforts upon its 1975 release--possibly because it followed only half a year after the acclaimed Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (and partially because many thought the album was released to fulfill a contractual obligation)--Rock of the Westies appears in retrospect to be his last great rock album. It certainly does rock consistently harder than any other John album, with guitarist Davey Johnstone even getting cowriting credits (with John and Bernie Taupin) on the opening "Medley: Yell Help/Wednesday" and "Grow Some Funk of Your Own." Lyricist Taupin seems to be going off the deep end here at times with titles like "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)" and "Billy Bone & the White Bird," but "Island Girl" was another huge hit for the pair. And the CD version adds the wonderful pop gem "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart," which turned KiKi Dee into an eternal Trivial Pursuit answer. --Bill Holdship
Elwood Conway | Frankfort, KY United States | 08/21/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I still have my original MCA vinyl of this baby and while the remastering job is quite nice, there is one audible goof. ISLAND GIRL slows down in the final chorus. If you listen carefully you can hear the pitch slowly change while the CD plays. Don't believe me? Play the last few measures of the song which are exactly like the beginngin ones and you will notice the change in pitch. There is no key change in this song. My LP does not exhibit this problem. Otherwise this Polygram release is wonderful!!"
Rocking Fun with Elton
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 07/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In retrospect, Elton John created a lot of relatively serious music from the start of his career until ""Yellow Brick Road." There were moments when his music was fun, such as "Crocodile Rock" and "Jamaica Jerkoff," but the general tone of his music was serious. Even the often reviled "Caribou" had some of Elton's most serious music ("Ticking") mixed in with the inane songs. "Rock of the Westies," on the other hand, was almost all fun, typically hard-rocking, songs.The CD kicks off with a medley that's fast paced with multiple changeups and some deliberately funny lyrics. The ending of this song is so fast that you have to wonder whether the speed was helped by some creative electronics. "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)" continues the fun and silliness. James Newton Howard manages to have a lot of fun with keyboards throughout this song. Silly and fun and a song I enjoy when I'm in the right mood. This song would be fun for a frat party."Island Girl" was a huge hit in the mid-70s. The song has some reggae elements to go with the lyrics. Though the lyrics had the potential to be serious, Elton kept the music in the vein of the opening songs and kept this song to the lighter side. "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" remains light and funky and more than a little humorous. There are some good guitar licks in this song and some more James Newton Howard synthesizer sound effects."I Feel like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford) is the one moment of seriousness on this album. This ballad about the breakup of a relationship has always been my favorite from this album, and one of the most creative songs on the album.The next three songs are rockers, but are relatively fun songs. The tone of the sound just refuses to allow any of the three, "Street Kids," "Hard Luck Story," and "Feed Me," to be serious to any degree. These are good party songs.Admittedly "Billy Bones and the White Bird" should fall into the same group as the previous three songs, but I really like this song and think the lyrics and music were creative. The allusions to seafaring myths were interesting and original. The only thing I do not care for in this song is the repetitiveness of portions of the lyrics.This CD includes two bonus tracks, "Planes" and "Sugar on the Floor." Both songs are much more serious than the majority of the songs on the CD. "Planes" is bluesy and shows none of the synthesizer silliness that tended to appear in many of the other songs. This song sounds more like music from "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player." "Sugar on the Floor" is even bluesier, and also reminds me of Elton's early music. This particular song is the mellowest song on this CD.1975 was a turning point for rock music, and for Elton John. Soon funk and disco would be overwhelming the airwaves, and Elton would drift away from the style that made him famous. But for one album we got to see Elton having a good time, and do it thoroughly and well. While much of the music may be among Elton's lesser efforts, it is still powerful and frequently creative, and nearly always listenable and interesting. Worthy of being considered a classic Elton John album."
An Often Overlooked Gem
D. S. Leite | United States | 01/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in the Spring of 1975, "Rock of the Westies" was the last great album by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It most definitely rocks harder than most of his albums, but in a distictive style consistent with and instantly recognizable as Elton.
Notable tracks include the mega hit "Island Girl" which is still a pleasure and has held up much better than most contemporary chart toppers. "I Feel Like a Bullet" is a classic EJ tune in a similar style to other songs from prior albums,I've often wondered why it wasn't a bigger hit.
"Medley" and "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" rock with the best and "Dan Dare" is a quirky gem. Give "Rock" a try, it's good and a little bit different..... "
Yell Help, Wednesday Night, Ugly
Empty Sky7 | Columbus, Ohio United States | 04/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is sweet. It is Elton's hardest rocking, loose and fun album to date(as if there will be another one that comes even close to this). No, it's not poetry, and maybe it's not as profound, or classy as some of his other earlier albums, but I'm sorry, Yell Help, Wednesday and Ugly is pure genius..Tell me Meatloaf(Jim Steinman) didn't copy that music pattern for Paradise By The Dashboard Light..The whole album just rocks..I love Elton's voice, and the guitar in Dan Dare, Grow Some Funk Of Your Own is catcy as hell too, and I Feel Like A Bullet is a cool slow one. I know this album had a rough time because it followed Captain Fantastic, but I would rather listen to this album all the way through, than CF.."
Elton John's best rock and roll album
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Coming close behind "Captain Fantastic", "Rock of the Westies" is a hard act to follow. Yet it succeeds admirably, as one of Elton John's finest during his classic vintage years. Without a doubt, it's his hardest rocking album. The finest songs include the hits "Island Girl", "Grow Your Funk On Your Own" and "I Feel Like A Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford"; the latter his best ballad since "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me". Yet there are also neglected treasures such as "Feed Me", "Street Kids", among others. Unlike his previous albums, "Caribou", and "Captain Fantastic", there's no track here which can be regarded as filler. I doubt I've heard Elton's vocals in finer form during this time, and he sings well with great range and conviction. He's also backed by a terrific band, featuring guitarist Caleb Quaye, bassist Kenny Passarelli, keyboard wizard James Newton Howard (who's now a celebrated Hollywood film composer), drummer Roger Pope, and of course, percussionist Ray Cooper and guitarist Davey Johnstone. The sound quality is better than that on my old LP. This is definitely one of Elton John's essential CDs."