- An insanely good QUADRUPLE PLUS (A++++) side two backed with a stunning Triple Plus (A+++) side one for this Elton John classic – this pressing takes side two to another level (hence the four plus grade)
- Reasonably quiet for the most part on both sides – it’s not easy finding British pressings with the right stampers that play as well as this one does
- Honky Chateau contains some of the most Tubey Magical High-Production-Value rock music ever recorded – thanks Ken Scott!
- 5 stars: “The most focused and accomplished set of songs Elton John and Bernie Taupin ever wrote … It’s one of the finest collections of mainstream singer/songwriter pop of the early ’70s.”
NOTE: *On the last track on the second side, there is a mark that plays for four or five seconds at the very end of the record.
We award the Four Plus A++++ grade so rarely that we don’t have a graphic for it in our system to use in the grading scale shown above. So the side two here shows up on the chart as A+++, but when you hear this copy you will know why we gave it a fourth plus.
When I hear a record with a side this phenomenally good, with the stereo tuned-up and tweaked within an inch of its life to reproduce the album at the highest level I can manage, I will sometimes sit my wife down and play her a track or two. I did it for a Four Plus Deja Vu earlier this year as a matter of fact, playing Country Girl: Whiskey Boot Hill on side two, with that crazy HUGE organ blasting out of the right speaker — what a thrill!)
For this record I played her Salvation, with one huge chorus following another, like powerful waves crashing on the shore, until Elton takes a deep breath and belts out the last, biggest chorus, hitting his peak an octave higher and taking the song to a level neither one of us had ever experienced. We followed it up with the lovely Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, and that was about as much Elton John live in my listening room at practically concert hall levels we could take in one sitting.
Hearing Elton with such energy, standing right in front of use, with instruments and singers encircling him from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, was so powerful and immersive it left us both with tears in our eyes.
That’s what gets you a Fourth Plus around these parts. (more…)