Elton John Jewel Box is the latest retrospective collection to be released in recent times. As with other similar products, Elton John Jewel Box is not for casual music fans but for the diehard Elton John fans out there.
Over at John’s official website, Elton John Jewel Box is described as “an in-depth exploration of Elton John’s extensive catalogue including rarities from 1965-1971, lesser-known B-Sides, and deep cuts personally curated by Elton.”
Containing 148 songs spanning 1965 to 2019, the Elton John Jewel Box can be found on 8CD, 4LP, 3LP, 2LP, digital download and streaming formats. Whew. That’s quite a commitment that surely only rabid Elton John fans will dive deeply into!
However, it should be noted that on Apple Music there were numerous tracks that were unavailable for some reason. Which seems to defeat the entire purpose of releasing this kind of collection in the first place. I presume it’s a copyright issue – isn’t it always? – rather than a short-sighted ploy to get diehards to purchase the physical box instead!
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Personally, the deep cuts are quite irrelevant as they have always been available. I am more interested in the rarities and perhaps B-sides. Especially from the late 1960s period when John and Bernie Taupin were trying hard to get their songs covered by better known artists.
These piano demos certainly do sound relevant to the era they were produced in – fey, psychedelic numbers with the expected strong Beatlesque flavour. Most notable would be “A Dandelion Dies in the Wind” and “Velvet Fountain” which perhaps the likes of Traffic or Idle Race might be wont to record back in the day!
Even more intriguing are the full demos of sixties pop-rock pastiches from 1968 like “Regimental Sgt. Zippo”, “Smokestack Children” and “Cry Willow Cry” which provide a snapshot of the songwriting duo’s earnest attempts at the time.
B-sides are always a revealing prospect as these songs were usually material left on the cutting floor of album sessions but of sufficient quality to be released. So in this vein we have got “Snow Queen” (with Kiki Dee), “Fools in Fashion” and “Tortured” as suitable gems from this section.
Certainly, for Elton John diehards, the Elton John Jewel Box is worth that close examination. When one considers the sheer volume and range of John’s storied career, such a retrospective collection is well deserved. Expect hours of enjoyment.
… still there’s more …