Friday, August 23, 2013

That Philips cassette - turns out it's Elton!

Blog regulars will recall that I recently posted details of an odd cassette I discovered, released by Philips and containing medleys of soundalike recordings (below). You can read the original post here.

I was stumped as to where it originated. Philips were not known for making soundalikes, but I couldn't identify the original source of these tracks, which are shortened, and which flow together, sometimes with music linking them.

Last week I was contacted by Elton John collector, Steve Olson, who provided some fascinating new info. It turns out that many of these recordings are in fact the familiar sessions which Elton John took part in on the standard LPs - I just hadn't recognised them! As it happens, the cassette is a re-issue of a European LP called "28 International Top Songs", which features many Elton cuts we know from labels such as Marble Arch, plus a few Avenue recordings too.

Below is the LP sleeve as it appeared in West Germany, on the Fontana label.

And here are two more editions from the Netherlands, one on Studio 33, the other on the Tune label:

The track listing matches exactly. Steve has documented this LP well, and according to his notes, Elton can be heard on most songs, and is lead vocalist on no fewer than nine cuts.

Steven also considers it possible that Elton plays the connecting piano music, making this a real scoop for collectors. For example, if one plays "Lola", there are some unexpected piano notes near the end... and then some more... and as "Lola" fades away, the piano takes solo stage, before quoting a bit from "Bridge Over Troubled Water", which then arrives in full. If Elton was responsible for these sections, he should be recognised as not just playing them, but having probably composed the many original parts we here.

You can find specifics about this album, and a good deal more on Steve's website, ToBeKompleated, where you can download an astonishingly detailed catalogue of all of Elton's known session releases.

Thanks to Steve for the info.

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