Rarities Collection [no label 1CD]
This is similar to Dwight Discs but missing two tracks. Demos and unreleased tracks from 1969-1972. VG to VG+ SBD stereo/mono?

One of the most comprehensive gatherings of genuine Elton rarities resurfaces, although one should take the title's "69-72" billing with at least a little pinch of salt. Demo or no demo, "Billy and the Kids," after all, is best known as a mid-1980s b-side; "Go It Alone" and "I Fall Apart" hail from the Leather Jackets era - and that's just the first three songs. Later, "Cry To Heaven" was on Ice On Fire, "Sweetheart On Parade" is from Elton's Gary Osbourne days, "Chameleon" was on Blue Moves and "Whatever gets You Through The Night"… yeah, well you get the picture.

When the collection sticks to its brief, however, it's great. True, the sound quality is thin enough to slide under doors, but a demo for Empty Sky's "Lady What's Tomorrow" kicks off a sequence that also includes "Sixty Years On," "Son Of Your Father," "I Need You To Turn To" and "Indian Summer," together with such acetate only jewels as "Sara's Coming Back," "There Is Still A Little Love" and "There's Still Time For Me." There's also a wonderfully clunky "Honey Man" duet with Cat Stevens that was definitely worth the price of admission.

Absent here are the Dwight Discs collection's "Velvet Fountain" and a cover of Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime" - the former is a loss, the latter isn't. But, if you can't lay your hands on the original disc, this makes an excellent alternative. - Dave Thompson

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November 9, 2007