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Friday, October 31, 2014

A Collector Collects -- Record Albums -- Elton John's Madman Across the Water 1971

This is the first installment of a series that I've thought about doing for a long time.

I started collecting records at the usual time, in my teens, which for me was the 1970's.  I managed to end up with around 800 albums before CDs came along.  I'm no vinyl snob.  I gladly switched.  No hissing, no skipping (well not as much), no turning over, easy access to a particular track.  If I could have afforded it I probably would have replaced all my vinyl.   I confess that these days I listen to more music on my computer via YouTube than any other way.  (I do have some nice speakers with a subwoofer, a gift from my wife.)  There's one thing missing, however, from from all the formats that have come along since LPs,  the "album" itself, that is the packaging that holds the music.  As time goes by I've really come to appreciate the album as an art form.  That as much an anything is why, through many moves,  I've continued to hold on to my collection.

I'm not an edgy guy and my taste in music, particularly as a younger man, was never what I would consider cool or sophisticated.  I really got into singer/songwriters in the seventies and I still gravitate to pop sounds.  I'm especially fond of piano based pop/rock.  My first offering is a great example.  Though this is about the visuals I saw no reason not to include the music.  In this case I was able to find both the album version and a live performance for each track.  I can't promise that level of completeness for any future installments.

Madman Across the Water was recorded and issued in 1971. 

 Note the great blue jean theme of both the front and back of the album.  So 1971.

The album opened up to reveal the glued in booklet seen below on the right.

Here's the contents, page by page, with the music following each lyric sheet.  BTW you can open the images in a new window to greatly enlarge them if you want to see  more detail.

The best songs are on side one.  I never get tired of hearing them.

Check out the lyrics reflected in the water.

I always find it fun to check out the other artists advertised on the record sleeve.

I wasn't a fanatic but I took pretty good care of my albums.  Looks pretty good for 40 years old.

I'd like to do more of these but this is after all a blog about card collecting.  Let me know if I should keep going, maybe once a week.  Thanks for making it all the way down to the bottom.


  1. would look forward to future editions

  2. Interesting post, David!

    Back in those days, I had "Don't Shoot Me..." on vinyl, and 8-tracks of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Caribou".

    1. Thanks Jim. "Yellow Brick Road" also has a great foldout album. I think I own 14 or 15 Elton John LPs. I never got into cassettes or 8-tracks, thankfully.

  3. Just like with the R. Crumb Jazz cards, I'd be on board for posts about vinyl.

    I have "Madman" on vinyl somewhere, but I've always greatly preferred "Captain Fantastic" and "Goodbye YBR". "Captain Fantastic" came with an amazing amount of inserted material, but I no longer have that album after a "custody battle" with my brother over whose album it actually is.

    "UNI Records"? I've never heard of UNI. Was that Elton's original label in the US?

    As a kid, I used to pore over the album artwork shown on the record sleeves. A couple of months ago I was going through a used vinyl store and got weirded out by a copy of "Sssh" by Ten Years After. The tiny little artwork on the sleeve fascinated me as a child, but I'd never seen the actual album before this year. I probably should've just bought the album, but I was just too stunned to consider that possibility.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I must have a later pressing of Captain Fantastic. Mine doesn't fold out and there are no extras. I think that happened with YBR as well. I think I know the next album I want to show. Not the kind of extras but the cover image and music are singular if not iconic.


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