Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

from by Allison Crowe

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Rediscovering joys amongst a surfeit of riches that is Allison Crowe’s body of music recordings – here’s a bootleg of Allison paying tribute to a cat named Hercules aka Elton John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight) and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. All credit for visuals to Parisien photographer Frédéric Raquil whose concert portraiture captures the live essence.

Between wrapping up her "Spiral" Europa 2010 tournee and launching Allison's Crowe next "Tidings" tour came news of Elton John and Leon Russell coming together on a recording.

The legendary piano players' union inspired me to mine the vaults for this -- raw audio from a 2008 tour when Allison Crowe performed "Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters". The song, from EJ's classic 1972 album, "Honky Château", reflects lyricist Bernie Taupin's impressions of the gritty New York City of that era.

Crowe's musical spirit is kindred to these singer-songwriters of the 1960s and '70s -- not as retro fashion, but, in the unalloyed joy and energy expressed through rock at its most golden.

"Once famously described by the Vancouver Courier as possessing a style akin to 'Elton John meets Edith Piaf', the Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is renowned for her ability to blend control and melodrama." ~ MOJO (UK)

Very special thanks, merci beaucoup, to Paris-based photographer Frédéric Raquil whose fabulous photos of Allison in concert accompany the audio.

Images: Frédéric Raquil Photographe D'évènements - Paris # 06 58 37 26 90

lyrics

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Music & Words - Elton John & Bernie Taupin
As Performed by - Allison Crowe

And now I know, that
Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say

I thought I knew
But now I know that rose trees never grow
in New York City

Until you've seen that trash can dream come true
You stand at the edge while the people run you through
And I thank the Lord that there's people out there like you
I thank the Lord that there's people out there like you

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night

For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

This Broadway's got
a lot of songs to sing
If I knew the tune I might join in

I go my way alone
I grow my own, my own seeds shall be sown
in New York City

Subway's no way for a good man to go down
Rich man may ride while the hobo he can drown
And I thank the Lord for the people that I have found
I thank the Lord for the people that I have found

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night

For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

Now I know, that
Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say

I thought I knew
But now I know that rose trees never grow
in New York City

Subway's no way for a good man to go down
Rich man may ride while the hobo he can drown
And I thank the Lord for the people that I have found
Thank the lord for the people that I have found

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night

For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

They know not if it's dark outside or light

They know not if it's dark outside or light

credits

from Crowe: Covers, Live + Rare, released January 6, 2016

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Allison Crowe Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador

"Why music?" "Why breathing?"

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