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Tumbleweed Connection
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Product Description

Tumbleweed Connection is part of the early catalog of Elton John's work that Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose reportedly once said he would love to own the publishing rights to as a work of art. Indeed, it does contain some of John's most expressive work as an artist, but with the showy stage presence and pop melodicism still under construction. Tumbleweed is characterized by John's balladeer approach, with John at his storyteller best on songs like "Burn Down the Mission." Even if the lyrics were generally written by Bernie Taupin, John's voice and inflection made every song seem deeply personal. The beautiful "Come Down in Time" displays the subtleties and sophistication of his talent, with the piano not yet serving as the instrumental focal point it would later become. The album also features the favorite "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun" and "Where to Now St. Peter?" --Steve Gdula

Customer Reviews:

  • A Must Have
    I have numerous compilations in my music library and this has gotten the most wear. As a being who has grown up through the 60's and 70's world of amazing music, this is a must have for anyone who appreciates the finer aspects of music.This is so much better than his pop radio hits. Just listen. ...more info
  • An Early Masterpiece By Captain Fantastic
    "Tumbleweed Connection" is part of an abundance of early masterpieces by Elton John. This album has an old west concept to it, and unlike Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, all the songs stay true to the concept.

    Without a doubt, this is Elton's most acoustic album. The acoustic guitar is used frequently on all the tracks, most notably the stark "Love Song", a duet with its writer Leslie Duncan. Elton also shows how good he is with a ballad with the mysterious "Come Down In Time". Also included is one of my favorite Elton tunes, the lighthearted "Country Comfort". Rod Stewart made the song famous, but without a doubt, The definitive version was by Elton. The screeching alternate recording of "Madman Across The Water" is a dark, brooding midtempo rockder with a blazing acoustic guitar solo from Mick Ronson. Elton also gets emotional on the stark "Talking Old Soldiers" and "Where To Now, Saint Peter". Bernie Taupin's uptempo ode to Elton's goddaughter, "Amoreena", is drenched in a Southern feel with the images of a yyoung, beautiful running in the tall cornfield. "Burn Down The Mission" is classic Elton, with wild instrumental brakes, sweeping piano playing and crisp production by Gus Dudgeon, who did an excellent job remastering this work of art. Connect with this album today....more info

  • A Must For Your Music Collection
    This is the best album/CD Elton John ever did. There is not a bad song in the bunch. Even if you don't normally like Elton John, give this a listen. I think you will be surprised....more info
  • he didn't tumble
    Elton John has had MANY classic albums over the years, and that's why people remember him as the top 5 musicians of the 70's. The early days were really good too.

    While the western/country pop rock style of Elton John is one of the main things people note about Tumbleweed Connection, it should also be noted that despite sounding different from the pop rock commercial phase of Elton John's career (starting with the "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" album) his typical style of piano pop on Tumbleweed Connection isn't really any different from any other song you've heard by Elton John. It just *sounds* different with the western influences. The songs are still written the same way as usual.

    So basically what I'm trying to say is even though the album has a western vibe, it still falls in the same category of singer-songwriter and the songs really aren't constructed any differently from that of say "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me".

    However, the quality of the music is REALLY high, and that makes the album a classic....more info
  • Come down in time
    I am so grateful for discovering this Elton John classic recently. I have most of Elton's albums but failed to listed to any of his material before 1972's "Madman Across the Water" album (of which the original version of that song appears on this album). This 1970 album is a masterpiece in every sense. From the haunting "come down in time" to "my father's gun" this album demonstrates the very young Elton John with his glorious voice (before it went bad in the mid 80's). Other treasures on this album include "southern comfort" and "burn down the mission". Probably the only weak song is "Son of my father" which I always skip.

    This album proves that Elton was a star long, long before "Goodbye yellow brick road". Buy it....more info
  • The great feelings haven't changed since I was 13
    I got this album when I was just turned 13, in 1971. Even then, though innocent, I recognized the deeply sensual nature of songs like "Come Down in Time" and "Amoreena". I think "Where to Now St. Peter" is one of my very favorites and all the songs are just incredible. I would listen to it over and over (as teens will). Now my son is turning 15, has had piano and other musical instrument lessons, and thinks Elton John walks on water! It's so fun, so meaningful to turn your kid on to something you really value and find that they feel the same way. I can't wait to buy the CD (I played my album to death) and play it for him. "Burn Down the Mission" is one of his favorites, but wait until he get a load of the others! If you like early Elton, you must experience this CD....more info
  • good, classic Elton!
    I used to have this album in the LP form when a teen. It has some great stuff on it, particularly "country comfort" and "my father's gun". The latter was recently featured in "Elizabethtown" and was just perfect. The songs are long, as some were in the 70's, but many of Elton's were such masterpieces. Some of the other songs are pretty good, but none as good as the ones I mentioned, at least for my taste. However, Madman across the Water is a great song, and has some fantastic electric guitar, if you are a fan of that. The 70's sure was a good time for electric guitar! enjoy this excursion into the 70's with Elton....more info
  • His best
    Great melodies, great piano, tight band, good lyrics. If "Burn Down the Mission" was two minutes shorter this would be a five star album. This was his most cohesive album; what followed was an unbelievable outpouring of hit singles....more info
  • Great Elton John CD
    TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION is, along with HONKY CHATEAU, MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER, CARIBOU, ROCK OF THE WESTIES, and, especially, GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, one of Elton John's best albums ever. I think the reason why it didn't garner one song on a "greatest hits" collection is that it doesn't compromise artistically. Elton's country numbers here ("Country Comforts", "Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun", "Where To Now, St. Peter"), unlike some British artists' attempts at country, don't sound like parodies, but are instead delivered with such sincerity that you'd swear you were listening to The Band. This CD is a must-own for any serious rock fan....more info
  • An Ignored Gem
    To me this is probly the BEST of his early years. This is the problem I have with all of Elton's "Greatest Hits" albums. THEY TOTALLY IGNORE THIS ALBUM, WHICH IS A BLASPHEMIS INSULT!!. It didnt surprize me that the newly "1970-2000" would ignore it. TYPICAL! This is THE REAL singer/songwriter album. I will admit when it comes to the #1 Elton album it's really a tie between this one and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (and not because of the "hits" either. If you're only gonna get 2 Elton CD's I'd recommend these 2. or at least this one....more info
  • Faultless and Impeccable
    A must have for all E.J fans. Enhanced C.D version sounds even better than the original vinyl I first acquired back in 1973.
    Back in the 70's fans were spoilt when albums of this quality were being made with regularity by the artists of that time.
    They don't make them like they used to !......more info
  • Elton Finds Art Amid The Artifice
    Because Elton is a genius at crafting a melody to fit words, and makes unique popular music with his use of classically- derived chord progressions,every album recorded before 1982 deserves some praise (O.K., except Victim of Love). But none can claim a 5-star rating in my view because of Bernie Taupin. This guy is the greatest poseur lyricists have. He wants to tackle large, yet folky, gritty subjects (here the south and west of Old America) but fails to deliver truth. Neil Young pens a song about his dog and it rings with the import of truth. Mr. Taupin aims aloft with a hollow artifice. And we think we feel truth, but are merely entertained by a musical art. HOWEVER, how great thou art!!!

    Elton is the only songwriter I can recall who makes every lyric sound like a gem, suffuses every word with meaning (or at least emotion that has a resonance). It's uncanny,really. Usually this feat requires great lyrics. As such, Elton has probably the least offensive set of words here on which to make one of his two strongest albums. The Gospel/Delta Blues/Appalachian-Roots vibe we hear here would soon be replaced on later albums with more of a Boogie-Woogie/Ragtime/Nawlins vibe. But he would again return to this milieu--knowing as he must have that this suited him best. No hits? No problem. "Amoreena" is maybe in Elton's top 10 gospelly/rock tunes. "My Father's Gun" is underappreciated, and "Burn Down the Mission" over-so. "Come Down in Time" has the best arrangement ever crafted for an Elton ballad. Gorgeous. "Talking Old Soldiers" nearly topples Elton's gift of perfectly matching music to lyric idea, but this is incredibly beautiful; it's Elton's only studio song with just voice and piano!!! Critics say this is not much of a piano-centered album, but from a songcraft standpoint, this is his MOST piano-centered album, just not always first in the mix. A great flow from track to track that one enjoys hearing without a break. No silliness to kill the mood. No ugly strings, as before and after--sadly. A serious record, if you will. Oddly, this was the best band for any Elton album; though they're sessionmen, they played with less artifice and more authenticity than the Johnstone/Murray/Olsson trio that came after this (and, alas, stayed). This is the best Elton John album.

    Footnote: the bonus early version of "Madman Across the Water" is a revelation to me, a wake-up call to this song's greatness. A treat to hear in headphones, where focusing on the piano reveals one of Elton's finest performances! In the other,later version of this song the madman had already taken his Thorazine, but this early take should be the definitive one--it's raw, and, again, rings true with the sound of Mick Ronson's burly guitar throughout. Elton was often surrounded by musicians of dubious artistic truth. Not here--this madman's off his meds!!!
    ...more info
  • Cohesive tribute to the Old West
    Much like the Eagles "Desperado", the theme here is the Old (American) West. Large dollops of steel and other country instrumentation adorn these tracks which largely succeed. Despite no big hits on the album, it's hard to see why in a few cases: the delicate duet "Love Song" (sung with author Leslie Duncan) sounds like a coulda been huge smash and "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun" probably would have played on the same stations that gave "Take it Easy" heavy spins two years later. Maybe the LP was just too early?

    Bernie Taupin's lyrics place Elton in the shoes of somewhat unsympathetic characters on "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun", the type of song Billy the Kid might've written and "Son of Your Father", an ode by a Confederate looking to avenge his father believing that at war's end "There'll be laughter when the bells of freedom ring.."

    "Amoreena" is nice but doesn't really pull me in fully in the end.

    That minor quibble keep me from giving it the highest mark, but it's definitely a must for any Elton fan and for any aficionado of country-rock. 4 1/2 stars.

    BONUS MATERIAL: Added to this remastered disc is "Into the Old Man's Shoes", originally released as the B-side in the U.K. in January 1971 for "Your Song" which sounds of a piece with the other material and would've been at home here.

    Also included is a different version of "Madman on the Water" running nearly 9 minutes in length, which, while still good, suffers from comparison with the released version. The strings definitely add an extra touch of menace to the tune on the version you're used to hearing and are sorely missed here.


    ...more info
  • One great album
    This album may not have been well known, but it is an excellent record. I don't think any of the songs were hits, but the album is excellent. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Tumbleweed Connection
    Amazon,
    Excellent CD, delivered on time and with no defects. Good shipping also.

    Thank You,
    Frank...more info
  • A True Elton Classic
    What A Great Album..Elton's country rock period was a short but memorable one thanks to this underrated Album. County Comfort paints a vivid picture of a simple time on a farm and coming home. The players are first rate with the strains of country winning you over from everything to a mouth harp to some great pedal steel guitar.There's two underrated Love songs,two of his best, Come Down In Time and Love Song. Burn Down The Mission rocks with its overblown orcherstral strings. There's songs of battles and gun play in Ballad Of A Well Known Gun, Where To Now St. Peter and Talking Old Soldiers. This is not so much a country album but a love affair with the old west and a much less complex time. This is an album you'll be singing along with like I have since I first heard it in 1970. ...more info
  • Elton John's classic years
    This is a nice follow up to his debut but a little disjointed and takes awhile to get into. But this is not ear candy so the price one must pay; a classic nonetheless. The remastering is impeccable and a collection essential....more info
  • Elton Connecting with his talent
    This is a fine piece of work it's one of the best albums ever recorded by anyone. This album should be on every 100 best albums list reviewed by any serious reviewer.

    It's remarkable that it was Elton's third release, and his second world-wide major release. It wasn't a top 40 best seller, but the songs are so finely written and well crafted they stand out today as lost treasures.
    Elton clearly made a connection with his talent on this album, and it was only a question of time before he became the biggest selling artist of the 1970's.

    This album is equal to (The Beatles, SGT Peppers) and (Pink Floyd's Darkside Of The Moon).
    Each time I play it I discover something new, overlooked, or forgotten, and for a album that was released 27 years ago that's really saying something. ...more info
  • Perfection....
    It's impossible to label one Elton John album as his best, simply because he has so many. In my opinion, his top three include his first album Elton John (self-titled), Madman Across the Water and Tumbleweed Connection. I would, however, listen with an open mind if another listener tried to convince me that Elton's top three included Honky Chateau or Captain Fantastic or Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. Simply put, they are all amazing.

    What's even more incredible is how quickly Elton and Bernie Taupin produced all of these albums. If memory serves, they averaged two albums per year for the first 3-4 years of their music career. In today's world, that's an amazing feat, but to have them be as perfect as they were, well...that's why Elton & Bernie will go down in history as the greatest duo for writing perfect songs. Okay, Lennon/McCartney set the standard, but let's remember this is just my opinion. Dump me on a deserted island with only 10 albums to bring with me and probably half of them would be from Elton.

    For the new listener to Elton, Tumbleweed Connection is a great place to start, but get out your check book because you just can't stop there. All of the albums I mentioned above are must-haves.

    ebhp...more info
  • (4.5 stars) Forget what I've said otherwise, THIS is Elton's best!
    Upon closer examination , I think I'm gonna name this Elton's best record. Why? For one, his idea of country ("Country Comforts"; "Where to Now St. Peter?", with Elton's best vocals on the album) sounds genuine without being parody. For another, piano-thumping rockers such as "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun", the love song "Amoreena", the brassy "Son of Your Father", and the classic raving gospel-rocker "Burn Down the Mission", a sort of "Take Me to the Pilot, Pt. 2" are dead-on - he also gets the melodramas perfectly right ("Come Down in Time"; "My Father's Gun"). And the lone piano ballad, the antiwar "Talking Old Soldiers", is chilling and powerful. There is a weak link: the derivative "Love Song", which borrows the guitar pattern from "Dear Prudence" and the harmonic arrangement from Crosby, Stills & Nash. Thankfully, most the rest is far better than that song, which even then is a cover: this is the John/Taupin songwriting team at their best, as every song has a great melody and even Taupin mostly steers clear of his signature obnoxious sexism (though "My Father's Gun" has an annoyingly stereotypical line - not all women sew, okay?). Thanks to the lack of any singles, there weren't any big hits on this album, but you'll still hear "Country Comforts" and "Burn Down the Mission" on the radio. It's not a coincidence that those songs are the two best on the album....more info
  • GOLDEN, hands down.
    What else can I say? I am twenty-five years old. I am always trying to expand my music knowledge and catalogue. What I would not give to buy an album nowadays and have it completely take hold of me as this one did. I borrowed Tumbleweed Connection from my dad, upon his high recommendation. I have not yet given it back. (He missed it so much, he since bought another copy lol) I cannot explain the spirit of this album...it makes me nostalgic for a past generation that I was never a part of- not the 70's, when it was written, but for the old lawless west... the divided south...the new frontier...the countryside....the cattletown...the wilderness, and the riverbend. This album has not left my side, and I do not plan for it to. It has now become a staple of my "untouchables", my golden albums that I consider some of the best music ever written (joined by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.) Having said all of that, it would be in your best interest to listen to, and take in, this album.

    Like this album? I highly recommend Elton's "Madman Across the Water" next.

    Pamela...more info
  • elton meet salvador-taupin meet dali
    ok-you're probably wondering where the connection is-here are two english boys-that never been to america-never mind the american west?and yet they write about it?dali paints poses that allude to certain sexual acts and fantasies-but never participates-(could even b a gybr connection)-and they do it like they have been there and done that and seen it and lived it? the detail is amazing-why?-simple-dali was always infactuated with somewhat notorius sex-and elton and bernie(especially bernie)-have always been infactuated with the old american west-they paint a musical picture of it like dali brushes tones on some lustful lover-like -again-with superb detail-the music and lyrics on this album take u back to that time-from the opening "well known gun"-to the classic "burn down the mission"-this album is flawless-the piano playing-the vocals-the lyrics-and ofcourse the overall tone of this album and the musicians-make for quite a musical journey-no piano man sings with such conviction and depth on "talking old soldiers"-i don't want to get on to the other great songs-there isn't enough room on here-but-not my #1 album by elton and bernie-close-but a great one at that-if u like elton john-and u only want five of his albums-this one definitly has to b included...more info
  • THE BEST ELTON JOHN ALBUM!!!
    John's recent compilation "Greatest Hits 1970 - 2002" is elton at his best. there are 34 songs on it and it has all of his singles and popular songs for which he is known. however, there is not one song on that compilation from this album. the reason being that this album had no hit singles on it. it did get a lot of airplay when it first came out. also, elton and bernie taupin (songwriter) tried something here that they haven't done before or since. a concept album about the old west. songs about western farms and home-fronts, gunfighters, soldiers, etc.; It's an elton john like you've never heard. and it is fantastic. the 1995 re-issiue added 2 bonus tracks to the orginal 10 song album. 6 marvelous songs, including "amoreena" (from the al pacino film "dog day afternoon")which could have been a hit single but wasn't...i don't know why. it's the best song on the album.
    the other 4 are very good but not marvelous. highlights include "ballad of a well-known gun", the peaceful "country comfort", "son of your father" (complete with a great harmonica solo), the soft and beautiful "love song" and "burn down the mission" (which has an awesome piano solo). this album takes you back to the old western days and portrays true emotion of people who lived in that time in history. Get this and the new "greatest hits 1970 - 2002" and you'll have all you will ever need of one of the greatest musical performers of our time....more info
  • Great songs
    This is just terrific. I discovered this album on vinyl in 1992 in a second-hand shop, having never previously been aware of it (it had no hit singles lifted from it), and immediately loved most of the tracks on it, despite me not being a particular devotee of country-styled music. This is a North American sounding record, inspired by lyricist Bernie Taupin's oft-stated love of the American Wild West, and Elton and Bernie's shared love of American rock, pop, blues and folk music. Unlike some later Elton albums where you sense he was sometimes self-consciously trying to create chart hits, this is an authentic songwriter album. The nice thing is that it was compiled at about the same time in 1970 as his debut set "Elton John" using the more organic country/rock tracks from Elton's large pile of excellent usable songs as its basis (though it was released six months afterwards). Elton's voice is superb on this album, and he sings several different styles of song with conviction.

    Ballad Of A Well Known Gun is a story song with strong choruses that sounds similar to The Band. Where To Now St. Peter is a strong song also featuring good choruses. Son Of Your Father is catchy and a bit countrified, while the twangy Country Comfort is very countrified (no!!) and was later covered by several other artists, including Rod Stewart. When Elton turns down the volume and the tempo he can create magic with wonderful quiet tunes and emotional singing. Love Song is a delight that he sings as a duet with its composer Lesley Duncan - a rarity on an Elton album. Talking Old Soldiers is about a lonely vet whose army mates have all died, and is also really good (particularly as Elton sings this accompanied only by his own Piano). Best of all is Come Down In Time - a classic tune that has a timeless feel and an intriguing tale that is slightly mysterious. Amoreena is a really good Elton John song that he sings with almost an American drawl - it is hard to believe this is being sung by a Londoner who had (at that point) hardly been to the USA!! The bonus track Into The Old Man's Shoes fits the style of Tumbleweed perfectly - it was originally to be found as the B-side to the vinyl single of Your Song , and is a very good song about trying to live up to one's father's legacy. A similar theme is found in the epic fifth track My Father's Gun, a powerful closer to side one of the original LP. Even more memorable is the tremendous Burn Down The Mission, which closes the album in a blaze of passionate piano playing and exciting, dramatic tempo changes.

    I would suggest that anyone wishing to delve into Elton's back catalogue of albums can do no better than buy Tumbleweed Connection and Elton John - his two albums from 1970 - to start with. Both are really special recordings .

    A 5-star rating from me .

    ...more info
  • Understated, Underrated but Brilliant
    Unfortunately, anyone who has become an Elton John recently might be mistaken into believing that Elton only has about 20 or so old classics worth listening to. Although "Your Song", "Candle in the Wind", "Crocodile Rock", etc are terrific songs, there are many great songs written by John/Taupin from the early 70's that never get any airplay. Tumbleweed Connection contains several wonderful tracks that are among his best. This album did not chart a single when released which is remarkable when you look at Elton's track record. My personal favourites:

    "Come Down in Time" is a beautiful song with wonderfully cryptic lyrics and is the best song on the album. Sting's version on the tribute album "Two Rooms" is also terrific.

    "Talking Old Soldiers" is another slow song and reminds me of "Sixty Years On". I've heard a live version of this recorded at The House of Blues that is just brilliant.

    "Where to Now St. Peter" is a great melody and well played musically .

    "Burn Down The Mission", although a great song, pales in comparison to the many live versions of this song which Elton has produced over the years.

    "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun", the albums opener sets the American theme for Tumbleweed and is a great song that he should perform live.

    In fact, the only song that seems out of place on the entire recording is the duet "Love Song". For me, Tumbleweed is a Top 3 Elton recording along with Don't Shoot Me and Honky Chateau....more info

  • The master...
    His 1970-1971 output was fast and furious, with one misstep (the "Friends", some of which would have been at home on "Tumbleweed": "Can I Put You On" and "Honey Roll"). Notable tracks: all of them. He still does "Talking Old Soldiers" in concert from time to time. "Come Down In Time" is a great ballad. After you buy his 1970-2002, you have to buy his early 70s albums(esp. from "Elton John" to "Blue Moves", and "Here and There", the live 2CD)....more info
  • One of his very best
    When this album came out a whole lot of us realized that Elton was not your average singer/songwriter. He was given freedom to pursue his muse on this one and it is astounding in its consistency. You won't skip over a single tune and the additional cuts are far from filler material. "Talking old soldiers" is magnificent in its sincerity and emotional impact. And "Burn down the mission" is true to its name. It blazes....more info
  • Mottleweed Connection
    After years of session work and songwriting for other people, Reginald Dwight changed his name to Elton John and formed a songwriting partnership with a certain Bernie Taupin (Elton wrote the music to Taupin's lyrics). After the release of two studio albums, they hit pay dirt with the release of this, their third album (1971), and their first hit single `Your Song', taken from the previous self titled album.

    Surprisingly there were no singles taken from this collection, taking Elton John on a wonderous journey into superstardom that was to spiral out of control. But for now the next 4 studio albums `Madman Across The Water', `Honky Chateau', `Don't shoot me I'm only the Piano Player', and the `Double Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' were all landmark albums in the world of rock. Unfortunately by the time of Elton's 9th Studio album `Captain Fantastic', and the `Dirt Brown Cowboys', it had all gone terribly wrong with massive egos taking over, all band members being fired and the partnership with Bernie Taupin terminated. The live shows were still great, but Elton's album output throughout the eighties and nineties was tedious at best, consisting mainly of Sub-Chicago plod-rock, before a welcome return to form last year with `Songs from the West Coast', which, not surprisingly, co-incided with him reuniting with Bernie Taupin and his old band mates, Nigel Olsson and Davy Johnstone.

    But, back in 1970 with `Tumbleweed Connection', this was the first time a road band as such had been used in the studio, making it more the Elton John band rather than just Elton on his own. Nigel Olson had been offered the drum stool whilst in Brit Heavy Rockers Uriah Heep but, seeing the potential, made the job his own. He was joined by the amazing Dee Murray on bass, and the job that would soon be filled by Davey Johnstone was done by Caleb Quaye of label mates Hookfoot for these sessions.

    It really was a case of everything was in position for world domination.

    The album opens up with the blues rock of `Ballad of a well-known Gun', the story of a gunslinger reaching the end of the road. From there on out you are taken on a wonderful musical journey through the album's original ten songs, with a recurring wild west of America theme.

    At all times the musicianship and songwriting is faultless, with Elton putting every ounce of emotion into Bernie's lyrics. The production by Gus Dudgeon was to set standards for years to come, and Paul Buckmaster's arrangements of the musical scores, both with band and strings, is nothing short of perfection, whether on epics like `Burn Down The Mission' (an amazing live version, which was laid down with just piano, bass, and drums on the band's live album 17.11.70, where you can actually hear Elton kick his piano stool away in the excitement), or on the tender `Love Song'. This only song on the album, not written by John/Taupin, is a beautiful Lesley Duncan song, which Lesley also sings on this version. But it is when Elton sits at the piano alone to regale us with `Talking Old Soldiers' that his talent really stands out. This story of an old warrior looking back on his youth whilst addressing a group of youngsters, is a shot straight at the heart.
    "I know what they are saying, son
    There goes old mad Joe again
    Well, I maybe mad at that, I've seen enough
    To make a man go out his brains"

    The remastered edition of Tumbleweed connection for C.D has two bonus tracks `Old Man's Shoes', the b-side to `Your Song', which fits in perfectly with the rest of these songs. But the real treat is left till last, the original recording of the next albums title track `Mad Man Across The Water', featuring Mick Ronson on lead guitar (Ronson was just about to hit the big time himself as lead guitarist and musical director for David Bowie's Spiders from Mars band). It is a completely guitar based version clocking in at nearly nine minutes with the piano-bass-drum format used as a rhythm section, whilst Ronson lays down some rip-roaring lead axe. He dominates this song in the same way as he did on David Bowie's `Moonage Day Dream', which he made his own. The price of the C.D is worth it for this song alone.

    Add to this the artwork included in the sixteen page booklet, `Tumbleweed Connection' is a real gem.

    Mott the Dog....more info

  • genuine John
    It's difficult to seperate a performer from their persona, and once Elton John joined David Bowie in promoting glam-rock, his music lost much of it's appeal for me (there was just something about those big, jewel-encrusted glasses and the feather boa that didn't strike me right...). That's a shame, because John's five or six pre-'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' albums contained seeds of genius, especially in his collaborations with lyricist Bernie Taupin. I was the first kid on my block to own '11-17-70', having heard it on one of those underground-FM broadcasts. When 'Madman Across the Water' debuted it was clear to me that John was headed for major stardom, and 'Honky Chateau' was the best crest on his wave. Subsequently, for me, John's career would be out at sea.

    'Tumbleweed Connection', however, is so far removed from the excesses of glam-rock that I have no trouble revisiting it. It's far from a perfect album, possessing a slew of tunes that are good, but not Top 40 material. Taken collectively however, and given the 'Wild West' theme of the album as a whole, the set has great appeal. There are several toe-tapping songs with that classic, funky Elton John feel, such as 'Son of Your Father', 'Amoreena', and 'Ballad of a Well-Known Gun'. There are graceful compositions, full of whispy gentility, such as 'Come Down In Time' and 'Love Song', and there are the bordering-on-grandiose anthems such as 'Where To Now St. Peter', 'Burn Down the Mission', and even the original, rugged guitar-driven version of 'Madman Across the Water', which fits in nicely and predictably with this set, since it was recorded during these sessions. The fact that John still possessed a cutting-edge to his music is evidenced by his version of 'Country Comforts', which rocks favorably even compared to Rod Stewert's cover. It's tempting to compare much of the music on this disc to the folk-rock that had been generated and explored several years earlier by Buffalo Springfield, but done in John's own inimitable style.

    The package is handsomely illustrated with photographs and graphics that visually take us back to the 1800's. Lyrics are included (as they were in the original vinyl release), and the inclusion of the alternate version of 'Madman Across the Water' demonstrates the producer's intent to push the listener's experience just a bit beyond what we previously knew as 'Tumbleweed Connection'. Much is also made in the liner notes about the digital enhancing equipment that was utilized to maximize the output of the deteriorating master tapes. All of this deserves mention since producers so seldom make use of the opportunity of remastering classic recordings to enlarge our 'adventure'. Accolades to Rocket Records! I hope others are watching......more info
  • Before Elton was fab
    As time has gone by, the music audience's awareness of Elton John's "classic" period has boiled down to his hit singles (a disproportionate number of them novelty songs or nostalgia exercises) and his most outlandish costumes. Although in recent years, he has clearly tried to put the emphasis back on his music, the image of Sir Elton John paying court to Princess Diana, wearing peacock feathers and giant clown glasses while collecting royalties on 70s nostagiac fluff like "Crocodile Rock" seemed to eliminate him from serious consideration. He was good for fun memories and a few million for good causes, but not someone whose music should be considered alongside the Stones, Springsteen, Aretha Franklin or The Band.

    But at the same time as his hit singles were topping the charts, Elton John put out four or five of the best "rock" albums of rock's classic era. "Tumbleweed Connection" is the finest of them all, but it is the most neglected because nary a song off it shows up on a Greatest Hits package. Not because the album "failed" to produce a single, but because there is not one song on it that sounds like an artistic compromise, or playing for the galleries. While not exactly a "concept album," it is clearly meant to be played all at once. It sustains a mood, and is adroitly balanced between some pretty hard rockers, some gorgeous love balladry, and a couple of songs that perfectly reflect the questing, questioning qualities of rock at its most meaningful--"My Father's Gun" and especially "Where To Now, St. Peter?"

    Like so many albums of the early 1970s, "Tumbleweed Connection" was heavily influenced by The Band. The lyrics also borrow heavily from the Bob Dylan of "John Wesley Harding," and the words Robert Hunter contributed to the Grateful Dead for "American Beauty" and "Workingman's Dead." The old-west/Civil War atmosphere is so thick, it is reflected in the sepia-toned packaging. The packaging also gives prominence to Taupin, underscoring that this album is a collaboration.

    But it wouldn't be a great album without the artistry that Elton John brought to it as a songwriter, singer and pianist. The piano-playing is especially strong on this disk, and his singing is powerful, emotional, real; none of the archness or forced irony that started to infect his work a few years later. The piano is mixed right up front on most tracks, and is stunningly great. The guitar is rock's signature instrument, but the piano has a long tradition too, from Fats Domino and Little Richard, to brilliant sidemen like Roy Bittan and Nicky Hopkins. On this album, Elton tops them all. This record is to rock piano what "Electric Ladyland" is to the guitar.
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  • A Surprise for Someone Who Thought He Hated Elton John
    Admittedly, before this album, my only real Elton John experiences came from hearing him on the radio. His most frequently played tracks out in Mississippi range from the banal "Daniel" or the inane "Crocidile Rock" and the cheese-ball "Your Song." Basically, I was firmly convinced that Elton John was little more than a British Billy Joel and above all else, a world-class weiner. But hearing this album completely changed my opinion of him.

    It only took a few seconds of the opening track, "The Ballad of a Well Known Gun", to realize that this was not the schlock-merchant stuff I'd heard on the radio. The album has a surprisingly authentic country-rock feel to it, reminiscent of Pure Praire League. While some of the songs' writing could be a little less cliched (i.e. "Country Comfort"), the album itself is very cohesive and enjoyable. Numerous other reviewers have already written at length about the individual songs, so I would prefer instead to state that this album was about the last thing I expected from Elton John. Thankfully, my close-mindedness only lasted so long before I caved and warmed up this gem. Hopefully other listeners wary of Elton John might be open to checking out Tumbleweed Connection too....more info
  • Like the breeze blowing the tumbleweed, my mind gently sways
    I often listen to more high intensity hard, acid, prog rock and fusion jazz (I'm a guitar player) but once in awhile I remember this sweet classic...you put it in the player...and all of the intense daily energies melt and you want to climb in a hammock and feel the gentle breeze of this masterpiece flow across your brain. The tone of Caleb Quayle's acoustic strumming is so soothing it is unreal (Leslie Duncan's one guitar piece - "Love Song" is beautiful as well...I guess a few other guests are adding guitars here and there). The sound of the guitars on here reminds you that intensity can be of the quiet variety. The overall professionalism and synergy of the band is a sound to behold! I could wax poetic on the other members talents as well but it would take too long. A special mention must go to the cool version of Madman with Mick Ronson on guitar, nice extra! Now on to Elton for a minute; I have been a fan since I was about 8 years old and was one of my first purchases as a little kid. I see that I had great taste! The early albums are incredibly good and Elton was doing some of his best work here in my opinion. His playing is inspired and the purity of his voice is sublime. This is a true musical genius with a muse that won't quit! Of course it would be unfair not to include Bernie Taupin in the previous statement since he often thought up the lyrics and concepts, etc. WHAT A PAIR!! Can they do wrong? Every song is great. Actually, this run of greatness went on for many years, but is highlighted here. But, even if the lyrics were substituted for jibberish, the music would still be sublime. If you like melodic, harmonious, beautiful, inspired, soul calming & compelling music - GO BUY!!! ...more info
  • A solid early Elton John album with nary a hit on it
    "Tumbleweed Connection" has the dubious distinction of being the only Elton John album from the Seventies that did not offer up a certified "hit" (neither did "Madman Across the Water" if you want to get picky, but "Levon" was always a highly requested song on FM radio). However, the lack of acknowledge hits just speaks in favor of this album, because anybody who listens to Elton John's albums knows full well that his best songs are rarely (if ever) the Top 40 hits. Even without the benefit of a hit single, this 1971 album still made it to #5 on the Billboard charts.

    Half the songs on "Tumbleweed Connection" are 4:59 or longer in life, which means the odds were long that they would ever be played on the radio. Yet theses songs, such as "Country Comfort" and "Burn Down the Mission," stand out as some of the best work by John and lyricist Bernie Taupin during this period. The latter track remains a prime choice for the big finish at an Elton John concert to this day. There is something of a "country/western" flair to the album, at least as interpreted by two Englishmen, represented by not only those two songs but "Ballad of a Well Known Gun," "My Father's Gun," and "Talking Old Soldiers." I think those who were listening to Elton John before he became a star (operationally defined as anything before "Honkey Chateau," always had a preference for these early albums, especially those where Paul Buckmaster was doing the arranging and conducting. Ironically, on many of these songs, such as "Come Down in Time," it is John's voice and not his piano playing that stands out (note: Dusty Springfield is one of the backing vocalists on the album). There is also "Love Song," which was written not by John & Taupin but Lesley Duncan, who plays acoustic guitar and sings the duet.

    Elton John was certainly prolific during this early period and had the great advantage of those Buckmaster string arrangements. The self-titled "Elton John" album was released in the summer of 1970, with "Tumbleweed Conection" following in February 1971. That same year saw the live "11-17-70" and the "Friends" soundtrack released as well, with "Madman Across the Water" coming out at the end of the year. In 1972 with "Honkey Chateau," Elton John would become a star. But all of this is before the dazzling costumes and bizarre collection of eyeglasses, which made Elton John the Liberace of pop rock. This is way back almost to the beginning, when it was all about the music. By the time "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" came out, those days were clearly over....more info
  • Elton John's finest album of all time
    This album definitely stands alone in Elton's discography. The magic Tumbleweed Connection holds is untouchable. Based on a loose concept of the American wild west; combining blues, country and gospel styles and tones. This album works so well as a whole. Every song is fantastic, and they play off of each other so well.

    It works better than his 1973 release "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Although Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has some great standout tracks and hits; it doesn't flow together near as well. It just doesn't hold together as a whole like Tumbleweed Connection does.

    Many of the songs on Tumbleweed Connection don't follow your regular pop song formula either. They sound very experimental and succeed at the same time. But many of the choruses are more memorable than some of Elton's bigger hitting albums. There is a very cinematic feel to this album. It could easily be a score for a movie. Taupin's lyrics are absolutely amazing on this record. Elton works with them so well, adding a perfect melody to them.

    Some standout tracks on here would be "Come Down in Time," "Country Comfort," "Son of Your Father," "My Father's Gun," "Amoreena," and the original version of "Madman Across the Water". This album is most enjoyable as a full listen, giving you that good old west feeling.

    If you are looking for essential Elton John material that can't be found on his greatest hits CDs, this is the one to get....more info
  • Elton John's best hands-down
    The songs in this album flow so beautifully into each other, yet cover many different themes. The only sng that has gotten old for me is ...more info
  • his best effort, period
    This, his third album, was his best. Recorded during many of the same sessions as his second (and first American) release, the self-titled 'Elton John,' take "Sixty Years On" from that album and add "Madman Across the Water" sans strings (which they've done here, sort of...), and you have Elton John and in absolute sync with Bernie Taupin's American vision.

    I remember playing this album five times straight, lying on my bed with the lights off, staring into the darkness. Taupin's words painted living images in my imagination, while John's soundtrack and vocals, and Dudgeon's production, added color and dimension.

    "My Father's Gun." "Burn Down the Mission." "Country Comfort." "Where to Now, St. Peter." "Talking Old Soldiers." You can almost smell the whiskey and taste the dust.

    An absolutely amazing album. Still....more info
  • A+ in my book
    Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection is one of my favorite albums I own and with good reason. This album is just a joy to listen to. Songs like Ballad of a Well-Known Gun, Country Comfort, Talking Old Soldiers and especially Burn Down the Mission are just the cream of an exquisite crop of songs that you will experience when listening to this spellbinding album. Burn Down the Mission in particular is outstanding and just soars beautifully. What a majestic way to end an album that truly is simply perfect. A+ indeed!...more info