Classic Rock n Roll Web Site
Released - 1971, on MCA Records. Produced by
Dusty Springfield, Tony Burrows, Lesley
Duncan, Kay Garner, Tony Hazzard, Tammy Hunt and Sue & Sunny
This is one of those albums that so many true Elton John fans seem to think is his best. So what am I missing here? Don't get me wrong, I dig it, it's a very good album, but for me anyway, out of all the Elton John LPs out there, this one isn't even one of his best.
When first released, Tumbleweed Connection was hailed as a concept album. Maybe because there were so many concept LPs coming out at the time, it gained that label, but although the songs flow together nicely, and no question, the album is about the American south and southwest, it still isn't a true concept LP. If you just take the wonderful lyrics written by Berine Taupin, well we almost have a southern rock album here, but not all of Elton's music fits that mode. Yet no question, this one is very mellow, with only perhaps two true rockers on it.
Best song on here is "Country Comfort", and what a wonderful little country rock number it is. Musically everything comes together on this song. The next best tune is "Amoreena", another great song written with a western/country feel, but not played out that way by Elton. In fact, when I hear this song today, I can't help but think of the movie Dog Day Afternoon, which used this song for its opening credits - with New York City life being shown as the tune plays (some cattle town, for sure!). This is also one of the few songs on the entire LP where Elton's piano takes the lead, as it wasn't till Honky Chateau came out that he let his piano take over the lead on most of his songs.
There are other good numbers on this album. One of them is "Talking Old Soldiers". I find I appreciated this one more today than when it was first released. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and knowing more older folks? But such a true and sad song about the elderly and the isolation that they have to live with. To think that Taupin wrote a song about a senior citizen's lonely life, when he was just 20 years old, makes it that much more special.
"Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun" is another western flavored ditty that plays out well with its excellent guitar work by Caleb Quaye, as guitarist Davey Johnstone was still not yet in Elton's band. "Burn Down The Mission" is yet another fine number. There is one song on here that puts me to sleep, that being "Come Down in Time", well written perhaps, but something just doesn't click in this song for me.
Elton John still wasn't a big star yet in 1971 when Tumbleweed Connection came out, and maybe that's why hard nosed fans now love it so. Yet I was a hard-nosed fan of his back then, and I don't see that light. I still know in my heart that he has put out much stronger albums than this one, but heck, this LP is still an excellent album.
-- Keno 2007
To listen to some soundclips from TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION or to purchase it click on:Tumbleweed Connection
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