Tumbleweed Connection

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Tumbleweed Connection
Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection.jpg
Studio album by
Released30 October 1970
RecordedMarch 1970
StudioTrident Studios
(London, England)
Genre
Length46:56
LabelDJM (UK)
Uni (US)
ProducerGus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Elton John
(1970)
Tumbleweed Connection
(1970)
Friends
(1971)
Singles from Tumbleweed Connection
  1. "Country Comfort"
    Released: 1970 (New Zealand only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[3]
Q3/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone(mixed)[5]
Rolling Stone (deluxe edition)4.5/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[7]
Uncut4/5 stars[8]
The Village VoiceC+[9]
Yahoo! Music(favourable)[10]

Tumbleweed Connection is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John, released in October 1970 in the United Kingdom and January 1971 in the United States. It is a concept album based on country and western/Americana themes.

Background[edit]

All songs are written by John and Bernie Taupin, with the exception of "Love Song" by Lesley Duncan. The album was recorded at Trident Studios, London, England in March 1970 and released in October of the same year.

Basic tracks for three of the LP's titles, "Come Down in Time", "Country Comfort" and "Burn Down the Mission", were recorded at Trident during the sessions for the previous LP, Elton John, with overdubs completed for Tumbleweed Connection. An early version of "Madman Across the Water", featuring Mick Ronson on electric guitar, was also recorded during the sessions for the album. It was released on several albums and reissues of Tumbleweed Connection, though the track was ultimately re-recorded for the Madman Across the Water album.[11]

Artwork[edit]

The wraparound cover photo for the album was taken at Horsted Keynes railway station, approximately 30 miles south of London on the Bluebell Railway in the county of Sussex. Photographer Ian Digby Ovens[12] captured John (seated to the right in the photo but appearing to the left on the front cover, shown above) and Taupin (standing to the left, on the back cover) in front of the late-nineteenth-century station to represent the album's rural Americana concept, despite the English location. Additional photos were made from the interior of a train on the rail line for the album liner notes and libretto.[13]

Reception[edit]

Tumbleweed Connection Platinum Record

The album peaked at #2 on the UK Albums Chart and #5 on the US Billboard 200 chart.[14][15] In the US, it was certified gold in March 1971 and platinum in August 1998 by the RIAA.

In 2003, Tumbleweed Connection was ranked #463 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson appear for the first time together on this album as the rhythm section on "Amoreena". Olsson had played on one track on Empty Sky for John in 1969. It is Murray's first appearance on an Elton John album. In addition to several studio players who also performed on John's previous self-titled second album, several tracks feature backing musicians from the band Hookfoot, who were also his DJM Records label mates. Hookfoot guitarist Caleb Quaye and drummer Roger Pope had also appeared on John's "Empty Sky" album.

No singles were released from the album in the US by either DJM or John's US distributor, Universal Records, but "Country Comfort" (b/w "Love Song") was released as a single in New Zealand.

"Country Comfort" was recorded in 1970 for Gasoline Alley, the second album by Rod Stewart. Stewart also performed the song live with Elton John dressed as a hornet, live at a fund-raising gig at the Vicarage Road Stadium of the Watford Football Club (the Watford Hornets) on 5 May 1974 (Nazareth were the opening act), the same month that Elton John's eighth album, Caribou was released for the price of 1 pound. Australian country singer Keith Urban recorded a cover of "Country Comfort" on his 2004 album Be Here.

In 1998, a bootleg CD was released called Tumbleweed Collection. This was a collection of piano demos and live tracks.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Ballad of a Well-Known Gun"4:59
2."Come Down in Time"3:25
3."Country Comfort"5:06
4."Son of Your Father"3:48
5."My Father's Gun"6:20
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Where to Now St. Peter?"4:11
2."Love Song" (Lesley Duncan)3:41
3."Amoreena"5:00
4."Talking Old Soldiers"4:06
5."Burn Down the Mission"6:22

Bonus tracks (1995 Rocket and 2001 Mercury reissue)[edit]

No.TitleLength
11."Into the Old Man's Shoes (Outtake from the Tumbleweed Connection album, released as the B-Side to "Your Song" in the UK)"4:02
12."Madman Across the Water" (featuring Mick Ronson on lead guitar) (Original version first released on the Rare Masters compilation in 1992)"8:50

Bonus tracks (2008 deluxe edition)[edit]

Disc one – original album

Disc two

  1. "There Goes a Well Known Gun" – 3:27
    • alternate take of "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun"
  2. "Come Down in Time" (Piano demo) – 3:21
  3. "Country Comfort" (Piano demo) – 4:12
  4. "Son of Your Father" (Piano demo) – 4:13
  5. "Talking Old Soldiers" (Piano demo) – 4:13
  6. "Into the Old Man's Shoes" (Piano demo) – 3:40
  7. "Sisters of the Cross" – 4:38
    • early 1970 demo not available elsewhere
  8. "Madman Across the Water" (Original version, featuring Mick Ronson on lead guitar) – 8:52
  9. "Into the Old Man's Shoes" – 4:06
  10. "My Father's Gun" (BBC session) – 3:43
  11. "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun" (BBC session) – 4:36
  12. "Burn Down the Mission" (BBC session) – 6:52
  13. "Amoreena" (BBC session) – 5:12

Personnel[edit]

Track numbers refer to CD and digital releases of the album.

Production

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zimmerman, Kent (2004). Sing My Way Home: Voices of the New American Roots Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 124. ISBN 1617747912. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Tumbleweed Connection". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: J". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 27 February 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  4. ^ "Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 20 February 1996. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  5. ^ Landau, Jon (18 February 1971). "Tumbleweed Connection". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  6. ^ Fricke, David (4 September 2008). "Tumbleweed Connection Deluxe Edition". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Elton John: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Portions of this album guide appeared in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (Fireside, 2004). Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Music Reviews". Uncut.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1970). "Consumer Guide (16)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  10. ^ [1] Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Mick Ronson sessions". mickronson.com. Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Album liner notes". albumlinernotes.com.
  13. ^ "Horsted Keynes Rail Station". On This Very Spot.
  14. ^ a b "Elton John > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Allmusic: Tumbleweed Connection : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  16. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 15, No. 25". RPM. 20 March 1971. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  18. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  19. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  20. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  21. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1971" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  22. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.