MCA-1674 Tumbleweed Connection
Produced by Gus Dudgeon
Released on October 1970
UK CHART POSITION #5 . . . US CHART POSITION #5 . . .
PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
MCA-1674 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

K RONOMYTH 3.0: GUNSINGERS. For their next act, Elton and Bernie decided to make a concept album set in the post-Civil War United States. Tumbleweed Connection featured a similar cast to their last record but was far more cohesive in style and execution. Although the album includes some of their best songs (“Burn Down The Mission,” “Amoreena,” “Where To Now St.Peter?”), it didn’t produce a single; instead, “Love Song” was released a month later. Even without a readily identifiable “single” to rally around, Tumbleweed is a fan favorite. It has its share of stereotypes and inaccuracies (the goose has never been a food staple over here, let alone the hedgehog), yet Bernie’s lyrics are some of his most powerful and intimate, revealing a faculty for getting into the head of fictional characters that would serve him well throughout the years. Tumbleweed is also one of the most guitar-centric albums in Elton’s catalog; you’d probably have to look forward to Rock of the Westies for another album with as many guitar solos (Caleb Quaye is the common link to both). Quaye’s fuzzed guitar gives the songs a hazy, psychedelic edge that fits comfortably into the rock camp of David Bowie (who shared a producer/arranger); in fact, the similarities between “Burn Down The Mission” and “Space Oddity” are striking. Despite Gus Dudgeon’s sometimes epic production and Paul Buckmaster’s arrangements, Tumbleweed Connection is an intimate, understated album. The songs gain a foothold without using force, relying on good music and a compelling narrative to pull the listener into its sepia-toned snapshots of Civil War survivors. While Elton and Bernie were just beginning to unleash their cast of characters, the pair wouldn’t write another concept album (although the autobiographical Captain Fantastic could be considered). For prog fans, this is Exhibit A in making the case for the man as a progressive artist, with Madman and Yellow Brick Road suitable for the supporting argument. In 2008, Tumbleweed Connection was re-issued as a two-disc Deluxe Edition with a bonus disc of piano demos, unreleased session recordings and live versions recorded for the BBC.

TRACK LISTING

  1. BALLAD OF A WELL-KNOWN GUN    4:59
  2. COME DOWN IN TIME    3:24
  3. COUNTRY COMFORT    5:07
  4. SON OF YOUR FATHER    3:46
  5. MY FATHER'S GUN    6:19
  6. WHERE TO NOW ST. PETER?    4:12
  7. LOVE SONG    (Lesley Duncan)    3:39
  8. AMOREENA    5:02
  9. TALKING OLD SOLDIERS    4:02
  10. BURN DOWN THE MISSION    6:20

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  11. INTO THE OLD MAN'S SHOES
  12. MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER (ORIGINAL VERSION)

    2CD reissue disc two
  13. THERE GOES A WELL KNOWN GUN
  14. COME DOWN IN TIME
  15. COUNTRY COMFORT
  16. SON OF YOUR FATHER
  17. TALKING OLD SOLDIERS
  18. INTO THE OLD MAN'S SHOES
  19. SISTERS OF THE CROSS
  20. MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER
  21. INTO THE OLD MAN'S SHOES
  22. MY FATHER'S GUN (BBC SESSION)
  23. BALLAD OF A WELL-KNOWN GUN (BBC SESSION)
  24. BURN DOWN THE MISSION (BBC SESSION)
  25. AMOREENA (BBC SESSION)

    All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin unless noted

CREDITS

ELTON JOHN -- piano, vocals, organ
CALEB QUAYE -- acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lead guitar
BERNIE TAUPIN -- lyrics
Madeline Bell -- backing vocals
Paul Buckmaster -- arrangements
Tony Burrows -- backing vocals (1,5)
Brian Dee -- organ (10)
Ian Duck -- harmonica (3,4)
Lesley Duncan -- backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Mike Egan -- acoustic guitar (10)
Herbie Flowers -- bass
Kay Garner -- backing vocals
Dave Glover -- bass
Tony Hazzard -- backing vocals (1,5)
Tammi Hunt -- backing vocals (4)
Gordon Huntley -- steel guitar (3)
Karl Jenkins -- oboe (2)
Robin Jones -- congas and tambourine (10)
Skaila Kanga -- harp (2)
Chris Laurence -- acoustic bass (2,10)
Barry Morgan -- drums
Dee Murray -- backing vocals, bass
Nigel Olsson -- backing vocals, drums
Roger Pope -- drums and percussion
Dusty Springfield -- backing vocals (1,5)
Sue and Sunny -- backing vocals (4)
Les Thatcher -- acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar
Johnny Van Derek -- violin (3)

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK October 1970 DJM LP DJLPS-410 gatefold cover, booklet
AUSL 1970 DJM LP SJDL-934079 gatefold cover
GER 1970 DJM/Hansa LP 80988-IT gatefold cover, booklet
JPN 1970 DJM LP FP-80211 gatefold cover, booklet, red vinyl
POR 1970 DJM LP MM-8016 gatefold cover
THAI 1970 First LP 2023 unique cover
US January 1971 Uni LP 73096 gatefold cover, booklet
US   Uni LP 93096 gatefold cover, booklet
US 1973 MCA LP MCA-2014 gatefold cover, booklet
UK 1977 DJM LP DJF-20410 gatefold cover, booklet
UK   DJM LP DJM-22088  
US 1981 MCA LP MCA-1674  
JPN 1981 DJM LP K22P-203  
CAN 1982 MCA LP MCA-37199  
US 1991 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-543 24k gold remaster
UK 1995 Rocket CDX 528 155 w. bonus tracks
JPN 1995 Mercury CDX PHCR-4013 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
UK 2004 Mercury CDX 9824 028 SACD remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN   Universal CDX UICY-9102 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
UK June 2, 2008 Mercury 2CD 5305 255 digital remaster w. bonus disc
JPN 2008 Universal 2CD UICY-93665 SMHCD remaster w. bonus disc

 

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