"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.
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. 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. Of course, 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.