Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Elton John . . . AND . . . Bernie Taupin, 27 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Tumbleweed Connection (Audio CD)
I have always suspected that certain musicians resent being told by fans that one of their earlier albums remains a great favorite. I've always imagined that they would prefer that their fans share and appreciate their development and evolution: "this is my latest and it therefore represents my best work!" However, the album listener is not burdened by the pains of artistic growth. Rather, the music that I heard at a certain time in my life remains frozen in time and memory. For me, Tumbleweed Connection is the best album Elton John ever recorded.

It has been a long time since I actually sat down and listened to the album. But I purchased Tumbleweed Connection after someone dismissed John as merely a great showman and performer for whom the performance overshadows the music. I mentioned Tumbleweed Connection as an argument and got a blank stare. That is a shame because I had forgotten how good it was. Every song works, starting with Ballad of a Well-Known Gun through Burn Down the Mission. The only song in which John did not collaborate with Taupin, Love Song by Lesley Duncan, is a beautiful, haunting melody that remains one of my favorite John tunes.

Tumbleweed Connection was John's third album and was initially released in 1970. It also represents the height (for me) of John's collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin. Taupin was, by all accounts fascinated by life in the post-Civil War south and west. It should also be no surprise that Taupin was almost certainly influenced by The Band's album released that same year, "The Band", which contained songs such as Up on Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Ironically the Band's album is ranked number 45 on the Rolling Stone list of greatest albums while Tumbleweed Connection comes in at number 463.

The album did not spawn any `big hits' and none of the songs from Tumbleweed Connection have made it onto any compilation of John's greatest hits. However, Tumbleweed Connection when taken as a whole is, in my opinion, a great album. Any fan of John would do well to add this to their collection. I would also recommend Tumbleweed Connection to those who may be prone to dismissing John as simply a `performer'. I think listening to Tumbleweed Connection may just change your mind.

Highly recommended. L. Fleisig
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Apr 2011 22:29:20 BDT
Red on Black says:
Good Review - although I have to say while I like this album Rolling Stone have got it fundamentally right. Indeed there is nothing ironic about the Bands album being at number 43 on their list and this being 400 places lower since the bands album is a far more seminal piece of work than Elton John and they had the good grace to split up at the height of their powers while John's career has never really reached this peak again. Cheers.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2011 22:37:20 BDT
Thanks Red on Black for taking the time to comment.
I don't really disagree about the ordering. You are absolutely right about the Band's album being seminal where I think Taupin probably took his lead from the Band.

Also agree about John. Seems to me he stopped creating and just decided to be a performer.

Posted on 5 May 2012 12:11:14 BDT
I agree - Elton John has always been best with Bernie Taupin, and this is my favourite album of theirs. However, I am finding myself playing 2010's "The Union" (Elton John, Leon Russell - and Bernie Taupin on lyrics) more and more - give it a try if you enjoy Tumbleed.
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