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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 12 August 2017
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on 4 July 2017
One of Elton John's best album
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on 17 March 2013
don't be put off by his cheesy mainstream stuff. if you like 'the band' you will love this americana-fest. great tunes and playing a voice.
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Reginald Dwight's 3rd album proper was released in late 1970 and firmly established Elton John as one of the great singer-songwriters of the Seventies. This June 2008 DELUXE EDITION on Mercury 06007 53052556 is a fully upgraded 2CD version of that breakthrough vinyl album (much better than the 1995 single disc version) - and in my books is one of the jewels in Universal’s very hit and miss ‘DE’ Series. Here are the English cowboys and American pistols:

1. Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun
2. Come Down In Time
3. Country Comfort
4. Son Of Your Father
5. My Father’s Gun
6. Where To Now St. Peter?
7. Love Song
8. Talking Old Soldiers
9. Burn Down The Mission
Disc 1 is the 10-track album originally released in the UK in October 1970 on DJM Records DJLPS 410 and in the USA on Uni Records 73096 (47:04 minutes)

1. There Goes A Well-Known Gun
2. Come Down In Time (Piano Demo)
3. Country Comfort (Piano Demo)
4. Son Of Your Father
5. Talking Old Soldiers (Piano Demo)
6. Into The Old Man’s Shoes (Piano Demo)
7. Sisters Of The Cross (Piano Demo)
8. Madman Across The Water (Original Version)
9. Into The Old Man’s Shoes
10. My Father’s Gun (BBC Session)
11. Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun (BBC Session)
12. Burn Down The Mission (BBC Session)
13. Amoreena (BBC Session)
Disc 2 is the BONUS. 10 of the 13 tracks are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (1 to 7 and 11 to 13) while the other 3 are rarities with upgraded sound from their previous release in 1988 (1 track) and 1995 (2 tracks) (61:07 minutes)

The LP originally sported a textured gatefold sleeve with an attached 12-page booklet which has been faithfully reproduced in the excellent 28-page booklet that accompanies this set. Along with photos from the time of both Elton and Bernie, there's a very informative new essay by noted writer JOHN TOBLER, press adverts and billboard posters from 1970, session details and the fold-out flaps of the digipak even reflect the pictures on the left and right of the inner gatefold of the original album - all very nice touches indeed. However, if I was to nitpick, the outer plastic wrap lists no information of any kind, which means the casual buyer picking it up off a shelf can't tell what's inside this DELUXE EDITION? But that's a minor niggle that can be fixed on repressings, because the really big news is the SOUND....

Sourcing the first generation original masters tapes from the Universal Archives, GIOVANNI SCATOLA and TONY COUSINS at Metropolis Mastering in London have carried out the re-mastering - and surely some kind of Audio Award awaits each of them. As the owner of way too many re-issue CDs - this is simply one of the best remasters of an old album that I've ever heard. Twenty seconds into the opener and I was already writing a review and picking my jaw up off the table as I went!

So what's changed? When GUS DUDGEON replaced the useless 1980s CDs with the excellent 1995 remasters, he got the best sound out of the tapes that he could at the time (he sadly passed away a few years ago). But 13 years on to 2008 and that's a lifetime in remastering techniques. These 2008 versions breathe - you can hear everything - and clearly too. A good example is the quietly delicate duet with LESLEY DUNCAN on her own "Love Song" - as pretty a tune as you could hope to hear - it's BEAUTIFUL now - finally given the clarity that it has always deserved. (She later did her own superlative version on GM Records in 1974).

Other vocal contributions come from DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, MADELINE BELL and Bronze Label Artist TONY HAZZARD on "My Father's Gun" and "Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun". UK folk duo SUE and SUNNY make a rare appearance on "Son Of Your Father" while IAN DUCK, the lead vocalist for HOOKFOOT puts in great harmonica work on one of the album standouts "Country Comfort". In fact, the majority of HOOKFOOT (his DJM label mates) makes up the bulk of his band - and would stay with him for years afterwards.

DISC 2 gives us excellent PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED Piano Demos along with two separate BBC sessions - the "Dave Lee Travis Show" from April 1970 and the "Sounds Of The Seventies Show" from July 1970. They vary in sound quality, but are more than pleasantly good. Having said that, there are THREE genuine sensations on Disc 2. When Sting was asked to do a cover for the all-star "Two Rooms" compilation in 1991, he wisely chose "Come Down In Time", which for me has always been the best track on the album. Well track 3 on Disc 2 is a recently found PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED PIANO DEMO of "Come Down In Time" and it's sensationally good - just beautiful. Stripped of clutter and intruding instrumentation, the melody shines though, and luckily this is one of those demos that is in TIP-TOP STUDIO QUALITY CONDITION - very little hiss - just him and his lovely song. It's truly fantastic stuff and will remind many a weary fan of why they loved Elton John in the first place - he was a bloody good songwriter.

Second up is the near 9-minute "Original Version" of "Madman Across The Water" with MICK RONSON on Lead Guitar instead of Chris Spedding (Spedding was the guitar player on the shorter album version finally released on the "Madman Across The Water" album in October 1971). Along with the next track discussed, it turned up on the 1995 re-issue CD as a bonus track. What makes this version better is the UPGRADED REMASTER, which gives his raunchy guitar work an in-your-face clarity that pummels real axe-power into the song. Ronson, Bowie and Mott fans will absolutely love it!

Last is a rare B-side. Although "Tumbleweed" produced no singles at all, "Your Song" from the previous album "Elton John" was given a belated UK release in January 1971 with a unique non-album B-side, "Into the Old Man's Shoes". It first turned up on the 1995 Gus Dudgeon remaster with good sound - but here its upgraded sound quality is STUNNING!

To sum up: I've loved coming back to this album - the great sound quality - actual tunes with thought-provoking lyrics - the attention to detail in the well-thought out packaging - the bonuses you'll play more than once - all of it. And his 2nd self-titled album “Elton John” has received the lavish DE treatment too – and with the same high quality results.

Well done to all involved…and roll on “Honky Chateau” and “Madman Across The Water”…
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on 16 July 2017
It took a while for this one to grown on me but after a couple of listens I was able to appreciate how beautiful tt is It shows Elton’s musical versatility and it has Tauplin’s most ambitious song writing. All the songs paint beautiful pictures of the American west and the album is a lot more consistent that Captain Fantastic, there is not a week song on here. I will give a special mention to Come Down in Time, which is my favourite EJ’s song. The harp is very alluring and it is a really poignant song.

Another reason to buy this album is how underrated it is and I have no idea why. I have never haired any of these songs on the radio and non-are on his greatest hits albums. I couldn’t recommend this enough!
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on 27 August 2017
This has always been my favourite album as every track is a gem.Standouts..if any have to be Burn Down The Mission,Talking Old Soldiers and
Where To Now St.Peter.But this is the real Elton and Bernie.Love Song is the only track written by someone else (Lesley Duncan) although she does perform on this version.Oozing Bernie,so love of the old west each track is a story and as such should be listened to in one go.Awesome album matching Elton John.Madman and Honky Chateau
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on 4 August 2017
Every Elton album seems to have that one amazing track that stands out above the others. This album is one of the hardest to choose one particular song... at a push Talking Old Soldiers the words in this song are so powerful. A great Elton album, but aren't most of them.
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VINE VOICEon 6 June 2003
Before Elton John had really hit the big time, he was hard at work honing his stunning song-writing skills, and was allowed to explore themes in depth, and Tumbleweed Connection is a prime example of both of these factors. Bernie Taupin had a fascination with the 'West' and his lyrics inspired John to explore the theme to an extent that today seems slightly bizarre, but they get away with it for one simple reason, this album is stuffed full of brilliant songs that are 'off the beaten track' of what are considered Elton John 'standards'.
There are some real surprises in the content of this album, not least the full blooded attempts at country rock in 'Country Comfort' and 'Son Of Your Father'. There is also some of his most original and poignant tracks here too, as in the beautiful 'Come Down In Time' and 'My Father's Gun'. Simplicity is the key to another couple of tracks, including 'Love Song' which sounds more like Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' than anything else, and the slightly morose 'Talking Old Soldiers'.
But the highlights, as you might expect from such a potent song-writing force, are really something else. 'Amoreena' is a powerful, tight song with punching piano and Hammond Organ, and is sung with a passion so fierce, it blows you away. 'Where To Now St. Peter?' is as close to proper psychedelia that Elton John ever got, and has a fascinating lyric to boot. 'Burn Down The Mission' is a gospel-oriented song not far removed from 'Border Song', which has a punchy brass section finale at the end of each part of the song.
The CD also includes two extra tracks, one of which is really worth having, the original version of 'Madman Across The Water'. Quite why it is not an extra track on 'Madman Across The Water' itself is a bit of a mystery, but this CD really benefits for it, and it wouldn't sound at all out of place on the album as a bona-fide track anyway.
The country theme explored in some of the songs and the instrumentation may not be to everyones tastes initially, but the standard of songcraft on this album, coupled with stunning performances throughout the album should make up for any reservations you may have about investing in this great album.
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on 16 May 2017
Wonderful to hear this album again. I wouldn't part with my old vinyl version but the record player is gathering dust in the attic
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2006
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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