Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection Album

Side one
No. Title Length
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. Title Length
6. Where to Now St. Peter? 4:11
7. Love Song” (Lesley Duncan) 3:41
8. Amoreena 5:00
9. Talking Old Soldiers 4:06
10. Burn Down the Mission 6:22

The cover image of the concept album “Tumbleweed Connection”, which was kept in nostalgic sepia, apparently showed a sleepy train station in the sun-drenched south of the USA and fitted perfectly with Bernie Taupin’s Americanized poetry about country life, soldiers and gunslingers.

The photographer David Larkham shot the photo of John (sitting right) and Taupin (left standing) in 1970, but only about fifty kilometers south of London. The Bluebell Rail Station is located in Horsted Keynes and is British through and through.

The release of “Tumbleweed Connection” did not change the fact that John continued to move unrecognized in the UK in England, although the album reached a successful # 2 spot on the album charts. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, it was hardly noticed.

For the US, however, John undertook a promotional tour before the release, which began on a hot day and after an eight-hour flight in the economy class, not as he hoped in an air-conditioned limousine, but in a red, English double-decker bus with the lettering “Elton John has arrived” (Eng. Elton John has arrived).

The three-week tour started in Los Angeles, California, USA at the Troubadour Club on Santa Monica Boulevard. The publicity consultant Norm Winter made sure that enough opinion-shaping artists and media representatives were present. John also performed songs from the as yet unpublished album Tumbleweed Connection, and was annoyed after five songs sung by the audience’s disinterestedness that continued during the concert. With the words “If you do not listen, perhaps you’ll bloody well listen to this!” (Dt. If you do not listen, maybe you’ll listen to that damn!) He kicked his piano chair off with his foot and edited the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis (the live album 17-11-70 gives a very good impression of his former stage presence). The then emerging enthusiasm was also reflected in a Los Angeles Times newspaper article of August 27, 1970, titled “Elton John New Rock Talent,” and became the cornerstone of his success in the US and the soon-to-be released Tumbleweed Connection ,

With the lyrics for “Tumbleweed Connection” Taupin celebrated his childhood love for the American West. Almost every song picked up on this feeling for cowboys and the Mexican border. The poetry teemed with terms such as railroad, riverboat, hellfire preachers and rocking chairs. Taupin mixed this atmosphere with his own experiences from Lincolnshire in England, cowsheds, cornfields, squirrels and night swallows, where the tree with the angel stood (“you tell me there’s an angel in your tree”) he daydreamed. The mood was consistently folksy and down to earth, garnished with yodels and rebel cry. Only two songs were not written in the spirit of Buffalo Bills: “Amoreena”, an impressionist idyll à la Renoir, and Lesley Duncan’s “Love Song”, which John re-recorded for his album.