Thursday, October 29, 2015

tumbleweed connection

Elton John and Bernie Taupin burned down the mission to find country comfort in this tribute to the spirit of the American frontier.  The British songwriting duo of lyricist Taupin and pianist John (Reginald Kenneth Dwight) had graduated quickly from staff writers for DJM Records to making their own albums.  After recording two albums  ('Empty Sky'  in 1969 and  'Elton John' in early 1970), they returned to Trident Studio in London with producer Gus Dudgeon to record 'Tumbleweed Connection' before the second album was even released.  The album features Elton John on piano, organ, keyboards, and vocals;   Caleb Quaye on guitars;  Roger Pope and Barry Morgan on drums;  Dave Glover and Jason Barnhart on bass guitar and backing vocals;  Herbie Flowers and Dee Murray on bass guitar;  Nigel Olsson on drums and backing vocals;   Gordon Huntley on steel guitar;  Brian Dee on organ;  Ian Duck on harmonica;  Lesley Duncan on acoustic guitar on backing vocals;   Mike Egan on acoustic guitar;   and   backing vocals by Kay Garner, Tammi Hunt, Tony Burrows, Dusty Springfield,  and  Madeline Bell.   Paul Buckmaster was the conductor and arranger;  Robin Geoffrey Cable the engineer,  and Bernie Taupin the  lyricist.  

Taupin:   "We never really did studio recordings with the original trio. It was always much more a band situation. On things like Madman Across the Water,
  Tumbleweed and especially Elton John, which had a full-on orchestra on it, those records were more band-oriented records...Everybody thinks that I was influenced by Americana and by seeing America first hand, but we wrote and recorded the album before we’d even been to the States. It was totally influenced by The Band’s album, ‘Music From Big Pink’, and Robbie Robertson’s songs. I’ve always loved Americana, and I loved American Westerns. I’ve always said that ‘El Paso’ was the song that made me want to write songs, it was the perfect meshing of melody and storyline, and I thought that here was something that married rhythms and the written word perfectly...When I got here, it really was a case of thinking 'I've come home'...I wanted to be a cowboy.  I wanted to really just bury myself in that whole lifestyle, not as a plaything."

John:    "If you listen to the album, if ya dig it, you should know its Steve Brown as much as me, Gus Dudgeon as much as me, Paul Buckmaster as much as me, it's a team effort, God knows, I'm so untogether, it has to be ...  My roots are ... listening to records. All the time. I live, eat, sleep, breathe music. Neil Young, the Band, the Springfield, the Dead, the Airplane. I feel more American than British. Really...Over here the scene is all these people slaggin' Ten Years After week after week for makin' so much money and being no good. I don't like them myself but they must get pretty pissed off after a while...The States is a whole other feeling. Leon Russell is my idol – ever since the Delaney and Bonnie albums. He came to see us and I went to his house in L.A. He's got a whole recording studio there, and he told me he wanted to record Burn Down The Mission. His house is called the mission and his record company won't grant him insurance on it because it's in a fire area. So I don't think he'll be recording it soon...This album, Tumbleweed Connection, is the funky one. Wait till you see the clothes I'll be wearing this tour. I'm glad it's out of the way. They wanted me to do another one with an orchestra but I said no, the country one comes first. The next one is going to be more classical and orchestral."

At the same time that 'Tumbleweed Connection' was released, the second single from "Take Me To The Pilot" came out; but it was the b-side that DJ's preferred, resulting in a top ten hit with "Your Song" on both sides of the pond.  Both albums sold well, with 
'Tumbleweed Connection' going to number five in the US, four in Australia and Canada, and number two in the UK, without any chart singles.  'Tumbleweed Connection' has been certified platinum in the US.  


"Burn Down the Mission" 

full BBC show

Your Song  0:00 - 3:53      
Border Song  4:16 - 7:35      
Sixty Years On  8:10 - 12:05          
Take Me To The Pilot  12:17 - 15:44        
Bernie Intro  16:08 - 16:25        
The Greatest Discovery  16:41 - 20:16       
I Need You To Turn To   20:36 - 22:40        
Burn Down the Mission   23:33 - 28:01           

'Tumbleweed Connection'
full album:

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted.

Side one
"Ballad of a Well-Known Gun" – 4:59
"Come Down in Time" – 3:25
"Country Comfort" – 5:06
"Son of Your Father" – 3:48
"My Father's Gun" – 6:20
Side two
"Where to Now St. Peter?" – 4:11
"Love Song" (Lesley Duncan) – 3:41
"Amoreena" – 5:00
"Talking Old Soldiers" – 4:06
"Burn Down the Mission" – 6:22

1 comment:

  1. This is a timeless classic! (...And I am going to revisit it myself!... :-)