Rolling Stone - p.724.5 stars out of 5
-- "[I]t is one of the best country-rock albums ever written by London cowboys."
Rolling Stone - 2/18/71, p.49
"...TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION is simpler than John's last album and next time around I hope he goes all the way and gets down to nothing but the basics. He is one of the few who is good enough not to need anything else..."
Q - 8/95, pp.143-1453 Stars
- Good - "...a slightly eccentric excursion into the imagery of American hicksville..."
Lyricist: Bernie Taupin.
Personnel: Elton John (vocals, piano, organ, keyboards, background vocals); Elton John; Mick Ronson (guitar); Les Thatcher (acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, 6-string guitar, 12-string guitar); Johnny VanDerrick (violin); Chris Laurence (acoustic bass, acoustic bass guitar); Sunny, Sue & Sunny, Sunny Leslie, Sue Glover (background vocals); Lesley Duncan (vocals, acoustic guitar, background vocals); Nigel Olsson (vocals, drums, background vocals); Caleb Quaye (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Mike Egan (acoustic guitar); Gordon Huntley (steel guitar); Skaila Kanga (harp); Johnny Van Derek (violin); Ian Duck (harmonica); Karl Jenkins (oboe); Brian Dee (organ); Dee Murray (bass guitar, background vocals); Dave Glover , Herbie Flowers (bass guitar); Roger Pope (drums, percussion); Barry Morgan (drums); Robin Jones (congas, tambourine); Dusty Springfield, Madeline Bell, Tony Burrows, Tony Hazzard, Kay Garner, Tammy Hunt (background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Gus Dudgeon; John Tobler.
Recording information: Trident Studios, London, England.
Editor: Gus Skinas.
Photographers: Barrie Wentzell; Barry Wentzell; David Larkham.
Arranger: Paul Buckmaster.
Recorded in the charmed period between the initial success of ELTON JOHN and superstar extravaganzas like GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION, a loose concept album about the American West, was a strange, sideways move for Elton John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. A album in the traditional sense, it is best heard as a piece, with songs that pick up and expand on each other's moods and settings. Notice, for example, the progression of characters from the young fighter waving "My Father's Gun," to the retired and forgotten "Talking Old Soldiers," to the protagonist of "Where To Now St. Peter?," shot down by "a sweet young foreign gun" and ready to be judged by his maker.
The mood holds from the sepia-toned LP cover art to John's songwriting, influenced by folk and country music and by The Band's MUSIC FROM BIG PINK. Among the songs it introduced were "Country Comfort," which Rod Stewart covered on GASOLINE ALLEY, and "Come Down In Time," later done by both Judy Collins and Sting. Though the rollicking piano epic "Burn Down The Mission" and "Amoreena" became FM-radio and concert staples, TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION remains the only John studio album without a hit single, a fact that doesn't affect the impact of this excellent country-rock outing.