popmusicfan | northeastern Ohio | 03/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elton John is a truly interesting figure in terms of popular music of the last 40 years. He became a household name, a pop culture icon, and a staple of Top 40 radio and the hit single. I will not disagree with other reviewers that perhaps his strongest writing and strongest playing and singing come from before John's greatest commercial success. Both Tumbleweed Connection and Honky Chateau remain two of Elton John's best, most consistent collections in his decades-long career. Tumbleweed Connection is far more than an Englishman's view of the American West, although hearing the album as the outsider's view of the American experience is tempting. The songs can be understood and appreciated on a much broader level. The musicianship throughout Tumbleweed Connection is superb and this is one album that makes highly effective use of stereo separation. In particular, pay attention to the cross rhythms between the drums and John's piano on the opening track, one of the best examples of complementary accompanying rhythms you'll hear in 1970s pop music. I purchased this album using Amazon.com's download service and I am happy to report that, as has been the case with any of the downloads I've purchased from Amazon, the sound quality of these mp3 files is great. Clarity and depth are super. Although I would have liked to have the CD package, liner notes, and so on, the Amazon price for download and the high quality could not be beat."
Between Britain And The American Old West. His Best Album
Dave Sigmon | Connecticut, USA | 04/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In which Elton displays his melodic gift shared with lyrics provided by the less gifted Bernie Taupin. The heart of this album concerns itself with my treasured topic, the American Old West. And even if Bernie's lyrics can be lightweight at times, Elton comes to the rescue and gives most of these tracks the chutzpah required. At times, however, Bernie is right on the money.
Though "Come Down In Time" isn't really the vision of a Western, Elton's performance is powerful in this haunting ballad. The loose concept is more evident on "Country Comfort" and "My Father's Gun". Here Bernie's lyrics depict a fairly vivid portrait of the Old West and the American South. It's in these two tracks where Elton and the backup singers really elevate them into something grand.
But it's up to their two greatest to establish the pinnacle connection between their British heritage and American Old West fantasy. "Amoreena" is the blues in terms of both lyrical and musical content, suggesting a favorite pastime in this maybe not-so-mythical place. The other, "Where To Now St. Peter" is a daring lyric about an agnostic whose time is almost up as he questions his destiny. This is set to the best melody Elton will ever compose.
So what you have is not a perfect album like "The Band" or "Workingman's Dead", but a strong blend of rock, pop, country and blues. The mood flows with a sustained feel. Elton's piano and vocals are of the first order. Of greater significance is that this record presents Elton as an authentic roots rocker and an inspired artist instead of just a mere performer. In its LP format, it's lavishly packaged in a sepia-toned gatefold cover and booklet too."