Before the pomp, before the flair, and before the pageantry/self-caricature, there was 1970’s Tumbleweed Connection. No Donald Duck stage costumes or Victorian era wigs to be found here; no, in their stead is a collection of of songs that mark some of Elton John’s most earnest vocals coupled with lyricist Bernie Taupin’s ever thematic songwriting. Lyrically the LP focuses on Taupin’s fascination with the old west; which is made even more interesting as he had allegedly never set on American soil prior to the composition of the lyrics. A testament to Taupin’s songwriting, I have long felt that, lyrically, the core material of the album would make for an excellent series of short stories.
Having found a near-mint vinyl copy last weekend, I have since been revisiting the 2008 CD reissue which, among other alternate tracks, demos, etc., houses the original version of “Madman Across The Water,” which later saw its official release on the 1971 album of the same name.