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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Pop > Elton John: Deluxe Edition CD Sets: Elton John (1970) + Tumbleweed Connection (1971/Universal Music)

Elton John: Deluxe Edition CD Sets: Elton John (1970) + Tumbleweed Connection (1971/Universal Music)


Sound: B     Music:  A-/B     Extras: B



Like a great film, a great album just finds itself in print over and over and over again.  This includes various formats (depending on the age of the album) and how important that album is.  For some artists, they have a long discography that is formidable and recordings so important that the classic status of the artist and the work can be taken for granted.  One such artist is Elton John, a longtime survivor whose media image sometimes overshadows his music accomplishments.  For the 5.5 years the site has existed, he is the only artist whose albums we have covered more than once and he is one of the few in music history whose works deserve such attention.


We first covered his self-titled hit album Elton John from 1970 in its still-amazing Super Audio Compact Disc multi-channel, high fidelity edition when it was issued:





Now it and his 1971 hit follow-up album Tumbleweed Connection (also issued as an SA-CD, but we never got a review copy; it too is a fine SA-CD) have both been reissued yet again on regular Compact Disc, but this time, it is in the great Deluxe Edition CD set Universal Music has been issuing for years and that makes for four of John’s albums to get such treatment.


Having covered the first album already, I prefer the SA-CD’s audio performance over the CD here, but the bonus tracks make this worth owning just the same:


1)     Your Song – demo version

2)     I Need You To Turn To – piano demo

3)     Take Me To The Pilot – piano demo

4)     No Show Strings On Louise – piano demo

5)     Sixty Years On – piano demo

6)     The Greatest Discovery – piano demo

7)     The Cage – demo

8)     The King Must Die – piano demo

9)     Rock And Roll Madonna – piano demo

10)  Thank You Mama – piano demo

11)  All The Way Down To El Paso – piano demo

12)  I’m Going Home – piano demo

13)  Grey Seal – piano demo

14)  Rock And Roll Madonna – incomplete band demo

15)  Bad Side Of The Moon

16)  Grey Seal

17)  Rock And Roll Madonna

18)  Border Song – BBC Session (with Hookfoot)

19)  Your Song – BBC Session

20)  Take Me To The Pilot – BBC Session



Some of these tracks have been issued on other John CDs and box sets, while a fee even surfaced on his SA-CDs.  For the follow-up, John showed more of his love and grasp of Country Music than on any other album and Tumbleweed Connection is somewhat uneven as compared to the previous album, but it still has its share of classics:


1)     Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun

2)     Come Down In Time

3)     Country Comfort

4)     Son Of Your Father

5)     My Father’s Gun

6)     Where To Now St. Peter

7)     Love Song

8)     Amoreena

9)     Talking Old Soldiers

10)  Burn Down The Mission



The tracks read like a concept album, but it is not that at all, yet the cover and most of the content want to be a throwback piece like Dylan’s Nashville Skyline or Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.  Come Down In Time and Burn Down The Mission are classics and Where To Now St. Peter cines close, so this is still a strong album, but despite strong album sales had no major hit singles.  Still, it is John and Bernie Taupin before really taking off.



The bonus tracks this time include:


1)     There Goes A Well-Known Gun – previously unreleased

2)     Come Down In Time - piano demo, previously unreleased

3)     Country Comfort - piano demo, previously unreleased

4)     Son Of Your Father - previously unreleased

5)     Talking Old Soldiers – piano demo, previously unreleased

6)     Into The Old Man’s Shoes - piano demo, previously unreleased

7)     Sisters Of The Cross - piano demo, previously unreleased

8)     Madman Across The Water – original version

9)     Into The Old Man’s Shoes [– final cut]

10)  My Father’s Gun – BBC Session

11)  Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun – BBC Session, previously unreleased

12)  Burn Down The Mission – BBC Session, previously unreleased

13)  Amoreena – BBC Session, previously unreleased



The great thing about the bonus track sis hearing alternate versions of some of the greatest records ever made and how they might have been remembered or, if people (and radio) rejected earlier versions, could have become lesser-known works.  You can also hear John working through the songs in ways few have the heart or talent to do.  Add the original versions and you get two sets with great music and insight into what makes a classic.


The PCM 2.0 16Bit/44.1kHz Stereo sound is good, but unlike the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Deluxe Edition set, the original album is not an SA-CD.  Still, it is the same newer-sounding materials because they are from the master tapes when the SA-CDs were being made.  I like the SA-CDs better, but this bonus material is hard to resist.  For more Elton John, try these links:



Madman Across The Water (SA-CD)



Honky Chateau (SA-CD)



Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (SA-CD Deluxe Edition)



Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy SA-CD


+ Deluxe Edition




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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