Mix Tape

Classic Vibe II

Tumbleweed Connection

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The first Friday of each month Dirty Impound will celebrate one of our favorite albums with a mix bookended by cuts from the inspirational record and a selection of tunes that tap into the feel of the original work – lyrically, musically, attitudinally, however-ly. The goal is not to present bands that sound like the spotlight artist but to surround them with music pulsing on a kindred wavelength.

Bernie Taupin & Elton John (1970)

Bernie Taupin & Elton John (1970)

“This lazy life is short/ Something for nothing/ Always ending with a bad report.”

On paper, 1970’s Tumbleweed Connection makes no sense. An Old West obsessed song cycle from two 20-something Brits just experiencing their first major chart success, Elton John’s second album found lyrical foil Bernie Taupin consorting with gunslingers and country folk, wandering under prairie skies, and more wistful and nostalgic than seems appropriate for someone so young, his every aching, backward glance met with sweeping empathy by his piano playing pal. A few years before it fully kicked in Stateside, Bernie and Elton tapped into the 70s obsession with marrying Wild West outlaw culture with rock, with guitars replacing Pig Iron and limos the new stagecoach. It’s a conceit but an effective one that still lingers today, and it’s rarely been pulled off better than Tumbleweed Connection, which explores the relationship of fathers and sons (and kinship in general) and delves into prickly subject matter like the Confederate mindset, torching religious institutions, and the costs and aftermath of war. It’s an oddly mature work and simply one of the greatest second acts in rock history, with dense, fascinating storytelling, gorgeous love songs, robust playing and timeless production (courtesy of Gus Dudgeon, who also contributed his touch to The Zombies’ “She’s Not There,” Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and much, much more).

This installment offers up some prime early 70s California country-rock (and some modern artists dipping a toe into the same pool), a swell cover of one of Tumbleweed’s tracks by Rod Stewart, the original version of “Love Song” (the album’s sole cover), and a fair amount of flying lead. Keep your powder dry and saddle up. It’s time to hit the dusty trail.

Classic Vibe II from dirtyimpound on 8tracks.

If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.

Classic Vibe II Track Listing

  1. My Father’s Gun – Elton John
  2. Silver Pistol (Live on BBC) – Brinsley Schwarz
  3. Slow Down Old World – Willie Nelson
  4. Desperado – Linda Ronstadt
  5. There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler – Dan Fogelberg
  6. The Promise and The Dream – Pinetop Seven
  7. The Family Tree – Shooter Jennings
  8. Don’t Forget Me – Neko Case
  9. God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise – Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs
  10. Doolin-Dalton (instrumental) >
  11. Outlaw Man – Eagles
  12. Nevada, California – The Jayhawks
  13. The Weight – John Denver
  14. One More Cup of Coffee – N’Dea Davenport
  15. There’s Gold In Them Hills – The Black Crowes
  16. Who Knows Where The Time Goes – Fairport Convention
  17. Love Song – Lesley Duncan
  18. Angel of Mercy – Tommy Flanders
  19. We Go Down to That Corner – These United States
  20. Wild Wild West – The Habit
  21. Country Comforts – Rod Stewart
  22. Burn Down The Mission (BBC Session) – Elton John