12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elton John introduced some new fans to the magic of Oklahoma native Leon Russell with their 2010 duet album, The Union. And rather than chase a pop-approved version of the truth, Russell here returns with an honest album of pure R&B, blues, jazz, and swing that’s not unlike his early days. From Robert Johnson’s “Come On in My Kitchen,” Russell sings with all the crustiness of a veteran touring musician, and from there he serves up the songs that bring out the best in his style. Russell’s own “Big Lips” and “Down in Dixieland” remain true to the songs he brought to his ‘70s studio albums. But it’s standards such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “That Lucky Old Sun,” “Fever,” and even Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” that work best with the horn section and other orchestral touches that veteran producer Tommy LiPuma serves up. It’s actually quite easy to work with a seasoned performer like Russell. You set up the microphones and let him work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elton John introduced some new fans to the magic of Oklahoma native Leon Russell with their 2010 duet album, The Union. And rather than chase a pop-approved version of the truth, Russell here returns with an honest album of pure R&B, blues, jazz, and swing that’s not unlike his early days. From Robert Johnson’s “Come On in My Kitchen,” Russell sings with all the crustiness of a veteran touring musician, and from there he serves up the songs that bring out the best in his style. Russell’s own “Big Lips” and “Down in Dixieland” remain true to the songs he brought to his ‘70s studio albums. But it’s standards such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “That Lucky Old Sun,” “Fever,” and even Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” that work best with the horn section and other orchestral touches that veteran producer Tommy LiPuma serves up. It’s actually quite easy to work with a seasoned performer like Russell. You set up the microphones and let him work.

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