Southern-rock legend Leon Russell took his final bow last fall, but not before turning his storied talents to one last studio album. On a Distant Shore, which Russell spent his 74th and final year writing and recording, arrives Sept. 22 via Palmetto Records. The release will mark 10 months since Russell’s passing.
Leon Russell's accolades are monumental in a number of categories, from songwriting (he wrote Joe Cocker's "Delta Lady") to session playing (with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, just to name a few) to his solo work. Unfortunately, it's the last category that never really attracted as much attention as it should have, despite a multitude of blues-based gospel recordings and piano-led, Southern-styled rock albums released throughout the 1970s. Leon Russell and the Shelter People is a prime example of Russell's instrumental dexterity and ability to produce some energetic rock & roll. Poignant and expressive tracks such as "Of Thee I Sing," "Home Sweet Oklahoma," and "She Smiles Like a River" all lay claim to Russell's soulful style and are clear-cut examples of the power that he musters through his spirited piano playing and his voice. His Dylan covers are just as strong, especially "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh," while "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "It's a Hard Rain Gonna Fall" have him sounding so forceful, they could have been Russell's own.
The Union is a collaboration studio album by singer-songwriters Elton John and Leon Russell, released on 19 October 2010 in the US and on 25 October in the UK. This is the 30th studio album by John and the 34th by Russell. This is the first studio release by John since 1979's Victim of Love without any of his regular band members. It is also his highest charting studio album on the Billboard 200 since 1976's Blue Moves, debuting at No. 3, as well as Russell's highest charting studio album since 1972's Carney. The Union was No. 3 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 30 Best Albums of 2010…
Retrospective is an 18-track collection that features the bulk of Leon Russell's greatest hits ("Tight Rope," "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms," "Lady Blue," "Back to the Island"), plus many key album tracks. Since Russell was primarily an album artist, this approach doesn't necessarily do him justice, but for listeners who only want the hits, this will do.