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Author: Subject: First Listen: Elton John And Leon Russell, 'The Union'

Extreme Peach





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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 09:46 AM


First Listen: Elton John And Leon Russell, 'The Union'

Elton John has done reverence and irreverence, decadence and schmaltz. But he wears elegance especially well in The Union, his new, album-length collaboration with the man he calls his idol: 68-year-old fellow singer-pianist Leon Russell. Often playing pianos simultaneously, John and Russell team up seamlessly on The Union, with the aid of guests such as Neil Young, Brian Wilson and Booker T. Jones, not to mention songwriter Bernie Taupin and the producer synonymous with pedigreed collaborations of this nature, T-Bone Burnett.

Alternately rollicking ("Hey Ahab") and reflective ("The Hands of Angels," which alludes to Russell's frail health), The Union is no mere nostalgia trip: Among other things, it's John's clearly sincere attempt to return his hero to a spotlight Russell hasn't occupied in more than three decades. John used to open for Russell in concert, but this isn't just overdue payback, either; both men seem invigorated here, with Russell sounding lively (he underwent brain surgery mere weeks before The Union was recorded, but you wouldn't know it) and John atoning for many recent excursions into watery soft-pop balladry. Rough-around-the-edges collaboration suits both men just fine.

The Union will stream here in its entirety until Oct. 19.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130376600

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Edit:


The Fuse cable TV network will carry his 8 p.m. Oct. 19 performance from New York City’s Beacon Theatre.


The show, to be broadcast live, will feature Elton John and Leon Russell, with whom he has been touring and recording lately.
The Fuse concert will include songs from their new studio CD “The Union,” which will be released Oct. 19, plus tunes from both performers’ long careers.








[Edited on 10/11/2010 by ooogie]

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 10:01 AM
Thanks for the link. I liked what I did listen to.
It may be the first thing I've been interested in getting by Elton since Madman Across The Water!

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 10:40 AM
Thanks for the free stream link. Listening to it now. It is a beautiful album so far. Leons and Eltons voices sound great and the songwriting is strong. I am not real impressed with the band especially the drummer, however. I think he is mixed a bit too high. Cool treat to hear Neil Young sing some verses. I have not heard Brian Wilson yet but he too is on the disc. Not sure if I wil buy it though as I may never give it another listen.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 12:28 PM
Thanks for the link will have to check it out

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 02:51 PM
Duane was a fan of Elton.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 03:02 PM
quote:
Duane was a fan of Elton.
I was too then,but haven't cared very much for his stuff once Yellow Brick Road came out. I only liked 3 or 4 songs on it.

Sure liked this one!

Madman Across The Water.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z0KbJz-asY

 

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Well 30 years of heart and soul,lord we took it further than rock and roll.
We stood together thru thick and thin,yeah we made the best of it all back then.
Then I guess time took it's toll,cut me deep,cut me cold.
Brother against brother....

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 03:05 PM
The Fuse cable TV network will carry his 8 p.m. Oct. 19 performance from New York City’s Beacon Theatre.

The show, to be broadcast live, will feature Elton John and Leon Russell, with whom he has been touring and recording lately.
The Fuse concert will include songs from their new studio CD “The Union,” which will be released Oct. 19, plus tunes from both performers’ long careers.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 03:07 PM
thanks for the link.

i've been a huge fan of Leon's since 1969--saw him in '73 on the Leon Live tour....

really enjoying this...& hey,Neil Young just popped in on a song....nice 3 part harmonies....sweet....thanks again

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 03:23 PM
Thanks for sharing this ooogie! (and the Bob Dylan '62-'64 Witmark Demo tapes link that was included here )

 

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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 03:25 PM
quote:
Thanks for sharing this ooogie! (and the Bob Dylan '62-'64 Witmark Demo tapes link that was included here )


Hey,Deb-caught that bob too

 

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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 04:52 PM
Love it.....

Now..... Who can make a recording of the Beacon show to spread around in the trades ?

I'll spread it if someone can record.....

 

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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 06:32 PM
quote:
Love it.....


Me too!! Leon Russell is an American treasure and still provin' it on this record.

 

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  posted on 10/11/2010 at 07:42 PM
Btw...the next night after the broadcast Beacon show...

The Speaking Clock Revue
COCA-COLA CONCERT SERIES
October 20, 2010 at Beacon Theatre


This edition of The Speaking Clock Revue is presented with Participant Media in conjunction with the release of the documentary film Waiting For "Superman", from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud), which follows a handful of promising students through a U.S. public school system and offers hope by exploring innovative approaches by education reformers who refuse to leave their students behind. All net proceeds from these shows will be donated to The Participant Foundation to support music and arts education programming in public schools.


About the Show: T Bone Burnett presents The Speaking Clock Revue a multi-artist concert extravaganza-on stage at the Beacon Theater on October 20.

The evening will feature performances by Elton John & Leon Russell, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Gregg Allman, Ralph Stanley, Jeff Bridges, Neko Case, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Punch Brothers, Karen Elson, and newcomers The Secret Sisters.

The concert will be presented in a revue format with a house band consisting of the players featured on numerous Burnett-produced recordings.

http://www.beacontheatre.com/events/speaking-clock-revue-1010.html

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/12/2010 at 05:50 AM
Leon belongs in the R&R Hall Of Fame
 
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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/14/2010 at 08:01 AM
ordered tis yesterday....based on initial online listen this is one heck of a fine album
 

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  posted on 10/15/2010 at 04:36 PM
ordered today......

 

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  posted on 10/15/2010 at 05:36 PM
Gave it a listen online and good stuff

 

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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 05:00 AM
quote:
Leon belongs in the R&R Hall Of Fame


Yes, HE DOES!

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 07:31 AM
Not surprising that Rolling Stone rag gave it 5 STARS.
Not that it's a bad album but what iconic classic rock artist don't they give five stars to?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------
Elton John and Leon Russell
The Union
Decca

By David Fricke

The Union is a rare gesture in a dying business: an act of gratitude. Elton John repays a long-standing debt of inspiration to Leon Russell — particularly the rowdy merger of soul, country and gospel rapture Russell perfected as a writer, pianist and arranger on 1969 and '70 albums by Joe Cocker and Delaney and Bonnie — by putting Russell in front of a classy big band, on his first major-label album in a decade. "Your songs have all the hooks/You're seven wonders rolled into one," John sings, ever the fan, in "Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes."

The song, actually about grand entrances and past glories, is almost Russell's story in miniature. It could be about John too. Both men are a long way from their early flamboyance, when Russell ran the R&B big band on Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour and John was leaping from clubs to arenas in oversize glasses. The Union often feels like a conversation: the two trading sober and grateful reflections, in songs like "The Best Part of the Day" and "A Dream Come True," on the costs and prizes of a life at the top.

That exchange runs through the music. Singing in a strong, elastic growl and matching John's piano work with low-end rolls and top-note sparkle, Russell jars the younger man from his routine sheen, back to the natural fiber and grandeur of 1970's Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection. On The Union, produced by T Bone Burnett, John and Russell share the resurrection. Each goes back to what he first did best. Then they do it together.

As a songwriter, Russell is as eccentric as his voice. His love songs hurt far more than they show at first. "If It Wasn't for Bad" is finely tuned deception: pop strut, Sunday-service glow and mounting bitterness in that gnarled drawl. Bernie Taupin wrote the words to the Stax-heartbreak shuffle "I Should Have Sent Roses," but the chewy vocal agony is Russell's. When he and John trade lines in "When Love Is Dying," against a choral arrangement by Brian Wilson, John goes for the wrenching high notes. Russell sticks to his odd gritty register, heavy with turmoil.

Russell first became famous for his sharp mischief inside the churn on those Cocker and Delaney and Bonnie LPs, and he works for John the same way: salting the vocal choruses and piano-funk exchanges in "Hey Ahab"; ringing John's earnest rounded tenor with gravelly warmth in the dusky country song "Jimmie Rodgers' Dream." John, in turn, drives this alliance like the eager version of himself that first played with Russell on a 1970 tour. The Civil War tale and Band hommage "Gone to Shiloh" could have come from Tumbleweed Connection; the brassy romp "Monkey Suit" would have fit on 1972's Honky Château.

There is an urgency here too, as if John and Russell know they almost waited too long to bond. "There's No Tomorrow" is built, with new words, on a 1966 grim blues march, "Hymn No. 5" by the Mighty Hannibal. John takes the sober verses; a pedal steel guitar lines the track like gilt on a coffin. But Russell brings the light and common sense. "There's no tomorrow/There's only today," he sings in that rough, eerie voice, just in front of the choir, like a man back from the brink and glad to be at work.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/reviews/album/45342/218714

 

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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 07:34 AM
Very good!!
 
 


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