Anthony Accordino | Massapequa Park, New York United States | 09/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leon Russell's Retrospective cd is the finest single cd overview of his career available. His influence as a writer, studio musician and producer is legendary. All the goods are here to enjoy. The cd starts off with "A Song For You" and once your hooked you get to hear such gems as "Lady Blue", "tightrope", "delta Lady", "Roll Away The Stone" and a great take on Dylan's 'A Hard Rains Gonna Fall". If you could only own one Leon Russell cd this is the one for you. One final note! What's taking the "Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame" so long to recognize that Leon and Joe Cocker have been shamefully overlooked and should be inducted."
Good Collection from an Underappreciated Artist
Charles A Galupi | Euless, Texas | 04/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Leon's work from 1970-1975 was some of the best piano work and songwriting of the period, Period. Just one listen to "A Song for You", "Lady Blue", "This Masqurade" (big hit for George Benson) or "Magic Mirror" will confirm that. And I didn't know he wrote "Roll Away the Stone"! I'd always loved Mott the Hoople doing that! And "Hummingbird", probably best known as a BB King track. And it's a shame none of it ever gets played on the radio anymore.For my money, CARNEY is his masterpiece, but this collection allows me to admire the rest of Leon's catalog. Leon's takes on "The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen" rivals anything Randy Newman was doing at the time, without the controversey. "Out in the Woods" is a great swampy sounding fun track. "Back to the Island" is a fun track with the MG's (Steve Cropper, 'Duck' Dun and the late Al Jackson) laying down a soulful groove. "Closet Crystal Queen" is a cousin of "Roll Away.." and "Queen of the Roller Derby," a nice little rocker the Stones should have done to spice up one of their mid 70s albums. Personally, I could have done without "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall", "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms", the LIVE take of "Queen of the Roller Derby" and Leon's take of "Delta Lady" which is just lame compared to Joe Cocker's version. But it's a good CD to introduce yourself to Leon or a nice portable version of Leon to carry in the car."
Great place to start!
Patrick Crain | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma United States | 04/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The good news: This is a reissue of the (better) out of print CD "Best of Leon" with some great songs that weren't on the aforementioned CD(Shootout on the Plantation and The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen) thrown in for good measure.The bad news: So they could put in A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall, they got rid of Streaker's Ball which means that the overlooked "Stop All That Jazz" album isn't represented. They also jettisoned the studio version of Queen of the Roller Derby and put in the (much shorter) version from the "Leon Live" album. Also, the versions of Roll Away the Stone and Hummingbird are the studio versions while the ones off the "Best of Leon" CD were alternate takes or unfinished tracks.But these quibbles are slight (as are most quibbles about greatest hits packages) and you can't really go wrong with any of the picks. Leon Russell is criminally overlooked and one could do worse than to jump into his catalogue feet first."
Leon Lives! Leon Rocks!
J. Winokur | Denver, CO USA | 03/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a "Best of" better than Leon's previous selections of favorites. Featured are my favorites, his incredibly fine ballads, now multi-genre classics: "A Song for You", "Lady Blue", "This Masquerade". From the great "Carney" album also come more ballads, "Magic Mirror", "Tightrope", "Out in Woods". "Back to the Island" is achingly yearning, and hypnotically atmospheric. But there's lots of hard-rocking stuff, too. The recordings are the originals, and sound quality is excellent.
Leon Russell was at the epicenter of the rock world when he came on the scene in the 60s, playing keyboards with many other rock greats, not least of whom was Joe Cocker -- Leon headed up the Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour band. Though Cocker was better known, Leon had the ultimate 'chops.' When you listen to his own music, you can see that he is a composer and player of greater depth and sophistication than most of his peers. And he can boogie like no one else.
I had the good fortune to stumble upon a small concert by the new Leon Russell band last year at The Cutting Room in New York. What a thrill to be so close up to this old idol after so long! It was impossible to sit still! Surrounded by his huge mane of now-white hair, the ole "Master of Space and Time" is infirm, he walks with difficulty. But his fingers are totally alive, and he seems to be doing well. Two of his daughters are in the band, which is tight as can be -- raising hopes for more recordings beyond this retrospective.
This is a fine introduction to the music of this rock legend. It's as fresh now as it was then!"
Essential Leon Russell
A. Tindell | Richland, WA | 11/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leon Russell has practically disappeared from the music scene and it's a shame. He wrote some terrific songs but usually his songs were bigger hits for other artists, such as "This Masquarade" which was a hit for the Carpenters and for George Benson. "A Song for You" was another huge Carpenters hit.
On this album I particularly liked "Out in the Woods" and "Stranger in a Strange Land.""