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Life Journey

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Prior to his Elton John-endorsed career resurrection via the 2010 duet album The Union, Leon Russell cranked out self-released oddities to little notice. Once The Union again made Russell a draw, there was little chance that he would revive his MIDI keyboards, and Life Journey indeed stays far, far away from those cramped, tinny settings, preferring to revive the loose-limbed, woolly Tulsan rock & roll that made his reputation. Working with Tommy LiPuma -- a veteran producer who had never recorded with Russell but who helmed many successful jazz sessions, including George Benson's Grammy-winning Breezin' -- Russell primarily sticks to standards, whether ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Prior to his Elton John-endorsed career resurrection via the 2010 duet album The Union, Leon Russell cranked out self-released oddities to little notice. Once The Union again made Russell a draw, there was little chance that he would revive his MIDI keyboards, and Life Journey indeed stays far, far away from those cramped, tinny settings, preferring to revive the loose-limbed, woolly Tulsan rock & roll that made his reputation. Working with Tommy LiPuma -- a veteran producer who had never recorded with Russell but who helmed many successful jazz sessions, including George Benson's Grammy-winning Breezin' -- Russell primarily sticks to standards, whether they're by Robert Johnson, Hoagy Carmichael, or Billy Joel, and that's how it should be. Although he's a fine songwriter, as evidenced here by his two originals -- "Big Lips" and "Down in Dixieland," raucous numbers both -- Russell is a stylist, bending songs to fit his swinging piano and slow drawl. He may occasionally follow a straight line with a ballad but he knows how to draw out the phrases on "That Lucky Old Sun," finding an unexpected contour in familiar melody, and he finds funk in "Come On in My Kitchen" while tearing up "Fever" and leaving "New York State of Mind" as a splashy big-band celebration of the Big Apple. This small list suggests how Life Journey touches upon much of the music Russell has sung over the years -- it's heavy on R&B, blues, jazz, and swing, but strangely lacking in much country -- and LiPuma is a perfect match for this celebratory approach. Where The Union occasionally veered toward the austere, Life Journey is robust and soulful, emphasizing the raggedness of Russell's voice and smooth boogie in his playing. It's a joyous thing to hear, a record that recaptures much of the magic of Leon's Shelter records without being fussy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/1/2014
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • UPC: 602537764716
  • Catalog Number: 2032602
  • Sales rank: 6,059

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Come On In My Kitchen (2:20)
  2. 2 Big Lips (3:12)
  3. 3 Georgia On My Mind - Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (4:52)
  4. 4 That Lucky Old Sun (4:09)
  5. 5 Fever (4:19)
  6. 6 Think of Me (3:28)
  7. 7 I Got It Bad & That Ain’t Good - Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (4:29)
  8. 8 The Masquerade is Over (5:44)
  9. 9 I Really Miss You (4:12)
  10. 10 New York State of Mind - Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (5:27)
  11. 11 Fool’s Paradise (2:54)
  12. 12 Down In Dixieland - Dixieland Band (3:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Leon Russell Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals, Background Vocals
Robben Ford Guitar
Larry Goldings Hammond B3
Jeff Hamilton Drums
Rickey Woodard Tenor Saxophone
Louis Price Background Vocals
Clay Jenkins Trumpet
Elena Barere Concert Master
Lee Callet Tenor Saxophone
Gilbert Castellanos Trumpet
Alvin Chea Background Vocals
Jeff Clayton Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
John Clayton Bass, Conductor
Sal Cracchiolo Trumpet
Keith Fiddmont Alto Saxophone
James Gordon Clarinet
Greg Leisz Pedal Steel Guitar
Darrell Leonard Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Hugh McCracken Guitar, Soloist
Perry Morgan Background Vocals
Ira Nepus Trombone
Maurice Spears Bass Trombone
Willie Weeks Bass
Christoph Luty Bass
Anthony Wilson Guitar
Chris Simmons Slide Guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. Drums
George Bohanon Trombone
Charles Owens Tenor Saxophone
James Ford Trumpet
Graham Dechter Acoustic Guitar
Ryan Porter Trombone
Bijon Watson Trumpet
William Cantos Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Paul Anka Composer
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Billy Joel Composer
Elton John Executive Producer
Leon Russell Composer, Liner Notes
Alan Broadbent String Arrangements
Johnny Fuller Composer
Jill Dell'Abate String Contractor
John Clayton Arranger
Duke Ellington Orchestra Composer
Haven Gillespie Composer
Robert Johnson Composer
Mark Lambert Vocal Engineer, Piano Engineer
Tommy LiPuma Producer
Mike Reid Composer
Al Schmitt Engineer
Paul Francis Webster Composer
Allie Wrubel Composer
John Davenport Composer
Stuart Gorrell Composer
Eddie Cooley Composer
Doug Saks Mastering
Robert Geddins Composer
Brian Montgomery Engineer, Pro-Tools
Beasley Smith Composer
Dr. David Rosenbaum Composer
Chandler Harrod Engineer, Pro-Tools
Edward Kennedy Ellington Composer
Herb Magidson Composer
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