The Union
(Decca Records)


The most anticipated album of 2010 was surely the pairing of rock music icon Leon Russell and Elton John on the 14 cut Union album. Backed by a variety of famous musicians including lyricist Bernie Taupin, drummer Jim Keltner, guitarist Marc Ribot and featuring the production of T-Bone Burnett, Elton and Leon rise to the occasion on an album that sounds like it’s been 40 years in the making. Forty years ago, in 1970, Elton made his big breakthrough with “Your Song”, which he admits was influenced by Russell’s early solo works such as “A Song For You,” as well as Leon’s work with the Asylum Choir and, also going back to Russell’s huge impact working with Phil Spector and co-writing such hits as “She’s Just My Style” for Gary Lewis and much more. As piano players and singer-songwriters, the two rose to fame as solo artists just about at the same time but seemingly, as Elton rose to become a world wide phenomenon, Leon seemed to become relegated to cult status icon. All that hopefully will be remedied with the 2010 CD release of Union, which really combines the best of both sounds. A perfect mood setter, the lead off track, Leon’s “If It Wasn’t For Bad” for some reason sounds like it could have been written in the ‘60s, yet it’s also completely current. Also dropping by is Neil Young who appears singing a verse on the haunting Civil War inspired “Gone To Shiloh.” Next time let’s hope Elton, Leon and Neil join forces for a complete CD. There’s also a natural hit single here in the catchy as hell choruses of Elton’s “Jimmie Roger’s Dream.” The CD artwork, design and photography is seriously amazing while praiseworthy liner notes by Elton sheds light on just how big an influence Leon Russell remains in the world of classic rock. ww2.EltonJohn.com / www.DeccaRecords-US.com


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