Leon Russell – Leon Russell And The Shelter People (1971/2013/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Leon Russell – Leon Russell And The Shelter People (1971/2013/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:42 minutes | 897 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Capitol Records

Leon Russell’s accolades are monumental in a number of categories, from songwriting to session playing, to his solo work. Leon Russell and the Shelter People is the second solo album by the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. This 1971 gem shot to No. 17 on the Billboard album charts.

This recording is a prime example of Russell’s instrumental dexterity and ability to produce some energetic rock ‘n’ 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, “It Takes a “Lot to Laugh,” “It Takes A Train To Cry” and “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” are especially strong and have him sounding so forceful, they could have been his own compositions.

A hearty, full-flavored gospel sound is amassed thanks to both the Shelter People and the Tulsa Tops, who back Russell up on most of the tracks, but it’s Russell alone that makes “The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen” such an expressive piece and the highlight of the album. George Harrison’s “Beware Of Darkness” closes the album and is as good a read as the original.

“Leon Russell didn’t get to be the World’s Champion Hip Okie by accident. He earned it on Stones sessions, by writing “Give Peace a Chance,” by teaming up with Joe Cocker – and he’s just paid more dues with Leon Russell and the Shelter People, one of the best rock albums so far this year. Russell practically invented what might as well be called Okie rock – with that shit-kicker Gospel sound, heavy on Baptist-revival piano and chorus – and it gets as good on this album as you’ll ever hear. He works wonders on Dylan’s “It’s a Hard Rain Gonna Fall,” wails through a lovingly ironic piano-pounding tribute to Little Richard on “Crystal Closet Queen” and lopes through “She Smiles like a River,” a rolling hill-folky ballad apparently inspired by “Life Is like a Mountain Railway.” And there’s more – much more.” (Playboy)

“The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen” the highlight of the album and wrote, “On the whole, Leon Russell and the Shelter People is an entertaining and more importantly, revealing exposition of Russell’s music when he was in his prime. … Carney is an introspective piece which holds up a little better from a songwriting standpoint, but this album does a better job at bearing his proficiency as a well-rounded musician.” (Mike DeGagne, AMG)

1 Stranger In A Strange Land (Remastered) 03:59
2 Of Thee I Sing (Remastered) 04:22
3 A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall (Remastered) 05:09
4 Crystal Closet Queen (Remastered) 02:58
5 Home Sweet Oklahoma (Remastered) 03:26
6 Alcatraz (Remastered) 03:52
7 The Ballad Of Mad Dogs And Englishmen (Remastered) 03:58
8 It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry (Remastered) 04:02
9 She Smiles Like a River (Remastered) 02:58
10 Sweet Emily (Remastered) 03:20
11 Beware Of Darkness (Remastered) 04:38

Leon Russell, vocals, guitar, piano, Hammond organ
Jesse Ed Davis, guitar
Eric Clapton, guitar
Chris Stainton, guitar
Jimmy Johnson, guitar
Don Preston, guitar, vocals
Jim Price, Hammond organ
John Gallie, Hammond organ
Barry Beckett, Hammond organ
Jim Keltner, drums
Chuck Blackwell, drums
Jim Gordon, drums
Roger Hawkins, drums
Joey Cooper, guitar, vocals
David Hood, bass
Carl Radle, bass
Claudia Lennear, background vocals
Kathi McDonald, background vocals

Produced by Leon Russell, Denny Cordell

Digitally remastered