Shuffle Aces: Leon Russell – Delta Lady

LeonRussellI came across this clip of Delta Lady courtesy my friend John Cliff who is a huge Leon Russell fan, and while I was well aware of the work of Russell I don’t know if I’d ever watched a video clip of him before. But given his career is most notable for his session work with other players that’s maybe not too surprising.

This track, Delta Lady, brought Russell his first commercial success when Joe Cocker recorded it in 1969. While he has released many solo albums throughout his career, it’s as a songwriter and session musician that he’s truly made his mark – to the point where he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 14, 2011. The peak of his career was during the ‘60s and ‘70s, but he was brought back to the fore when Elton John used him in on his 2010 album The Union, so exposing him to yet another generation of fans.

I think what grabs me most about this one is Russell’s charisma as a front man and also just how good the backing vocals are! I also love the false start at the beginning – just to show even the pros don’t always nail it first time. In the current era of so much heavily produced music it’s also nice to watch something so raw, basically just a bunch of people jamming but doing it really really well.

You can find all the Shuffle Ace tracks – including this one – on a Spotify playlist here.

Shuffle Aces is a series of posts that highlights a song of the week that “shuffling” has brought forth. With all the streaming services it’s not just an iPod on shuffle mode that we use to discover new stuff, but the principle remains the same: hit play and wait to see what gems come forth.

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