Leon Russell and Elton John, "There Is No Tomorrow"

Has anyone ever seen Leon Russell and Walt Whitman in the same place at the same time? Think about it.

Upset about election results?  Living in a “blue state” [see what I did there]?  In what turned out to be a real nail-biter of a race, Pennsylvania is sending Washington its newest Most Conservative Senator, and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act, has been replaced by someone who thinks it “inappropriate” for a member of congress to be publicly critical of taking military action.  Also, the bootleggers, prison union and alcohol lobby proved too much for California’s Prop 19.

Well, then here’s something to pick up your spirits.  “There’s No Tomorrow” is from the recently released Leon Russell/Elton John collaboration Union.

Elton John and Leon Russell, “Theres No Tomorrow” [Buy Union]

I actually saw Leon Russell a few years ago at a pretty awful Allentown, PA venue with a name that strangely foreshadows this year’s collaboration, Crocodile Rock Cafe.  I remember an awesome rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.”  As a bonus, here’s one of my favorites, from Russell’s Carney (1972).

Leon Russell, “This Masquerade” [Buy Carney]

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4 Responses to Leon Russell and Elton John, "There Is No Tomorrow"

  1. David G says:

    I like the “There’s No Tomorrow” slightly more than I expected to like a song featuring Elton John. Which isn’t super high praise. Some neat guitar work, though.

    I do dig “This Masquerade,” though: at first it sounds like it could be from the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack but then it explodes… into 70s soft rock. A combo I can get behind.

  2. Billy L says:

    T Bone Burnett productions definitely have a distinct sound… not sure what it is exactly, but definitely has similar qualities to the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss record. The backup singers kill it on this tune. And it’s cool to hear the two pianos — one in each channel.

    I read the write-up in the Times — it was really touching hearing these men profess their love and respect for each other.

    Elton: “If Leon can get the accolades he deserves and be financially O.K. for the rest of his life, I will have done something decent with my music.”

    “I wanted to give Elton something,” [Russell] said. “But what do you give a guy who has six fully stocked houses? So I thought the only thing I could give him is a song.” He quickly wrote the stately “In the Hands of Angels,” an abstract retelling of the story of the album, which thanks Mr. John (“the guv’ner” in the lyrics), who “knew all the places I needed to go” and made him “feel the love down deep inside.”

    Mr. John said: “When he played that, we just lost it. No one has ever written me a song before. He said, ‘I want to thank you for saving my life,’ and I just burst into tears.”

    • Christopher T says:

      Thanks for that, Billy. I should have checked out the Times write-up before posting. I didn’t really think about what a big deal it might be for Russell to do this collab, but that show I saw was a pretty sorry thing. It must’ve been back in 2007/8 because my brother was there. I’ve only been there the once but from what I remember the Croc Rock is a pretty large multi-purpose sort of venue with a front restaurant and a back bar/stage space. It was set up with crappy tables and uncomfortable seats in from of the stage and there was hardly anybody there.

      The opener was two, old awful bar musicians. They said they played “country western… [wait for it] West Coast and the country of Jamaica [pause for laughs…no laughs? That’s weird…spring breakers usually laugh there]. Their hit song was about being abducted by aliens and “Rocking the mothership” or something terrible like that. During one cover the guitarist actually interrupted the song to ask his partner what key he was playing the song in. Tommy Chong’s voice: “The key of C, man.”

      Leon had some pretty solid guys with him though. Some real skinny guitarist who from the looks of his clothes was a devotee of Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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