Angel In Disguise
By James Calemine
Angel In Disguise contains 11 new Leon Russell songs. Russell's prodigious discography proves his influence and talent since he left Lawton, Oklahoma, in his teens.
"Sweet Mimi", a rollicking opener, employs many of the same musical elements--mercurial guitar, cosmic keyboards and a strong beat--Russell mastered over the last 40 years. "How Can This Be Love" contends as a hybrid R & B song bred with synthesized keyboards. The title track, a swinging R & B number, calls to mind Tony Joe White.
These songs-- such as "Lovin' On My Mind"--begin to take on a psychedelic-swamp sound with gospel back up vocalists. These compositions represent The Master of Space and Time in 2007.
"Come For You" could easily pass for a Stevie Wonder funk song until you hear Russell's inimitable voice. "Black N Blue" operates with unrestrained R & B, funk and Russell's signature rock and roll piano.
"All Through The Night", a ballad, calls to mind a sonic landscape of Russell's fine album Will O the Wisp. "Honky Tonk Eyes" proves there's still a spring in Russell's 65-year-old step in an up-tempo ditty that revisits Jerry Lee Lewis' incandescent piano work. "Dyess Colony" sounds like cowboy swing mixed with the blues and a galloping keyboard to birth a toe-tapping tale.
Angel In Disguise does not find Leon Russell looking over his shoulder...