I didn’t know who he was at the time. A couple of other musicians listed among the album credits were familiar though. Nino Tempo and Sonny Bono were the two. It wasn’t until many years later I finally noticed Leon Russell”s name.
The album was Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift for You which I bought new sometime in the mid-sixties.
A Christmas Gift for You was a collection of traditional and new Christmas songs performed by three of Phil Spector’s vocal groups. It featured the Ronettes, the Crystals, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans and, of course, the fabulous Darlene Love whose song Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is still among my favorites. That was my first encounter with Leon Russell, though I didn’t realize it at the time.
I listened to Leon Russell more from the late sixties on. From his work with Joe Cocker, throughout his solo career. We were fortunate to hear him in concert in Schaumburg, Illinois on October 2, 2010 at the Prairie Center for the Arts.
That was a real encounter. Unfortunately, my first and last, captured only in a photo from the show…
I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for in my life you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you.
~Leon Russell – A Song For You