Dark Horse Records has announced the first release resulting from its new deal with the estate of the late Leon Russell. On March 17, Dark Horse will reissue Russell's 2001 Signature Songs on which he revisited his most classic compositions in stark piano-and-voice renditions. The upcoming reissue (which sports new cover art) will premiere the album on vinyl, and will also arrive on CD and in digital formats.
With Signature Songs, originally released on his own Leon Russell Records label, The Master of Time and Space looked back to his earliest solo recordings. "Delta Lady," "Hummingbird," and the oft-covered "A Song for You" were all originally featured on Russell's eponymous 1970 solo debut. "Stranger in a Strange Land" debuted on 1971's Leon Russell and the Shelter People, while the top 10 hit "Tight Rope," "Out in the Woods," "Magic Mirror," and "This Masquerade" were included on Russell's commercial breakthrough, Carney (1972). "Back to the Island" and "Lady Blue" first appeared on 1975's Will o' the Wisp, and "One More Love Song" opened 1979's Life and Love. Of Russell's most famous compositions, only "Superstar," co-written with Bonnie Bramlett and an uncredited Rita Coolidge, is conspicuously absent.
The reissued Signature Songs is a homecoming of sorts, uniting Russell with the label founded by his friend George Harrison. The two men formed a mutual admiration society; Russell was famously a part of Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh.
Leon was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 2011, riding the wave of adulation from his 2010 collaborative album with fan and friend Elton John, The Union. Though two more studio albums would follow, The Union marked the major triumph of his final years; he died in November 2016 at the age of 74, following years of health problems. Russell left behind a remarkable body of work unlike any other, from his early pop arrangements for the likes of Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Harpers Bizarre through his rollicking and passionate solo work, his country romps as Hank Wilson, and his collaborations with Marc Benno (as The Asylum Choir), Mary Russell, and New Grass Revival.
Signature Songs arrives from the late, two-time Grammy winner on March 17 from Dark Horse Records and BMG. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below.
Leon Russell, Signature Songs (Leon Russell Records LRR-30008, 2001 - reissued Dark Horse/BMG, 2023)
- A Song for You
- One More Love Song
- Tight Rope
- Stranger in a Strange Land
- Back to the Island
- Out in the Woods
- Lady Blue
- Delta Lady
- Magic Mirror
- This Masquerade