Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
The Ultimate Leon Russell Rockumentary.
Anthony Accordino | Massapequa Park, New York United States | 09/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Upon it's release in July of 2002, Leon Russell fans were shocked at the horrible quality of this dvd. The entire initial shipment proved to be defective and was recalled after numerous complaints regarding the out of sync audio and picture. I just received the corrected version and was it ever worth the wait. Leon Russell "A Song For You" is a treasure chest of 25 Russell classics that captures the rock legend from early on in his solo career with the shelter people to the present. Leon made available his many hours of rare film archives to the producers of this dvd. You get to hear and see Leon in his young prime belting out "Delta lady", "A Song For You", "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" and his explosive cover of the Stones "Jumping Jack Flash". The dvd also captures an older Russell doing some of his other well known tunes like "Tightrope", "Lady Blue", "Back To The Island" and "Stranger In a Strange Land". There is also a fantastic biographical commentary throughout the dvd. Leon also is captured performing with Willie Nelson and Edgar Winter as well. All twenty-five performances are captured in their entirety and the sound and picture quality is fantastic considering many performances were captured in the early 70's. At 95 minutes long this dvd certainly captures the brilliance of Leon Russell who is and always will be one of the most important figures of the classic rock fraternity[check out his resume]. If you are a Leon Russell fan, I strongly urge you to purchase this musical extravaganza and enjoy the master of space and time like never before."
Not Bad, But Could Have Been Excellent
Mark Bumgardner | Concord, NC United States | 11/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I believe it was Cher (of all people) who was asked a few years ago what her favorite musical memory from her never-ending career was. Her response was watching a very drunk (and possibly unclothed - can't remember that detail) Leon Russell dancing on a grand piano during a mid 60s recording session. It's too bad that no film from that little episode was available for inclusion on this DVD, as it would have fit nicely with its' narrated documentary feel.
Fans of Leon are just going to have to wait a little longer for a truly definitive DVD to hit the market. In the meantime, this one does a nice job serving as either an introduction to the uninitiated and as a decent career summary for fans.
My biggest problem with the DVD is pretty much the same as other reviewers have stated - the inclusion of a little too much footage from the 90s and not enough from the prime early to mid 70s era. Granted there is some very nice footage of Leon and the "Shelter People" in a TV studio playing songs from his first solo album, but there isn't nearly enough film of Leon and his full band in a true concert setting. During the early 70s, Leon was one of the top concert acts in the entire country! For those of us who never got to see Leon until he was part of Willie Nelson's band, video from those earlier days is a holy grail of sorts. That criticism aside, the concert footage included here is (cheesy effects aside) absolutley riviting - especially Jumpin' Jack Flash.
I also have some minor issues with a few mistated facts that crop up in the packaging and as part of the narration. Who ever wrote the liner notes on the packaging refers to Leon's career as "illustrious, yet almost anonymous". Is he kidding? He obviously wasn't around during that (although somewhat brief) time in the early 70s when Leon was HUGE! He was arguably as popular and as well known as any rock star on the planet! And then there's that ever popular trend of assuming that Leon's song "Roll Away the Stone" is the same tune recorded by Mott the Hoople. It's not. Why didn't someone just take 5 minutes and listen to those songs before including that in the script? A little fact checking never hurts when researching someone's career for a project like this.
Petty grievances aside, any one watching this DVD can't help but be impressed by the astounding number of major artists Leon has played for, written for, or produced. The list starts with former Beatles, the Stones, the Beach Boys and just gets longer and better. And the songs! "This Masquerade", "A Song for You", and "Superstar" can't be considered anything but modern standards! And don't even try to start naming all the great rock songs Russell's written - there's just too many.
No doubt, this is worth having in your collection. I just can't help but think it could have been that much better with a little more vault raiding and research. In the meantime, I'll just hope that more concert video from '71 or '72 is out there somewhere and that it will make it onto DVD eventually. That is something I'll stand in line to buy!"
A Musical Biography Of Rock & Roll Legend
H. Brown | Omaha, Nebraska United States | 09/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I purchased this DVD, I was expecting a concert. Well, there is plenty of concert footage, informal studio sessions, all wrapped around the narrated story of Leon's life and his influence spanning four decades of music. I was surprised by the previous author's review. He/she claims to be a Leon fan, then gives this DVD a 2 star rating? I'm not sure the review was about this DVD as I think any TRUE fan of Leon Russell will see this for what it is, a musical biography of one of the best there ever was. It is a pity that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hasn't yet inducted him into the "club".
If you ever enjoyed Leon throughout his extensive career, this DVD is a must own for your collection."
Leon Russell: Master Of Space , time, and Baby-boomer music
J. Crosby | Midwest | 03/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot say enough concerning this music DVD. I always was a BIG fan of Leon, and this is a true god-send to people of this ilk. It has early 70's studio footage of him and "The Shelter People" performing, some concert footage from back in the good old days, and more recent concert/performance footage. The disc is just crammed full of this great musician and sonwriters massive talent.
Buy it, wait 'till your spouse and kids leave the house, crank up the 5.1, open the first bottle of a six pack of Guinness, and have a great time!"