Morning Song – Delta Lady
Here’s Leon Russell not doing what he did best…and it’s still riveting.
Though he had some modest success in the 1970s as a singer and bandleader, Russell made his name in the music industry as one of the most sought-after session musicians in Los Angeles, laying down hundreds of piano and keyboard tracks for everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke to the Monkees, and Aretha Franklin to the Beach Boys, and writing hundreds of songs for dozens of pop, country, blues and soul singers.
Originally a hit for Joe Cocker, and inspired by Rita Coolidge (then a backup singer in Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” band put together by Russell), here’s a mesmerizingly quirky video of Russell’s own live version of the song, with everything from false starts, a random woman mixing up a cake (really! at 1:46), a studio audience, and a delightful, sly, satisfied, little smile (at 4:42) from Russell after the cut is over and he knows it’s a wrap.