Leon Russell (2 April 1942 to 13 November, 2016)
Leon features among our selection Funerary Songs, and now it’s his turn. Rock and or Roll is one of the few areas where a guy from Comanche country, Oklahoma, can become a star. He was a superb session musician who also crafted great songs, and eventually, his work with Joe Cocker on the “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour and his increasingly popular brand of heartfelt, nasal gospel with a slice of piano honky-tonk-boogie added, elevated him to legendary status. At a Bluesfest a few years ago, he smoked the big tent with a wonderful set, including some of his best: Delta Lady, A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall, Tightrope, Song for You, This Masquerade, Out in the Woods, Bluebird, and, (of course) his homage to Matthew, 28:2, Roll Away the Stone. We’re all Leon Lifers now. Vale, Claude.