Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Leon Russell: Leon Russell [Shelter, 1970]
This is weirder than what you'd expect from a man whose Phil Spector savvy and slick gospel piano have helped stabilize both Delaney & Bonnie and Joe Cocker. Russell has all of Mick Jagger's whine and shriek and none of his power, so while the singing is distinctive, and valid, it grates--impressive material from "Dixie Lullaby" and "Shoot Out on the Plantation" would simply be more so with other vocals. If not Delaney, Bonnie, or Joe, how about Marc Benno? B+