Singing in a strong, elastic growl and matching John's piano work with low-end rolls and top-note sparkle, Russell jars the younger man from his routine sheen, back to the natural fiber and grandeur of 1970's Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection. On The Union, produced by T Bone Burnett, John and Russell share the resurrection. Each goes back to what he first did best. Then they do it together.npr is streaming the entire album.
UPDATE 10/21/10: it's official. rolling stone is now in love with elton john (and leon russell.) the two legends kicked off a concert tour promoting the union last night at the beacon theatre in new york:The centerpiece of the show was a complete performance of The Union. Powered by four back-up singers, a four-piece horn section and the house band led by guitarist Marc Ribot, the songs sounded even better than they do on record. Elton and Leon have such similar styles it was often hard to tell who was playing piano. The best material on The Union ranks among the best work of either singer, particularly the Civil War epic "Gone To Shiloh." When Elton and Leon's voice merged on the line "when flags and bullets start to fly" the result was positively chilling.