Leon Russell Fans Yahoo Group
April 4th, 2004 -
The LeonLifers hired Leon Russell this weekend for a private performance.
Leon and the band gathered early in the day at Honey's house where
they served some of Smoke House Bob's B.B.Q. and Ron Colburn presented
Leon with a birthday present. The LeonLifers gave Leon a Gibson
335 guitar. The guitar is a beautiful mahogany finish overlaid with
a blue finish and grover tuning keys. Leon was very surprised and
afterward a group photo was taken in front of Honey's house.
The show at the Roxy started at 9 PM where Leon spoke about the
songs he is currently performing including some of the stories behind
some of the songs. Leon spoke about listening to the radio as a
child hearing "Night Time is the Right Time," and related
his story regarding Bob Dylan and the song "Hard Rain is Gonna
Fall." It was a really fun and laid back event followed by
many of the Lifers gathering back at Honey's for a night cap. Thanks
to everyone for a fun time and some great food.
September 29, 2002
Recently the LeonLifers released a videotape entitled, "The
LeonLifer Story." The video features a thief burglarizing a
home where he finds Leon Russell albums, souvenirs, and a drink
holder with the words written "Anything Can Happen, September
28, 2000 Louisville, KY." The "Anything Can Happen"
event and performance by Leon Russell was held at Coyotes nightclub
in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The event was sponsored by the
LeonLifers fan club to honor Leon Russell.
The thief sits down at a computer in the home and searches the
internet with questions such as: "What is a LeonLifer?",
"Who is Leon Russell?", "So, why isn't Leon Russell
in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?", "So, is a LeonLifer
just a Leon Russell Fan?", "What brought the LeonLifers
together as a group?", "What's so special about Sept.
28, 2000 in Louisville, KY?", "What was it like to meet
everyone?" and "Did Leon Russell do anything special for
After each question asked by the thief, members of the LeonLifer
fan club respond and answer his questions. The LeonLifer video includes
performance footage by Leon Russell from the Shindig Television
show, The David Letterman Show, Joe Cocker and the Mad Dogs and
Englishmen tour, The Concert for Bangladesh, The Grand Ole Opry,
Earl Scruggs-Foggy Mountain Breakdown video, Leon and Mary, Leon
and Edgar Winter, The American Music Show, Leon Live, Leon and Willie
Nelson at Willie Nelson's July 4th Picnic, One for the Road, Leon
and the New Grass Revival, and Bruce Hornsby.
The LeonLifers are a group of individuals from different diverse
backgrounds and regions from all over the world. The common bound
between these individuals is the music Leon Russell has created.
According to Nancy Roloff, "a LeonLifer is someone who has
been fortunate enough and lucky enough to have been exposed to Leon,
and doesn't have to be from the 1960's." John Beyrooty said,
"It's really a phenomenon, everybody has favorite groups and
what we have, and what our generation has, staying with these artists
that have been around for thirty years; I sincerely doubt that it
will happen with today's groups and today's fans thirty years from
now." "It's really about the power of love and the power
of music," according to Georgia Koontz. According to Steve
Burns, "There are hundreds of thousands of Leon Russell fans
out there, but we have gone a step further to almost fan-atic."
The internet brought the LeonLifers together. While looking for
a chat group for Leon Russell Marcia Bilynsky was unable to find
one. So Marcia started a chat group called the One List. "I
was looking for a chat group for Leon Russell, and there was nothing;
I looked under the one list and I started a group December 21, 1998,
and the first person to chat with was Rick Colburn," said Marcia
Bilynsky. "The first several minutes there where six of seven
of us, and I would write to keep it going along and it started to
snowball," said Rick Colburn. Each of the members have become
intertwined in each others lives, they know each others illnesses,
sadness, happiness, and they give comfort to each other. We are
really a family. "It's not just a music fan club anymore we
are personal friends now," according to Roberta Warman. "It's
a lot easier sometimes to tell people your troubles, and your joys,
without having to look them in the face for the first time, and
we had some heart wrenching, touching, and all kinds of news shared
on this One List, so we felt like we knew each other way before
we ever met each other, it's fantastic," said Nita Sissell!
"It's a news group that's turned into a family," said
Linda Donley. Rick Colburn passed away recently and is sorely missed
by the LeonLifers.
The LeonLifers on September 28, 2000 at Coyotes in downtown Lousiville,
Kentucky arranged a private/public event to honor Leon Russell.
This event was called, "Anything Can Happen." The Lifers
honored Leon Russell in a private room adjacent to the venue, with
a plaque with the words, "Presented to the Master of Space
and Time Leon Russell." "Thank you for a lifetime of music
and entertainment, for the beauty in your songs, for the excellence
in your craft, and for the spirit and love you share, through your
gifts and talent."
Leon responded, "What a surprise, what a wonderful thing this
is here!" "My life is a weird thing you know." "Ambrose
and I where in Detroit, MI with the Willie Nelson show on Easter
Sunday, and I said to Willie and Ambrose, you know this is a hotbed
of Church of God in Christ." "You know I love the preachers,
and I love the Church of God in Christ, in particular, I love that
kind of music that kind of talking, that kind of singing."
"Lets go to a Easter Musical, lets find a Easter Musical to
goto." " So, we set out in the ghettos in Detroit to try
to find a Easter Musical and walked up to a guy in his car that
was leaving church, he had a little girl in the back and was getting
ready to leave church." " I walked up to the car, and
she started to climb out she said, Jesus! Jesus!" "Her
daddy was kind of slapping her, get down." "I said do
you know where there is any Easter Musicals, I want to take my friends
to see an Easter Musical." "No I don't know, I don't know."
"I went down and asked somebody else, well there's a church
down here." "So, we went down there it's about a 1500
seat church, they where shouting, I like that, that's the thing
that first crossed my attention from the Church of God in Christ."
"So, I ran down to the Organist just like I owned the joint,
and said is there a Musical that we can goto today?" "He
said, well the Bishop of the Church of God in Christ is having a
musical today at some such and such auditorium starting at 1PM,
and they have a 300 voice choir that's really going to be something."
"So, I took Ambrose and Willie, and we got down there and I
walked into the room and into the restroom and little boys where
smoking in the restroom and they said, You the Devil! You the Devil!
You the Devil! So, I said to Ambrose only in my life can I be Jesus
Christ and the Devil, inside of 15 minutes on Easter Sunday."
"So, this is kind of the story of my life you know Jesus and
the Devil." "So, we went into the room we were early of
course, and we set down about 25 rows back." "People started
coming in, and all of sudden I looked around and there was this
great big vacancy of seats about 25 seats in every direction, they
set all around us, all back in the back, and all in the front and
circling around us." "Church of God in Christ is black
church in case you didn't know that." "And, all of sudden
there was this old man and his wife." "He took his bible
and he got out from the chair, and he came stomping up there, and
he set right down next to Ambrose, and Ambrose got up and bowed
to him." "And, then that circle, that vacant circle filled
in with all those people watching." "So, I think we have
got to try to fill that circle!"
Some of the highlights of the evening at Coyotes nightclub was
an appearance by Ambrose Campbell at Leon's side at the dedication,
and Reverend Patrick Henderson gave the blessing. The LeonLifers
wore a pink ribbon in the video in remembrance of Bobby Collins,
a LeonLifer who could not make the "Anything Can Happen show,"
and eventually passed away. The video is dedicated to the memory
of Bobby Collins, Linda Rose Sickelsmith, and Rick Colburn.
Ambrose Campbell stated, "I have never seen Leon Russell moved
This group of individuals paid homage to Leon Russell and thanked
Leon, for the love that he has shared with them through his music.
The Leon Lifers are currently planning another event slated for
the fall of 2003. The LeonLifer members filmed include: Jeff Haas,
Melissa Scarbrough, Sweet Emily Miller Mundy, Rick Colburn, Steve
Burns, Kathleen Murphy, Rick Pfenniger, Nancy Barnum-Roloff, Sue
Carlson, Mark Atteberry, John Beyrooty, Darrell Mahone, Marcia Bilynsky,
Roberta Warman, Jim and Georgia Koontz, Linda Donley, Mary Nell
Shiflet, Suzanne Peterson, Nita Sissell.
Peace to all that find Peace within themselves, and to the LeonLifers
you are the best!
Back to top