Leon Lifers Yahoo Group

Leon Russell Fans Yahoo Group

April 4th, 2004 - photos

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 the LeonLifers?"

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 that much!"

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!

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