This album is a strange coming together of two great artists, an emotional and musical mix of respect, gratitude admiration and fellowship that comes to life in a very pleasant blend of soul, country, gospel, down south blues and cowboy-gospel music.
It is a sound that initially baffles but then grows on you, once you've cleared away the mental picture of Elton John tickling the ivories wearing a big ole Stetson hat.
In many ways (and with a long story that goes with it) it is a long overdue get-together of rock legend Leon Russell and life-long fan Elton John, but it it's not a sycophantic monument to mutual admiration, nor a blatant attempt at reviving flagging careers.
There is an honest enjoyment in the music they make together and while it may score well with some critics it's not likely to set the pop charts alight: fair listening, if you like country-flavoured songs, but nothing that sticks to the memory on this album… nothing finger-snapping, or catching.
Easy listening springs to mind, because the songs they sing are much more Leon Russell than Elton John and it's good to hear the almost forgotten master who as writer, musician and arranger long ago worked with big stars such as the Carpenters, Bonny, Delaney, Clapton, Ray Charles, Dylan and Cocker.
It is also, in many ways, an escape route for Elton John from the flashier, kind of songs he has been singing for a large part of his career.
I particularly enjoyed the southern blues tones of There’s No Tomorrow, the strong, driving beat of Monkey Suit and homages such as Gone to Shiloh (The Band) and I Should Have Sent Roses (Stax).
Two all-time greats, two of the best piano men in the business, is what The Union is all about, Elton John minus his sequins and Leon Russell who never wore them in the first place giving it their best shot and having fun.
Together they have created something special and it’s hard not to get as tad sentimental when you listen to Elton belting out Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes because it probably says it all about this album… though it is going to be interesting to see how the fans take to this rather unusual musical union.