11/15/16

Leon Russell - Leon Live (1973)



Sad Leon Russell died yesterday. He was part of my teenage dream. He was the charismatic guy with hat and so long hair behind his piano, captain of the Mad Dog & Englishman ship. His solo career was not always my taste but between 1970 and 1973 he was a scenic phenomenon, all in revival gospel excess. Here the ultimate testimony of this era with this 3 LP live set entitled Leon live recorded at the Long Beach Arena ion the 28 August 1972. More details below. Catch it here.

Some days ago, Leon Russell was inducted to the Hall of Fame by Elton John (whatever this sentence may mean since I'm not sure I know exactly what the hell it's about to induct someone to the Hall of Fame). A good opportunity to say here how, with Dr John and Al Kooper, this charismatic man was underrated over his career. Of course, it's his role next to Joe Cocker that gave him this special aura he's associated to, this so special look that I found so "rock 'n' roll" when I was 12 when actually it was not rock 'n' roll but gospel rock. In studio, Leon Russell never reached the intensity of his live sets (and actually was surely the less talented of the 3 for studio work). But on stage, he was able to put the room on fire only with his strange donald duck voice and his piano-à-là Jerry Lee Lewis. In this live 3 LP album, he closed his fame period, since then he'll try to touch to a wider variety of genres without the success he met with gospel rock. If the band is not as shaky as was the one playing on Mad Dogs and Englishmen, there is enough groove and excitation to make it a classic that I surprise myself to listen to very often, particularily when I don't know what to listen to and I'm not in a doom mood. Sometimes, Leon's band sounds as Mott the Hoople (pre-Bowie era). If there are many self-indulgent passages, there's enough here to make you dance all around the place in screaming the choruses with the choir. So c'mon for celebrating the old Leon, when he (and we) was young and crazy.





8 comments:

Homesick in Paradise said...

Merci pour les liens. C'est encore dispo?

dk said...

Oui. Pas vraiment une rareté en fait. Mais j'avais envie de le mettre sur le blog.

Anonymous said...

He is an accomplished session musician and a song writer. You need to see this website http://www.leonrussellrecords.com/memory_lane.shtml

Anonymous said...

No one comes close to Leon's sexual animal magnetism (or SAM as it was referred to in the 70's). His melodies and lyrics are hauntingly beautiful and his voice is soulful and mesmerizing.

Hamster said...

Some classic stuff from a classic guy. Thanks for the post.

AussieRock said...

Although I agree with your accolades regarding his live material and wonderful partnership with Joe Cocker, I still think he put out some great studio albums - in particular his 1972 album 'Carney' which I loved from the first day I heard it as young teenager.
His musical wizardry on the piano and wining voice will be sadly missed.
Thank you for sharing this triple live set which I was only just listening to (on my record player) recently while painting my house.
Cheers from DownUnder

dkelvin said...

@AussieRock. Following your comment, I listened again to Carney and sorry, I'm not fond of it. His albums sound uneven to my ears. But that's not a problem, we love him both.
dk

dugg said...

Alas, it seems all the Leon links have expired. Would it be possible for you to renew one of them? I'm not fussy (they are all great recordings)- whichever one is closest to hand/easiest for you...
Thanks for sharing so much great music,,, it's so good for the heart in these dark times....
all the best,
d17