After his first two rock-orientated records, Leon Russell's third album was a bit of a change of direction, going into more mellow and introspective territories. Whilst previously he had played as the frontman of a rock & roll band, Carney saw him develop as a singer-songwriter. It is also very much a product of the studio, with Russell producing the record and playing most of the instruments himself (though he is helped out by drummers Jim Keltner and Chuck Blackwell, bassist Carl Radle and guitarists Don Preston and Joey Cooper). It's full of interesting experiments in arrangements, instrumentation and production. In comparison to his first albums, which had a very 'live' band feel, Carney sounds more like Russell experimenting by himself in his studio. The experimentation reaches its peak with the bizarre, psychedelic soundscape "Acid Annapolis". The circus-themed "Tight Rope" reached #11 on the charts, and subsequently the album reached #2, giving him the biggest hit of his career. "This Masquerade" has been covered by lots of other artists, most notably George Benson, who took it to the top ten, and won a Grammy for his version of it in 1977.
Leon Russell & The Shelter People (1971) <|> Leon Live (1973)
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