Leon Russell - Leon Live (1973)

Leon Russell is an American singer, songwriter and musician, best known as a virtuoso pianist.

After his Carney album reached #2 on the charts in 1972, Leon Russell was riding high on new-found fame and recognition. This was also strengthened by his band-leader role on Joe Cocker's 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, and his stunning performance at the Concert For Bangladesh in 1971. Years of working in the studio trenches had begun to pay off, and when he played live he turned out to be a top concert draw. His next album was a live one, taken from a concert in Long Beach in August 1972.
Leon Live demonstrates the pure power of Russell in full-on rock mode. A triple-LP set, it's packed with turbo-charged high energy rock, powered along by his rock & roll piano. To those who had only heard him on Carney, it must have been a bit of a shock. Because when Russell wants to rock he goes all-out, and the pace never lets up throughout all 100+ minutes. It features songs from across his first three albums, all played harder and faster than the original versions. It also features several medleys, within which can be found "Amazing Grace", the Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash", Bob Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn", The Coasters' "Idol With The Golden Head" and "Young Blood". Also has a cover of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".
For a character as full-on as Russell, a big powerful band is needed, and Leon Live features just that. Alongside Russell himself (lead vocals/piano) are Reverend Patrick Henderson (piano/vocals), Joey Cooper (guitar), Don Preston (guitar/vocals), John Gallie (organ), Carl Radle (bass), Ambrose Campbell (percussion), Chuck Blackwell (drums), Phyllis Lindsey (vocals) and several female backing singers. Yes, that's two pianos. Patrick Henderson gets to sing a few numbers himself, and adds to the gospel flavour. Preston and Lindsey both sing lead on a song each as well. Russell had earlier worked with Preston, Radle and Blackwell on Mad Dogs & Englishmen.
The result is a stunning gospel-fuelled rock & roll extravaganza, with Russell as the piano-playing master of ceremonies. Many of the songs stretch out over ten minutes as he preaches and rambles. It's an intense experience, which will leave you breathless by the end. Judging by this album, it must have been one hell of a concert to be at.

As it's such a long record, the download is divided into two albums (Leon Live Disc 1 and Leon Live Disc 2).

Carney (1972) <|> Hank Wilson's Back (1973)
More from Leon Russell

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1 comment:

DSB said...

I saw this band live and it was a MOTHER of a concert.