Sunday, November 13, 2016

Leon Russell (1941–2016)

The musician and songwriter Leon Russell has died. The New York Times has an obituary.

Leon Russell was only occasionally on my radar. But many years ago, I held a microphone up to the television set and recorded this performance on a cassette, Furry Lewis and Russell and company performing “Furry’s Blues.” Watch the way Russell and the rest of the band adapt to Lewis’s flexible sense of time.

The whole show is at YouTube too.

comments: 4

misterbagman said...

Great music, and a great loss. Hoping to enjoy more of Mr. Russell's playing and singing, I started the video from the beginning after the Furry song. I had a good chuckle at the public TV announcer's un-hip-ness.

Michael Leddy said...

Lots of good stuff in there. Look for Claudia Lennear, who’s in Twenty Feet from Stardom.

Chris said...

Furry Lewis was an interesting guy; I still have one or two LPs of his music. He first recorded back in the '20s, in a style very different from what is displayed here, then dropped out of sight for decades until he was "rediscovered" (I suspect he knew where he was all along), then wound up doing appearances on the Tonight Show and cameos in Burt Reynolds movies. He was also the inspiration for Joni Mitchell's "Furry Sings the Blues," which is both one of her most brilliant songs and one that Furry (understandably) hated.

Michael Leddy said...

I first encountered his music on Yazoo compilations. He was a rather fleet guitarist back in the day. I didn’t know about Johnny Carson. John Hurt made an awkward appearance on the show. How strange and wonderful that either musician should end up in such environs.