Archive for the ‘Leon Russell’ Category

Brian Hyland

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Listen: The Joker Went Wild / Brian Hyland
The

Dick Clark’s Caravan Of Stars, the branded road show which featured some of the most popular acts of the day, began in 1959. Negative speculation ran high. Despite owning his AMERICAN BANDSTAND media partner, so many hit makers all rolled into one evening appeared costly to outsiders. But of course with the most watched teen program in America as both your airplay vehicle and your leverage, the economics of this perfect storm streamlined itself into a goldmine.

On the night of the Kennedy Assassination, the 1963 Caravan Of Stars which included Brenda Holloway, Reparata & The Delrons, The Hondells and Brian Hyland was scheduled to play at the Dallas Memorial Auditorium.

After the event, stories began circulating that the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, had tickets to the Caravan Of Stars concert. The manager of the Dallas record store that supposedly sold those tickets claims Oswald purchased two sometime before the shooting. However, there is no receipt to verify that Oswald actually had tickets, nor any other detail.

Regardless, Brian Hyland was one of the traveling entourage that worked his way through the crowd, getting a curbside view of the motorcade as it passed by their hotel, just three blocks before the shooting occurred.

By ’66, the world had changed drastically, and in some ways, so too had Brian Hyland. His early 60′s DA haircut had now grown into a contemporary Beatles fringe. Whether or not by design, the overall image update worked. Like Bobby Vee, the occasional single got airplay, and sounded perfectly in place on the radio.

Philips Records paired him with writer, arranger, producer Leon Russell who, as with Gary Lewis & The Playboys, merged then modern day west coast surf with Ricky Nelson influenced vocals to great success. ‘The Joker Went Wild’ made for a favorite spring ’66 anthem around our house. Mom, Dad and sister alike all giving it big thumbs up.

Leon Russell

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Listen: If I Were A Carpenter / Leon Russell
If

Despite rabidly dismissing Leon Russell in his heyday, I always liked his version of ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, turning a blind eye toward the rather embarrassing lyric changes. Actually, it’s surprising Tim Hardin allowed them. He probably needed the money, because heaven knows he didn’t seem to get his fair share.

I never quite knew if Leon Russell’s country hick delivery was serious or an inside joke, right down to his “s” being instead pronounced “sh”.

Over the years, as with many acts, my tastes have changed, particularly when produced by Denny Cordell. He really had it all down when it came to an English fellow loving American delta roots. Besides, Duane Sherwood is such a rabid Leon Russell fan, we’re all forced to sit up and listen or else.

Leon Russell

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Listen: Roll Away The Stone / Leon Russell LeonRussellStone.mp3

Despite Denny Cordell cutting his teeth during the 60′s as producer of The Moody Blues, The Move, Beverley and Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, he seemed to take a nasty turn in the period that immediately followed. He set up shop in Los Angeles, forming Shelter Records. Other than issuing a few reggae singles in the States for Chris Blackwell (The Maytals, The Wailers), Denny pretty much shifted gears musically. To this Anglophile, he betrayed his own greatness, suddenly producing and/or releasing super Americana stuff like Phoebe Snow, JJ Cale, Mudcrutch…..and Leon Russell.

I despised everything about Leon Russell. I hated his country boogie blues singalongs, his clothes, his grey hair – every last thing about him. Mind you, I was hard core pro England. The Kinks were the ultimate, Glam was preferred, I was not a believer.

Isn’t it crazy how one’s tastes can change, or in my case, grow. Man, was I wrong about Denny and Shelter. Fast forward a decade, and I’m jonesing for every last act on that roster, catching up on filling in the record collection with the Shelter singles.

Leon Russell’s history ran way deeper than I originally knew, back to Phil Spector’s Philles days where he led his house band, and he performed in the TAMI show and was a regular on SHINDIG and….and….and. Check the writer’s credits on some of those Phil Spector B sides: Leon Russell. Seemingly overnight, I needed everything attached to his long, long discography of contributions.

Well there aren’t many things I like more than a UK A&M A label. All the busy conflicting fonts, the bright yellow label, the red ‘A’ and the onslaught of release date/time/publisher info (Reminder: click on any of the records pictured to enlarge). It became a quest to get all Denny Cordell / Shelter via UK A&M 7′s. Took years but now pretty much complete. One of the first to be issued back on the old 700 series: ‘Roll Away The Stone’.

Do you think Mott The Hoople ever listened to Leon Russell?

Doris Troy

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Jacob's Ladder / Doris Troy

Listen: Jacob’s Ladder / Doris Troy
DorisTroyJacob'sLadder.mp3

Although having recorded with The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Dusty Springfield, Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Pink Floyd, it was The Beatles, and especially George Harrision, who seemingly had the real jones for Doris Troy. Signing to their Apple label, she was afforded a self produced long player, DORIS TROY. Apple issued two singles from it, the second being a remake of the biblical folk/gospel standard, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’.

Get Back / Doris Troy

Listen: Get Back / Doris Troy
Get

Both Apple 7′s luckily had non-LP B sides from the album sessions. For the flip of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, the basically still current ‘Get Back’ was used. In general, the overall recording approach for the project was very 1970, it’s a total Mad Dogs & Englishmen shamble/jam. No musician credits are listed on the album sleeve although it’s widely accounted that Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, Bill Wyman and Peter Frampton all joined George Harrison in it’s recording.

Derek & The Dominoes / Duane Allman / Elton John / Toe Fat

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad (Mono Edit)/ Derek & The Dominoes

Listen: Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad (Mono Edit)/ Derek & The Dominoes DerekWhyDoesLove.mp3

Bad Side Of The Moon / Toe Fat

Listen: Bad Side Of The Moon / Toe Fat ToeFat.mp3

Toe Fat US Picture Sleeve
US Picture Sleeve: Front (above) / Back (below)


Toe Fat US Picture Sleeve

On December 4, 1970, Derek & The Dominoes/Elton John/Toe Fat played the Syracuse War Memorial. Truth be told, I went to this show more to see Toe Fat than either Derek & The Dominoes or second on the bill, Elton John. It was all about those obscure UK bands for me, and with Cliff Bennett on lead vocals, Toe Fat, despite the dreadful name, were of big interest.

It was Elton John’s first US tour and to be fair, I was pretty curious. He was great by the way, just a three piece then with Nigel Olsson and Dee Murray. He proceeded to do ‘Bad Side Of The Moon’, despite it being the current single for Toe Fat, who played it as well just before his set. Still remember John Glascock on bass, later in Chicken Shack when I booked them at my college in December 71 and eventually joining Jethro Tull. He had a definite groove to his style and probably made the band swing the way they did.

This show, reviewed below, was one of only two that Duane Allman played live with Derek & The Dominoes. Like the poorly written recap, journalist Terry Lee clearly had no clue about this major moment, despite the roar of the audience when Eric Clapton brought Duane Allman out for the second song onwards. I recall an interview with Duane whereby he mentioned doing Syracuse and Tampa only. Despite his participation on LAYLA, it was one of the lucky moments to see it all live. Years later I quite appreciated the whole Delaney & Bonnie & Friends/Leon Russell feel, and admittedly this show was spectacular despite walking in as a Toe Fat fan. Probably the world’s only.

Derek, Elton, Toe Fat Review

Sonny & Cher

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

It's The Little Things / Sonny & Cher

Listen: It's The Little Things / Sonny & Cher SonnyCherLittle.mp3

You Better Sit Down Kids / Cher

Listen: You Better Sit Down Kids / Cher CherKids.mp3

Laugh At Me / Sonny

Listen: Laugh At Me / Sonny SonnyLaugh.mp3

Sonny jukebox tab

It’s hard to top ‘I Got You Babe’? Fuck that, ‘It’s The Little Things’ kills it. Splat. I’ve been listening over and over tonight, can’t think of a thing to say – I just keep repeating it. When Cher’s voice cracks at exactly 2:06 on “you’re STILL my guy”, I lose it. They were so in love then – it couldn’t be hidden. Incredible.

Running down a parallel track starting around ’65 was the train known as Cher’s solo career. ‘You Better Sit Down Kids’ was pretty heavy stuff, she even takes on the male role lyrically which always seemed a little off. Despite the song’s message, I still think they were in love though.

One night I was walking past The Bottom Line, the legendary NY club now gone. Out came Sonny with Chastity. Damn if I can remember who was playing that evening. I make a habit of carrying blank jukebox tabs and these are just the moments when I’m happy I do. Sonny was so gracious, and like everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, I have ever asked to fill one out he said “Nobody has ever asked me to do this before”. Neither of us could remember the B side. Chastity and Corinne were of no help.

The real genius behind Sonny & Cher, his tenure on the LA record making circuit with Phil Spector, Leon Russell, Al Kooper etc is now very obvious. He wore it humbly on his sleeve. A real unsung talent.

BETTY WILLIS

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Act Naturally / Betty Willis

Listen: Act Naturally / Betty Willis 01 Act Naturally.mp3

In my quest to get all the Phi-Dan singles, this has been the most elusive. Finally snagged it last week and man, was it worth the wait. Although the label was Phil Spector’s, all the releases were not his productions. In fact, Leon Russell took charge on this 1965 single. ‘Act Naturally’ is way better than I was anticipating. It’s over the top RnB meets mock Spector drama, as opposed to a more predictable country rendition. The little known Betty Willis is super hot on this, only her second single in five years, even some of those screeches are forgivable. Great one Betty, I love you.

Soul / Betty Willis

Listen: Soul / Betty Willis BettyWillisSoul.mp3

Then there’s the B side ‘Soul’. In what appeared to be Phil Spector policy, the flip is a jam – an obvious publishing grab. Remember the disappointment when flipping The Ronettes ‘Be My Baby’ to find ‘Tedesco & Pitman’, a real drag of an instrumental at the time? A solid guess would be this here’s Leon on piano – and God knows who else. Great track though.