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Monday, November 10, 2014

Los Angeles, December, 1970, when Leon Russell was king of the world


It says this is from 1971, but I actually think it was recorded in December 1970 at KCET in Los Angeles as part of what's known as the Homewood Sessions. They say it was the first live stereo FM broadcast. Not sure how true that is but what's certain is this captures the Leon Russell caravan at their very best, including such key walk-ons as Don Nix, Claudia Linnear and Furry Lewis (of whom Joni Mitchell wrote "Furry Sings The Blues").

I find his solo albums a bit strained but at the time this was taped he was a brilliant producer/svengali. This was around the time he produced Freddie King's brilliant "Going Down". The woman with the rolling pin is Emily Smith who was part of Russell's retinue and the inspiration for his song "Sweet Emily". In this clip the sound and pictures are out of sync but I don't think that changes the remarkable fact that they could play this well live and these days you'd probably get arrested for having this much fun on camera.