May 19, 2011 – 11:27 am

LEON RUSSELL R.I.P. 1942 - 2016

Leon Russell, the longhaired, scratchy-voiced pianist, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who moved from playing countless recording sessions to making hits on his own, died on November 13, 2016 in Nashville. He was 74. His website said he had died in his sleep but gave no specific cause. Russell’s health had incurred significant setbacks in recent years. In 2010, he underwent surgery for a brain fluid leak and was treated for heart failure. In July he had a heart attack and was scheduled for further surgery, according to a news release from the historical society of Oklahoma, his home state. With his trademark top hat, hair well past his shoulders, a long, lush beard, an Oklahoma drawl and his fingers splashing two-fisted barrelhouse piano chords, Russell cut a flamboyant figure in the early ’70s. He led Joe Cocker’s band Mad Dogs & Englishmen, appeared at George Harrison’s 1971 Concert for Bangladesh in New York City and had numerous hits of his own, including “Tight Rope.” Many of his songs became hits for others, among them “Superstar” (written with Bonnie Bramlett) for the Carpenters, “Delta Lady” for Joe Cocker and “This Masquerade” for George Benson. More than 100 acts have recorded “A Song for You,” which Russell said he wrote in 10 minutes. - The New York Times

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Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

NET TV Special 1971 [no label, 1CD]

Very good soundboard. Audio taken from TV/radio re-broadcast? Vinyl rip. Show was originally aired in 1970.

From Phil Spector to Joe Cocker to George Harrison and the Concert for Bangladesh, musician and songwriter Leon Russell has worked with the who’s who of rock music. And his 2009 collaboration with Elton John on The Union album has led some fans to do some backtracking on Russell’s music. As much as one likes The Carpenters’ take of A Song For You, Russell’s version here can still bring a lump to your throat. Too bad that Russell’s version of Superstar wasn’t featured at this show.

Thanks to Doinker who shared these tracks in 2005. This is what Doinker noted:

This superb show has unfortunately never been released. The source is supposedly an FM simulcast, but I don’t believe it as the sound quality is a bit better than FM. This is from one of the many early bootleg vinyl pressings that were put out at the time, but is not from the Zerocks Records release that is the most common. The sound quality on that release was not as good as the Bush Records vinyl, so the Bush Records vinyl was used instead.

The outro at the end of So Strange was taken from the Zerocks Records release, it doesn’t appear on the Bush version.

The Furry who sings Furry’s Blues is the same Furry who Joni Mitchell wrote a song about (Furry Sings The Blues). As the story goes, the old man gave his permission at first, then sued her when the song became more popular.

A lot of restoration work went into this project:

Lineage: Bush Records Version ->Sound Forge 6.0 ->Manual click and crackle sweep -> Normalization ->Default Vinyl auto click and crackle sweep ->Normalization -> Sony (Sonic Foundry) Vinyl Restoration ->4x Spectrum analysis leading to -> 60hz, 108hz, and 129hz notch filtering ->”Dead Space” sampling leading to -> Sony (Sonic Foundry) Noise Reduction 12db mode2 default setting ->track splitup with metadata stripped ->Flac Frontend level 6, sectors aligned and verified, replaygain used.

Thanks also to hluedeke2004 who created the DVD artwork for this show. According to the DVD sleeve, this show - Homewood Session, Vine Street Theatre, Hollywood, CA - was originally broadcast on December 5, 1970 (US TV, KCET Los Angeles). A note adds:

The Vine Street Theatre had a little studio in the back part of the building. The show is billed on the theatre marquee at the beginning as “The Vine Street Theatre presents Homewood”, but the on air host calls it “Session”. They actually shot six hours but only broadcast one hour. As Leon says in the opening intro from when it was rebroadcast, it was unscripted and unrehearsed. Leon also says that it was the first national broadcast of a “stereo” rock and roll performance but that would have required an FM simulcast, since American television was not stereo in 1970 or even in the 1980s when this was probably rebroadcast.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (4.0MB)
Track 02. Caravan (the Van Morrison Caravan, that is) (4.7MB)
Track 03. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (8.5MB)
Track 04. Delta Lady (6.1MB)
Track 05. A Song For You (6.8MB)
Track 06. Furry’s Blues (4.0MB)
Track 07. Amos Burke (4.5MB)
Track 08. Honky Tonk Woman (5.5MB)
Track 09. Sweet Emily (5.4MB)
Track 10. Prince Of Peace (5.6MB)
Track 11. Girl Of The North Country (4.3MB)
Track 12. Big Boss Man (5.1MB)
Track 13. Georgia Queen (4.9MB)
Track 14. So Strange (3.7MB)

Leon Russell
Don Nix
Claudia Lennear
Kathi McDonald
Chuck Blackwell
Jim Horn
John Gallie
Furry Lewis
Don Preston
Joey Cooper
Carl Radle
Sweet Emily

Click on the link to order Leon Russell releases.

  1. 37 Responses to “LEON RUSSELL - NET TV SPECIAL 1971”

  2. you rascals!!! thank you thank you thank you !!!!!

    By sluggo on May 19, 2011

  3. Hi guys. I saw this show when it was on the first time. I still have the little frog flyer that I clipped out of the LA Times. The show was simulcast with KPPC FM from Pasadena. It was treat. I didn’t know who Furry was at the time but I think this is how Joni learned of him. Leon knew every musician in LA.

    By PatCo' on May 19, 2011

  4. a little sidenote about furry lewis… Furry had lost one leg as a result of an accident when he was younger, later worked as a street cleaner in memphis for many years. When it came time for him to retire the city fathers denied his pension because of his “handicap” and stated they had a policy about not hiring handicapped workers. The good old south wasn`t always so good.

    By sluggo on May 19, 2011

  5. Hello PatCo. Thanks for the info. Since you still have the frog flyer, by chance do you have a date, month, or season for the 1970 show on it? If you dont, its okay.

    Sluggo, thanks for the stuff on Fuzzy. I think those city fathers must have gotten their heads too close to Gallagher’s melon mallet! I think it was featured on a CSI-Memphis show…Hey, sorry dudes! Get that plastic up! That aint all watermelon flyin out there!

    By 3yrsnojob on May 19, 2011

  6. OOOOPS! Sorry PatCo, just noticed the Dec 5, 1970 date. I think Gallagher teed off on my noggin, and left a divot where my mind used to be. And I never did drugs, alcohol, or smoked anything. There was a comedian and his wife was asked if he suffered from mental illness. She said no - he enjoys it!

    By 3yrsnojob on May 19, 2011

  7. Oh guy! I saw that I typed Fuzzy, not Furry! I am the one that is fuzzy…time for my nap…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    By 3yrsnojob on May 19, 2011

  8. 3yrs you crack me up..!

    By sluggo on May 19, 2011

  9. This is really great! Tahnx so much for a flash-back into Leon’s heyday…… He’s still goin’ strong.

    By Timmy on May 19, 2011

  10. Another good one Bigo - Thanks Doinker for the original post and work at the restoration
    Thanks for the post and sharing

    By Cowgill on May 20, 2011

  11. there is a good dvd geting around of this show and they talk about the dvd artwork in the reveiw its worth tracking down as its very good specialy if you love the great music made back them

    By david franklin on May 20, 2011

  12. Hey! I’m gonna grab this show. I too remember when it was aired. Gonna play my vinyl Furry disc today as well. Gonna build me a pallet on your floor.

    By Jim Chisholm on May 21, 2011

  13. Thanks for the show. :)

    So…December 5, 1970 is the first broadcast date, but not the actual date of the show; is that correct?

    By Gerald on May 21, 2011

  14. zzzzzz huh? what’s that? oh, dang, 6 comments went by while I slept. dec. 5, ‘70 is close enuff furry me, Gerald. gotta get some more sssleep before the world endzzz may 21 at 6pm per harold camping. too bad he doeznt believe that Jesus said no one knowzzzzzzzzzz

    By 3yrsnojob on May 21, 2011

  15. With all of Harold Camping’s nuttiness, predicting the end of the world yesterday Saturday at 6PM, I was thinking of having an END OF THE WORLD garage sale. But I was up all night, so…it didn’t happen either.

    I was up all night Saturday night again, so….I’m off to see the Gizzard, the wonderful Gizzard of Ahhhs. It certainly is a wonderful Cheez Whiz, if either a Cheez Whiz waz, because — because — BECAUSE, of all the wonderful Cheezy Whiz it wazz!! So off I go, with all the little Munchkins nipping at my heels…..my little birdie Do Do leading the way….I will meet a ScareRaven stuffed with krispy rice, an old Tin-Eared electric guitarzan with his rusty Telecaster Axe (Klapton, now 120 years old, playing the same 10 songs), and a Fraidy-Cat Leopard still looking for his missing spots. I will come up against the W.W.W. (the Warped Warbler of the West), who will try to stop me, riding her Cylone vacuum, and throwing her Spelling Bees towards me to whisk me away to her 7-11 store, guarded by her faithful Cigar Store Indians made of wood, and the head of the Spelling Bees, the Hometown Buffet Bee, with her secret gas knockout balloons that she stole from the Unabomber. But I know my Sidekickers will fescue me, led there by little faithful Do Do. Then I will see the wonderful Gizzard at Emerald Jello City, who will cause me to eat fried gizzards, and after banging my knees together while yodeling, “There’s no space like cell-Roaming”, I will find myself on a black and white fish farm in Kansas.

    Whereupon, those strangers will shoot me dead for trespassing.

    By 3yrsnojobnohumor on May 22, 2011

  16. Uuh! What a special show, thank you very much!

    By MZROCK on Jun 6, 2011

  17. I know of a Leon song that has “It’s so strange” in the lyrics. Would this track actually be titled “Of Thee I Sing”?

    By Jim Downing on Jul 16, 2011

  18. To answer my own question, yes it is; at least the chorus of that song.

    By Jim Downing on Jul 16, 2011

  19. I wave watched this video many times, but I cannot see Carl Radle. I definitely hear a bass guitar, especially at the beginning of Honky Tonk Woman, but I don’t see a bass player. I guess it could have been overdubbed at a later date, but I doubt it.

    By Steve Liddycoat on Jan 15, 2012

  20. I saw this show when it originally aired and it was burned into my memory forever. What a band and what a great vibe.

    By Phillip E. Hardy on Feb 25, 2012

  21. I have also watched this video many times and I
    also wondered where Carl Radle is. I know that
    before Carl was in the band John Gallie was able to simulate the bass quitar on the organ.
    Also this DVD seems more available now than when I bought it. I searched the web until I
    found it through an international site. The
    seller was in Spain.

    By Mady McCabe on Mar 7, 2012

  22. I produced that special at KCET, and to answer a question, Leon overdubbed several instruments at the recording studio in the house where he was living up in the Hollywood Hills. The show was totally unrehearsed and we had no idea how it would turn out. In addition to be one of the first stereo tv shows, we also used one of the heavy tv cameras as a handheld with the operator having a metal brace against his stomach so he could hold it up. If you remember the 16-point star filters, one of the camera operators brought them in from a manufacturer who wanted us to use them. We had no idea they were going to reflect off Leon’s glasses as they did. One of the bootleg albums from the show had that image on the album cover. It was very primitive compared to the technology today but somehow, I think it worked.

    By alan baker on Apr 25, 2013

  23. Hello Alan

    Thanks for your comments and for clearing things up. Best wishes.

    By bigozine2 on Apr 25, 2013

  24. Thanks for the confirmation, Alan - just got the Homewood DVD (mine came from Russia) and also missed Carl Radle - he does get a credit on the DVD sleeve (and at the top of this ‘bigozine2′ page) but not on the broadcast itself. Figured it was Leon overdubbing bass - he’d played the instrument for Dylan at the Bangladesh concert that year and also at one of Dylan’s Blue Rock sessions, on ‘Wallflower’. There’s bass guitar on all the band tracks - and I noticed a fair bit of vocal overdubbing, the girls mostly but also Leon harmonising with himself.
    Pity about the sound quality of the DVD - much better over on youtube - and there’s a number there that’s NOT on the DVD: “Come On in My Kitchen” - so there are outtakes as well as nice clean source tapes.
    One other observation on the DVD program: second song “Jim’s Thing” is actually Van Morrison’s “Caravan” - if someone does clean this video up for issue they’ll likely have Warner Bros. on their case, for the royalties.

    By David Upham on May 17, 2013

  25. According to the December 12, 1970 issue of Billboard Magazine the show first aired on December 2, and then again on the 5th. I have seen it advertised as an upcoming show in a SoCal newspaper as early as November 29th, for the December 2nd air date.

    By Jason Odd on Jun 1, 2014

  26. I saw this telecast, or a version of it on public television in late 70. The version I saw was a double bill. It opened with Cat Stevens doing a solo performance in what looked like the same venue, probably a different date. Then the Shelter People came in, in what looked to us like a homeless parade: clapping hands, shaking tambourines, etc. Then Leon.

    By Philip E on Jun 30, 2014

  27. Correction: I saw the Net broadcast (I think). So it must have been ‘71.

    By Philip E on Jun 30, 2014

  28. I saw this show when it originally aired in Pasadena as well. Also, I taped it with my father’s Sony TC630, but I didn’t know you could take RCA outs from a radio receiver back then, so I used 2 mics on the Zenith TV itself. I didn’t tape Cat Stevens as I wasn’t a fan, but did tape Leon, and there was an older black guy playing a delta blues song on slide guitar as well on that show. I’m a professional piano player and I can’t tell you how this show and Leon’s piano playing influenced me so profoundly. I never stopped listening to this reel to reel. Later I transferred it to DAT, and then later burnt it to a CD. His solo version of “Girl From The North Country” is so soulful, and I’ve never heard it anywhere else. Leon is my man. I’m so glad it’s now available in other forms. For years I thought I was the only one who had a version of this stellar concert! Peace to all…

    By Steve Hunter on Dec 22, 2014

  29. OK, I see that Furry Lewis is the older black gentleman I saw playing delta blues, and that you can download and even buy the DVD. I’ve seen some footage of it on a Leon sanctioned bio pic that I have. Looking forward to getting some better audio quality versions of the same reel to reel I did way back then…

    By Steve Hunter on Dec 22, 2014

  30. the cat stevens one that steve mentioned is on youtube if anyone is interested. for several years it was impossible to convert it to audio. i kept it in my faves in case that ever changed.
    there were several pro shot 71 shows including the bbc one here -
    if u look on youtube u will find quite a lot of footage of cat. theres no shortage of live material on him from 67-76. there used to be much less before the internet. and even then very little til youtube and similar type sites. back before the net there were less than 5 or so boots of him floating around. once cds started and the internet came about suddenly there were videos and audios of those videos. which in turn gave us many more roio’s.
    btw.. if u do a search on youtube for cat stevens full concert … the results will not all come back as one would hope but u will find over 32000 results. on the first page will be a 15min item from last week that i highly recommend called tiny desk concert. also on there u will find many other pro shot performances that u can easily convert to audios and then save to cd or not. there are also many audience recordings of reasonably decent quality. some old some very new. some collaborations with ppl like art garfunkel etc.
    there are some albums u can also dl there. for those u can actually also do a search for his name and full album. he has 14 of those i believe.

    By darth on Dec 22, 2014

  31. cat stevens ? on a leon russell page..go figure

    By dropkick sarge on Dec 22, 2014

  32. once again our resident moron who has reading issues but who cant control his need to click on comments when he sees that i posted them so he can follow them up with his own stupid responses.. neglects to notice the fact that my first line states the reason for my comment here. the 3rd line in steve’s first posting above mine.. says he didnt bother with cats performance. u imbecile.

    By darth on Dec 22, 2014

  33. Big-O, you are the granter of dreams. I recorded this in 1971 on my Sony reel-to-reel, in glorious mono. It was one of m earliest recording attempts and through the years I have enjoyed revisiting the infectious spirit of that show, if only aurally. Glad to hear that there is a video available and I can now enjoy it in STEREO…..as always, THANK YOU for this wondrous gift………..T

    By ToeKneeF on Nov 8, 2015

  34. Leon fans check out The Asylum Choir with Marc Benno…..great stuff from this era,he was also a big part of the early Delaney and Bonnie band.

    By russ on Nov 8, 2015

  35. Who are the people just hanging around the set in the 1971 studio session? Ie: the two young ladies standing in the door opening at the beginning of Song for You? Where are they now?

    By Joel on Dec 21, 2015

  36. R.I.P. Yet another good man gone.

    By Happy Camper on Nov 14, 2016

  37. Track 13 “Georgia Queen” is in fact “Crystal Closet Queen”

    By mrbelette on Nov 23, 2016

  38. Track 14: “So Strange”, it’s official title is “Of Thee I Sing” (original version on the “Leon Russell & the Shelter People” album)

    By Steve on Dec 17, 2016

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