Rest in Peace, Leon Russell

I glanced on my computer at what was trending in Facebook when I saw that Leon Russell, “the Master of Space and Time” passed away peacefully in his sleep. His soul ascends on the Lord’s day this Sunday November 13.

My brother will ask me if I ever saw Leon Russell perform live. I actually did in a very small blues club, the Boxcar Cafe in Southport, CT on October 10, 2004 . He performed with his daughter that night Sugaree Rose Bridges sharing vocals and gigging with his band.

I wanted to give Elton something. But what do you give a guy who has six fully stocked houses? So I thought the only thing I could give him is a song. “In the Hands of Angels,” retelling of the story of the album [The Union], thanks Mr. John (“the guv’ner” in the lyrics), who knew all the places I needed to go and made me feel the love down deep inside.

Leon Russell[8]

For today Leon Russell is, “In The Hands of Angels”.

If you believe in forever
Then life is just a one-night stand
If there’s a rock n’ roll heaven
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony 2011

One of the aspects I love about New York City is that it is the entertainment capital of the world and its closeby. I keep meaning to hop a train to Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street and walk over to witness as a star-gazer the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony. Its held every year at the Waldorf Astoria, Wouldn’t you just love to have been invited to this gala?

The performer Inductees are:
·    Alice Cooper was inducted by Rob Zombie (White Zombie)
·    Neil Diamond was inducted by Paul Simon
·    Dr. John was inducted by John Legend
·    Darlene Love was inducted byBette Midler
·    Tom Waits was inducted by Neil Young

Ahmet Ertegun Award recipients (nonperformers):

·    Jac Holzman was inducted by John Densmore (the Doors)
·    Art Rupe was inducted by Lloyd Price

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award for Musical Excellence (previously the Sidemen category):

·    Leon Russell was inducted by Elton John

Rolling Stone Magazine had great reportage of the event, which includes photographs and video of the evening (provided by Fuse TV who will broadcast the event on Sunday March 20th). This is my favorite photo of the night.

Paul Simon, Neil Young and Tom Waits backstage at the 26th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City, March 14, 2011.

Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour

Cover of "Mad Dogs & Englishmen"
Cover of Mad Dogs & Englishmen

“Zee Mad Dogs, Zee Englishmen and Joe Cockerrrr”

Staying with The Fillmore East blog post theme as it relates to historic concerts, the focus now shifts to events that took place on March 27 and March 28 1970. This is the point in music history when the Joe Cocker & The Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour, complete with 40+ family members and a video/audio production crew took over The Fillmore East to record for posterity their unique travelling circus and medicine show experience. This rag-tag nucleus of talented potpourri made a significant contribution to the annals of live rock music with its synthesis of blues, country and soul music.

Copyright Amalie R. Rotschild Photography



The four concerts held at 8 and 11 p.m. respectively, produced a rich treasure trove of musical heritage. There is a full length feature film on DVD that exhibits the various stops on the tour as well as the backstage sounds and scenes.

In addition to a double album of the Fillmore East shows, there is also a rarities CD. Rhino’s Hip-O label has also produced the definitive 6 CD set of all four Fillmore East recordings as a limited edition pressing of 2500 units, which is sold out but available on Amazon through authorized sellers. Hip-O also produced a 3 CD set of each evening as a limited edition of 5000 units which are still available for purchase on the Hip-O Web site.

It’s equally fascinating that this tour not only launched the greater success of Joe Cocker but also promoted the careers of Leon Russell as producer/arranger, Rita Coolidge singer, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns (who went on to play with the Rolling Stones), Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums (went on to play in Derek and the Dominoes). As Leon Russell sings in “The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen”…


Kids, planes, runway strikes
Flashy pimps and family fights
Spotted dogs, blood-shot eyes
Our space captain laughs and tries
To understand the scheme of things

But just in time the scene has changed
The bus is here, bring the beer
Sherman’s reading Shakespeare
Movie makers, boobie shakers
And Saxy airplane ticket takers

Union members
Leo Fender’s pride and joy
Electric toy
Teachers, learners
Incense burners
Religious leaders and chronic bleeders
Thieves and pirates on a ride
It’s a hippie commune bonafied

But Okies and Limeys, curtain climbers
Stones and future Dominoes
Know which way the wind blows
Stolen cola no one knows
The shadow do
But it’s still a shady crew

‘Cause I love her, and she loves me
Just myself and forty friends
In the name of Cocker Power
Out here on the road again
With Mad Dogs and Englishmen

%d bloggers like this: