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Posts Tagged ‘Leon Russell’

RIP, Mose Allison (November 15, 2016) Jazz And Blues Legend

Posted by themusicsover on November 15, 2016

Mose Allison
November 11, 1927 – November 15, 2016

mose-allisonMose Allison was a revered jazz and blues pianist and singer whose influence reached beyond his idioms and into rock and blues.  Over the past four decades his songs have been recorded by the likes of the Clash, the Bangles, Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, the Yardbirds, and most famously, the Who, whose version of “Young Mans Blues” reached the masses via their classic Live At Leeds album, and remained a concert staple ever since.  Born and raised on his grandfather’s Mississippi farm, Allison spent his formative years picking cotton while learning to play the piano and trumpet.  He was just 13 when he wrote his first song.  After spending a couple of years in the Army, Russell completed college and then moved to New York City to launch his music career.  While performing with such jazz luminaries as Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz, he recorded his debut album, Black Country Suite, which was released by Prestige in March of 1957. Difficult to classify, one label tried marketing him as a pop artist, while another tried blues, and yet another, jazz.  Regardless of any difficulties they might have had, his fanbase grew with each album. Throughout his career, Allison received countless honors including the prestigious Jazz Master award by the National Endowment For The Arts in 2013.  Mose Allison was 89 when he died of natural causes on November 15, 2016.

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RIP, Leon Russell (November 13, 2016) Legendary Musician, Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on November 13, 2016

Leon Russell (Born Claude Russell Bridges)
April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016

Photo by Carl Lender

Photo by Carl Lender

Leon Russell was a celebrated musician, singer, songwriter and producer whose early work as a session player alone was enough to rightfully find him a home in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Add to that his credits as a songwriter, and you have one of the most respected artists we have ever known.  Born in Oklahoma, Russell began playing the piano at just four years old.  By high school, he and schoolmate David Gates, of future Bread fame, had a band together. Over the next couple of years Russell needed a fake ID to play the clubs of Tulsa. And then, at just 16 years old, he headed to Los Angeles to take a crack at becoming a session musician. Russell quickly built a solid reputation and became one of the first people called into the studio or on stage to lend his talents.  The list of artists or their producers that mad that call is staggering – it includes the Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, and the Beach Boys.  And as part of the famed Wrecking Crew of L.A. studio musicians, the list goes on. Russel’s first hit as a songwriter came by way of Joe Cocker‘s 1969 recording of his “Delta Lady.”  As the ’70s dawned, Russell began making his own albums while producing others.  And thanks in part to the success of “Delta Lady,” he became a go-to songwriter for hopeful pop and rock stars.  In 1970, he released his self-titled debut. The album spawned one of his most famous songs, “A Song For You” which has been covered by a diverse list of artists that includes Ray Charles, Zakk Wylde, Andy Williams, Herbie Hancock with Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, and Amy Winehouse. Russell spent the rest of the ’70s on a seemingly endless recording and touring cycle. He eventually slowed down, but became no less productive and influential.  The next three decades found him working with the likes of New Grass Revival and Bruce Hornsby while releasing several more of his own albums which leaned more bluegrass and country than much of his ’70s output. In 2010, Elton John (who called Russell his biggest influence as a pianist, singer and songwriter) and Bernie Taupin partnered with Russell on The Union, which resulted in a return-to-the-charts for both. The outstanding album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, and credited equally to both John and Taupin, entered the Billboard charts at No. 3, Russell’s highest charting album since 1972 and John’s highest since 1976.  Rolling Stone called it one of the best 30 albums of 2010.  The new-found exposure for Russell found him touring heavily up through the first half of 2016 when a heart attack sidelined him. Not discouraged, plans were being made to hit the road again in 2017.  Unfortunately, while still recovering from the heart attack, Leon Russell died quietly in his sleep on November 14, 2016.  He was 74.

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What You Should Own

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Click to find at amazon.com

Posted in Country, Musician, Producer, R&B, Record Label, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on RIP, Leon Russell (November 13, 2016) Legendary Musician, Songwriter & Producer

Died On This Date (August 10, 2013) Jody Payne / Longtime Guitarist For Willie Nelson

Posted by themusicsover on August 10, 2013

Jody Payne
January 11, 1936 – August 10, 2013

jody-payneJody Payne was a country singer and musician who spent decades as Willie Nelson‘s guitarist on album and in concert.  Nelson formed his perennial back-up band, the Family in 1973, and Payne was by his side until he retired in 2008.  Born in Kentucky, Payne was singing with his sister as far back as five years old.  He learned to play the mandolin around that time as well.  A gig at his older (yes older) sister’s 1st grade graduation was his first gig.  He could be heard singing on a local radio station by the time he was 11.  He hit the road with a bluegrass band in 1951, and after being discharged from the Army in 1961, he went on to tour with Merle Haggard, and later recorded with the Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Tanya Tucker, Leon Russell, and Hank Snow.  Jody Payne died from cardiac problems on August 10, 2013.  He was 77.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus of Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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Died On This Date (March 8, 2012) Bugs Henderson / Texas Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 8, 2012

Buddy “Bugs” Henderson
1943 – March 8, 2012

Bugs Henderson was a Dallas, Texas area blues great who, for the better part of the past 50 years has been playing the kind of electric blues that keeps the crowds on their collective feet.  Henderson was just a teenager working in a local record store when he would sneak out of his house to check out the latest bands performing in nearby roadhouses.  By 1966 he was playing in a band, Mouse and the Traps, who scored a regional hit with “Public Execution.”  By the early ’70s, Henderson was an in-demand studio player while establishing himself as a local draw on the stage.  Over the years, he either opened for, or shared the stage with the likes of the Allman Brothers, Leon Russell, Freddie King, Ted Nugent, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King.   Bugs Henderson died from complications of liver cancer on March 8, 2012.  He was 69.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

 

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Bugs Henderson

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Died On This Date (August 25, 2000) Jack Nitzsche / Iconic Record Producer

Posted by themusicsover on August 25, 2010

Bernard “Jack” Nitzsche
April 22, 1937 – August 25, 2000

jack

Jack Nitzsche was a respected arranger, composer, producer and session musician who was involved in many of the greatest west coast pop recordings of the ’60s and ’70s.  His first significant contribution to pop music came in 1955 when he co-wrote “Needles And Pins” with Sonny Bono.  The song was a hit for Jackie DeShannon and was later recorded by the Searchers, Cher and the Ramones.  By the early ’60s, Nitzsche was working as an arranger for Phil Spector,  orchestrating the celebrated “wall of sound” on hits like Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High.”  Nitzsche was also part of the famed Wrecking Crew, a group of studio musicians that included Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and Hal Blaine.  Much like their Motown counterparts, the Funk Brothers, the Wrecking Crew were the faceless band behind many ’60s pop hits coming out of Los Angeles.  They could be heard on records by the likes of the Monkees and the Beach Boys. Nitzsche also worked on classic recordings by the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Graham Parker and Willy DeVille to name a few.  During the ’70s, Nitzsche created the music for several motion pictures including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Starman, 9-1/2 Weeks, and An Officer And A Gentlemen, for which won the best song Oscar for “Up Where We Belong.”  Jack Nitzsche died of cardiac arrest at the age of 63.

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Jack Nitzsche

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