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, future Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Leon Russell cut a flamboyant figure in the early 1970s. He recorded his first hit single "Tight Rope" with the release of his third, and most successful album "Carney“, in 1972, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200. Two years earlier Russell had already played on hundreds of songs as one of the top studio musicians in Los Angeles. The Oklahoma-born pianist, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader led Joe Cocker's band Mad Dogs & Englishmen, appeared at George Harrison's 1971 Concert For Bangladesh in New York City, and composed numerous hits of his own. He was in Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound Orchestra, and played sessions for Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, the Ventures and the Monkees, among many others. But it was the top-rated "Carney“, reissued here on an audibly exquisite 200-gram LP from Analogue Productions, that put Russell into the league of extraordinary musicians. Soulful roots-rock yields to dizzying psychedelia on this, Russell's most famous album. His all-time biggest hit, "Tight Rope“, leads to "Out In The Woods“, "Cajun Love Song“, "This Masquerade“, and more! No link in the reissue chain was sacrificed, making this outstanding reissue a true audiophile masterpiece. Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio remastered the album from the original master tapes; plating and pressing took place at Quality Record Pressings, makers of the world's finest-sounding LPs. Lastly, as benefits a stellar reissue, we packaged our version in a heavyweight old-style tip-on jacket from Stoughton Printing. Sadly, Russell's life as a musical muse and performer ended with his death at 74 on Nov. 13, 2016, at his home in Nashville. He will be forever remembered for making a broad, sophisticated palette of American music sound down-home and natural.
Leon Russell: Carney
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