To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.
Margaret Fairless Barber (1869–1901), English author
I just returned from watching Leon Russell with On The Mark at the Canyon Club in Agoura. We were always big fans of Russell from his days with the Joe Cocker tour Mad Dogs and Englishmen. I didn’t see the concert, much too young, but I did see the movie and buy the album. On The Mark and me further solidified our friendship when I traded him the above-mentioned LP for the Rolling Stones “More Hot Rocks: Big Hits & Fazed Cookies.” I had written in the Cocker LP under Russell’s name something like the greatest or some such high schooler stuff.
Anyway, back to the show, Russell made it to the stage with the help of a cane. He gained a few pounds, but who hasn’t, it started out a bit stiff because Russell’s voice was not warmed up, I figured out he was singing “Delta Lady.” His other songs last night included “Prince of Peace,” “Wild Horses,” “Out in the Woods,” “Hummingbird,” “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “Stranger in a Strange Land,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” and a few others. I came so close to not going. The concert I really wanted to see, but I didn’t have my driver’s license yet and no one who had their license was allowed to drive all the way down to Long Beach. Of course that show turned out to be his live LP “Leon Live.”
All in all, it was a nice show and if you’re a Leon Russell fan, I would recommend seeing him if he is in your town.
I almost forgot to mention how I discovered Russell in the first place. When I was in junior high school, a cousin's girlfriend who worked for Rolling Stone, sent me his LP "Leon Russell and the Shelter People," Cat Steven's "Tea for the Tillerman," and the current issue of Rolling Stone that had the first chapters of Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Quite an eye opener for someone who was a Monkees fan only a couple of years earlier.