It was "Girl's Night Out" with Gloria and I going to see Leon Russell at the Mt. Tabor Theater on Hawthorne last night. We missed the opening band, and just as we walked in, Leon ripped into "Jumpin' Jack Flash" into "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Different than the way we are used to hearing it from the Concert for Bangladesh (August 1st, 1971) and a great way to begin the night. This was a different band than I've seen him with before. The last couple of times he's been to Portland with Commander Cody, I missed those shows. Heard they were great though.
The last time I saw him, was at the Roseland Grill. It was packed, and we had to stand through the show, and he had his son, Teddy Jack and daughter, Sugaree Noel with him. He also didn't say much to the audience at that show. Teddy Jack opened with an acoustic set, and he's a very good writer and singer. I bought his CD and he signed it for me that night.
But last night, Leon chatted with the audience after about 20 minutes of one song right into another. He also told the story about meeting Gram Parsons in L.A. Gram was wearing his beloved Nudie Suit, and told Leon that he should do a version of The Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses" which he also did last night. I could just sit and listen to the man dole out the memories of his life.
He also talked about touring with Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and Gloria told me how she saw that show in Boston. Delaney & Bonnie, Rita Coolidge and many other amazing musicians. I'm still jealous about that. What a show that must have been.
Leon started his career working as a musician at the ripe old age of 14 in the bars of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He's played with just about everyone you could imagine George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, JJ Cale, The Band, Ringo Starr, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Campbell, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many MANY more. Click here to link to Leon's website.
One of my favorite lines of his, is "I love you in a place where there's no space and time." Thanks for the music, Leon. Thanks for still touring like you were just starting out 14 years old, and playing with kids who weren't even born when the "Mad Dogs" tour or "Bangladesh" concert took place. Next time you come to Portland, if you can, please bring Teddy Jack with you.
Oh, and just so I can RANT one more time about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Leon Russell is not in there. Abba is, and Leon is not. Run D.M.C. is in there and Leon is not. Someone explain this to me, in a manner I can understand. It makes no sense, is wrong and bad and I'm sure there's artists who have been inducted who wonder the same thing.