Hit maker and musician's musician struck chart gold with 1972 album Carney!
Analogue Productions reissue on 200-gram vinyl
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio from the original master tapes
Plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings!
Heavyweight tip-on old-style jacket from Stoughton Printing
"Carney, produced by Denny Cordell, is Russell's best studio album until his final closing statement, 2014's Life Journey, though 1975's Will O' The Wisp also has its charms. ... Chad Kassem's Analogue Productions has wisely followed Russell's death with this superfine 200-gram, 331/3 reissue of this craggy 1970s landmark ... As is always the case with Analogue Productions records, great care was taken right down to replicating the original purple and green labels. Russell was a great low-key genius, the kind who would never get a second look in the hits-driven, teen-focused, desiccated music business of today." — Robert Baird, Stereophile.com, Feb. 9, 2017.
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. As a member of the famed Wrecking Crew, the loose-knit circle of Los Angeles' finest studio musicians who contributed to hundreds of chart-topping singles, he played on the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," and Jan & Dean's "The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)." Russell, 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 Carney 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.
Russell wrote scores of hits for others, among them "Superstar," (written with Bonnie Bramlett) for the Carpenters, "Delta Lady" for Joe Cocker and "This Masquerade," for George Benson. His own version of "This Masquerade" is featured on Carney. More than 100 acts recorded "A Song for You," which Russell said he wrote in 10 minutes. Ray Charles' recording of the song in 1993 received a Grammy Award.
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.
1. Tight Rope
2. Out in the Woods
3. Me and Baby Jane
4. Manhattan Island Serenade
5. Cajun Love Song
6. Roller Derby
8. Acid Annapolis
9. If the Shoe Fits
10. My Cricket
11. This Masquerade
12. Magic Mirror