Friday BBQ Spotify 8/23/13
Growing up in the American southwest during the music hotbed of the ’60′s and ’70′s, there was this big collision of music styles that crossed through rock and roll, country, gospel, jazz, honky-tonk, and cajun disciplines into a whole new rock-a-billy kind of rock and roll. When I’d hear some of these new songs, I’d be thinking “Well it’s kinda rock-n-roll-y, but he’s got a country accent and wait, those instruments aren’t used in country, and wait, that doesn’t sound like the rock and roll I’ve been listening to and man, he sure doesn’t LOOK country. . . aw, what the heck, I guess it’s rock and roll.” Confusing as all get out. In a good kind of way. The music was eventually labeled The Tulsa Sound, and no one fit that bill better at the time than Leon Russell. He of the long and prematurely gray (now bright silver) mane and the white cowboy hat. Or the big starry top hat. Or the big feathered top hat. With the syrupy voice and the golden fingers. Oh, those fingers. Leon was born Charles Russell Bridges in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1942 and started playing piano at age 4. Was playing in Tulsa nightclubs by the time he turned 14 with fellow Oklahoman J.J. Cale. Eventually became a studio musician for an assortment of music legends that varied all the way from Doris Day and Frank Sinatra to Willie Nelson and Eric Clapton. Before transitioning into a stellar career with his own band. Although he’s had some health scares in the last decade, he performed on Saturday Night Live in 2011 with his old friend and collaborator Elton John, and is still playing music today. Leon just celebrated his 71st birthday with a retrospective of his greatest hits. Let’s enjoy some of them this weekend. Sometimes it’s really good to defy stereotypes. Break tradition. Throw out some of the old and keep the good stuff. Keep ‘em guessing. Leon has always seemed like that kind of guy. He’s been blessed with five children, and their names are Teddy Jack, Sugaree Noel, Tina Rose, Coco, and Honey. What’s not to love? Have a terrific weekend everyone.