With a solid Double Plus (A++) side one and a side two that’s right up there with it, this outstanding UK pressing of Russell’s debut release has much to recommend it
His first and best album, engineered by our man Glyn Johns, but it only sounds this brilliant on these UK original pressings – the domestic LPs are dead on arrival
Delta Lady, A Song for You and Roll Away the Stone are all here, which makes this a true Must Own for fans of the Classic Era
4 1/2 stars: “Leon Russell never quite hit all the right notes the way he did on his eponymous debut. He never again seemed as convincing in his grasp of Americana music and themes, never again seemed as individual, and never again did his limited, slurred bluesy voice seem as ingratiating.”
*NOTE: A mark makes 3 loud pops at the beginning of track 4, Shoot Out On The Plantation.
The best copies of Russell’s debut album have excellent sound, as expected from a record engineered by Glyn Johns in 1970. Surprisingly, a number of copies suffered from somewhat dry sound, especially in the vocals. Our best copies are rich and Tubey Magical, which is the sound these songs need in order to sound their best.(more…)
The best copy to ever hit the site! Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side, better than Double Plus (A++ to A+++) on the first
Carney as a recording is classic analog from 1972 – the best vintage copies are exceptionally rich, solid and smooth
Russell’s highest charting album, making it all the way to Number Two if you can believe that, no doubt on the strength of the hit single, “Tight Rope,’ but “This Masquerade” is on here too
“The music is good, the lyrics are entertaining, the album worthwhile. Leon Russell – the only man around that can pull it off when he’s not trying.” – Cameron Crowe (San Diego Door, Aug. 1972)
If you have full-range speakers (the bigger the better) some of the qualities you may recognize in the sound of the piano are weight and warmth. The piano is not hard, brittle or tinkly. Instead the best copies show you a wonderfully full-bodied, warm, rich, smooth piano, one which sounds remarkably like the ones we’ve all heard countless times in piano bars and restaurants.
In other words, like a real piano, not a recorded one. Bad mastering can ruin the sound, and often does, along with worn out stampers and bad vinyl and misaligned tonearms that scrape off the high frequencies. But some copies survive all such hazards. They manage to capture these wonderful musical performances on vinyl, revealing to us the kind of sound we would never expect from an old Leon Russell record.(more…)
You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) from first note to last on this original British pressing
Engineered by Andy and Glyn Johns, this is his best sounding album, especially on a copy that sounds as good as this one does
No other Leon Russell album has the richness, the sweetness, and the Tubey Magic of this, his second album from 1971
“Russell practically invented what might as well be called Okie rock — with that shit-kicker Gospel sound, heavy on Baptist-revival piano and chorus [a template Elton John found more than a little useful for his first ten albums or so] – and it gets as good on this album as you’ll ever hear.”
Stranger in a Strange Land, which leads off side one, might just be the best song the man ever wrote. What a joy it is to hear it sound so big and powerful.
Domestic Vs. Import
The domestic pressings of Leon Russell and the Shelter People that we’d auditioned over the years always seemed flat, dry, and closed-in. We know that sound well; it’s the sound you hear on records that have been made from dubbed tapes (and it’s the hallmark of the modern Heavy Vinyl reissue, truth be told). It bores us to tears, and had us questioning what we could possibly have seen in the album in the first place. What happened to the glorious sound of early ’70s analog we were expecting to find?(more…)