Years before he took America by storm as band leader for Joe Cocker on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, years before he blew me out of my theater seat with his Jumpin' Jack Flash / Youngblood medley in the Concert for Bangladesh, years before his flowing white beard and hair, his raspy voice, and his piano skills made him an American rock n' roll icon -- "The Master of Time and Space" -- in the early '70's, Leon Russell was an accomplished session musician working with, among others, Phil Spector on his unparalleled "wall of sound" recordings.
I didn't know until last week, however, that he was performing the same musical magic in solo performances in the mid-sixties. Whiteray, the man behind the great Echoes in the Wind blog, found this jumpin' Leon Russell clip from a 1964 esipode of Shindig, a well-groomed-and-dressed Leon covering Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven:
As with his Stones covers, including the somewhat obscure cover of Wild Horses, found on Russell's Gimme Shelter!: The Best of Leon Russell, he always seems to add a little something extra to the great original versions.