Here's a quick reminder to tune in to Sinking Radio on Little Radio today from Noon to 2:00 PM PST. Todd's out on the road again (with the Radar Bros. this time), so it'll just be Sylvia and Matt.
Each week on the show, they feature an official You Set the Scene pick. My pick for this week's show is Leon Russell's "This Masquerade." Russell's a fascinating guy (I presume) who has done it all musically. As a session/touring guy, he's played with everybody (Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Gram Parsons, Ike & Tina, Marvin Gaye, Steve Winwood, The Byrds, The Stones, The Burritos, just to name a few) and has enjoyed a very successful career as a solo performer and songwriter.
Russell's been releasing solo records since the late 1960's. "This Masquerade" comes from his 1972 record, Carney (which also features "Tight Rope" - probably the first Russell track I remember hearing). "This Masquerade" was written by Russell and became the first song to ever hit #1 on the jazz, pop and R&B charts. Of course it wasn't Russell's version, but George Benson's cover (Benson's version also won the Grammy for record of the year in 1976). Incidentally, the Carpenters also did a pretty good version of it. It's just a great, dark breakup tune.
If you've got a turntable, you can usually find a copy of Carney in (or near) the dollar bin at Amoeba or Record Surplus. It's well worth picking up. Big ups to Le Switch, who are one of the only contemporary bands I've seen cite Russell as an influence.
Russell still actively tours. He seems to avoid playing shows in the LA city limits, but you can catch him on the outskirts of town.....