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Leon Russell & Marc Benno


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Asylum Choir - Long-lost Psychedelic album from 1968 by this duo featuring Leon Russell. Poised between his past as a top Wrecking Crew session man (Phil Spector, The Byrds, Sonny And Cher) and assistant to Liberty A&R head Snuff Garret, and his future as a ’70s Rock superstar, Russell teamed up with his Texas Psych buddy Marc Benno to work with Gene Clark, Harpers Bizarre and Gary Lewis in their new studio. In between sessions, they created this unusual and breathtaking album. A great lost nugget by one of the major Rock superstars.

Flash to Christmas, 1971: Leon has his own company, Shelter, and, it turns out a second Asylum choir tape, in his personal stash, recorded in April, 1969. So it’s repackaged and released. What you’d expect is an old bomb with a new cover, but I happen to think it’s one of the more interesting things Leon Russell’s done. And, while Benno gets equal billing, it is Leon’s album. The only things that are apparently Marc’s are shared credit for writing on most of the songs, and some occasional backing vocals. No credit is given for who plays what, so I don’t even know if Benno did any of that.

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