Leon Russell 1971

LEON RUSSELL PERFORMS AT DUKE UNIVERSITY in 1971

We absolutely love our Church Studio family and the fantastic stories they share with us. In this photo series, we are featuring a series of photographs taken by photographer, Ric Carter. Our good friend, American Roots musician, and Leon Lifer; Bill Lyerly, introduced us to Ric. Thank you, Bill!

Why are these pictures special? Well, these exclusive photographs that are from the 1971 Leon Russell and the Shelter People performance at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. What made this show memorable (besides the fantastic performances) was the charming commentary by Leon Russell.

According to first-hand accounts received from attendees of the show, Leon was escorted to the piano bench by two stage managers. After getting comfortable, he asked one of the managers where they were, not knowing his microphone was live. The stage manager replied with a simple, “Duke.” Immediately Leon exclaimed, “Whoa, it sure is good to be here at Duke tonight!” Later in the show, as he introduced Claudia Lennear for her solo performance, he included a lengthy adoration for Claudia and their “friendly” relationship.

Even though Bill was not present, he attended another show during this same tour and shared this: “I really hated that I missed the show at Duke, BUT the Tulsa Fairgrounds show kind of made up for that. I only wish I could have snagged a tambourine!”  We couldn’t agree more as Bill has been very generous with his memorabilia to The Church Studio! 

Artists Featured in the Photographs

Leon Russell

Carl Radle

Claudia Lennear

Joey Cooper

Don Preston

John Galie

We’d like to thank Ric Carter or his generosity in sharing his private collection.

Enjoy the slideshow below!

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