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At Leon Russell’s Memorial Service, Jimmy “Junior” Markham and Larry Shaeffer came up with the idea of presenting “Tribute to Leon Russell” as a one night musical event. Strictly not for profit, it is offered as a musical homage to Tulsa’s most prolific musician.
Shaeffer said “With the possible exception of Bob Wills, no one has done more for Tulsa music than Leon. He was our rock star.”
Markham was with Leon in the beginning, playing dives and parties around Tulsa before Oklahoma even had any liquor laws; so it wasn’t illegal for teenagers to be playing in bars.
The two summoned a meeting of some of the local old-timers and began setting a line-up for the show. They have assembled a roster of first call musicians to perform mostly songs written by Leon, and a few covers that The Master Of Space And Time himself performed.
“Most of Leon’s music is not simple.” Noted Peter Mayo. Schooled musicians will be writing out arrangements for some of this material.
Certainly, every kazoo player in town would like to be part of this, that’s understandable. But “This is not going to be some Tulsa Talent Show.” Said Shaeffer. Leon was a disciplined, meticulous and discerning writer, player, arranger, producer and engineer and the show will be of the highest quality conceivable. That is only appropriate.
Everyone involved is donating their time, talents and expertise to make something that Leon himself would approve of. Even Cain’s Ballroom is providing the venue free of charge.
The show is set for Cain’s Ballroom 423 N Main St. from 7:30 to 11:30 PM Thursday December 15 2016. Admission is free. Doors open at 7:00. Only the first 1800 people will be admitted.
Included in the line-up will be some of the originators of what we think of as “The Tulsa Sound” and Shaeffer would like this to be seen as a tribute to them, too. Some of them performed at one of Leon’s birthday bashes at The Brady Theater a few years ago. Several of those men are no longer with us.
The band will include:
Paul Benjamin, Chuck Blackwell, Jim Byfield, Wink Burcham, Beau Charron, John Cooper, Tommy Crook, Gene Crose, John Fullbright, Steve Hamm, Ben Han, Matt Harris, Brandon Holder, Jimmy Karstein, Rodney Lay, Brian Lee, Jimmy Markham, Peter Mayo, Mike MacKay, Ron McRorey, Jamie Oldaker, Bill Pair, Brad Piccolo, Walt Richmond, Bobby Taylor, David Teegarden, Charles Tuberville, Casey Van Beek, Jack Wessel, Don White, Steve White and Johnny Williams.
Previous reports of Leon Russell on Tulsa Today include: