Recorded on May 15, 1980 at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, California, the number I’ve selected was their rendition of the Ray Charles classic “I Believe to My Soul.” Charles’ version of the song was released 20 years previous on the Atlantic Records’ compilation “The Genius Sings the Blues.”
This album features the third incarnation of New Grass Revival that featured Sam Bush (mandolin), Curtis Burch (guitar), Courtney Johnson (banjo), and John Cowan (bass). Bush, Burch, and Cowan provided back-up vocals to Leon Russell’s lead on “I Believe to My Soul.” On this particular number, Bill Kenner joins the band onstage with acoustic mandolin as Sam Bush is playing a four-string Fender Electric Mandolin (commonly called a Mandocaster); he provides the guitar like leads.
|The new Mando-Strat based on the original Fender Electric Mandolin|
This was not the only time Leon Russell and New Grass Revival have joined forces and they make a formidable team. Here’s a video of the same recording, but unfortunately the audio quality is not as good as the above version. However, it gives you a sense of the magic between Leon Russell and New Grass Revival.