“Learning To Live Together” Documentary (Mad Dogs and Englishmen)

bbunks

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I saw this Tedeschi Trucks produced documentary about the Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour - and their recreation of it with their band and original tour band members for a one-time show - last night at a theater in Chicago. It’s making its way around the country through the rest of this year.

As a fan of TTB, Joe Cocker and Leon Russell, it was a historical gem. There’s a lot of Jim Keltner in it - as an interview subject and in performance - and a lot about Jim Gordon. Of particular note, Rita Coolidge tells the story of Gordon knocking her out, which apparently was the first public sign of his troubles.

And it wasn’t a surprise to see Leon Russell’s genius reaffirmed. It really was Leon’s band with Joe as the singer. Be sure to watch through the credits for the particularly poignant moment of Susan Tedeschi singing to Leon at the end.

Hoping it’ll be streaming next year.
 

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It really was Leon’s band with Joe as the singer.
That's exactly what drove the band apart. Joe wanted Leon to quickly/desperately throw a band together for Cocker to meet an imminent tour commitment (Cocker had just abruptly fired his own Grease Band), and Leon invited all his friends (including Delaney and Bonnie's core band - minus Bobby Whitlock) and created a traveling circus. Leon quickly became the de-facto band leader and musical director. Joe felt like he was losing control of his own tour and career, and this contributed heavily to his worsening stimulus intake throughout the tour, to the point where he could barely function. It all collapsed as soon as the tour was over. Fascinating story, band, and era. I still think Mad Dogs and Englishmen is one of the best documents of that incredible era of music.
 


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