Saturday, May 14, 2011

Leon Russell Live at Albuquerque BioPark 5.13.11


LeonRussell_nowI couldn’t have been happier to see Leon Russell’s concert last night at Albuquerque’s BioPark – only in part because we’d won the $25 tickets (thank you, LocalIQ).

The Albuquerque BioPark & Zoo is a lovely place for a show, a small grassy patch of lawn shaded by towering cottonwoods. The spooky screams of the zoo’s tropical macaws, and the odd ducks who flew overhead and around the stage throughout the evening, added the sort of special effects that put the “quirky” in Albuquerque living.

I could have asked for better sound and sightlines, but I couldn’t have asked for better music, or a prettier moonlit night. And I felt completely at home in the laid-back crowd of 2,000-some hippies-turned-grandparents. Ah, them are my people. Russell himself turned 69 last month, making him a year younger than Eric Burdon, but a year older than Keith Richards, imagine that.

LeonRussell_70sLeon opened with Delta Lady, and his set list hit all the sweet spots - Hummingbird, Back to the Island, Tight Rope, Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms and Stranger in a Strange Land – but dang, he left out Young Blood. So my favorites of the evening were A Song for You – of course, Leon’s singer-songwriter best – and his cover of Dylan’s A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall.

Between numbers Leon shared anecdotes that I didn’t mind hearing again: how at 14 he built a crystal radio set that picked up only one station out there in Oklahoma – blues & gospel. How at 17 he traveled to Los Angeles, intending to get a job in advertising (“That’s a bloody business”); instead, he became a session musician and “the hillbilly of the moment” in a place and time that “thought a lot of hillbilly music, for some reason.”

LeonRussellAnd perhaps my favorite story, how he got that green silk top hat from Gram Parsons (then with the Flying Burrito Brothers) just before he left for Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen 1970 tour. After road wear reduced the hat to near tatters, he discovered that it had originally belonged to Al Jolson, who wore it filming The Jazz Singer.

Introducing Hard Rain, Leon casually dropped a bombshell: he’s currently working out a set of 15 tour dates with Dylan this August. Looking at Leon’s already-scheduled 2011 tour dates, August will have him hopping between upstate New York, Montana, Idaho, Colorado and (one of my favorite Time & Places) Sturgis South Dakota for the 2011 Harley Rally.

He’s scheduled to play Sturgis on August 13 at the legendary Buffalo Chip as part of the American Thunder Music Festival Aug 6-13. Other festival acts include George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Jeff Bridges and friends, Lynyrd Skynyrd (that’ll be a riot), Toby Keith and Alice Cooper (performing separately, not together). Now, can you imagine if Dylan were added to the line-up? Whoa.

Here are some Leon links to brighten your day:

So, happy birthday to the Master of Space and Time. Congratulations on your long overdue induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And thanks for a lovely evening.

kNotes for kNitters
Happy Hands Hand Creams for Fiber Artists
Sandia Park, NM

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Margarita Chicken Recipe

I whipped this up last night, and it was delicious! Since it’s still a little cool outside for grilling – up here in the high mountain desert, that is - I baked my marinated chicken in the oven.

margaritaMargarita Chicken

I adapted this from “Mexican Tequila Marinade”, a recipe in the Marinades & Rubs cookbook by Carol Wilson.

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

1 to 2 pounds of chicken pieces (I like leg/thigh quarters)
1 to 2 tablespoons of coarse salt (kosher or sea salt) for sprinkling

Thoroughly whisk marinade ingredients in bowl or measuring cup (not metal). Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes so flavors will meld.

Trim fat from chicken pieces, then place in shallow baking dish (not metal) or plastic bag. Pour marinade over chicken, turning to coat.

Seal or cover, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but no more than 3 hours.

Transfer chicken pieces to a non-metal baking dish – if you haven’t already – along with the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with coarse salt, if desired.

(I really like this crunchy seasoning on the baked chicken skin, reminds me of the salty rim of a margarita glass. If you don’t, just add 1 teaspoon of table salt to the marinade, and skip the sprinkling.)

Bake chicken pieces along with the marinade, uncovered, in preheated 375-degree oven for 55 minutes or until done.

(Note: this cooking time is for my altitude of 7,000 feet; at sea level, check for doneness after 50 minutes.)

Serving suggestions: Great served simply, with plain white or coconut rice drizzled with pan juices, black beans, and a green salad.

Grilling: This is fantastic on the grill when weather permits. Add 1 teaspoon table salt to the marinade & skip the coarse salt sprinkle. Then, instead of baking your chicken in its marinade, drain the marinade into a small saucepan & boil vigorously for 5 minutes. Drizzle over the grilled chicken at serving time.

Seafood: It’s an equally good marinade for seafood, especially shrimp or scallops. Marinate seafood in the fridge for only 30 minutes. Any longer and the lime juice will “cook” the seafood!

¡Buen provecho!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Creams for Fiber Artists
Sandia Park, NM