Leon Russell – Jackie Dunham – Champ Records Sessions 1962 – Past Daily Weekend Soundbooth: Lost Sessions Edition


Leon Russell - circa 1962 - Countless sessions.
Leon Russell – circa 1962 – Countless sessions before the break.

Champ Records Sessions – June 29, 1962 – Leon Russell: It Takes A Drink In The Mornin’ – Jackie Dunham: So Long Baby – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

No end of mysteries when it comes to boxes of tapes – this one showed up in my archive decades ago. A 7″ reel of tape simply marked Champ Records, Hollywood – from a session recorded at Studio and Artists Recorders on Sunset Boulevard from June 29, 1962. Two songs; one featuring Leon Russell – the other; Rockabilly artist Jackie Dunham, with Leon Russell on the piano.

Two Country songs, which I am not sure were ever released, by a record company I’ve heard very little about.

Leon Russell was a much in-demand session musician at the time, but he was also working towards a career as singer and songwriter. And so, in addition to his prodigious work behind the scenes, there were also a lot of solo sessions and group endeavors which were met with varying degrees of success – until the big break came in the late 60s.

Jackie Dunham, less is known about – a Rockabilly artist with several records to his credit (this one doesn’t show up anywhere), and later, according to a few reports, a successful career as a Country songwriter, working for the likes of Conway Twitty and others in Nashville.

So this set of sessions is a mystery and there is very little information, aside from the session sheets themselves, to go on. The Leon Russell track is a threadbare little number called “It Takes A Drink In The Morning (To Forget The Night Before)” with two takes, the second being the “circled” take. The second number is by Dunham, “So Long Baby” which features Russell in the role of accompanist/arranger, take 4 is the circled take.

Any hunches or further information is always welcome, and will certainly add to solving the mystery of this recording session. And I will happily add updates when/if I find out anything.

In any case, you will be hearing something that’s probably not seen the light of day since June of 1962.

Enjoy a piece of formerly lost history.

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6 thoughts on “Leon Russell – Jackie Dunham – Champ Records Sessions 1962 – Past Daily Weekend Soundbooth: Lost Sessions Edition

  1. I’m not Leon, but maybe I can fill in a few blanks about the studio.Thanks, Gordon for posting this, It personally means a lot.
    In August of 1963, the students of the Webb School, a prep school in Claremont Ca were building a radio station and acquired the control board from Studio and Artists. It’s a bit of a sad tale since the owner of the studio, Bill Carlson, was terminally ill and his wife was selling assets to cover expenses.
    The mixing desk was 7 feet in length and “U” shaped with 6 microphone channels, two line level inputs for overdubbing, 4 reverb send channels and 1 return. The echo chamber was the stair case in the multi story building. The electronics were housed in 3 six foot high racks.
    According to Bill Robinson, Director of Engineering for Capitol Records, who had up-dated the console, it had been originally custom built for CBS in Hollywood in 1936 for a cost of $30,000. I surmise it may have been the board at the Lux Radio Theater which would mean it had quite a history.
    I have never heard anything recorded at Studio and Artists Recorders before. I can hear the “room” a bit which was only treated with acoustical tile, and had parallel walls. The music is really cool, Rockabilly with a little bit of Surfer Rock flavor of the period. Thanks again for posting a real gem of Hollywood History. You have an excellent site.
    As I remember Studio and Artists’ main room was about 20′ by 15′ and the control room was about 8 by 15 with a huge walk in freezer type door connecting the two rooms, rather than a sound lock.
    The session would have been recorded on Ampex 350 tape recorders.
    I wish I had taken a camera with me when we removed the equipment,

    1. Thanks for your information. As an added attraction – the CBS Radio connection is partly due to the fact that the studio was owned by Lou Finston, who was the brother of Nat “Nathaniel” Finston, who was, for a time, Music Director for Columbia West Coast and the brother-in-law of Nathaniel Shilkret. That explains the board and how come it wound up at Studio & Artists. They did a considerable amount of Publishers demos as well as airchecks of CBS (and NBC) programs. By the 1950s things were winding down and they were doing primarily Publisher demos, which was where the Jackie Dunham tape came from. After the studio went out of business (it was right next door to 6121 Sunset), I managed to get most of the remaining tapes and almost all the 12″ and 10″ session discs. They were doing a lot of “overflow” work from CBS Radio, but that went away as soon as Radio Recorders set up shop. Hollywood was a very busy little town in those days, and it stayed that way into the 1960s.

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