Well, okay, maybe it's stretching things a bit to call Leon Redbone's retro-crooning style "country," but if we labelled it "roots music," would that make you feel any better? With a boozy, bluesy, cheerfully dissolute vocal style, Redbone approached various oldies and standards with a refreshingly relaxed attitude, not the glitz of the Manhattan Transfer/Bette Midler scene, nor the mystifying inscrutiablity of Tom Waits, nor the eager-to-please loopiness of Dan Hicks... But all of these contemporaries are good touchstones to help frame Redbone's place in the experimental clime of the mid-1970s. Indeed, Redbone's renditions of "Ain't Misbehavin' " and "Lazy Bones" may well have been the "definitive" versions for many a hippie/disco-era music fan... Here's a quick look at his work...
Leon Redbone "On The Track" (Warner Brothers, 1976)
What stands out most about this fine debut album is its sheer listenability, and good-natured relationship to the world of old jazz: there's not a bad track on it, and listening back to it after all these years, it completely holds up. Recommended... a real classic!!
Leon Redbone "Double Time" (Warner, 1977)
Leon Redbone "Champagne Charlie" (Warner, 1978)
This disc follows in much the same vein as his groovy debut -- boozy, easygoing renditions of blues-jazz oldies, with a tuba toodling in the background as Redbone croons at the edge of comprehensibility. It's so-o-ooper sleepy, though, perhaps lacking the focus of its predecessor. Sweet stuff, but it's sort of retro music to nod off by...
Leon Redbone "From Branch To Branch" (Atco, 1981)
Redbone perks up a bit for this delightful Dixie-meets-Jimmie Rodgers outing. Another winner. Dr. John pitches in on piano for a couple of tunes... Recommended!
Leon Redbone "Red To Blue" (Rounder, 1985)
Leon Redbone "Leon Redbone Live" (1985)
Leon Redbone "Christmas Island" (Rounder, 1987)
Leon Redbone "No Regrets" (Rounder, 1988)
Leon Redbone "Sugar" (Rounder, 1990)
Leon Redbone "Up A Lazy River" (Rounder, 1992)
Leon Redbone "Live!" (Special Music, 1994)
Leon Redbone "Whistling In The Wind" (Rounder, 1994)
Leon Redbone "Live & Kickin' " (Lemon Records, 1999)
Leon Redbone "Any Time" (Rounder, 2001)
Leon Redbone "Live - October 26, 1992: The Olympia Theater, Paris France" (Rounder, 2005)
Hick Music Index