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Posts Tagged ‘Leon Redbone’

Saturday Matinee – Leon Redbone (1892-2019)

Saturday, 1 June 2019

“Why don’t they play pretty music any more?”

Leon Redbone was an iconic performer who reinvigorated the music of the late 19th to early 20th century, including blues, ragtime, dixieland jazz and country. That he pulled it off in the mid 1970s is an interesting commentary of the state of music of the time (mainstream rock was sucking donkeys). You couldn’t get more retro than Leon Redbone at that time, and he stepped right into the mix.

Rolling Stone described his repertoire as “so authentic you can hear the surface noise of an old 78 rpm.” During a 1974 interview (prior to release of any album) they asked where he first played in public. Redbone responded, “In a pool hall, but I wasn’t playing guitar, you see. I was playing pool.” Apparently he was pretty good at it.

I learned of the song “Ain’t Misbehavin” via some sheet music my late grampa had, and I liked the tune. I’d never heard of Fats Waller before I heard Leon Redbone’s version.

Then I heard Redbone’s over-the-top absurd version of The Sheik of Araby, a cover of this (1937) which was a cover of this (1922). I became a fan.

In the early ’80s I saw Mr. Redbone perform at The Golden Bear (a small but famous venue with no bad seats). His props were a rattan chair, a side table with a lamp, and his guitar. He was in the middle of a song when he saw the flash of a Kodak Instamatic camera. With lightning speed, he stopped, grabbed a Polaroid Swinger and took a photo of the photographer, then sat quietly humming until the image appeared. He held it up to view.

“Ahhh. Not a bad likeness.”

Then he resumed the song exactly where he left off.

I wasn’t aware of this until today, but there is a documentary on Leon Redbone. Here’s the trailer:

“He was always mysterious, he was always coming and going. It was almost like he was there one second and he’d be gone the next… and you never knew where he’d gone or why or how he’d even left, but suddenly he wasn’t there anymore.” – Jane Harbury, Publicist.

Here’s a link to the full documentary if you’re interested. It’s only 16 minutes, but it’s worth it.

Leon Redbone, you were a breath of fresh air into the stagnant late 70s music scene. May You Rest In Peace.

[Related posts here.]

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Saturday Matinee – Aluminum & Mercury Amalgamation, Capybara Soul & Leon Redbone

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Okay. I’m impressed. The timelapse is killer.

Eddie Murphy‘s James Brown‘s Capybara Hot Tub is awesome [via].

Everybody needs some Leon once in a while, so there you go.

Have a great holiday weekend, folks, see y’all back here tomorrow.

Saturday Matinee – Allotria Jazz Band, Fats Waller, Leon Redbone & Captain Beefheart

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Die Allotria Jazzband ist eine Combo, die 1969 in München gegründet wurde und dem traditionellen Jazz verpflichtet ist. [Allotria translates to Monkey Business.] “Wolverine Blues” was written and recorded by Jelly Roll Morton in 1923.

Two decades later, Fats Waller was playing the same style.

Nice lip-sync of a pretty song. According to the UToobage:
“Myra Johnson voiced-over the girl “vocalist” sitting on the piano, who, according to trumpeter Eddie Henderson, is his mother.”

In 1975, over five decades later, Leon Redbone recorded his own version (and this isn’t it. Click the link). Mr. Redbone’s music is meant for eggs and coffee and a side of toast.

That’s a version of Blind Blake‘s recording from 1929.

Captain Beefheart recorded an entirely different song called “Diddy Wah Diddy” that was later covered by The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Whoa. I just found out that “Diddy Wah Diddy” was written by Willie Dixon and Bo Diddley, and was recorded in 1956.

Now it all makes sense.

Have a great weekend folks and be back here tomorrow for more diddy wah diddy.

Saturday Matinee – Tuba Skinny with Erika Lewis, Leon Redbone, Brent Johnson & The Call Up

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Tuba Skinny on a hot, steamy New Orleans day, playing James Scott’s “Climax Rag”  from 1914. Pay attention to the girl on cornet – she knows exactly how to do it right – and before you assume that the girl on bass drum is only there for eye candy, check this out:

That’s Erika Lewis & Tuba Skinny performing at The Louisiana Busker Fest in Abita Springs 21 April 2013.  BTW, the band is from Tasmania. Now, how ’bout some Leon?

Leon Redbone made his debut in 1976 with his album “On The Tracks.” Here he is on SNL, and here’s Mr. Redbone’s  home page.

Mike Imbasciani with Brent Johnson & the Call Up doing a heavy swamp rock take of Chick Willis‘ “Stoop Down Baby.”

There are enough links up there to keep you out of trouble for a few hours. Have a great weekend folks, see you back here tomorrow for more fun stuff.

[Update: Tuba Skinny is from Louisiana. Thanks to Lulu for the correction.]

Saturday Matinee – Pete Candoli & Red Nichols & Al Hirt; Scott Biram, B.B. Chung King and Leon Redbone

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Red Nichols, Pete Candoli & Al Hirt playing “Hot Lips.”
If that video wasn’t so entirely bitchin’ we’d never have posted it – Every decent link on the U-Toobage we found had “embedding disabled.” Some anusbrain copyright jerks don’t understand the concept of free advertisement. Let’s move on.

Scott Biram is a one-man ass-kickin’ rock machine.

“Mumbo Jumbo” by B.B. Chung King & The Screaming Buddaheads 2007. The Tail Gators did a song by the same name in 1988.

Here’s some fun etymology: In Japanese American slang, a “Buddahead” used to mean a Japanese American from Hawaii (h/t Osprey 1) and “Mumbo Jumbo” (Mandingo, West African in origin) was a bugbear who appeared at night to resolve marital disputes. Mumbo Jumbo was not nice. He’d beat the crap out of wives who disobeyed their husbands.

Let’s lighten it up a bit. Here’s Leon Redbone, one of the few folks I can think of (besides you, of course) who is welcome at my doorstep any time.

That’s it for this episode of The Saturday Matinee. Have a great weekend and be back tomorrow for more nonsensical oddities.

Saturday Matinee – Froggy Chillin’, Leon Redbone, Lonnie Johnson, Bob Brozman, Bonnie Raitt & Roy Rogers

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Froggy be chillin’.

“I’m just an entertainer, and I use music as a medium for entertaining. But I’m not really an entertainer either, because to be an entertainer it implies you have a great desire to want to entertain.”
Leon Redbone

Leon Redbone‘s take on Lonnie Johnson’s “Mr. Jelly Roll Baker” in 2009. (BTW, “jelly roll” was slang for something other than a pastry.)

On growing up in New Orleans Parish: “There was music all around us, and in my family you’d better play something, even if you just banged on a tin can.”
Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie Johnson created the single-note guitar solo in the 1920s, and decades passed before the guitar was regarded as more than a background rhythm instrument. I don’t know who’s on drums or piano, but that’s Willie Dixon on bass, and the vid is likely from the mid to late 1960s.

My first impression of “ethnomusicologist” Bob Brozman was that he’s a pretentious jerk. On the other hand, he’s crammed some great country/Delta blues licks into his American Steel.

Let’s wrap this baboso up with two of the greatest modern day slide guitar players, on stage together in Austin: Bonnie Raitt & Roy Rogers jamming “Gnawin’ On It.”

So gnaw on that, folks, and have a great weekend.

Saturday Matinee – WKYT’s Weather Report, Pastorius’ Weather Report, Waits’ Weather Report, Redbone’s Weather Report & Dale’s Weather Report

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Tornado damage captured by security cams – scary stuff.
[Found here.]

Weather Report was a breath of fresh air from the garbage that was being pumped out over the airwaves in the late 1970s. Although it is pure jazz-fusion, they initiated a resurgence of a nuanced genre based upon the substantial willingness of proper associative mindset awareness and shit. Jaco was great.

Meanwhile, Tom Waits was working the other end of the jazz resurgence spectrum as a hep-cat jazzbo 50s street poet.

Leon Redbone took the jazz resurgence in a completely different direction – right to it’s early American roots. “Diddy Wah Diddy” was a song by itself, complete with the requisite innuendo, but listen to the cornet solo. It’s a note-for-note copy of  King Oliver from 1926, “Sugar Foot Stomp.”

And for you babosos who don’t give a carp about weather, this vid of Dick Dale & The DelTones (ca. 1963) is supposedly a rare video of the King of Surf Guitar, but nothing is rare on the internest, and I dare you to name the dances. Double dog dare you.

Have a great weekend, folks. More stuff coming tomorrow.

Saturday Matinee – Tom Waits, Leon Redbone, The Remains, Mink DeVille, The Black Keys

Saturday, 26 November 2011

“Ol’ 55” became one of my favorite Tom Waits songs once I found that The Eagles only did a cover.

“Diddy Wah Diddy” is one of my favorite Leon Redbone songs, even though it was  a cover of Blind Blake’s original, not to be confused with Bo Diddley’s DWD. that was covered by Captain Beefheart as well as The Fabulous Thunderbirds (All four versions linked are worth a listen because Bunk knows what Diddy Wah Diddy means.)

The Remains‘ version of Bo Diddley’s song is, um, a version, but the retroness kinda makes up for the lameness of the Boston band’s cover.

Willy “Mink” DeVille was a punk rocker before the Sex Pistols screwed it all up. Moon Martin’s “Cadillac Walk” was a classic, and DeVille did a great cover.

The Black Keys just blow me away, and not just because of the retro rock sound. A 3-man group has to be good to crank, but for two guys to load and pull the trigger is pure awesome.

Have a great weekend folks. Be back here tomorrow.

Saturday Matinee – Nippoless Nippleby, Dan Hicks, Leon Redbone, 80s Ragtime

Saturday, 9 April 2011


Nice absurd animation from the 1980s.


Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks were mildly successful in the 70s with their 1930s hot club jazz/bluegrass style. “Crazy ‘Cause He Is” was my favorite Hicks ditty. (NSFK: flip off in the vid image, mild language warning. Fun song otherwise.)

Leon Redbone’s version of  “Polly Wolly Doodle.” According to Wiki, there’s no secret meaning to the song, but here’s a verse I’d never heard:

“Behind the barn, down on my knees,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day;
I thought I heard a chicken sneeze,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.
Oh he sneezed so hard with the whooping cough,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day;
He sneezed his head and his tail right off,
Sing Polly Wolly Doodle all the day.”

I suspect that the song predates The War Between The States even though the popular tune is played in ragtime. So let’s play some ragtime!

Yep. 1980s hits played in ragtime. There’s something wrong with piano players who can pull off stuff like this (actually, I think there’s something wrong with piano players in general). Must be a subconscious and deep-rooted jealousy thing just because I can’t do what they do.

And with that, we’re done. Have a great weekend, folks. Be back here tomorrow for more fun.

Saturday Matinee – The Cowans, Fats Waller, Art Tatum, George Clinton & Leon Redbone

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Before you get all humpy like this is just a last minute hodge-podge throw-it-together post for the Saturday Matinee, chill. It’s all good, and it’s all connected in an odd sort of way…

September 2008: Fran & Marlow Cowan played an impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic. The song is Arthur Clough’s “Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet” from 1910.

Fats Waller‘s “Aint Misbehavin'” (1929) was my introduction to early jazz before I knew who Fats Waller was. 1930s Jazz = Best Jazz in my book.

And then Art Tatum ripped it all apart and completely rebuilt the engine.

Gonna jump a few decades to Miles Davis‘ “Tutu.”

George Clinton‘s Mothership! [via Coldwarrior] One more? Heh. You got it.

Yep, Leon Redbone on Carson, playing “Diddy-Wah-Diddy,” which is somehow apropos for Mardi Gras gris gris gumbo yaya.

Have a great weekend folks, and be back here tomorrow for more fun.


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