On the Trackby Leon Redbone
This is the debut long-player from Leon Redbone (guitar/harmonica/vocals/throat tromnet), a one-man folk/jazz enigma. Although it was incorrectly rumored that the artist was a musical visage of Frank Zappa, Redbone began getting notice during a stint in Toronto, Ontario, in the early '70s. For On the Track</a>/a>… See more details below
This is the debut long-player from Leon Redbone (guitar/harmonica/vocals/throat tromnet), a one-man folk/jazz enigma. Although it was incorrectly rumored that the artist was a musical visage of Frank Zappa, Redbone began getting notice during a stint in Toronto, Ontario, in the early '70s. For On the Track (1975), he offers a uniquely authentic revival of turn-of-the-century melodies, including those of the Singin' Brakeman, Mississippi Blue Yodeler Jimmie Rodgers ("Desert Blues") as well as Fats Waller ("Ain't Misbehavin'"). However, he liberally applies the same notable technique to a wide array of pop standards from the likes of Irving Berlin ("Marie") and Johnny Mercer ("Lazy Bones"). The minimalism in the arrangements provides an understated delivery focusing on Redbone's distinguished baritone vocals. This includes his self-proclaimed "throat tromnet" -- an orally generated device that sounds like a combination trombone and trumpet. Accompanying him are quite an aggregate of studio stalwarts -- such as percussionists Ralph McDonald (castanets) and Steven Gadd (drums) as well as legendary jazz heavies Milt Hinton (bass), Garnett Brown (trombone), Seldon Powell (sax), and Jonathan Dorn (tuba). Their contributions are likewise discreet and otherwise tastefully augment the highly developed and melody-intensive arrangements. The Spanish inflections of "My Walking Stick" work subtly behind the artist, supporting rather than detracting from his cool and expressive vocals. The swampy and lethargic "Lazybones" reverberates the swelter of the Delta summertime. Hinton's thick basslines amble along at an even pace -- while Redbone's drowsy vocals contrast the high and tight brass interjections and sonic ornamentation. "Lulu's Back in Town" recalls Rev. Gary Davis' talking blues, as it commences with a brief spoken introduction setting up the premise of the song. The manufactured sound effects of a mostly uninhabited pool hall are in essence a wink of the mind's eye for the listener. Famed jazz producer Joel Dorn was at the helm of these sessions and his experience provides an organic attention to nuance. On the whole, the lack of over-production allows the material room to breathe without stifling the arrangements, yet with enough augmentation to adequately support Redbone's more central delivery.
- Release Date:
- Warner Bros / Wea
Performance CreditsLeon Redbone Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Don McLean Banjo
Phil Bodner Saxophone
Joe Venuti Violin
Patti Bown Piano
Seldon Powell Saxophone
Joe Wilder Trumpet,Cornet
Ralph MacDonald Percussion,Castanets
Garnett Brown Trombone
Patricia Brown Piano
Jonathan Dorn Tuba,Horn
Steve Gadd Drums
Emanuel Green Violin
Milt Hinton Bass
Leo Kahn Violin
Charles Macey Guitar
Gene Orloff Violin
Billy Slapin Clarinet
Technical CreditsJoel Dorn Producer
Bob Liftin Engineer
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Yeah, and not to mention Joe Venuti, who essentially CREATED the idea of jazz violin. A bit bigger name than the ones the Music Guide mentioned...geez....For Leon to get Venuti, even very late in his life, says something about Leon Redbone. Whataguy!!!
He also persuaded Chuck Jones to bring Michigan J. Frog out of retirement . . . too bad Leon never recorded "Michigan Rag."
Ten years ago I had a cafe & had a couple of Leon Redbone CDs (don't remember which ones). Everyone enjoyed the easy-going, old-worldly, gentle times-gone- by style of Redbone. Then someone broke into my cafe & stole all my CDs, including the Redbone ones. It is only now I have bought On the Track to replace those lost CDs. Oh, I love the rythmic sound, his lovely voice, the instruments are so easy to listen to & catch one up in the rythm. Now my husband has discovered Leon Redbone & loves hiim. His favourite cut is "Marie." We are entranced with that throat tromnet - would like to see a picture of it. A favorite CD for both my husband & me.
There's no mistaking this voice- it is Leon through and through, but I didn't enjoy it as much as other albums. The tracks "My Walking Stick" and "Lazy Bones" were my favorites, and there are a couple of other decent tracks, but I don't feel like I'll be listening to this CD over and over.
Easily on of my favorite albums of all time, it has soft simple relaxed feel that's hard to beat...My Walking Stick, Lazy Bones, Marie, LuLu's Back in Town--all the songs are good to excellent. It's the perfect music to put on in the background and see if you are noticing the lyrics. You will.