by Leon RedboneLeon Redbone




Leon Redbone entered the 1990s with the baker's dozen of selections on Sugar (1991), one of his best overall efforts to date. His unique and unmistakable interpretations of obscure jazz and early popular melodies are augmented by the occasional and equally singular original composition. The tunes are carefully crafted in such a way that they ably augment Redbone's distinct vocals, which vacillate between a gravel-voiced mumble and full-bodied bellow. In keeping with the musical persona he'd established for himself, the arrangements are often a synthesis of the refined jazz stylings of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, with essential nuggets of traditional American folk, blues and pop. The opening "Ghost of the St. Louis Blues" is the perfect case in point, as the tastefully scored string section caresses the mid-tempo pace. Asleep at the Wheel member Cindy Cashdollar's twangy dobro and Bob Mastro's sweet mandolin frail earmark the rural sleepy waltz "Roll Along Kentucky Moon." Comparatively spry are "Right or Wrong," the title track "Sugar," and a standout cover of "When I Take My Sugar to Tea," which are a rousing mixture of freewheeling ragtime and the playfulness of Django Reinhardt's days in the aforementioned Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Another adeptly executed remake is "Pretty Baby," capturing all the charm of Al Jolson's best-known rendering, yet the artist provides a freshness in this interpretation, making it unquestionably his own. Redbone supplies a few of the album's more memorable sides, such as the jaunty wordless "Whistling Colonel" and the understated and intimate repose of "So, Relax." The closing instrumental "14th Street Blues" is brought to life by the honey toned clarinet of Ken Peplowski, whose tenure in the modern re-creation of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is evident by the redolent soul he brings to the performance. Longtime enthusiasts will not be disappointed with Sugar and curious parties will similarly find it a great entrée into Redbone's catalog.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/17/2004
Label: Rounder / Umgd
UPC: 0011661323629
catalogNumber: 613236

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Leon Redbone   Primary Artist,Banjo,Guitar,Harmonica,Chimes,Vocals,Human Whistle
Dan Barrett   Trombone
Ken Peplowski   Clarinet,Saxophone
Vince Giordano   Bass Saxophone
Giampaolo Biagi   Percussion,Drums
Cindy Cashdollar   Dobro
Peter Ecklund   Cornet
Richard Hendrickson   Violin
Richard Henrickson   Violin
Regis Landiorio   Violin
Richard Maximoff   Viola
Brian Nalepka   Bass,Tuba,Accordion
Frank Vignola   Guitar
Terry Waldo   Piano
Eddy Davis   Drums
Chuck Wilson   Piccolo
Arnie Kinsella   Drums
Bob Mastro   Mandolin,Violin
Hal Shane   Harmony,Vocal Harmony
John Reed   Cello

Technical Credits

Leon Redbone   Arranger,Producer
Doug Epstein   Engineer
Beryl Handler   Producer
Richard Hendrickson   String Arrangements
Richard Henrickson   String Arrangements
Mark Larson   Art Direction
Maceo Pinkard   Composer
Sidney Mitchell   Composer
Edna Alexander   Composer
Allan Hanely   Composer

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