Leon Redbone is a guitar player from another time. He’s a guitar player like no other. He is … Leon Redbone!
Just a quote from a fabulously gifted guitar player.
Raitt went on to tell her tale of being unable to get past the Redbone persona. “I spent an afternoon with him in a hotel room,” Raitt said, “and I was wondering when he was going to become normal. He never did.” Bonnie Raitt
A walking caricature, Redbone shuffled through folk festivals in his rumpled three-piece suits from the Twenties, a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and thick mustache. The only thing widely known about him was that he was a gifted singer and guitarist with a thorough knowledge of blues, urban folk, jazz, and ragtime. Mr. Redbone doesn’t just dig up the past, he embodies it! But, he does look like Frank Zappa on valium.
While listening to this master, and if you’ll let him, he’ll bring you into his unique world. A world where Blind Blake roamed the South and the Depression was all around you. He is like a old time traveling minstrel/vaudeville performer. This gruff voiced crooner was the real McCoy!
This guy just suddenly appeared as part of the Toronto folk scene in 1970. After the 1971 Mariposa Folk Festival outside of Toronto, all the musical greats from all musical genres wanted to soak in his vibes. Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Maria Muldaur, and Bob Dylan, to name a few, was not going to miss this hidden treasure at the 1972 show.
Dylan said that if he actually owned a music label, I think he does now though, Leon would be the first person he’d sign. The only chart topper this musician had was called Double Time, 1977 I think. The single most memorable moment was when he played of SNL, when it was worth watching!
He did some great add’s for Bud, and Cracker Barrel. His Mr. Belvedere Opening and Closing Themes, and his appearance on Alf and The Tonight show with the late great Johnny Carson, was just a thing of beauty ! The funniest song that he did, that was really obscure, was with Ringo Starr, you gotta listen to it!
So have any of you heard of this long forgotten musical relic? If not, then with all these great examples of the master, what do you think of him now?
BTW, Jon, do you know where that old Leon Redbone record/popcorn holder went to?
Keep on Jammin’