A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #19) - Shine On, Mr. Redbone

The world lost a truly innovative talent this past week with the passing of Leon Redbone.   I think I discovered him like most Americans:  hunched over his guitar, legs crossed, eyes concealed behind sunglasses, head topped with a panama hat and singing low and soft tunes that only our grandmothers would know on an appearance of the (then) truly unique Saturday Night Live.  The show’s producers seemed to want to break all the rules of late-night television with its cutting-edge satire interspersed with acts that wouldn’t get an even break anywhere else.*  Leon Redbone fit the bill to a tee!

The hair placement on his face – mustache and goatee – reminded one of Frank Zappa.  The resemblance ended when you compared the energy level of the two performers:  manic for Zappa, low, low, low key for Redbone. 

Audiences loved it and we wouldn’t have him any other way.

Warrior Queen and I were privileged to see him perform at the (old) Birchmere in Alexandria, VA sometime in the 90s.   The old Birchmere was a storefront music venue with a small stage and agreeably intimate setting.  This was perfect for Redbone.  My middle-aged memory has failed to remember anything in particular about his performance that night.  On the other hand, I don’t remember anything bad happening, so we must have had a good time.

I thought it would be appropriate to display two sides of his talent, live and in the studio.  The live performance, Shine on Harvest Moon, gives you a feel for the genre he revived and made his own.  His live performances enabled him to vary the tones and pitches in his voice which could not be heard in a studio recording.

I also selected a studio version of Ain’t Misbehavin' because, as I recently realized, my blog audience are suckers for a show tune.  Ideally, I would’ve liked to have found a live performance of Ain’t Misbehavin', but the best I could find was his appearance on SNL.  I would’ve had to post the entire episode just to see Mr. Redbone’s wonderful performance. 

Sorry, but I ain’t in the mood to sit through Chevy Chase today.

Please enjoy! 

*I recall another act on a season one episode with a woman reciting poetry!  On live television!  I kid you not! 

(Thank you for reading and thank you, Mr. Redbone!)


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh dear, I hadn't heard this sad news. RIP. I had a girlfriend once who was a huge fan of his and introduced me to his music.

June 2, 2019 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Raybeard said...

Never heard of this chappie. Prob'ly one of those (too many) whose reputation didn't travel beyond his native shores. But boy, he sure has a voice that's easy to listen to - varying the melodic line, and inserting beats (probably improvisatory) - without mangling it. Quite hypnotic. I'm impressed. Our loss.

June 2, 2019 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger John Going Gently said...

Never heard of him either, but I love that hat!
And I agree with Raymondo...I could listen to him again

June 2, 2019 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

I too have never heard of him/his works.
I usually discover these things after they die.
I thank you for your pointing out; you did a fine job in homily

June 3, 2019 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Debra. He had retired a few years ago for health reasons and lived in the county next to ours.

Hi Raybeard. Warrior Queen hinted that he had he didn't travel outside the US. I think it is the same reason why Britain's Kate Bush is not well known over here.

Thank you, John. His fashion was very much a part of his act.

Thank you, Spo. There are many of his performances waiting to be discovered on Youtube.

June 4, 2019 at 7:19 AM  

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