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Leon Redbone question

M.Ted 29 Jul 01 - 06:02 PM
Sorcha 29 Jul 01 - 06:25 PM
MichaelM 29 Jul 01 - 08:11 PM
Stewie 29 Jul 01 - 09:20 PM
Mark Clark 29 Jul 01 - 09:27 PM
Armen Tanzerian 29 Jul 01 - 10:23 PM
Armen Tanzerian 29 Jul 01 - 10:28 PM
ddw 29 Jul 01 - 11:05 PM
Justa Picker 30 Jul 01 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 30 Jul 01 - 09:42 AM
Ron Olesko 30 Jul 01 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Walking Eagle 30 Jul 01 - 10:15 AM
Ron Olesko 30 Jul 01 - 10:25 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Jul 01 - 11:10 AM
Trapper 30 Jul 01 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 30 Jul 01 - 11:13 AM
Mike Regenstreif 30 Jul 01 - 01:55 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Jul 01 - 02:13 PM
Ron Olesko 30 Jul 01 - 03:53 PM
fat B****rd 30 Jul 01 - 04:31 PM
Miss Merlyn 30 Jul 01 - 05:51 PM
ddw 30 Jul 01 - 06:04 PM
katlaughing 30 Jul 01 - 06:07 PM
ddw 30 Jul 01 - 06:10 PM
MichaelM 30 Jul 01 - 06:21 PM
Tedham Porterhouse 30 Jul 01 - 07:51 PM
mooman 30 Jul 01 - 08:06 PM
ddw 30 Jul 01 - 08:09 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Jul 01 - 09:03 PM
katlaughing 30 Jul 01 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,Gern 31 Jul 01 - 09:11 AM
Steve Latimer 31 Jul 01 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 31 Jul 01 - 11:17 AM
mooman 31 Jul 01 - 11:20 AM
number 6 20 May 05 - 10:49 PM
ddw 27 May 05 - 05:59 PM
annamill 27 May 05 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Matt_R 27 May 05 - 07:17 PM
number 6 19 Jun 09 - 08:43 PM
meself 19 Jun 09 - 09:17 PM
Will Fly 20 Jun 09 - 04:23 AM
frogprince 20 Jun 09 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,Ballyholme 20 Jun 09 - 10:14 PM
Cap't Bob 20 Jun 09 - 10:57 PM
Eve Goldberg 20 Jun 09 - 10:59 PM
meself 21 Jun 09 - 01:44 AM
PHJim 30 Jun 09 - 05:13 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 10 - 11:47 AM
GUEST 09 Apr 13 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,SLG 30 Jun 14 - 09:44 PM
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Subject: Leon Redbone Controversy
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 06:02 PM

Leon Redbone, in addition to being a great performer and a an expert in old time and old jazz musice, is a notable "Man of Mystery"--A newsperson of my acquaintance mentioned to me that he had been involved in some sort of controversy involving anti-semitism a while ago, but knew nothing further--this surprised me, and though I am a big fan, and familiar with his music and playing styles, I know nothing about him or his background at all, not even to know if he would have been the subject or the source--Did he say something? Was something said about him? Did this person get him confused with someone else? Inquiring minds, as always, want to know!


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 06:25 PM

Found this, but nothing juicy in it. Also found a page that said when his mom was in labor on her way to the hospital, something large (brick, etc) fell on the car when it was going down Wall Street. His father's "cleanest" word was chosen for his middle name. I am guessing "Jesus"--middle initial is J.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: MichaelM
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 08:11 PM

Tam Kearney of Toronto's late lamented Fiddler's Green folk club tells stories of booking Leon. You had to phone a pool hall downtown and ask for a specific name (Jake or something similar)and leave your number with the bartender. You would get a call later from Leon. This was the only way they could reach him.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 09:20 PM

Sorcha, evidently his middle name is Jehosaphat. I love his style which someone once described as having the 'ambience of an old 78'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Mark Clark
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 09:27 PM

Michael, Chicago's Richard Harding, owner of such famous places as Poor Richard's and The Quiet Knight, told much the same story. He had to call a pool hall in Toronto and wait until Redbone got the message and decided to return his call in order to arrange a booking. Those were the days when Redbone dressed as a railroad brakeman and traveled with a Harmony Sovereign guitar, before the white duds.

Is it just me or does anyone else think the Rocky Rococo Pizza chain's logo looks a lot like Leon?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 10:23 PM

It's just you...Oh, no, wait a minute...you're right!
But serially, I joked once with Mike Bloomfield that Leon was probably originally Leonard Rothbein and a Member of the Tribe like Mike and me. I still think so, unless someone has proof to the contrary.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 10:28 PM

Oh, and the non-bio referenced above doesn't mention that when Leon first came on to the U.S. folk scene, he was a Jimmie Rodgers fanatic, complete with overalls and engineer's cap.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: ddw
Date: 29 Jul 01 - 11:05 PM

Leon was a regular at Campbell's Coffee House, the Hamilton, Ont. folk club where I hung out from about 1972 to '74 and stories about him abounded.

A couple of people said Leon had told them he was from New Orleans and that he was independently wealthy — just did the music thing for fun. I asked him once where he was from and he ignored me. Asked him again a few weeks later and he just said Toronto.

There was also an aporyphal story about an incident on Toronto Island when the Mariposa Folk Festival was held there. That tale had it that Bob Dylan slipped ashore unannounced, found Leon and offered to produce records of him. Leon supposedly asked "Will they be 78s?" and refused to talk about it further when he was told no.

One person told me the game to find out anything about him got so intense that people started going through his guitar case while he was on stage, looking for any clue about him.They found nothing.

Each time he performed in Toronto, somebody would give him a ride home. He always asked to be let out of the car at a different location. One night, the "detectives" decided to really work at it. One car drove Leon to where he asked to be let out while another followed at a distance, to see where he would go when he thought nobody was watching. Leon got out of the car, walked a couple of blocks and went into an apartment building. The tail car people thought, aha, and started to circle the block. After the first turn they hit a one-way street that ran back past the apartment building. They turned onto it, only to find Leon coming out the back door and walking past them in the opposite direction. By they time they circled the block again, he had disappeared. Apparently they thought they could find out at least what neighborhood he lived in, but on subsequent rides home he never went anywhere near that area.

There was speculation for a while that he was really some kind of high-powered exec who did the Redbone character as a lark. That might have been shored up a bit by his commercial work, but to my knowledge nobody ever blew his cover if that's what he was up to.

In any event, Leon was quite a character and a fine talent — I always thought he was having as much fun creating his own myth as other people were trying to figure it out.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Justa Picker
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 12:34 AM

Great stories DDW!
(Almost sounds like Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton.)


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 09:42 AM

Information on his CD sleeves seems designed to confuse.Someone in the press said he was partly Native Canadian, when Zappa was alive people said he was Leon's alter ego.
Not that it matters, I enjoy his voice though not always his choice of backing arrangement, but if anyone has any first-hand knowledge it would be nice to know.
RtS (I have been known to "sing" "She ain't Rose")


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 09:58 AM

Hmmm..... the Andy Kaufman reference is interesting. Can anyone recall ever seeing Leon Redbone and Andy Kaufman in the same room together? This could solve several mysteries. I think I will ask Elvis for his opinion!!!!

I love a mystery!!! :)

Ron


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Walking Eagle
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 10:15 AM

Here's something else for the myth machine. Rumor was (is) he used to pass himself off as a toy maker while living in New Hope, PA.

All I know is when he played the now defunct Valley Forge Music Fair, everyone left knowing they got their money's worth. Whatever the myths, the man can play. Shame we only hear him on detergent commercials now. Oh well, just more grist for the myth mill. If you are 'lurking' Leon, we love ya!


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 10:25 AM

As a "pitchman", Leon is the only person that could persuade me to drink Budweiser. I still prefer beer, but Budweiser works wonders on removing slugs from the garden.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 11:10 AM

One of my best friends in Toronto (and a BIG influence on Leon) knows all the "whos, whats and whys" about Mr. Redbone, and has steadfastly refused for twenty five years to divulge anything...even when I (jokingly) try to trip him up into providing info. I simply love the fact that Leon's been able to carry this off.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Trapper
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 11:11 AM

I thought Leon Redbone and Elliot Gould were the same person...

Walking Eagle, Leon is still touring - saw him in Minneapolis last year, so you can still catch him live. He hardly EVER does his detergent commercials in concert... :-D

- Al


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 11:13 AM

Would that be Mose Scarlett, Rick? I detect vocal & repertoire similarities?
RtS


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Mike Regenstreif
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 01:55 PM

Back in the 1970s, I produced some concerts for Leon in Montreal. Once when I went to pick him up at the airport, he played hide and seek. He'd see me coming and duck behind a post or corner.

When he finally gave up the game, he said it was because he was expecting to be met by fan dancers. On the drive to his hotel, he kept asking me where the fan dancers were?

Re: the pool hall stories, I dunno. When I started booking him, he was being represented by Manny Greenhill's Folklore Productions.

The story about Leon refusing to record for Dylan because they wouldn't be 78s is probably not true. But, in 1974, I had Leon booked to play a concert in a 400 seat hall when Dylan said in an interview in Rolling Stone that if he had a record company, the first act he'd sign would be Leon Redbone. Before the interview came out, about 100 tickets had been sold. Within a day or two, it sold out. I added a second show and it sold out and several hundred people were turned away at the door. This was a year or so before Leon's first album came out and it was the biggest night he'd had at that point, anywhere, as a headliner.

Mike Regenstreif


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 02:13 PM

Great story Mike.

Roger, I have been sworn to secrecy. Mose plays his cards pretty close to the vest as well.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 03:53 PM

One item thatI heard second hand from someone who had a friend who had a brother whose second cousin worked in a deli owned by the brother in law of Leon's dry cleaner - Leon (if that is his real name) was once a member of a rock band in the 60's. Not a big group, but a group that did have a few albums out. I think this is probably not true, but who knows? I know that there was a band called Redbone, but I don't think he had any connection. Has anyone else heard this rumor?

I hope that we never really find out the true story. The mystery just adds to his charm!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: fat B****rd
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 04:31 PM

On the sleeve of "On The Track" Leon points out that he has no connection with the group "Redbone". Mind you the idea of LJR in a rock group is pretty bizarre.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Miss Merlyn
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 05:51 PM

I just love the notion that Leon could be Frank Zappa's alter ego... hmmm...has anyone seen him since Zappa died?


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: ddw
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 06:04 PM

Mike R.

As I said, I always considered that story about Leon and Dylan apocraphal — more on my doubts that Dylan could slip ashore unnoticed than on Leon's supposed response.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 06:07 PM

He was on the American Roots Radio Show, this past weekend. Sounded great, as ever. The interviewer asked if he drank Budweiser. He said he had, but he preferred Italian beer! It looks as htough the show is archived.

kat


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: ddw
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 06:10 PM

Rick,

It figures you'd have an inside track on him — or at least know somebody who does. I always figured there were several people out there who know about him and marvelled at the fact nobody has done an "expose" on him. Of course, after all this time, it would be awful to find out he's just an excellent musician and not really that eccentric...

cheers,

david.

BTW, ran into another acquaintance of yours — Paul Geremia.

Good picker! Took one of his classes at Augusta Blues Week. He liked your tip about stretching the left hand by running up the neck.....


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: MichaelM
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 06:21 PM

I come bearing another story courtesy of Tam Kearney. Leon walked onto the stage at Fiddler's Green carrying a brown paper bag. He sat down, spread a white napkin on the small table beside him and produced a large red tomato from the bag. He put the tomato on the napkin and, without further ado, played his set. He then put the tomato back in the bag, folded up the napkin and walked off stage. The audience had spent the whole night wondering what he was going to do with the tomato. No explanation or discussion from Leon.

Brilliant!

Michael


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Tedham Porterhouse
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 07:51 PM

ddw,

Dylan did show up at Mariposa in 1972. He was hardly unnoticed though. Massive crowds walked behind him disrupting the festival.

He did spend some time hanging out in the performers' area and I've got a great picture of him chatting with Utah Phillips.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: mooman
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 08:06 PM

I love Leon's music but don't know his recordings too well. Can anyone advise on a good place to start in remedying this lacuna in my CD collection?

Many thanks

mooman


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: ddw
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 08:09 PM

Tedham — thanx for the info. I wasn't there the day it happened, but had been the day before. Didn't hear about it until later and wasn't sure I believed the guy who told me — I'd caught him in so many lies in the past I took just about everything he said with a grain of salt.

So maybe the reported meeting with LR did take place — who knows?

Or, as Rick's post points out, Who's telling?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 09:03 PM

There is a picture in one of the many books on Dylan showing him with Redbone at Mariposa. I will look through my library and see if I can find a copy.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Jul 01 - 09:03 PM

Mooman, contact Dick Greenhaus, owner of the DT and Camsco Music. If you don't see any listed, be sure to ask him, because he can just about get anything and it helps support his altruistic side in building the DT up even more.:-)

Alternatively, you could click on the fish jumping out of the banjo, look for the various links to CDNow, etc. and buying through those links would also benefit the Mudcat, with a cut of the purchase coming to it.

kat


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 09:11 AM

If you can get a hold of a copy of Jelly Roll Morton's taped interviews with Alan Lomax, I think you'll see where Redbone's persona came from. That swaggering posture, the pose of Southern royalty in JRM's voice is identical to Redbone's spoken style. Intonations, word selection, all point to Redbone's taking inspiration from this self-satisfied musical pioneer, who used this occasion to claim that he "invented" jazz.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 10:54 AM

Mooman,

I would suggest "On The Tracks" as a good place to start. I think it's a wonderful album from start to finish. It includes Walkin'Cane, Marie, Big Chief Buffalo Nickel, Polly Wolly Doodle (with Don McLean on banjo)and a number of others.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 11:17 AM

I'd suggest "Red to Blue", but any of the others I have:"Sugar";"Live and Kicking";"Whistling in the Wind"; "Champagne Charlie" are worth a listen (not all available now, especially in the UK)there's usually an eclectic mix of styles on each album.
Enjoy
RtS


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: mooman
Date: 31 Jul 01 - 11:20 AM

Many thanks Kat, Steve and Roger for the very helpful advice.

Best regards,

mooman


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: number 6
Date: 20 May 05 - 10:49 PM

Leon Redbone was actually born in Cyprus and immigrated to Canada in his teens. My friend's older brother once lived in the same house in Yorkville Village as him back in 1966. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times, though he never said much, just mumbled. He was emulating Bob Dylan at that time, wearing a dark suit, sunglasses, chelsea boots. Played a a Strat Telecaster. He was known then as just Sonny. Overall he was still a mystery even at that time.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: ddw
Date: 27 May 05 - 05:59 PM

Number 6,

I'm not denying your info is correct — I just don't have enough facts — but if Leon immigrated in his teens he is one helluva linguist. I've never heard any hint of either a Turkish or Greek accent in his speech. I do know someone who claims he went to school in Toronto with Leon and that he's really an Armenian Jew, but I'm still holding out for more info there before I take it as gospel.

And if I ever confirm it, I'd never tell. To have carried on the "mystery man" thing for that long is just too delicious to spoil.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: annamill
Date: 27 May 05 - 06:22 PM

Having heard Roger in Baltimore (rib) do Leon's songs, I have to wonder. Is HE really Leon?? Maybe Marge, (rib's wife) knows!

LOL!

Annamill


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Matt_R
Date: 27 May 05 - 07:17 PM

Leon Redbone is awesome


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: number 6
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 08:43 PM

ddw .... the Cyprus birth was the rumour going around in the late 1970's ... but as you state ... leon will always be a man of mystery.

please don't talk about me

biLL


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: meself
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 09:17 PM

Friend of mine knew him back in Toronto in the early days. I remember him telling me then that LR lived above a pool hall, and if you wanted to talk to him, you had to phone the pool hall and ask for "Slim". Never heard that from anyone else, until I just read this thread ...

Saw him in Halifax once. In the middle of his show, he did an extended "magic lantern" presentation. I almost fell asleep. Or maybe I did.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 04:23 AM

I saw him in Waterford last November at the Forum - and excellent he was. Superb voice and guitar work, and very funny. Just before his final number, he came out on stage with a digital camera, took three pictures of the audience and said, "I'm going to paste these on the windshield of my car - yours will be the last faces I see as I go over the clifftop."

By coincidence, we were staying at the same hotel in Waterford as he and his wife. We got chatting and drinking coffee in the hotel bar on the rainy Saturday afternoon after the Friday night concert. He was a charming and witty man - revealed nothing about himself, and we asked him nothing.

At breakfast the previous day, my wife had turned to me and said, "Who on earth comes down to breakfast wearing a flat cap and dark glasses?" I replied, "Leon Redbone does."

A time to savour.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 09:34 PM

Never have so many people wanted so badly to know something, just so they could smirk and refuse to tell when other people asked. Me included. And, paradoxically, who doesn't want Leon to keep getting away with his routine?


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,Ballyholme
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 10:14 PM

Many years ago I used to have a radio show in Ireland and when Leon toured the UK his record company asked me to do a telephone interview with him.

The buzz in the UK at the time (no doubt encouraged by the record company) was that he was, in fact, Bob Dylan's brother.

During the interview I asked him if there was any truth in the rumour. His answer, like most of his conversation, was rambling and inconclusive.

I haven't heard any recent recordings but I would expect that his wondeful voice would get even better with age.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 10:57 PM

Still a mystery as they both tend to share the same hat, beard, etc.

Date: 05 Jan 00 - 10:06 AM

I know there are probably thousands, if not tens of thousands, of you out there who think that Leon Redbone and Mose Scarlett are one in the same person. I have seen them both in person and up until this year believed the only difference was in the name. They even both had the same fellow playing backup guitar.   Rick Fielding solved this mystery for me with the following e-mail:

Hi Capt'n Bob

Well, let me tell you. You've stumbled onto one of music's little mysteries here, so let me fill you in. Both Mose and Leon are of indeterminate age. They both play pool..one is really good, and the other is so bad that I beat him on a regular basis. They both own small Martin and Gibson guitars. Their voices ARE remarkably similar. Oh hell,..I could go on with the game but I'll be straight with you. They ARE two (very) different people. Mose lives in Toronto, Leon in Vermont. They are good friends, and I highly reccommend Mose's new album "The fundamental Things" on Borealis. I'm not sure who the accompanist was, but I'll ask Mose. One thing for sure. They're both great!

See ya "cat"

Rick

MY NEW PROBLEM, or mystery for the year is ~~~?~~~ does Rick always tell the truth?????

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 10:59 PM

Mose Scarlett and Leon Redbone are definitely two different people. They don't even look that much alike, once you get up close. But Redbone certainly owes a LOT of his musical style and his persona to Mose.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: meself
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 01:44 AM

As for myself: I like his music - I really don't care about the supposed "mystery". Maybe I'm just not THAT into the guy. I hope I get to hear some more of his music from time to time - but I will be able to live a fairly fulfilled life without ever knowing "who he really is".

But - that's me. And no doubt I have one or two obsessions that no one else can make sense out of ...


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: PHJim
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 05:13 PM

Leon drew the picture of Mose on the back of his first album, Stallin' For Time.


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 11:47 AM

Mose Scarlett is one of my biggest musical heroes. Ken Whiteley (bless his soul) gave me many CD's everytime I'd see him - Jackie Washington, his stuff - and mose. I got to meet Mose and share stages with him - I think he's the real deal. You can't fake what he does - it's like he's reborn from another era. Don't offer the guy water! He'll tell you what he thinks of water!!

He has a 1954 Martin 00-18 that was originally Bruce Cockburns. Amazing guitar. It sounds like an old tyme string band. It doesn't have much bass but his voice has all the bass. I don't think any human being sings as low as Mose can. He's a real special cat - and a lot of his songs he wrote are amazing.; Muscatel or something or other - Great song. I just about flipped a few weeks ago when I found one of his old vinyl from 1982 in a used shop.

Stallin for Time - that's the record I bought - AWESOME. I like Mose more than Leon - Leon is great too - and a killer original guitar player and arranger - but Mose is the underdog - and the unsung hero in all of this by miles.

Dan Frechette
grababanjo@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 10:34 PM


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Subject: RE: Leon Redbone question
From: GUEST,SLG
Date: 30 Jun 14 - 09:44 PM

I attended Carleton University in the 1970's and Leon played Roosters Coffee House on campus. The crowd was noisy so Leon pulled a Tomato out of a bag or hankerchef placed it on a stool and sang to the tomato for the set.


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