Leon Redbone

No Regrets

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Although it was recorded in 1988, the photo of Leon Redbone on the cover of No Regrets harks back to an earlier time. In fact, he looks as though he's getting ready to sell some innocent soul property in the Florida swamp. But the listener need have no fear. Redbone's old-fashioned fashion sense only reflects his musical taste, firmly planted in pop, blues, and jazz from the '20s, '30s, and '40s. He's equally at home with Mooney and Seals' "Crazy Arms" as he is with Hank Williams' "Long Gone Lonesome Blues." The spare production performed by luminaries like banjoist Béla Fleck, violinist Mark O'Connor, and dobroist Jerry Douglas gives these songs a nice, simple underpinning. Redbone's husky vocals add the last ingredient needed for fine versions of "Lazy Bones" and "My Good Gal's Done Gone Blues." He seems to have a special penchant for old Ernest Tubb and Jimmie Rodgers' songs, but he's smart enough to pick lesser-known jewels like "You Nearly Lose Your Mind" and "Somewhere Down Below the Dixon Line." The only drawback to the whole affair is how straightforward it is. While the songs and vocals are technically solid, they lack the spark that made earlier Redbone albums something special. Still, No Regrets is an enjoyable album and fans will appreciate its 2004 reissue on CD.

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