Seven years passed between 1994's Whistling in the Wind and Leon Redbone's next studio album, Any Time -- which, like his previous recordings, demonstrates that the singer was born in the wrong time. Redbone should have been born in 1900 or 1905, but lucky for listeners, he wasn't -- and his nostalgia has made for a lot of enjoyable moments. On this 2001 release, Redbone continues his love affair with the jazz, pop, and folk of the '20s and '30s. The crooner takes listeners back to a time when Herbert Hoover or Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House, and he maintains a relaxed, congenial, laid-back ambience on vintage tunes that include "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree," "All I Do Is Dream of You," and Jelly Roll Morton's "Sweet Substitute." Drawing on influences that range from Hoagy Carmichael to Bing Crosby -- although he has more of a rural, folksy, down-home outlook than the latter -- Redbone pays tribute to what is often thought of as a more innocent and naïve period of American music. Of course, not all of the music from the '20s and '30s was innocent. Classic blues singer Lucille Bogan's "Shave 'Em Dry" (just to give one example) is as raunchy and X-rated as anything by 2 Live Crew, Prince, or Lil' Kim. But a lot of '20s and '30s songs did have an innocent sort of charm -- at least by today's standards -- and that is the type of mood that Redbone goes for on this CD. Anyone who has enjoyed Redbone's previous releases will find Any Time to be a rewarding addition to his catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson