This was writ­ten in 1921 by Her­bert “Happy” Law­son and was a coun­try hit for oth­ers in­clud­ing Pat­sy Cline, but today’s song is a 2001 per­for­mance by Leon Red­bone. It’s an ab­so­lute­ly fab­u­lous piece of singing and a guar­an­teed four min­utes and two sec­onds worth of smiles.

Very lit­tle is known about this artist, in­clud­ing whether “Leon Redbone” is his re­al name, or where he ac­tu­al­ly comes from; the­o­ries in­clude Cyprus and Philadel­phi­a. His en­tire pro­fes­sion­al ca­reer has been out of Toron­to, and not that far out ei­ther; hav­ing sur­vived an air­plane crash, he trav­els on­ly on ve­hi­cles with wheel­s. He plays mu­sic of by­gone days; this 1921 com­po­si­tion is to­ward the lat­er end of his reper­toire. His band is “authentic” in the sense that no am­pli­fiers are in­volved and the bass line is usu­al­ly pro­vid­ed by a tuba.

Any Time by Leon Redbone

I went to a con­cert once and it was a jew­el, mas­ter­ful­ly con­ceived and ex­e­cut­ed end-to-end; beau­ti­ful se­quenc­ing and singing, as­ton­ish­ing mu­si­cian­ship, and a pret­ty hi­lar­i­ous line of pat­ter be­tween the songs. He re­tired in 2015 which is sad, be­cause he brought some­thing spe­cial to the stage.

Now, Any Time is a pret­ty enough song, but the at­trac­tion here is Redbone’s twisty vel­vet voice, which he wraps around and around and around it, full of grace, and some­how com­bin­ing hu­mor with uniron­ic ro­mance. Stick around past the fluffy acous­tic gui­tar break and in the clos­ing verse and cho­rus, he re­al­ly turns the vo­cals up to 11; I doubt you’ve ev­er heard any­thing like it. I can’t imag­ine any­one not lik­ing this.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Ama­zon, iTunes, Spo­ti­fy. Now, there’s lots of video out there but check out this, from 1973; ig­nore the open­ing schtick and there’s some re­mark­able mu­sic. Al­so, here’s a pro­mo for an up­com­ing Red­bone doc­u­men­tary, which I en­joyed and maybe you will too.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

June 01, 2018
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