Monday, July 12, 2010

Leon Redbone: Christmas Island (2003)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

Leon Redbone
Christmas Island

This disc has been bobbing around since 1989, first coming out on August Records, then on Private Music. Yet clichés about the third time’s being the charm are as out of place as clichés about three-strikes-you’re-out: As the man’s fans and non-fans alike know, Leon Redbone is all about avoiding extremes. Hence this album’s charm, which doesn’t so much capture as let itself be captured by a languor that will feel like unto a healing balm to anyone who’s ever spent too many hours in too many traffic jams for the pleasure of doing too much shopping in too many malls. The standards (“White Christmas,” “Winter Wondeland,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Toyland,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”) hold up especially well under the treatment. And I guarantee you somebody’s getting lei’d to the novelties (“Kitty Cats’ Christmas,” “Christmas Island”). Rating: Four-and-a-half lovechildren of Tiny Tim and Al Jolson out of five.

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