Picks and Pans Review: No Regrets

updated 05/02/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/02/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Leon Redbone

Every once in a while Leon takes a break from his busy schedule of commercials to make a record, and it sure makes more sense to buy a record from this guy than a bottle of beer or a pair of jeans. This album features a marriage that could have been arranged in Hillbilly Heaven, with Redbone singing two Ernest Tubb standbys, You Nearly Lose Your Mind and It's a Lonely World, and matching even the classically laconic E.T. himself in economy of expression. Leon also takes on one of Elvis Presley's most affecting hits, the Roy Turk-Lou Handman tune Are You Lonesome Tonight; he adds a Hank Williams the Elder number, plus a couple of things written by Jimmie Rodgers too. The Dixielandish tints that have made Redbone so enjoyable in the past are toned down; there is no brass in his backup band and only a bit of bass sax (credited to "Unknown," though it might as well have been "Who Cares?"). Terry Waldo noodles pleasantly on piano on a couple of tracks, though, and studio string wizards Mark O'Connor and Jerry Douglas have a good time filling in the cracks. In typically enigmatic and arch fashion, Redbone does not include the song No Regrets. The '30s tune, recorded by, among others, Billie Holiday, would have been an ideal choice for Redbone to sing, and that is the title of the album after all and...Never mind. Sorry. Forgot who's being dealt with here. Perverse is as perverse does. (Sugar Hill)

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