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Leon Redbone

Christmas Island

Review by Gary Hill

Just in time for the holiday season, this is a new reissue of Leon Redbone's Christmas album. Perhaps it's best known for the duet between Redbone and Dr. John on "Frosty the Snowman." The thing is, the roots music arrangements here work really well on every song on the disc. Redbone's vocals are just about perfect on the set, too. This will be a great addition to your holiday music catalog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
White Christmas

The  arrangement on this is quite traditional. Redbone's vocal delivery is so strong. It just seems so well suited to this piece. The whole thing oozes class.

Winter Wonderland
The slide guitar lends a bit of country or Hawaiian vibe to this. Again, the vocals really sell the cut. This is a fun take on the classic tune.
Frosty the Snowman
This number finds Redbone in a duet with Dr. John. The two voices works well, and this is a fun piece with some real roots music in the mix.
Blue Christmas
Another old-school based arrangement drives this number.
There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays
Bluegrass is on the menu for this piece. It's another strong tune.
Toyland
The strings bring some special magic to this cut. The whole track has a very traditional holiday music vibe that works so well.
Christmas Island
Hawaiian music drives this bouncy little number. It's a fun piece that is a highlight of the set. Then again, it's the title track, so what do you expect, really?
That Old Christmas Moon
There is a bit of a jazzy groove to this piece, along with plenty of down-home roots music. The whistling section is an interesting touch.
I'll Be Home for Christmas
There is a real bluegrass kind of vibe to this number that serves it well.
Let It Snow
That bluegrass angle, along with some old-school jazz, is the idea here. This is another effective song.
Christmas Ball Blues
This piece is very much built on old-time jazz structures. It feels like something that would have been at home in the 1920s.
Kitty Cats' Christmas
With a child singing at the start, this works out to a playful kind of Latin groove with an island vibe. This is a fun tune, and a great closer.
 
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