In 1975 the pop world was dominated by prog rock and disco, a state of affairs that made Leon Redbone's debut ON THE TRACK all the more striking. Everything about the album--the cartoon cover, Redbone's trademark fedora, moustache, and glasses, the music's nostalgic take on jazz and blues--marked it as different. It's that difference, in part, that accounts for its freshness and appeal.
Redbone's textured baritone and intimate, charming delivery conjure a bygone era for the listener like a flickering, black-and-white movie. Drawing on the best of early-20th-century country, folk, jazz, and Tin Pan Alley, Redbone revisits Johnny Mercer ("Lazy Bones"), Fats Waller ("Ain't Misbehavin'"), Irving Berlin ("Marie"), and Jimmie Rodgers ("Desert Blues"), among others. With its beautifully casual feel, and its minimal yet perfectly attuned arrangements fleshed out with brass and auxiliary percussion highlighting the songs and Redbone's performances, the album is a winner.