Song of the Week: Leon Redbone, Champagne Charlie & Diddy Wa Diddy

It’s been a while since our last blog post. Apologies.  Really, sincerely.  We feel bad about that.  We’ve both been so frantically immersed in other projects for a while that we’ve neglected Radio Days.  So here’s a treat.

When I was very young and first joyously entranced by songs I was hearing on the radio, I discovered there were only two kinds of music that were really worth listening to.  One kind featured banjo, double bass, trombone, clarinet, sometimes piano.  The other kind generally didn’t feature trombone and clarinet, but generally had a guitar or two.  And sometimes one and the same banjo player played in both.

Or, in other words, trad and skiffle.  There was nothing else worth listening to.  No, really, nothing else.  At all.  Elvis Presley?  Nope.  Tommy Steele?  Not interested.  Alma Cogan?  Nah … just give me Chris Barber, Ottilie Patterson, Kenny Ball, Humphrey Lyttelton, Beryl Bryden, Ken Colyer, Lonnie Donegan, the Vipers, the City Ramblers Skiffle Group, Nancy Whiskey, …

But what I’d been unaware of as a child were the American roots of this music.  Little by little over the years I discovered Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Doc Watson, the Carter Family, and the like.  But a very late discovery came only in the 1990s when quite by chance I came upon Leon Redbone, modern exponent of the genre and among the most brilliantly talented I have ever listened to.  A bit like listening to 1950s Humph … but even better.  So, Ladies and Gentleman, please share with us the true genius of Leon Redbone.

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