Leon Redbone (Dickran Gobalian), RIP

He crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127

Leon Redbone
From LeonRedbone.com
As far as I know, the first time I ever heard of Leon Redbone was when I bought one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders album, either Desert Blues (Big Chief Buffalo Nickel) from THE WORKS or more likely, Polly Wolly Doodle from THE PEOPLE’S RECORD.

The music had a timeless quality. The VOICE was always intriguing. A Rolling Stone article in the early 10970s, before he even had a recording contract, “described his performances as ‘so authentic you can hear the surface noise [of an old 78 rpm].'”

His whole persona was a mystery. “‘It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127,’ said a statement from Redbone’s camp.” He was 69 when he died, according to most sources. His own family never got an explanation of his nom de musique.

“According to a Toronto Star report in the 1980s, he was once known as Dickran Gobalian [of Armenian origin], and he came to Canada from Cyprus in the mid-1960s and changed his name via the Ontario Change of Name Act… His parents lived in Jerusalem but moved in 1948 to Nicosia, Cyprus, where Redbone was born. By 1961, the family had moved to London, England, and by 1965 to Toronto…”

“Redbone usually dressed in attire reminiscent of the Vaudeville era, performing in a Panama hat with a black band and dark sunglasses, often while sitting at attention on a stool, with a white coat and trousers with a black string tie.”

He was never the guy with the big hit on the charts. Seduced got all the way to #72 on the US Billboard charts. But he was a working concert performer who also appeared in several commercials as well as in movies and TV.

His Top 5 Greatest Hits (!)

Seduced

Polly Wolly Doodle

Mississippi Delta Blues

Just You And I

Or spend a bunch of time on his Tribute Channel

John Beaudin tribute