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Please Don’t Talk About Me

I have been unwittingly (witlessly?) channeling Leon Redbone all my musical life. Ever since I first saw him in the mid-1970s at the Schaeffer Music Festival in Central Park, at a concert where he opened for Janis Ian, my path toward unlocking the secrets of early 20th Century music was set. I'm his biggest fan. ("No, I am!" said a million other people who apparently do not know any better.)


I ran into Leon a few times around town 30-odd years ago when I lived a few miles from him outside of New Hope, PA. My favorite encounter happened before Christmas one year. After rummaging through a pile of broccolini at the local grocery produce section, I turned around and stood face-to-face with the man himself. "Oh!" I said, "my favorite musician!" "Well," he said in full baritone response, "You have good taste." I spent the rest of the shopping tour crisscrossing him up and down the aisles as he whistled holiday tunes.


I learned this song, "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone," from Leon's recording, and in 1982, I played it for my pops as he lay dying from lung cancer in his bed at the VA hospital in New York. Dad was pretty out of it at the time, but I'm sure he would have agreed with the tune's sentiment.


So, I'll say farewell to Leon Redbone and dedicate this video to his memory, and to the memory of my old man.


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