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Leon Redbone “Whistling in the Wind” <i> Private Music</i>

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Leon Redbone opens his latest album with an original number that sounds as genuinely antique as the vintage outside material he’s been covering for the past two decades.

The song, “Dancin’ on Daddy’s Shoes,” explains in a couple of short verses his continuing fondness for pre-World War II popular music:

There’s nothing else I’d rather do

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Than to sit around and talk to you

And reminisce about a simpler time

The music that we made

Was simple but it stayed

In my memory and on my mind

More than simple nostalgia, Redbone’s performances continue to command interest because he never winks at the listener, never patronizes songs that others might play strictly for kitsch value.

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Sure, he can have fun dueting with Ringo Starr on the Hawaii-as-paradise fantasy tune “My Little Grass Shack.” But then he turns around and sounds as if he means every word of “Settin’ by the Fire,” an ode to the virtues of laziness on which he teams up with Merle Haggard.

With the early-jazz backing of Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks, Redbone sounds as if he walked straight off the sound stage of a 1930s MGM musical on the quick-stepping “You’re Gonna Lose Your Gal.”

It all comes down to the one quality that Redbone shows this music and which, in turn, he reaps in equal measure: R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Leon Redbone appears tonight at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano. 8 p.m. $18.50. (714) 496-8930.

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