|People Weekly, September 1989|
In this review, I think the critic is being too subjective in some of his comments and I feel compelled to provide some balancing commentary.
First of all, I don't understand how this reviewer could describe Leo's style as "stately" and "mournful." Sure, Leo has his quieter and more profound musical moments on this and other recordings, but the critic gives potential listeners a very biased impression of the entirety of Leo's music. A quick listen to "Vaseline Machine Gun," "Bean Time," "Jack Fig," "Taxco Steps" "Little Beaver" or, on this recording, "Theme from the 'Rick and Bob Report'" -- not to mention many others -- would quickly dispel any notion that Leo is unable to write energetic and happy tunes.
Secondly, I don't think any artist can be accused of "mauling" his own creation by performing it himself. After all, whatever an artist does to make his art meaningful to himself is perfectly acceptable and is in fact the art of creation itself. The reviewer personally may not like the sound of Leo's baritone singing voice -- and it would be fair to state that -- but to suggest that Leo is somehow "mauling" his own music by singing with his "dour, deflated voice" is unfair. It's like saying that Picasso "mauled" his art by not painting in the more traditional styles of the period.
Of course, this critic is writing for a magazine called People and therefore is only reflecting the popular, mass-market market's belief of what is an acceptable male singing voice -- a tenor -- and its zealous rejection of anything that falls outside of this money-making definition. So there. -- BH
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