Deke Leonard : Unfinished Business

Album Cover

This is a long awaited CD release of an album originally put together on cassette by TWC and made available at the very first Welsh Convention back in 1994; the original review is still there in the Miscellaneous section, so check that out if you haven't done so already.

This review won't be too lengthy to avoid duplication, but I can certainly state that the unreleased songs which I though were brilliant back then sound just as good now; they have also been cleaned up in terms of sound quality, and many of the annoying crackles have disappeared. So, I still love the spaghetti western feel of I Didn't Ask to be Here, and still find it necessary to supress a giggle at the lyrics. Some of the songs here, it occurs to me, might actually be more suitable as material for other artists - When Was the Last Time would work as a wall of sound female singer (Shirley Bassey is a Tiger Bay girl isn't she?) and several songs would not sound out of place belted out by Elvis at Las Vegas. If it weren't for the fact that Elvis is dead, anyway.

Of the previously unreleased material, much still is on a par with songs which have been granted legitimate release - This is Another Song is as good as anything on Endangered Species, though very different in style. In fact at times you have to remind yourself that some of the work here was created by the same bloke who helped put that album together.

The demos and alternate versions are equally welcome - can the world have too many versions of the magnum opus Map of India? Not as far as I'm concerned, it can't. The Bad Luck and Oh demos are almost as essential.

There are a further three songs here which were not included on the original cassette; Love and Secrets are from the late 1980's, and Hurting is much earlier. None of these three surpasses the heights already achieved by this collection; Love could reasonably have been a Eurovision entry, but Secrets is a better song, though similar in style, complete with girly backing singers and clavinet. A pair best filed under curiosities. It's Still Hurting is OK, but unexceptional.

This remains an invaluable collection which clearly demonstrates that Deke Leonard is a songwriter of great talent. If you have the cassette (and precious few of those were produced) you should still invest in this CD. The durability of the medium, the superior sound, and the additional three tracks all make it a must buy.

Originally issued (on CD) in March 2002.

Available on Northdown Records, RGF DL501

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