Deke Leonard - Unfinished Business
What an absolute gem. A collection of Deke's demo's, outtakes and general miscellania, the quality of the songs here is simply outstanding.
Afterburner Boogie is the perfect opener, a guitar driven piece that rattles along, and wouldn't have sounded out of place on his first solo album, Iceberg. I Didn't Ask to be Here is an absolute treasure - the lyrics are utterly hilarious, though I'm not convinced they are meant to be; as a taste, one couplet has "running repairs" rhyming with "wrestled bears". The whole song is like a soundtrack to one Clint Eastwood's poorer films, complete with a cheesy Morricone style middle eight. I love this song.
Things get serious again with When was the Last Time, which even with the basic production here, comes over as a gorgeous ballad. It calls out for a more sumptuous production, maybe in the style Dave Edmunds excels at. Hot Nights and Love Changes are both accoustic demos, with some of the lyrics being classic Leonard, and some needing work, but both contain the seeds of superb songs.
Bad Luck is pretty much as found on Before Your Very Eyes, minus the horns. Let it Go is atypical Deke, except that it deliberately ignores the obvious choice of song title, which I would expect to be Silence in this case.
This is Another Song (yet another wonderful title) again highlights Deke's high standard of lyric writing ("Sometime I feel I should be upon the stage / 'cos I'm real good at acting everything except my age"), and also boasts and unusual melody; overall this is one of those songs Deke occasionally writes which show a distinct country influence. You Can't Keep a Bad Woman Down is a song which does not really suit the format of an accoustic demo, yet still manages to sound convincing. The demo of Map of India sounds complete, though lacks the polish of the eventually released single version, and I still believe it to be one of the best songs he has ever written. Similarly, Oh, the staccato song from BYVE, sounds reasonably finished, if a little heavy on the handclaps for my taste.
Sweet Sweet Love is as syrupy as the title would make you think. It's OK, but this sort of thing is probably best left to Burt Bacharach. When Am I Coming Back, another demo, is as suggested on the sleeve note to BYVE, very similar to the finished product, and is another example of very imaginative song writing. The closer, Goodbye, is yet another magnificent song, again a ballad, about seperation from a loved one ("My suitcase is falling apart / And leaving is breaking my heart").
A wonderful collection of songs, then, which Deke was apparently reluctant to release; in my own humble opinion, this certainly deserves wider recognition, and is certainly worthy of an official CD release.
Released in 1994 by the fanzine, The Welsh Connection, on cassette only, reference TWCMC1.
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