The Westside Sheiks

Coast Road Records

Taking as their spiritual forefolk the sounds of Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, The Mississippi Sheiks, and the quixotic melodics of The Old Weird America, The Westside Sheiks combine piano and national resophonic to create a cantankerously swinging sound that can bounce from the playfully percolating to the melodically maudlin, and from the raw and raggy to the gleefully grinding. Atop it all sits a howling, growling vocal delivering stories of old for crowds of now. In their famed live performances, listeners can expect a mix of originals, and canonical chestnuts from the likes of Victoria Spivey, Mance Lipscomb, Jelly Roll Morton, Sleepy John Estes, and more.

One of the Sheiks' great contemporary heroes was Leon Redbone, who passed away on May 30, 2019. The Sheiks wrote him a song that day, and recorded and performed it that night. You can stream or download it below:

 

If you cannot see/access the embedded player above, please use this LINK.
 
Recorded at Mission St. BBQ, in Santa Cruz, CA
 
Performed by The Westside Sheiks, featuring:
 
Jonathan "Captain Ahab" Dryden: Acoustic Piano
Christopher "Preacher Boy" Watkins: National and Vox
 
(2019) PreachSongMusic/KobaltMusic/BMI
 
 
“Mr Leon”
 
oh mr. leon, oh mr. leon
why’d you have to go so soon?
ain’t no mud left in the river
and no more shine on the moon
 
oh mr. leon, oh mr. leon
i still remember you just like that
with your walkin’ stick in hand
wearin’ yer panama hat
 
big chief buffalo nickel,
and the once-and-former big bad bill
are sittin’ with the sheik of araby,
on top of that lonesome hill
and polly wolly doodle, and the winin’ boy
we’re all as quiet as the breaking dawn
because we know you didn’t want us
you really didn’t want us
to talk about you when you’re gone
you said, please don’t talk about me when I’m gone
 
oh mr. leon, oh mr. leon
no more dancin’ on daddy’s shoes
if we ever meet this side of heaven
then i’ll finally shake these crazy blues
 
oh mr. leon, oh mr. leon
how i’m feelin’, ain’t no words can tell
fare you well champagne charlie
champagne charlie, fare you well