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Album Review

Leonard, Jim – “Super Saw” – [EM Records]

ophelia necro   10/11/2006   A Library

Jim Leonard was a self-employed gas appliance repairman from Santa Ana who started playing the musical saw in 1975. He has performed on “The Gong Show”, several theme parks including Disneyland, radio shows, bluegrass festivals, as well as many dining establishments. Tracks 1-10 of this release were taken from the 1980 album “Super Saw”, tracks 11,12, 15, 16 & 18 were taken from the 1984 album “Scratch My Back”, 13, 14 & 17 from the 1986 album “Cook Book”, track 19 is previously unreleased recording circa the early 1980s. This is a Japanese only release. It seems that Tatsuo Hamano, a marine biologist in Japan (who plays the banjo and saw himself) had a secret love of traditional bluegrass music, this love led to his discovery and correspondance with “sensei” Jim Leonard. “Super Saw” is a collection of the works of Jim Leonard ranging from fast-scrathin’ songs like ‘Tico Tico,’ ‘Robert E. Lee,’ ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ and ‘Undle the Double Rainbow’ to traditional numbers like ‘In The Garden’ and ‘Closer walk With Thee.’ The release also offers covers of ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’,’Are You Lonesome Tonight’ as well as a lovely rendition of Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’. On this release Jim Leonard plays the musical saw, harmonica and other instuments, he is accompanied by Gene Gallian on electric and acoustic guitar, Marion Walker on keyboard & piano (tracks 11-15 & 17-19, and John and Jullee Moore on mandolin & guitar (track 16). The saw does the talking. This is a very upbeat collection from one of the living legends of the musical saw.

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