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Elvis Sinatra Mostly Live
ISBN 0966974425 / 9780966974423 / 0-9669744-2-5Find This Book
What we have here is an elaborate and no doubt expensive (for him, if not for us) vanity project courtesy of George Leonard, a dry-cleaning proprietor from Providence, Rhode Island. As the documentary preceding the actual show explains, Leonard, a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist (violin and guitar), built a state-of-the-art studio at his home, where he records and films a group of musicians playing his original songs. He then travels to a nightclub in New York, where he appears onstage with the "virtual band" projected on a screen next to him. The music (which is the product of Leonard's self-described "total dysfunction" and includes titles like "Where Have I Been All My Life" and "Little Miss Fortune") is squarely in the swingin', kinda jazzy lounge mode. Leonard, an average vocalist whose style and demeanor at times suggest a cross between Tiny Tim and Dan Hicks, displays some wit and a flair for melody, but Cole Porter needn't worry. Too many songs are like Saturday Night Live skits, with clever initial ideas that peter out before really going anywhere.
But the DVD is fun: the selectable menu allows users to choose various angles from which to view the show, focusing on either Leonard or the band, or both; the audio is good (either 5.1 AC-3 Dolby Digital or the stereo mixdown); and the two sets of material can be programmed in any order, including random. There's even a karaoke mode (with subtitles, of course) for those who want to sing along with "I Think I'll Kick Your Dog" and other Elvis Sinatra, um, classics. --Sam Graham [via]