CD Review

Ginger Leigh – “If I Should Die Tomorrow”

By Marcus Pan

If I Should Die TomorrowA weird conglomeration here, with left field ideas from a talented artist to create – well, hits or misses depending on your viewpoint. Ginger Leigh is one of those artists who refuses to come out of his basement, always hiding in the shadows and kicking out a release here and there with little to no fanfare(1). His artistic displays will vary according to his whims, with some tracks like Walk Tall being overall intersting and others like Artificial Limbs being somewhat distant.

My reasoning between the difference in the two is this...to start both have a background vocal chant that hides just barely under the music. In Walk Tall it combines wonderfully against a minimal but interesting rhythm and bass stance. On Artificial Limbs, which is less controlled, it loses its appeal as it becomes lost. Then Leigh turns to brighter melodies interspersed with dark chain-like rhythm and organ chord elements with In the Month of March. The effect is at once brightly luminescent a'la Twink(2), and on the same token dark and brooding a'la Midnight Syndicate(3).

Leigh doesn't resort to high-value production or mixing. His work is off the cuff, raw and challenging; keeping what seems to be most elements that he's come up with to good and bad. The idea of keeping it "all" is astounding, and at the same time mesmerizing. You can go from hating a track to loving the next throughout the course of If I Should Die Tomorrow.

Track 6, Love Letters, opens with barely audible samples that could be either a television or an overhead speaker of some sort. It then goes into an interesting but overbearing combination of Deliverance banjo and cabaret dirge. The banjo hangs a bit but morphs into a sitar and throughout it there's this annoying whine that can either be meant to be there, or a fault with low budget equipment. It ends on a shout. This is an example of a miss.

More Unquestionable Truths on the other hand mixes up funk and toy pianos together for an interesting effect. While I could do without the static noise throughout it all, I can forgive it based on the ingeniousness of the track itself. This is an example of a hit. Another hit is the Arabian stylings of Taxicab Ride Through the City. Bombay, it must be. If I Should Die Tomorrow goes along in this vein, like a lonely child pulling the petals off of a flower: "love it, hate it, love it, hate it."

Sometimes it's worth giving something new a try. Ginger Leigh's If I Should Die Tomorrow is like that, too. It's something new and you can come out the other end saying, "Well, I'll never do that again!" or being radically interested. Or you can be like me, kind of flipping back and forth like the petals of the flower. But either way, you certainly can't detract from the mysterious basement dweller and mainstream shunner Ginger Leigh. He certainly has his own muse and he's determined to go where it takes him, whether we like it or not.

Contact Information:
Ginger Leigh
Post: PO Box 683, Artesia, CA 90702-0683, USA
Web: www.gingerleigh.com
(1) Legends has reviewed four of his releases already, the latest being A True Life Story in issue 137.
(2) Great artist. See our interview with him in Legends #128.
(3) Also interviewed in Legends #108.