Bob Leslie

Bob Leslie

 Glasgow, Scotland, GBR
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Think Loudon Wainwright, Tom Waits, and a touch of vaudeville! Prev. interest: Kinks management, Chrysalis Records, and Apple. Brilliant!

Biography

Bob Leslie is a veteran Scottish singer-songwriter. Despite taking time out to raise a family, he has never stopped writing, and has now followed up 2010's self-penned Americana album, "In a Different World", with "Fat Cat" - 10 songs showing a mixture of lyrical wit and romanticism reminiscent of Tom Waits and Jim Webb. As well as songs for personal performance, he can also write, in many different styles, to someone else's brief and would be particularly interested in writing for film.

Bob started singing from the cradle – which annoyed the hell out of the neighbours and puzzled his parents. He paid his dues for 20 years in professional rock bands, and many more semi-pro, mainly singing, but also playing guitar or bass and songwriting for every type of venue from folk and workingmen's clubs to festivals and theatres.

Along the way, he has worked with such notables as Colin Bass (bass player of seminal prog-rockers Camel), Zeke Manyika (drummer for Scots chart-toppers Orange Juice), Andy Hamilton (sax player for multi-million-selling Canadian songwriter Corey Hart), Jim Keilt (lead guitar with John Otway and in Tommy, the Musical), Dave Vasco (guitarist for Warner Brothers artists Clancy), Kathy O'Donoghue (vocalist with, amongst others, Roger Chapman and Hank Wangford), Fraser Speirs (harmonica maestro with Paolo Nutini), Chris Glen and Ted McKenna (bass and drums, respectively, with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band).

Early in his career, he excited interest in his voice and songwriting from Apple Records, Chrysalis Records, and Boscobel (the Kinks' managers). At one point he recalls, the wee man from Chrysalis asked him to write a follow-up to Total Eclipse of the Heart, He replied “You must be joking!” and thinks this may have locked the doors on teenage idolhood for him. Anyone still wishing for such a follow-up would now only have to wave money to receive an affirmative reply.

Lyrics

The Devil Ain't A Friend Of Mine

Written By: Bob Leslie

I don't paint the town red with white powder
Though I take a little beer and wine
An' I don't play my music any louder than it takes
To make your foot tap along in time
Two steps short of a frontier
But I ain't hit the finish line
I'm too damned old to die young anymore
And the Devil ain't a friend of mine

CHORUS:
The Devil ain't a friend of mine
Though we shook hands once or twice
We seem to go to all the same parties
Seem to know all the same guys
Oh, the Devil ain't a friend of mine
But he just moved in next door
If I help him light his barbecue
Well, that's what a good neighbor's for

You can see him in a shot of white lightnin'
Just before you drop off that line
That gal who broke up your happy home
Well, she's worked for him for some time
I admit, sometimes, I've been tempted
To borrow his pen and sign
But I sold my soul to rock'n'roll
And the Devil ain't a friend of mine

Used to see him out on the road sometimes
Glad-handin' everyone he'd find
He'd play a few tunes just to draw them in
They sounded mighty fine
He even sent me his Mp3
But he knows that he's wastin' his time
'Cause I've raised more Hell than he has
and the Devil ain't a friend of mine

Beans And Beer

Written By: Bob Leslie

Seek not for whom the bell tolls
Just slip the damn bellringer a drink
And hope that he’ll forget to call your name
Get yourself a good plea bargain
Make sure it ain’t a hard one so,
Like beans and beer, you’ll come back again

Though your hand’s in the till, and your snout’s in the swill
And you’re sowing wild oats in your neighbour’s field
If you’ve got the goods on your dishonourable friends
When you’re in need, they’ll be friends indeed
You’ll spring back up just like a weed
Like beans and beer, you’ll come back again

My country, ‘tis of thee that bought it
Land of “hope we don’t get caught”
It's palms with greasy linings, rainbow’s ends
And if your ratings start to drag
Start a war, wear a flag
Like beans and beer, you’ll come back again

If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck
And it quacks like a duck and it acts like a duck
Well, only you would tell me it’s a hen
Though some shout “crook” over what you’ve took
Just wait by the oven till your books have cooked
Like beans and beer, you’ll come back again

One Size Don't Fit All

Written By: Bob Leslie

Big Bum Bella had a skinny little fella
And his name was Moustache Sam
She shook like a jelly on a gyroscope
And he looked like a matchstick man
People talked, as they always do, said
“Who'd have ever thought of teaming
up those two?”
But Bella and her fella just took a bow together
And this is what they sang:

One size don't fit all
Short, fat, skinny, or tall
We come in different shades
Swing in different ways
One size don't fit all
The other half of your orange
Might be a grape or a melon ball
Even ugli fruit can look quite cute
'Cos one size don't fit all

Sergeant Stan was a tough policeman
And he lived with Sydney Shine
Stan played football on a Saturday
While Syd liked dress design
You'd never have guessed that they'd get on
But they both liked Abba and Celine Dion
Like the Ancient Greeks they'd sing this song:
One size don't fit all

Old Fred Slade was eighty-eight
When he married his Honey Bun
She'd just turned thirty, talked kinda dirty
And they seemed to have a lot of fun
Well his doctor warned about his amorous bride
Said sex was virtual suicide
Said Fred “Well, if she dies, she dies!”
One size don't fit all

Coda:
You mustn't criticise it
One size don't fit all

Fourth and Oblivion

Written By: Bob Leslie

On the corner of 4th and Oblivion
She had turned the street-lamps to red
And the drivers they were rubbing their eyes
Like they’d just been dragged from bed
Out on the corner
She stood like a bar sign
That flashes and lights up the sky
Red satin dress
And patent shoes
And everyone wondering why

On the corner of 4th and Oblivion
She was waiting for her guy
And stuffed in her stocking was a 22 pistol
Showing clear against her thigh
He’d played her false
With a hat-check girl
After pledging her his soul
Well, he didn’t expect
That she’d collect
On that marker but soon he’d know

The souls of the winos and the junkies
Rose like the life that is to come
As she sashayed in her own parade
On 4th and Oblivion

Round the corner of 4th and Oblivion
He snapped his hat brim twice
Shot clear his cuffs, said “I’ve had enough”
And walked into the night
‘Neath a flickering light
By a café wall
Was a face he ought to know
And she gave a shout
Made the windows rise
Like the curtain to the show

On the corner of 4th and Oblivion
She said “don’t you say no prayers”
“'Cause you ain’t goin’ to Heaven anyways”
“They don’t take your kind in there”
Out of her stocking came the steel 22
As he fell to his knees and cried
“Have mercy, Nell!”
“On a cold day in Hell”
was the lady’s curt reply
And the souls etc. . . .

On the corner of 4th and Oblivion
He was begging for his life
When a memory of another man
Brought a tear to her cold eye
She remembered what she’d thought when her Johnny died
That Frankie had shown no class
Then Nellie Bligh just gave a sigh
And shot the bum right in the ass

Fat Cat

Written By: Bob Leslie

Why can’t I be a Fat Cat
With my whiskers in the cream?
Why can’t I be a Fat Cat
Living out my dreams?
Everybody listens to a Fat Cat
Who’s got a place in the sun, I want to be (a Fat Cat)
Rolling in mazoomah
A conspicuous consumer
Far away from the old rat run

Me now, me - ow
Me now, me - ow

Why can't I be a Fat Cat
Looking out, not in?
Why can't I be a Fat Cat
The kind that can stare at a king?
What use are nine lives to a Poor Cat?
I could be happy with one
Where I could be (a Fat Cat)
Coddled and cute
This Puss wants new Boots
It's time that Felicia had fun

Me now, me - ow
Me now, me - ow

It has me spittin' up hairballs to think where I'm at
Lord, take pity on this poor kitty-cat
Give me a velvet cushion, brush my fur,
Bring me some Beluga, boys, and watch me purr

Why can't I be a Fat Cat
And take the weight right off of my paws?
Why can't I be a Fat Cat
With oh-so-nicely manicured claws?
Don't want to end up a Stray Cat
Scrapin' for an old fishbone
I want to (be a Fat Cat)
Turn up my pretty nose
Live la vie en rose
Sugar Daddy won't you take me home?

Me now, me - ow
Me now, me - ow

The Tune that Was Broken

Written By: Bob Leslie

In the cold, grey hours, when your lover has gone
And you talk to the wall like a friend
Outside some bird cries to the dawn
But the tune that was broken won't mend

The story she told you is older than time
But its meaning you can't comprehend
You pray it's a dream, but your hurt gives the lie
And the tune that was broken - that won't mend

BRIDGE:
Harmony is torn asunder
And tears without number drown out the end
Outside that bird cries to the dawn
But the tune that was broken won't mend

The telephone stares at you, silent as stone
She won't answer the letters you send
Like a fool, you keep hoping, but inside you know
The tune that was broken won't mend
CODA:
Outside that bird cries to the dawn
But the tune that was broken won't mend

It Wasn't Down in Texas

Written By: Bob Leslie

It wasn't down in Texas
Or south of any border
And I wasn't riding out 'long some frontier
When I saw my Juana
And her eyes so softly shining
Like a night that's full of stars, boys,
It was here
It was here

But her heart was pledged then
To one I thought a brother
So I set myself to wander lone and free
Till one night I heard that
She'd parted from her lover
And a night so full of stars
Shone down on me
Shone down on me

CHORUS
It wasn't down in Texas
Or in some pueblo on the plain
But right here in Caledonia
Underneath cold Winter's reign

By chance with friends I met her
We ended up alone
A glancing kiss was all it took to wake desire
Didn't have to be El Paso
In that searing southern sun
For the passions of a young boy
To catch fire
To catch fire

Two good years we spent together
Till we sang a different song
I was already destined for the road
While she longed for home and children
But I was just too young
With a hundred paths to tread
Before that goal
Before that goal

But I never have forgotten
As I've wandered down the ways
All the love that Juana gave me
That I never could repay

It wasn't down in Texas
Or out on some frontier
It wasn't down in Texas
Boys, it was here

Beans and Beer

Written By: Bob Leslie

Seek not for whom the bell tolls
Just slip the damn bell-ringer a drink
And hope that he'll forget to call your name
Get yourself a good plea bargain
Make sure it ain't a hard one so,
Like beans and beer, you'll come back again

Though your hand's in the till, and your snout's in the swill
And you're sowing wild oats in your neighbor's field
If you've got the goods on your dishonorable friends
When you're in need, they'll be friends indeed
You'll spring back up just like a weed
Like beans and beer, you'll come back again

My country, 'tis of thee that bought it
Land of "hope we don't get caught"
It's palms with greasy linings, rainbow's ends
And if your ratings start to sag
Start a war, wear a flag
Like beans and beer, you'll come back again

If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck
And it quacks like a duck and it acts like a duck
Well, only you would tell me it's a hen
Though some shout "crook" over what you've took
Just wait by the oven till your books have cooked
Like beans and beer, you'll come back again

Is that the bell?

Suddenly the Sun

Written By: Bob Leslie

The shades of all our yesterdays
Are present as we talk
The things we once held beautiful
Have faded into dark as we
Discuss the finer points
Of tearing up our love
Then walk away
Then walk away

CHORUS:
And suddenly the sun has turned his face from all our tears
The once-bright flame of love,
Has faded with the years
And suddenly time's brought us to the point of moving on
And suddenly the sun . . .
Has gone . . .

We called each other foolish names
Walked always hand-in-hand
I crafted surreal pillow-talk
Invented strange new lands
But never saw that slowly over time
The lines that got a hand
Went all one-way
Went all one-way

BRIDGE
Who could say
On that first sweet day
When our affair was new
After such a long way
We'd find all our green days had turned blue
After such a long way
We'd find all our green days had turned blue

Would you like to hook your train up to my wagon?

Written By: Bob Leslie

Chorus:
Would you like to hook your train up to my wagon
Can we travel for a time
I ain't lookin' to get nowhere
Just further down the line
Tho' my wheels are a little rusty
They'll soon be turnin' fine
Hook your train up to my wagon
And let's head on down that line

I used to know a fine express train
Shining in the sun
Stopped for a while and we hooked up
I thought I was the one
Till she dropped me at the depot
Said I moved too slow
Now I just sit here in my siding
I've got no place else to go

You pulled in to take on water
On the track just by my side
I looked at you and thought of
All the freight I'd left behind
Oh, your paintwork, it was gleaming
Your pistons looked so fine
That I said "Hello,
Take me in tow,
Let's make those points align"

Now you're my kind of engine
You go where you wanna go
But you're in no rush to get there
And I don't mind travelin' slow
With our wheels rollin' together
Maybe things will work out fine
Hook your train up to my wagon
Let's head on down that line

Last Chorus:
Would you like to hook your train up to my wagon
Can we travel for a time
I ain't lookin' to get nowhere
Just further down the line
Tho' my wheels are a little rusty
They'll soon be turnin' fine
Hook your train up to my wagon
And let's head on down that line
Hook your train up to my wagon
Come ease my one-track mind

Discography

"Fat Cat" - 1st September 2011. 10-track CD available http://www.bobleslie.biz as hardware and all major digital outlets.
"In A Different World" - 1st August 2010. 12-track CD available http://www.bobleslie.biz as hardware and all major digital outlets.
"Little Stories From The Mine" - 5th March 2005. 10-track CD - with my then band, The Outfit, now out of print.

I've been mainly writing and recording, doing the odd solo gig from time to time, since the band broke up in 2007. We did get some great reviews and showcases from the podcast crowd as I indicate below:

TPN ROCK
17th March 2006
Our very good friend Ewan Spence recorded us live at Noble's and he's just taken time off from his wanderings in the US of A to put up half-a-dozen original tracks on a special TPN Rock Session. This gig was only the 2nd we'd played with our present line-up so it's a touch rough'n'ready but it's rock and it's live. What more do you want?!?

ED'S MIXED BAG
8th March
Ed Ovett from Florida hosts this very eclectic show at www.edsmixedbag.com. Ed very kindly played our "Adios To Rock'nRoll" on his show #22. Check it out!

Portobello On Line/Leith FM
17th January 2006
Tom Fahey from podcast Portobello On Line www.last.fm/user/AmericanaUK and local radio station Leith FM, 87.7FM, http://www.leithfm.co.uk/ played all of the Outfit's album "Little Stories From The Mine" over the festive season. He's also put it on his long-term playlist for the "AmericanaUK" programme.

THE TARTAN PODCAST
8th October 2005
Mark Hunter of the much-famed Tartan Podcast - www.tartanpodcast.com - has featured "No Strings And No Regrets" as the T.P.'s contribution to the 3rd edition of the Podshow Music Rewind - www.podshowmusicrewind.com - a kind of "podcast of podcasts" where podcasters from all over the world submit some of their favourite tracks. Thanks Mark!

THE ANTIPODEAN PODCAST
8th October This Australian science and technology /music podcast - antipodeanpodcast.libsyn.com - has featured "Adios To Rock'n'Roll" on their APC 2005-10-08 show

TPN ROCK
Hot News Ewan asked us back for TPN Rock Show #30 (available as of 22nd October) and gave an airing to "Adios To Rock'n'Roll". Thanks for having us back, Ewan!

-Ewan Spence hosts excellent
Edinburgh-based show - thepodcastnetwork.com/rock/
he featured "Mara" on Rock Show #22.

THE GLITCH- a man with taste from Toledo,
Ohio podcaster - played "Adios To Rock'n'Roll" in August on
his fine programme "The Glitch 31"
available at theglitch.ws/

BRAVE NEW FRONTIERS - Toronto-based
Randall Cousins hosts this at
rotonoto.com/bravenewfrontiers.htm
it's a great indie/alt-country show that also has
radio distribution in New Zealand!
We're on BNF show 75 with "Mara"

When checking Outfit-playing Podcasts, please click on any "vote" links and/or
send in a comment mentioning that
you heard us there (helps us get asked back!).

Set List

1 - 2 x 45 minute original sets either solo or with Fraser Speirs (harmonica) or Craig Nelson (alto sax).