by Leo KottkeLeo Kottke


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A somewhat less ambitious record than Mudlark, from a recording standpoint, Greenhouse is a true solo record that offers several surprises. Over a third of it is made up of vocal numbers, including two that are absolutely superb. "Tiny Island" may be the best track here, a song by Al Gaylor, inspired by the death of Jimi Hendrix, that offer one of Kottke's best vocal performances of his whole career. Also worth the price of a ticket are a pair of John Fahey-related tunes ("In Christ There Is No East or West," "Last Steam Engine Train") that he puts his own unique spin on, with the latter a true dazzler as an acoustic piece; "From the Cradle to the Grave," a strangely compelling song in which Kottke's singing is the backup to his guitar, which has center stage even when he's singing; and the slow, lyrical bluesy "Louise," another vocal performance where Kottke excels as a singer; the playful, delightful "The Spanish Entomogolgist," a medley of children's songs that includes quotations from "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "Jambalaya"; and the gorgeous bluegrass guitar workout on "Owls." Some of the mastering isn't quite as clean here as it is on other titles in Kottke's catalog, but otherwise this is an acceptable reissue of an album that is, perhaps, under appreciated because of its relatively high concentration of vocal numbers by the guitarist. Not all of those come off as well as the two best, but none are complete failures, and his guitar playing even on the weakest of them, "You Don't Have To Need Me," is interesting enough to carry the piece.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/01/1994
Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
UPC: 5017261200501
catalogNumber: 50
Rank: 17001

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