|Recordings: Leo Kottke: The Best (1976)|
Also an interesting choice of cover versions: "Sleepwalk," the slide guitar showcase which was a 1959 hit for Santo & Johnny, the Everly Brothers classic "All I Have To Do Is Dream," and the chestnut recorded by Slim Whitman (and others), "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."
1983 brought Kottke's final album for Chrysalis, Time Step (BGOCD255), perhaps his most clearly accessible album up to that point. Produced by T-Bone Burnett and with the latter's erstwhile Alpha band colleague, David Miner, on bass, and David Kemper on drums, along with guest appearances from Emmylou Harris and another guitar star, Albert Lee, it included cover versions of the 1950s hit, "Memories Are Made Of This," and a Kris Kristofferson song, "Here Comes That Rainbow Again." However, at this point Kottke and Chrysalis parted company, due to medical problems with the guitarist's right hand which made playing a painful business. This meant that no new album emerged until 1986, the intervening years being taken up by his taking classical guitar lessons and mastering a new and presumably less painful, playing technique.
Since his return after that three year breaks, he has released several new albums on the Private Music label, launched by German electronic music expert Peter Baumann, once a member of electro-wizards Tangerine Dream, and their alliance continues. For the record, the titles of these albums are A Shout Towards Noon (1986), Regards from Chuck Fink [sic] (1988), My Father's Face (1989, again produced by Burnett, which included a turntable hit on American FM radio, "Jack Gets Up," and a second version of Kottke's favourite among his own compositions, "Mona Ray," which previously appeared on Dreams And All That Stuff ), That's What (1990), Great Big Boy (1991, produced by Steve Berlin, who has also worked with both Los Lobos and The Blasters, helping both these excellent groups to success, and with participation from Lyle Lovett and a duet on "Pepe Hush" with Margo Timmins of The Cowboy Junkies) and Peculiaroso (1994, produced by Rickie Lee Jones). In 1991, Chrysalis released a 22 track retrospective CD, Essential Leo Kottke, and that's about as far as the story goes apart from the continuing reissue programme so successfully undertaken by BGO Records, which will continue...
As mentioned in previous sleeve notes for his Capitol albums reissued by BGO, there's quite a lot happening for Leo Kottke all around the world in the 1990s, and perhaps more interest than ever before in this eccentric genius with musical ability to spare and a sense of humour which no doubt mystifies his German label bosses. He will be returning to the Cambridge Folk Festival once again in July 1995 -- be there!
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