Miami New Times (July 10-16, 1997)

Standing In My Shoes

     In the wake of Beck, even old-schoolers like Leo Kottke are getting hip-hop hip.  On his umpteenth album, Kottke teams with producer and former Prince cohort David Z for an intriguing, occasionally convincing synthesis of the guitarist's left-field visions and drum loops that suggest exposure to Odelay.

     Some of Standing in My Shoes, especially instrumentals like "Realm" and the snoozily atmospheric "Across the Street," is barely a step up from tasteful background music.  Other cuts, though, such as a beat-smart re-recording of "Vaseline Machine Gun" from his legendary first album 6- and 12-String Guitar, and the Delta-flamenco fusion of "Dead End," demonstrate the wisdom of the Kottke/Z pairing.

     Kottke's take on Fleetwood Mac's "World Turning" doesn't stray far from the original's arrangement, but his addition of a droning sitar illuminates the tune's gutter-blues roots.  The title track, another revival of early Kottke, also effectively mates groove and stoic soulfulness.  His collaboration with Z doesn't mark a great leap forward, but Standing is a modestly brave move.  

-- Rickey Wright

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