|Stereo Review, July 1972|
Recordings of Special Merit: Leo Kottke, Greenhouse
Recording: Very good
Yes, indeed, here's a pleasant surprise. First of all, Leo Kottke is some kind of mother guitarist; listen to the way he rips through Bean Time and hear how much technical excitement can be generated out on the high-speed fringes of the folk style. But I knew about Kottke's guitar playing, always respected it, and wondered what he was going to do with it. I was less intrigued, in the past, with Kottke's singing, but his voice now seems ot have found its sound, and his point of view has clarified. Such songs as Tiny Island, Louise, From the Cradle to the Grave, and You Don't Have to Need Me have been well chosen as vehicles for his full, dark voice.
Kottke is good enough, in fact, to remind me of one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Fred Neil. The similarity of vocal timbre is the most noticeable element, of course, but Kottke's phrasing and the cool resignation of his emotions provide a more subtle but equally valid point of comparison.
If you haven't heard Kottke yet -- and those who haven't are legion -- here's the place to begin. It just might start him on the path toward a goal I suspect he is very leery of: pop stardom.
-- Don H.
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