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Leo Kottke: Instrumentals - The Best of the Capitol Years

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Album Review

Leo Kottke's voice isn't for everyone, and has led a number of guitar freaks to borrow Frank Zappa's unkind phrase: "Shut up 'n play yer guitar." Instrumentals: The Best of the Chrysalis Years will speak to these fans, as it presents 18 pieces, from "Airproofing" in 1976 to "Memories Are Made of This" in 1983. To spice the package up a bit, the folks at Blue Note have added a live track, "The Fisherman," from a notable Montreux Jazz Festival performance in 1977, and a couple of unissued tracks, including Duane Allman's "Little Martha." While most of these pieces have been penned by Kottke, he also offers delightful versions of Norman Petty's "Wheels" and the Everly Brothers' favorite "All I Have to Do Is Dream." All of Kottke's stylistic gifts come into play on Instrumentals. There's electric slide on "Whine," the use of a lovely open-tuning on "Dolores," and the clean ambience and warmth of "Strange." The tracks flow in chronological order, allowing the listener to follow the guitarist's evolution over his eight years with Chrysalis; and while the albums he recorded during this time may lack the edginess of his earlier material, the pieces on Instrumentals are consistently fresh and invigorating. Guitar hero wannabes, of course, will buy the album for the extra tracks; everyone else will find it a rewarding introduction to mid-period Kottke. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

Instumentals: Best of the Capitol Years

I have been a Kottke fan for over twenty years. I have several of his albums in pressed vinle that are not listed here on iTunes, but this album has a number of the songs from those albums. Kottke, when he does sing, has deep booming voice that I think is easy to listen to. Although, this album is insrumental, when he sings, his voice seams to fit the song.
This album is a great compilation of his instrumentals. Kottke is one of if not the best guitarist you will ever listen to. If you like very intricate near impossible finger picking on six and twelve string acoustic guitar that at times sounds like two people playing two separate parts, you need to give this guy a listen to. Your time will be well spent.

Best of which years?

The first reviewer calls the album “The Best of the Chrysalis Years,” and there was a record company called Chrysalis, but the title of this album is “The Best of the Capitol Years,” according to Kottke’s official web site.


Born: September 11, 1945 in Athens, GA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Innovative acoustic guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke was born September 11, 1945, in Athens, GA. Raised in 12 different states, he absorbed a variety of musical influences as a child, flirting with both violin and trombone before trying his hand at the guitar at age 11. After developing a love for the country-blues of Mississippi John Hurt, Kottke lost much of the hearing in his left ear as a result of a mishap...
Full Bio
Leo Kottke: Instrumentals - The Best of the Capitol Years, Leo Kottke
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