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Six And Twelve String Guitar Original recording reissued

4.9 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, March 25, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

6- and 12-String Guitar is the second album by Leo Kottke, a solo instrumental steel-string acoustic guitar album originally released by John Fahey's Takoma Records in 1969.

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For decades, Leo Kottke would inspire generations of fingerpicking acoustic guitarists (and help pave the way for New Age and contemporary instrumental music), but this 1969 album is the one that started it all. Kottke's brilliant debut was released, fittingly, on John Fahey's Takoma label. Showing the influence of Fahey himself (and Takoma labelmate Robbie Basho), Kottke performs impossibly difficult solo compositions that meld blues, bluegrass, and jazz techniques. Whether surefooted and quick ("The Driving of the Year Nail," "Jack Fig," "The Fisherman") or slow and reflective ("Ojo," "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"), Kottke's instrumental work is simply awe-inspiring. He'd forge an entire career out of this music and eventually incorporate singing onto his albums, but this gem is Kottke at his very best. Essential. --Jason Verlinde

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Driving Of The Year Nail
  2. The Last Of The Arkansas Greyhounds
  3. Ojo
  4. Crow River Waltz
  5. The Sailor's Grave On The Prairie
  6. Vaseline Machine Gun
  7. Jack Fig
  8. Watermelon
  9. Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
  10. The Fisherman
  11. The Tennessee Toad
  12. Busted Bicycle
  13. The Brain Of The Purple Mountain
  14. Coolidge Rising


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 25, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Takoma
  • ASIN: B000003Z91
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,618 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
No one--and I mean no one--has produced a more stunning debut in any genre than Leo Kottke did with 6- and 12-String Guitar. And even more amazing, consider Kottke's comments from the liner notes in Anthology: "We didn't know about sequencing, so the record [6- and 12-String Guitar] is in the order it was recorded...The record took three-and-a-half hours to do, and all I had to do was sit down and play everything I ever knew." This is 36 minutes and 38 seconds of genius. I'm willing to bet that Kottke ended many a would-be guitarist's career. [How could you listen to this album and expect to compete at the same level?]
Kottke can play achingly beautiful melodies like on the original "Crow River Waltz" or Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and then turn around and dazzle you with with the speed and brilliance on tunes like "Busted Bicycle" and "Vaseline Machine Gun," (a tune he revisited on 1997's Standing in My Shoes).
While Kottke does possess a wonderful baritone voice and has worked with additional musicians, on this outing Kottke lets his guitar do all the talking--and it speaks with an authoritative voice.
This album was originally released on John Fahey's tiny Takoma label. While Kottke and Fahey are frequently mentioned in the same breath, Kottke's guitar style has always been easier on the ear. Over the last 30 years, Kottke has been responsible for some of the most innovative and beautiful solo guitar music. Here's where it all began. ESSENTIAL
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By A Customer on September 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The sounds on this magnificent album have stayed with me for many years. I've probably played it a thousand times and I never get tired of it. In my opinion, this is the best album Leo Kottke ever made, and Driving of the Year Nail is quite simply the greatest acoustic guitar instrumental ever. I'm so glad that it's the first track because once you hear it, you'll be pulled in to this album's magical universe. If you only own 1 Leo Kottke album, make it this one.
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Format: Audio CD
I've listened to a lot of Leo Kottke over the years, both in concert and on record, and this has continued to be my favorite of all his albums. There are two reasons for this. One is that he frequently has recorded with backing musicians. The problem with this is that no session musician has anywhere near Kottke's virtuosic skill and no group of musicians provides an especially interesting setting for his music. The second reason is that Kottke has increasingly sung on albums. Now, I don't dislike Kottke's singing and I think his own description of it as resembling the sound of a goose emitting gas is more than a little harsh, and I thoroughly enjoy some of his covers, such as his wonderful rendition of Tom T. Hall's "Pamela Brown" and the Byrds' "Eight Mile High" (the latter in part homage to the second most celebrated 12-string player in the history of rock). Although he has recorded some fine albums--and even his weakest albums have some good moments--this one for me really stands out. No other recording puts his astonishing talent on display so purely. The story is that Kottke developed his style by learning to emulate the playing of Les Paul, without realizing that Paul laid down more than one guitar track. Perhaps the story is pure myth, but there no denying that Kottke frequently sounds as if he were playing two or even three guitars at once. But apart from the complexity of what he plays, there is also the amazing fact that he frequently does it on a 12-string guitar. I'm a decent finger picker (I'm not an especially good guitarist, but I'm a good finger picker and he makes me sound like I am better than I am), but when I've tried on a few occasions to attempt my rather simple picking on a 12-string, I find it nearly impossible to do so.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I have no wish to duplicate my fellow Kottke admirers' reviews of this particular album, only to lend my own impressions of it. I was a young lad, jamming my foot into the door of the local 'underground' FM station in 1970; the station was getting all kinds of albums that year; it was a very busy time in pop music. I recall one of the DJs reading part of the liner notes out loud, and laughing; Kottke's first 12-string, a 'Mexican cheapie with a nail behind the 12th fret', and of course, the legendary, infamous, iconic remark about Kottke's voice resembling fowl flatulence on a muggy day. Then we listened to the album...and listened...and heard. My jaw dropped, literally; for years, "Busted Bicycle" was one of my favorite tunes from any genre, instrument, artist, etc., etc. I had never heard anything like this; nor had most of us. The sound of Kottke's finger-picks (he used them on that album) hammering the steel strings; his seemingly impossible skill with his fret hand; the slide work, especially on "Vaseline Machine Gun", and "Watermelon", where, when he slams that slide onto the strings, it sounds as if someone just dumped a box of clocksprings onto some taut metal cables...well, you get the audio image, I hope. There aren't any new adjectives to describe Kottke's talent, skill, and elegance; and I am even stealing this from some other reviewer: there are two levels in the world of finger-picking steel-string guitar: Leo Kottke...and everyone else. '6- and 12-String Guitar', though early in his recording career, remains a best-seller and even today ranks amongs his best efforts. You sit there listening, stunned, and wonder 'How the hell can he DO that'? Never mind how; just enjoy!
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