Harry’s Hundred: No. 100

Posted: February 4, 2012 in Music
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Beyond simply listening to my music collection, I like to use if for other entertainment purposes. Here’s something I came up with during my usual 5 a.m. wakeup because the cat is trying to claw its way through our bedroom door.

Why not list my top hundred albums?

To do so, I guess I need some type of critera. So let’s say:

  • I must be familiar with the entire contents of the album via repeated listenings.
  • I wouldn’t hesitate the grab the album (CD) off the rack and popping it into a player. (For a large portion of my collection, I have to be properly motivated to commit to listening to a disc in its entirety.)
  • Compilations and archival recordings are excluded. So are bootlegs.
  • The list must have at least some kind of correlation with the relative merits of the albums as I’ve discussed with various folks (willing or not) over the past three decades or so.
  • The rankings are purely subjective.
  • I reserve my right to change my mind every so often, a la Rolling Stone.
  • Feel free to disagree!

OK, then. This ought to keep me busy for a while. So let’s get going!

No. 100: “6- and 12-String Guitar” by Leo Kottke (1969)

Young Mr. Kottke committed a number of recordings to tape and submitted them to guitarist John Fahey for his fledgling Takoma Label, and they came out on vinyl in 1969.

Leo’s fleet-fingered picking has to be heard to be believed, as he makes the utmost use out of everyone one of those six or 12 strings. Not only is he nimble, but innovative: Creative blending of tones produces a challenging yet tuneful series of songs, suitable for casual listeners as well as those who like to delve into what they’re hearing.

The song titles are fairly esoteric, which also adds to the album’s appeal: “The Brain of the Purple Mountain,” “Coolidge Rising,” “The Driving of the Year Nail” and “Vaseline Machine Gun” are some examples.

I’ll close with an excerpt of this review by Rolling Stone writer Carl Bauer: “With all the shit that has been released recently, it was a distinct pleasure to come across this album. Kottke isn’t a new addition to the Page-Beck school of grating, hypertensive guitarists, as if you were expecting that. He’s an acoustic guitarist from Minneapolis whose music can invoke your most subliminal reflections or transmit you to the highest reaches of joy … anything in addition to his guitar would be superfluous.”

That pretty much sums up “6- and 12-String Guitar.”


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