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Published: 2002/10/25
by Pat Buzby

Clone – Leo Kottke/Mike Gordon

Private Music 11662

With the Phish hiatus near its end, it seemed as if Mike Gordon was going to
channel his creative energies into film more than music. Fortunately, this
rumored Leo Kottke collaboration has materialized. Kottke has been carving
out his peculiar niche in the folk world since a few years after Gordon's
birth, so it's good to see him enter the circle of artists affected by the
Phish curse.

At first listen, this CD seems like a hodgepodge, with a few cuts sounding
like typical Kottke plus bass counterpoint while others resemble unplugged
sequels to "Contact" and "Weigh." However, after a while, it all congeals
into a pleasant piece of bizarre Americana. Kottke's picking behind
Gordon's vocals sounds almost African or Frippish in places, and Gordon's
vocal cuts are perhaps the most Phishy of all the band's hiatus offerings.
"The Collins Missile," in particular, with its intricate 5/4 groove and
harmonized chorus, could make a welcome addition to future Phish setlists.
(In the midst of all the witticisms, Kottke contributes my favorite line
during his only lyric here: "Selling lifeboats made of land.")

Kottke has never strayed far from the terrain of his 1969 Six & Twelve
String Guitar offering and may never top that release, and Gordon's
goals are more modest here than when collaborating with his Vermont
bandmates. However, this short, engaging set deserves a short, upbeat
review. Get this, and check out Kottke on his own when the opportunity
arises.

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