Notes on the songs...
[from the original album liner notes]

index || home || return to greenhouse

[with notes by Leo Kottke]

In the sense that my guitars were once plants, this record's a greenhouse. There are seven instruments and four vocals. The following list is not the song order on the record...
Bean Time
Written for my grandfather who innocently introduced me to the second lowest job I ever had -- bean picking.
[from the original album liner notes] Played in standard tuning.


In Christ There is No East or West
An Episcopalian hymn arranged for guitar by John Fahey. I over-dubbed a 6-string unison on part of this.
[from the original album liner notes] Played in standard tuning.

I loved Fahey's recording of that song, and that is his arrangement. After I recorded it, he figured out a much better way to do that, which is really neat.
You hear that word "churchy" in bluegrass, and I love that "churchy" sound. It is not exploited much, which has always puzzled me. You don't necessarily have to find it in a Protestant hymn to make it work. I have always thought The Everly Brothers had a real "churchy" sound. There's a mystery to it,. Something about that realm really appeals to me.
    Playing the bottom third is a big part of that. It is funny, but I remember starting out, when bass players wouldn't play a bottom third. I would ask for it -- "Put a third on the bottom" -- and they wouldn't do it. It was like it was against the law. It happens all the time in those liturgical things. Nowadays it's done all the time.
[from Anthology liner notes]

Last Steam Engine Train
Also John's. In part from a Sam McGee tune.
[from the original album liner notes] Played in standard tuning.

Song of the Swamp
A slithery tune concerning the pitfalls in real estate. Also some unison over-dubbing.
[from the original album liner notes] Played in Open G tuning.

The Spanish Entomogist
A medley made up of a children's song and my two favorite songs when I was a kid.

Lost John
A traditional tune. Part of it is a copy of Doc Watson's harp break on the same tune. The second guitar is Steve Gammell.

Tiny Island
The last verse should be: "Endless waves and the love that you gave washing over me." My memory slipped when I recorded it. Written by an old friend, Al Gaylor, now in Portland.
[from the original album liner notes]

Al Gaylor actually wrote "Tiny Island" after hearing that Jimi Hendrix had died. I am especially attracted to that, because Al kind of wound up living that lyric. He lives in Hawaii. He would up on a tiny island. It is a great song. "Tiny Island" just nails me. It has always gotten [to] me.
[from Anthology liner notes]

Played in Dropped D tuning.

"Louise" was sung for me in a Detroit club called The Poison Apple in the dressing room. The Poison Apple was about to close, because that was the year that Detroit was on fire. Mick E. Clark was gonna be following me into this club, and I had been in there a week. Mick came in and sang that song for me, which was a Paul Siebel song.
    Mick was the first guy I heard who was using a straight country voice. Mick was the real article, and he knocked me out. He was a great singer, and I haven't heard anyone who could do what he did. His voice had a very startling and pleasing quality to it. God, he could sing that tune. He had very simple guitar playing. That is what got me, and that is when I started doing it. Later on, I met Paul and we played together in New York. "Louise" is one I am still doing.
    I am not very happy with the way I sang it back then. I can sing that song better now. I like the Greenhouse version, over the one on My Feet Are Smiling, because that is the one that caught Bonnie Raitt's ear. She liked the way I did it.
[from Anthology liner notes]

From the Cradle to the Grave
Lyrics written by Ron Nagle while overlooking scenic Bocano Drive.
[from the original album liner notes]

Denny Bruce did a lot of good stuff for me, but one of the best was introducing me to Ron Nagle and suggesting that Ron write some lyrics for me. I wish I had gotten a lot more from Ron. He loves lyrics and he is really good at it. I suspect he still lives in San Francisco. He is a world-renowned potter. His ceramics are in a few museum collections.
    I had originally written that song for my daughter. The lyric that I came up with was intolerably sweet. I couldn't get away with it. She had just recently been born. So I [told] Ron, "I wrote this for my daughter, but I can't get enough detachment to get a decent lyric on it." So that's how he got involved. He added some sour to it, and that is a fact.
    Other than wanting to write something for my daughter, this is a good example of a tune that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the guitar part. The voice is really there to serve the guitar. On a lot of the vocal songs, that is really how it happens.
[from Anthology liner notes]

You Don't Have to Need Me

000webhost logo