Mike Gordon

Sixty Six Steps (2005)

Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon
Released: August 23, 2005 (RCA/Victor)
Format(s): CD, MP3

A childhood trip to The Bahamas found Mike dripping with emotion like never before while listening to the lilting calypso sound of The Mustangs. It was then, in mid-swimming-pool, that he decided to become a bass player, and it seemed fitting to return years later and construct his own calypso album with Leo Kottke, their second disc together. Mike and Leo enlisted Bahamian drummer Neil Symonette, and brought a smattering of song possibilities ranging from originals to an island infused version of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.” Mike found the island emotion poignant once again.

Even before some of the songwriting for this album began, Mike flew down to check out the calypso scene he remembered from childhood. Lo and behold, it had died. Dancehall reggae DJs rocked the hotel circuit, leaving just a smidgen of live music, and a semismidgen of calypsoey stuff – what they call “rake and scrape,” actually, as adapted with electric instruments after the Trinidad calypso had birthed with its trumpets and all. They found a great studio though, started by Chris Blackwell, and partly owned or used by the Talking Heads over the years, and via that gang, Michael was told of a drummer – “if you can’t get Neil, then don’t even do it – just come back another time when you can get Neil.” And so Mike sat on the beach listening to 70s calypso grooves, marking the good ones, and set up a jam session at Compas Point with Neil to record that tracks that some songs would be written to – all because Leo had some of that sound in his playing anyway… a smidgen.