Johnfaheyforweb John Fahey, the mysterious and unpredictable guitar virtuoso from Takoma Park, Maryland, used the guitar as an extension of his subconscious, variously invoking childhood turmoil, mercurial beauty, supernatural blues and ragtime bounce. But with his forty-odd album back catalogue being such a minefield of revisions, re-recordings and red herrings, the neophyte can be left floundering when it comes to knowing what to buy. Do you start with The Legend Of Blind Joe Death? What's better - John Fahey's Christmas Album or Old Girlfriends And Other Horrible Memories? And is Womblife any good? Let us know what you think and the best comments will be printed in a future issue of the magazine.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 03:28PM | Categories: How To Buy


John Fahey- The Yellow Princess

From 1968. Timeless and visionary. Its purity ring out like a bell

Posted by: chris durnall | 13 May 2007 14:09:49

John Fahey- The Yellow Princess

From 1968. Timeless and visionary. Its purity ring out like a bell

Posted by: chris durnall | 13 May 2007 14:10:29

(Get your editing program sharpened!)
I think the mistake some people make about John Fahey (it's a mistake that I've certainly made) was this R.Crumb-ish vision of John, sitting on the back porch, playin' dem ol' blues songs. But there's a darkness, yes maybe even a little terror, in John's playing. There's the music you share with friends, and there's the music you only listen to when you're alone. John Fahey is the alone kind of music.
Oddly enough, I was first exposed to John Fahey's music by a girlfriend in college, and I recall that we never played John very much---too intense, too introspective, too, umm, weird.
So the music. Really, the 2 CD "Return of the Repressed" is very good (tip o' the hat to Dr. Demento/Barry Hansen); even if I eventually buy every John Fahey release, I'd still play this--masterfully sequenced, and John's liner notes about abuse and analysis answer many questions.
"The Best of John Fahey Vol. 2" is also sensitively selected and sequenced (by Henry Kaiser). As dark as some of the material is, this is the one I'd play for friends who'd ask "Who's John Fahey?"
But the one JF album I play the most would have to be one of his weirdest: "The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party and Other Excursions (John Fahey Vol. 4). It's got 19-minute song-suites, some really bad 'improvisations' on organ and sincere-yet-naive flute playing, and it ends with a Christmas song. It doesn't hold together, it sounds like it was recorded using a transistor radio, but I really like it. Play it at your next party--you'll be amazed how fast people will rush out the door, but if anyone's still there, you might have a new friend.

Posted by: David Menard | 17 May 2007 05:54:44

Top Five John Fahey?

The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death
America (full version 1998)
The Yellow Princess
The Voice of the Turtle
Blind Joe Death

Posted by: JG | 22 May 2007 19:16:19