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March 6, 2008

A Tribute to John Fahey

John Fahey's guitar

In the past 3 years there have been at least 5 tribute to John Fahey compilations. Not to mention the sudden appearance of many Takoma-inspired guitar players who are stepping away from their avant-rock bands and releasing guitar soli records (I am alluding to Glenn Jones and Jack Rose, but there are others). The tributes range from mediocre to amazing, and cover many aspects of Fahey's work, from mysterious blues-ragas to abrasive post-drone experiments.

This is the first John Fahey tribute album, from way back in 1979, which features a number of fingerpickers from Takoma's sister-label, Kicking Mule. Like most Kicking Mule projects, the musicianship is excellent, though they don't really explore many new directions. The interpretations range from dead-on to in-the-spirit-of, but it's all solo guitar. While I wouldn't call this a great record, it offers some interest, just to hear these familiar (to me, and I hope, to you) melodies re-interpreted with subtle variations in timing, tone, etc.. Arvid Smith takes more liberties than the others, and really captures the haunting quality of Fahey's early work.

Artist/Tracklist:
Bob Hadley
- Revelation On The Bank Of The Pantuxent
Arvid Smith
- Joe Kirby Blues
Stephen Connolly
- Desperate Man Blues
Woddy Harris
-When The Springtime Comes Again
Arvid Smith
- Sail AwayLadies

Woody Harris
- Sunflower River Blues
Arvid Smith
- The Death Of Clayton Peacock
Stephen Connolly
- Sligo River Blues
Arvid Smith
- The Yellow Princess
- In Christ There Is No East Or West

Various Artists - A Tribute to John Fahey
Label: Kicking Mule
Year: 1979
get it here.
mr (vinyl, cleaned) | mp3 220+vbr | 59mb

and if you're interested in the recent tributes:
Namida - Tribute to John Fahey (Japanes artists, I haven't heard this)
The Revenge of Blind Joe Death: The John Fahey Tribute Album (mostly trad/acoustic. some great tracks here, including one by Fahey's mysterious compatriot Blind Joe Death).
Friends of Fahey Tribute (another trad acoustic with more originals, not quite as good; includes a recording of the reclusive Fahey's voice on an answering machine)
I Am the Ressurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey (high-profile but mediocre, a few good tracks)
The Great Koonaklaster Speaks: A John Fahey Celebration (the most experimental of the tributes; you either like it or you don't)

and here's Phil Kellog's pages about the Fahey Tribute Concerts, which featured many of the performers and songs on the above recordings. Concert 1, Concert 2, Concert 3

1 comment:

ejg said...

thanks for posting this