March 1, 2015

Fahey circa 1983

Fahey circa 1983 at one of the "Let Go" Recording Sessions in Portland, OR. with Terry Robb.

Thanks to Terry for sending me the picture above.

Thanks to everyone that helped out with Fahey Week this year!

February 28, 2015

John Fahey Guitar Tabs

Son House

City of Refuge

Charles A Lee: In Memoriam














Thanks to Malcolm for these!!

Fahey's Dance of Death Outtakes

Outtakes, fragments, unreleased songs. John Fahey recorded a whole host of material over the course of a couple days. Stephen of the John Fahey blog originally uploaded lots of Fahey outtakes and unissued material. This upload was hosted on his blog up until around 2007-2008. All of this content has since shown up on blogs across the internet. But these sessions are the one thing that has not been re-uploaded. Aside from tagging the MP3s with proper titles, I present it here as is.

It seems with the advent of Spotify and the ability for content owners to throw together compilations, a lot of random outtakes and unissued studio material has shown up, labeled as “Best Of” comps and the like. It is a heap of a mess, but if you search through there, you can find many gems.

The full, unreleased song, “TV Rag” aka “The Television Rag”, is one cut that has not shown up in those comps referenced above. The only place it has since existed was on Stephen’s blog. Fahey taught Ragtime Ralph, aka Ralph Johnson, aka Blind Brand X, the “TV Rag” when Ralph hosted a show of John’s in the 80s. Ralph’s great version appeared on his release “Volume 4”.

John Fahey - The Dance of Death Outtakes
Silver Spring, Maryland (1965)
Download it HERE
Thanks to Rag Lore for these and for the text!
   

the Zabriskie Point tapes

Well, well, what do we have here? According to Fahey in "How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life"  this experience made him a lot of money, but he didn't have any fun.

Malcolm Kirton member of the International Fahey Committee, contributor to liner notes for "Your Past Comes Back..." and the foreword to "The John Fahey Handbook Volume 2" is very happy that JohnFahey.com is still up and running and this is his thank you to all those that contributed to keep the site going last year.

Download part I HERE

Download part II HERE

February 27, 2015

John Fahey - Dance of the Inhabitants...Live @ U of Washington by Steve Palmer

Often the oeuvre of John Fahey is discussed in the context of the
blues, followed by an oblique mention of his influence on acts like
Sonic Youth and his spiritual alignment with minimalist composers.
Generally his influence on these acts is credited to his iconoclastic
and DIY persona. Less mentioned is his direct musical influence on the
experimental acts of today. Fahey was, at times, a drone artist- and
this fantastic, mysterious take of “Dance of the Inhabitants”
illustrates why he continues to remain relevant in experimental
circles.


Fahey bookends this piece with familiar blues references as his slide
meanders through pentatonic riffage, but midway he fully embraces
microtonality and dissonance. This creates a conflict between the
earthy and the ethereal- a conflict that colors much of his best
music. Often it ceases sounding like a guitar at all. This is cosmic
music.

The resonance of the concert hall is to thank for much of the
immensity here, making this particular recording less akin to Bukka
White and more similar to Charlemagne Palestine's "Strumming Music" or
some of the more celestial and percussion-free Glenn Branca pieces.
Here you can hear Fahey not only play the guitar, but simultaneously
play the room and the air- summoning throughout the same overtones of
the drone greats.

The rapturous audience at the University of Washington were lucky to
play aural witness to this private and meditative moment, as are we
some 40 years later. This bootleg is among my top five favorite Fahey
moments (including his studio work) and I believe it stands out as
unique in his discography, bringing further into focus this remark of
Jim O'Rourke from Steve Lowenthal's recently released “Dance of Death”
biography:

“Fahey isn't an Americana thing for me [...] I didn't think of him in
the context of Bukka White- I didn't give a shit about that stuff,
honestly.”

Grab a cup of tea or coffee, find a private place, and enjoy! Give it
space to sink in. Happy Fahey week.

Steve Palmer performs guitar in his hometown of Minneapolis, MN and released his debut 'Unblinking Sun' on Dying For Bad Music in 2014.

February 26, 2015

John Fahey - New Sounds on WNYC 1991

     by Tyler Wilcox
Dig into an hour's worth of music and chat with John Fahey, broadcast in the early 1990s on John Schaefer's New Sounds program on WNYC. This period is a bit of a "lost" era for Fahey, as he battled Epstein-Barr virus and various psychological traumas. Typically, John is very candid in recounting these troubles during the interview segments -- Schaefer seems a bit taken aback by some of the guitarist's casual revelations. But Fahey sounds in good spirits, despite some dark turns, discussing the early Takoma Records days and fellow players like Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho ("I never liked him," Fahey says of the latter), and even apologizing profusely for coming up with the term "American Primitive." And the playing is sharp and enjoyable, including some choice selections from the then-new Old Girlfriends & Other Horrible Memories, as well as a nice rendition of Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen" (which Fahey would record with Cul de Sac a few years later).

Download it HERE

   

February 25, 2015

Tom Weller - Artist for the Fahey album Covers

You can visit Weller's site HERE and read some of his out-of-print books including Science Made Stupid that won the 1986 World Science Fiction Society's Hugo award for Best non-Fiction Book.

Weller was the artist for many of the early Fahey covers. Weller had his psychedelic phase and then his wood cut phase. I prefer the wood cut covers. He also designed that Takoma "T" logo with the arrows.



 

February 24, 2015

JOHN FAHEY/BLIND JOE DEATH

A Fahey fan answered the call for a little help around here for Fahey Week, with a brief remembrance for our consideration.

It was probably in the 1970s when I found my treasured copy of the original "JOHN FAHEY/BLIND JOE DEATH" album at a long defunct record store in Glendale, California called Ray Avery's Rare Records.  The record was in the same bin as John's other albums that were commonly available at that time.  The price was comparable to the other albums, so I don't think the owner was aware of the album's scarcity.  I tried my best to conceal my excitement as I went up to the counter to pay for the album.

The opportunity to have John autograph the album came when he performed one of his many concerts at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California.  After John finished his set, he retreated to Takoma Records which was a few doors up the street on Pico Boulevard.  The person who ran the McCabe's concert series back then, Bobby Kimmel, took me there to meet John.  I still vividly remember John's reaction when I pulled the album out of the bag for him to sign.  After turning the album over a couple times in his hands to examine it, he said laconically,"Holy shit".  After signing the "FAHEY" side, he flipped the cover over and signed the "DEATH" side.  As he handed it back to me, he said, "I signed it Blind X because he's blind and can't see".  Rest in peace, John.....thanks for making my evening and for being an inspiration to me.




 

February 23, 2015

John Fahey and the Williams Brothers

John Fahey became friends with the Williams brothers who lived on Sligo Mill Road in Takoma Park. Elmer and Harold were born in 1925 & 1924, respectively. In 1966 Fahey was considering issuing an album of the Williams Brothers. (Sourced from "The John Fahey Handbook" by Claudio Guerrieri)

You can read about Fahey meeting and hanging out with Elmer Williams in "How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life" starting at page 267.

Check out the D.K. Wilgus Collection at the Ethnomusicology Department of UCLA (http://digital2.library.ucla.edu/) has various unreleased Fahey material including a tape with the Williams Brothers, as mentioned in the DOD discographical notes recorded by Richard Spottswood.

From the Dance of Death liner notes:

...early 1959 Spotswood's ancestral home, Westmoreland Hills, Md.
JOHN FAHEY, ELMER & HAROLD WILLIAMS, KELLY
John - g=1, Elmer - g=2, voc. & g=3, Harold - voc. & g =4
On Doing An Evil Deed Blues - 1 Railroad Bill - 3,1
Buckstonk Blues - 1 Easy Ridin Buggy - 3,1
Brenda's Blues - 1 One by One - 3,1
John Henry - 2,1 If You Feel Like Your In Love
Blues in E - 2,1 Don't Just Stand There 3,1
Blues in C - 2,1 Tell Me Who's Been Fooling You - 4
Add vocals by Elmer, Harold and Kelly at various times
Rock Is My Pillow
The War is Over
So far as I can determine, these are the only known recordings by the Williams Brothers and Kelly. Their home was once located on New Hampshire Ave just beyond the DC line, presently the site of either a Safeway or a highway. By wise and judicious placement of modern highways, the local governments of suburban Maryland have increased property values by simultaneously creating easy access for modern transportation and by ridding the countryside of unsightly negro and poor white shacks. As a result of this policy there seem to be no negroes or farmers left in the lower half of Montgomery county. The suicide rate is rising. -



These are incomplete and some cut off in the middle, too bad, pretty good stuff.

Thanks to JohnFahey.com for the Dance of Death liner notes and Malcolm Kirton and Richard Swan for pointing these out to me.

Access the material here:
http://digital2.library.ucla.edu/Search.do?selectedFormats=all&selectedProjects=30&viewType=1&keyWord=fahey

In addition you should find some other interesting material, the Rev. Rubin Lacey with Fahey on guitar, interviews with Blind Johnnie Williams and Rev. Ishmon Bracey.