March 2, 2011

Charlie Schmidt - Doppelgänger Blues

 Folks, I'm happy to present a special treat today.  Charlie Schmidt has sent me an excerpt of an unreleased tune for your listening pleasure.
As Charlie mentioned in his essay earlier this week, he believes in playing Fahey for the sake of Fahey, the artistry of the music itself.  And yet he is perfectly capable of composing and playing in his own voice, his own style.
In this original piece, Doppelgänger Blues, Charlie walks the fine line of blending his own composition with the feel and the spirit of a Fahey tune.  Hence the title.
It starts with a pipe organ and you may not know it yet, but you've just entered the temple of the steel string!  Charlie takes his time developing the tune, building the anticipation, introducing the guitar as though we are actually experiencing the song somewhere in the middle, a transitional point, we aren't quite sure where we are or what's about to happen, but we know something is imminent.  Then the guitar is suddenly there, front and center as though it just broke free.  The pipe organ is left behind as the tune surges forward on the guitar.
So begins the Doppelgänger Blues.  I have to point out that I love just about any tune in a minor key and this is no exception.
Check it out, I hope you enjoy.

 Doppelgänger Blues

( P.D., arr. C. Schmidt, all rights reserved )  guitar by C. Schmidt, pipe organ by Dr. G. North

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Xanthe Terra by Charlie Schmidt

BUY Charlie Schmidt from EMUSIC icon


  1. Today I celebrate my 60th birthday on watch in the engine room of swedish passenger vessel M/V Birger Jarl...ok...someone has to take care of the engines no matter birthdays and such stuff!
    I gladly and thankfully take Charlie Schmidt´s Desperate Man Blues as an excellent birthday gift...
    Desperate Man Blues played in minor key...a stroke of genius!
    Having since some years Xanthe Terra in my collection I find it as one of my favorites among post-Fahey I do with absolutely everything else by Mr. Schmidt that I have heard...for example on Delta Slider and other places!
    And now the crucial question: When will this exquisite Desperate Man Blues, together with the previously posted D-minor Suite and Some Summer Day and Catfish become available as either mp3 downloads or maybe even perhaps they are planned for future (the sooner the better) cd-release?
    With many thanks to Charlie Schmidt and Delta Slider!
    chief karlsson

  2. Happy Birthday Chief Karlsson. " Steamboat going round the bend", should be a fav. of yours.
    You are absolutely right about Charles Schmidt's wonderful Dopplegander Blues. I found it provocative ala Faheys "Voice of the Turtle" chanting monks intro leading into his playing. Charles struck the balance between Fahey and himself in song structure. My only complaint is that the themes could be explored more and have a more evolved composition. The thing that Fahey did that I havn't seen anyone talk about is his space between notes, that pulls one in, in a haunting evocative way. Most want to jamb everysecond with notes, but Fahey allowed himself to drift or change time and hense say more with less. I am very impressed by Charlie's playing being spot on and making me spin my head in a huh moment of "Wow, let me hear that again", moment. Thank you Charlie for your care and sensitivity, your technique is formitable and you play with heart.
    respectfully remembering Fahey, to all,
    John Ince

  3. Charles:

    I think I need to clarify that " I " wish it was longer, so as to swim in that musical space longer. Everyone has to decide when to say when, that is a poem is not a novel and we accept it as author's choice. So haven't you ever want the book to never end? The music to go on and on? I used to play Fahey 24 hours a day going deeper and deeper til I was transformed. I was 19 then I'm 64 now. I hope you didn't take offense. I reread my prior note and thought this could go either way.

    John Ince

  4. This is the guitarist, Charlie S.; thank you for taking the time to listen and comment on the Doppelganger Blues sample. (again not taking my url...)

    To respond to the comment above, repetition was just my way of making space, trying not to clutter it up, and to help the harmonic variations stand out, in addition to making the bridge a more welcome relief.

    Please comment here or email me at if you would be interested in hearing a complete, high bit version of Doppelganger Blues, part three in a three-part Requiem for John Fahey. Sincerely,

    Charlie Schmidt
    March 3, 2011

  5. Dear Cheeky aka John Ince!
    Thank You for Greetings!
    As a matter of fact the M/V Birger Jarl, where I spend my working days as senor 1:st Engineer, in fact originally was built in 1953 as a steamboat, with a triple expansion engine connected to a huge seawater-cooled vacuum-condenser and duplex oil-fired Babcock-Wilcox 22 bar boilers. In 1979 the steam-plant was dsmounted and exchanged for a 3.000 Kw V-12 four stroke diesel engine connected to a KMW controllable pitch propeller. This allowing the old lady a comfortable cruising speed of 14 knots in the Stockholm and Finland archipelago.
    So there sure are many bends to be comin´´round!
    And it´s a joy to hear that there are more "senior citizens" than myself still raising the flag for Fahey´s music...and his Charlie Schmidt.
    And when it comes to Fahey´s "silence between notes" and rubato and syncopation and all that, I have since long concluded that just that is what makes the difference between an Artist and a craftsman...Where I find Fahey as the Artist and most of the others as craftsmen...perhaps with the exception of Mr Schmidt, Mr Lang, Mr Fosson and maybe one or two others.

    And to Charlie Schmidt I would only like to say Excuse me for calling Doppelgänger Blues by the name Desperate Man Blues...I just can´t help it!
    It comes instinctively!
    And of course I am utterly interested, as I am quite sure also many others are, to hear the complete Doppelgänger Blues...and of course look eagerly forwards to the above mentioned three-part Requiem for John Fahey!

    Many Thanks
    chief karlsson

  6. Charlie:

    Wow, wishes to be fulfilled : I would love to hear the complete version of this tune. I just purchased yesterday your new album from Amazon and will be here in two days. Funny thing about fate: I had the opportunity to take a lesson with him, then declined when I heard his current
    ( 1982 approximately ) stuff with electric guitars. And now regret my egotistical rejection of his then depressed genius. He was moving ahead and was tired of playing his old stuff, but my vision was too narrow and I missed my opportunity. He was actually the reason I quit playing classical back in 1967. I am happy to have discovered you folks and just joined the Yahoo Fahey Group.

    kind regards,
    John Ince at

  7. Chief Karlsson:

    Thank you for your wonderful discription of your boat. It helped make solid your vessel in my mind. I lived in a 30 foot sailboat for a couple years and I have sea in my blood, but now live on the border betweeen high desert and forest. I miss the sea and how it soothed the savage beast in me. My wife gets sea sick... go figure, eh? It is amazing that your life speaks to me, as does Charlie's parallel universe. I would have never guessed John Fahey would have made the world smaller as he made mine bigger.
    greetings from Sunriver, Oregon.
    with a smile,
    John Ince at

  8. Thank you. I love Charlie Schmidt's playing, he's amazing.