ANDY KERSHAW SESSION 15 October 1987
On the Sunny Side of the Ocean
Dance of Death
Supposedly, Richard Thompson, the great English acoustic-electric guitarist and singer-songwriter, a Fahey fan himself, was so appalled at what he perceived to be Fahey's sloppiness in this set that he phoned Andy Kershaw and asked to record an acoustic set for the programme to make up for it, in some karmic way. Richard was probably unaware of Fahey's various health problems, which by 1987 were beginning to affect his guitar playing. from: JohnFahey.com
I would not characterize this as a poor effort. There are a few bum notes but it sounds lively and the production is excellent.
The 1980 Fahey release "Yes! Jesus Loves Me" finds Fahey giving a previously recorded hymn a make over. Saint Patrick's Hymn from Transfiguration is given to a more bluesy interpretation and doubled in length. Great piece now called simply, St. Patrick
This appears to be the only live recording Dance of Death. I find this live version of the song important for a couple reasons. First, and this may sound silly, but I feel rather awed to hear Fahey playing this live, I guess because I have always thought that this was one crazy sounding piece of music. As though I have subconsciously been suspicious that Fahey was using some sort of studio trickery to play this song. The tuning, the dissonance, the meter all combine to make it sound as if one man couldn't really play it all by himself.
This download is an edit of the radio show, the DJ has been removed and Nightmare/Summertime is missing but the quality is excellent.
The edit of John Fahey on the BBC
UPDATE: When I wrote this post I knew it was missing a song: Nightmare/Summertime. I had the post all written up before I discovered it. Then I spent a fair time searching for it to no avail. By the time I posted this, I had forgotten to mention it.
Fortunately, Joe over at the John Fahey blog noticed it and did something about it!! I must say that is a much better version than the sad one presented on the studio release. Thanks to Joe and Stephen! The radio show version is not as high quality as the other source but has other advantages noted above. I would get both!!
Download the radio show