February 28, 2011

John Fahey - Azalea City and Turtle Outtakes

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, sometimes these things happen.
Today is Fahey's birthday, normally the end of Fahey Week but...one never knows...eh?

Here's today's treats: The unreleased album called


Download it here

And all kinds of Voice of the Turtle outtakes and such.

Download it here

JohnFahey.com has extensive notes on the effort here

All these cuts were originally uploaded by Stephen over at the Fahey Record Labels site.  He has some great posts on the cover art and his own theories about the release of this material.  All of his links are dead so I've re-upped them.


  1. Hi again!
    Thank you VERY much for Azalea City! I had that for years on-you've guessed it-an old cassette!
    Very bad quality, but the beauty of the melody
    still managed to shine through. Your version is ten times better and I'm glad, that you decided to share it!
    Rank Stranger

  2. Thanks for a nice post!
    The “Turtle-parafernalia” has in fact been around in Stephen´s excellent blog for some years but the downloads have been closed for some time and Stephen himself has been very quiet lately. Let us hope that he still is in good health and vigour.
    Some remarks although: the “Train”-file seems to be corrupted as it abruptly ends in seven seconds!
    “Train” aka “The Little Train That Couldn´t” together with “Bottleneck Blues” which seems to be the version where Fahey plays along with Weaver&Beasley and finally “Bean Vine Blues”, which shows that Fahey as vocalist is and always was an embarrassing disaster, are, as far as I have concluded, the tracks that were interchanged between the Black Label Turtle and the Orange Label Turtle.
    For those who are newcomers to Faheyverse I strongly recommend the International Fahey Committee homepage where things are sorted out concerning Black and Orange! I also made some remarks myself in my review of the Turtle on Amazon on this phenomena.
    Concerning the rest of the material I am in great doubt if Fahey ever planned to include “Bastrop Waltz”, at least in this version, on the planned, but never fulfilled, Turtle double-LP project. To me it seems all too rudimentary and “sketchy” to stand up to Fahey´s own quality standards.
    And when it comes to the Fahey/McLean duets I find them substandard compared to “The Downfall of the Adelphi Rolling Grist Mill” from Death Chants, which is far superior to everything else of the half dozen or so duets by Fahey and McLean that I have heard.
    When it comes to “A Raga Called Pat from I to Infinity” it should need an academic paper on its own to sort things out!
    And while still on the Turtle subject! It has always surprised me that Bean Vine Blues #2 on Black Turtle, which is actually an 1928 Okeh recording by the Blue Boys has never been discussed from the point of view that it in fact is a “rural” version of Scott Joplin´s “The Entertainer”!

    More to come later

    chief karlsson

  3. And again Thanks for a nice post!

    There have been some whispering rumours about the Azalea tapes for quite some time and I have been very curious about it…and here they finally are.
    It always feels very nice to at last come to hear Fahey recordings that earlier was only rumours…for example the Lost Electra Tapes with a reissue of Yellow Princess a couple of years ago.
    And now we finally have the “Azalea-session”!
    But I must confess that I am a little bit reluctant to this one. That kind of reluctance you feel when you know that you have to put up some points of criticism against what really is one of your Icons…
    One discographical detail is that it seems like the rerecording of “Horses” from this session is missing here?
    Then generally as one would expect from the Varrick period is that Fahey during late 70s and 80s had widened his vernacular repertoire to also include adaptments of rock&pop standards and assorted “evergreens”, as well as heavy influences from Bola Sete…and last but not least of course continuous recycling of his older material!
    All of this is fully evident here.
    For example Dorothy Gooch pt. II, which is an excursion in Bola Sete territory, competently performed but not so much more than that…
    And Dorothy Gooch pt. I, which is a rerecording from Voice of the Turtle, where it is evident that Fahey by this time had adapted a more aggressive approach in playing, with for example staccatos where earlier he had let the notes ring out and now and then a much heavier attack in double thumb bass.
    The Two American Folk Hymns seem recycled from Yes Jesus Loves Me and also here evident a much more aggressive approach.
    In The Still Of The Night and My Prayer are two pop-standards performed with an exquisite craftsmanship, never loosing the melody line, and exposing a typical Faheyesque touch, although outside the normal Blind Joe Death territory.
    And with the three remaining tracks we are suddenly almost back in that territory!
    Banjo Street is a step back into the long winding compositions from end 60s and beginning 70s that were displayed on America and Fare Forwards Voyagers.
    This one starts up with combining and elaborating some themes apparently from Doc Boggs, then to shift to some darker and more mystical soundscapes finally to halfway into the composition land in some beautiful variations of the old Anglo-American ballad Willie Moore, reminding of the sounds from Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death 25 years earlier…To me this was the absolute high-light of this whole record!
    Our Lady of Sorrows is a somewhat shortened recreation of The Voice of the Turtle from America 20 years earlier and impeccably played almost note for note, except for where Fahey occasionally in one of the themes plays some notes sharpened half a step (somewhere around 6:50 to 7:15 into the tune) creating a most unexpected and peculiar effect.
    Compared to the original from America, this version seems a little more “dreamlike and reluctant” until entering the speedy and powerful Finale.
    One only wonders why the need to recreate something that was nothing but an absolute masterpiece already when first recorded?
    And with the rerecording of Horses absent from this set we are left with Springtime in Azalea City, which is proposed to have been recorded in the mid 60s and found in Fahey´s private archives!
    The music itself is a slow floating cantilena-like ritornello repeated over and over without any elaborations or variations.
    It seems most surely Fahey himself who is playing here but I am questioning the date of recording!
    Soundwise and taken the playing itself stylistically into consideration it could, at least to my opinion, as well have been recorded in the late 80s or early 90s, and until proven wrong on that assumption, I will leave the question open!

    Anyway it is nice to have gotten the possibility at last to listen also to this one from Fahey!

    And again many Thanks for an excellent Fahey-week!

    chief karlsson

  4. Thank you so much for the VOTTOT's! I've been trying to get these ever since mine went down with the old computer!

  5. Could you please reupload the links?