April 9, 2012

RC Johnston - The Fahey Project

Greetings Delta-Slider readers.  I’m proud to say that today’s post is the official release of the new RC Johnston effort, The Fahey Project.  Ralph has decided to go with a digital release for his latest and Delta-Slider is the place to get it!  I’m thrilled!  But the same rules apply here as to all of Ralph’s generous releases: feel free to share this far and wide, he wants the music shared.
So without further ado, here is Ralph to tell you all about it.

The Fahey Project:

Hiowdy, and welcome to "The Fahey Project", a dream of mine for over forty years.  If I had recorded "the project" back then, you would have heard poorly played approximations of John's compositions and covers, whereas today you are listening to adequately rendered interpretations, tempered of course by time and experience.

The song selection process was easy: play the stuff that most moves me, even if it takes several versions of a song for me to reach Valhalla.

Hearing John's music for the first time was a definite shock to my shriveled suburban nervous system, but the greatest shock of all was when I heard the orange label version of "Voice of the Turtle".  That edition featured "Bean Vine Blues” with Fahey and (?) on guitars and Joe Bussard and Fahey on vocals.  Along with "Night Train to Valhalla", "Bean Vine Blues" is my ultimate favorite Fahey cut.

Other favorites included are renditions of "Poor Boy", "Tell Her to Come Back Home", "John Henry" and "Farther Along" (John's "duet" with Laura Weber on Laura's PBS TV program "Guitar, Guitar" back in 1969-70).

John influenced my picking style in so many ways by introducing me to the licks of such greats as Charlie Patton, Sam McGee, Bukka White, Frank Hutchison, Weaver and Beasley and a multitude of lesser known but nonetheless great musicians.

I also learned the art of open tunings from John, and the tunings I use on this recording are a testament to that fact:
FADDAD: #s 1, 2, 6
DADDAD: #s 3, 5, 12, 13
DAD: #4
DGDGBD: #s 9, 10, 11

Fahey’s music buoyed my spirits as I reached out to explore other musical realms such as surf music, Savage Republic and Quonset’s ethno/industrial sand doomed journeys.

I think about Fahey every day.  He lauded me, he insulted me, but in the end it was all worth it.  John’s music has stood the test of time.  He is a modern classic: ignored by most, but beloved by the few.

My choice of guitars to play on these recordings was a no brainer: Dixie X appears on all cuts except “Night Train to Land O’ Lakes”.  On that song I played Gator X, a 3 stringed cigar box resonator built by Jim Mitchell of Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

Thanks to one and all for your support over the years.  Forty six minutes of music that took over forty years to see the light of day!

Cheers!  Ralph.

You can d/l this as 320-MP3
All artwork you see here, and a little more is included.

Please come on back and leave a comment about the music!

  1. Pea Vine Apocalypse Then
  2. Variations on John Henry Variations
  3. Edgar Allan Poe Boy
  4. Night Train to Land O’ Lakes
  5. Blind Thomas’s Blues
  6. Pea Vine Apocalypse Now
  7. Night Train to Great Neck
  8. On the Shady Side of the Desert
  9. Takoma Two Step
  10. The Wonderful Waltz I Heard on That Day
  11. Jolly Joe’s Fonotone Blues #2
  12. Tel Her to Go Back Home
  13. I Love My Blind Joe Death Steam Engine Tattoo



  1. Love Ragtime Ralph - Love 'Variations on John Henry Variations'. At last the Long awaited 'Cathedrals Carved From Tree Stumps' Fahey tribute. Thanks!

  2. Thx Ralph & Scott! Shared to FB. now on to the dl... -Andrew Stranglen

    1. Ralph, I have to say "Great Job!!!" To the point. Down to Earth. Reserved. Reverent. I like the production! The occasional sparse use of antiquing adds a nice touch. This is a FIVE Star rating! Don't miss this one folks!

  3. Very nice, a real loving tribute that I think even JF himself would have liked. Thank you for making the music available.

  4. Great to see an extended version of the rare Fahey snippet 'Farther Along' in the guise of 'The Wonderful Waltz I Heard On That Day' - lovely interpretation, been waiting forever for someone to cover this. Overall a fascinating listening experience, recording is as clear as a bell.

  5. This is a wonderful album, I have enjoyed it through and through. It evokes so many similar feelings John's music also did.

  6. Hiowdy!!! Thanks to one and all for your comments regarding The Fahey Project!!! And to Scott for his kindness and willingness to release the project on Delta Slider!!!

    Cheers!!! Ralph.

  7. Hiowdy !!

    I'm coming back from vacations today ,feeling Blue about wakin'up early tomorrow for work ...and I find your new album at the same time !!! I'm d/ling it right now and will listen to it tomorrow :that will help me to wake up in a good mood ! THANKS, Mister Ralph!
    I do realize by the same time that it's been 2 years this month since we've been talkin'bout the mariners'superstitions ..
    Cheers !

  8. great work ralph,it's one from the heart for sure..and thanx for the tunings,
    kevin on salt spring

  9. This album is such a treat! Absolutely wonderful...
    thank you
    Harvey Mapcase