The Best of John Fahey, Vol. 2: 1964-1983

The Best of John Fahey, Vol. 2: 1964-1983

by John Fahey


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In keeping with the great perversity, virtuosity, and humor that marks all releases of John Fahey records, guitarist Henry Kaiser has compiled a second volume of the late picker's Takoma sides to coincide with the first, self-selected set issued in 1977. Kaiser, a wildly idiosyncratic player and cultural iconoclast, is better-suited than just about anyone to compile such a project, and he has kept the strange, perverse Fahey humor as part of his duties as producer. For starters, he completely reinvents the term "best-of": Three of the pieces here are previously unissued in any form from a forgotten, never-daylighted set called "Azalea City Memories" from around 1991. Recorded for the Shanachie label, it falls outside the Takoma recordings, but since it never appeared, it's fair game. Two of the pieces from that set, "Twilight on Prince George's Avenue," and "Sligo Mud," are, in fact, reinterpretations of material from his first two Takoma outings: John Henry Variations and Stomping at Night on the Pennsylvania/Alabama Border. The last, "Tuff," is a strange, labyrinthine walk through minimal landscapes, but it holds a place of its own in Fahey's catalog. Also included here is "The Fahey Sampler," a piece never issued on an album, but performed often during Fahey's live sets: it is a kind of spooky yet riotous medley that reaches through the '60s and '70s for the roots and branches of some of his more well-known and obscure compositions. In addition, one will find tracks from Old Fashioned Love, Railroad, Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death, and Visits Washington D.C., among others. Kaiser has done a masterful job of presenting the complete emotional range of Fahey's expression, and had free-range over his catalog in order to present a varying but consistently honest view of the man as composer, as player, and yes, even as an improviser. This is, in some ways, better than the original best-of, because it comes from the heart of a fan as well as the vision of a master musician.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/03/2004
Label: Takoma
UPC: 0025218891622
catalogNumber: 8916
Rank: 105293

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