John Fahey

John Aloysius Fahey (/ˈfhi/ FAY-hee; February 28, 1939 – February 22, 2001) was an American fingerstyle guitarist and composer who played the steel-string acoustic guitar as a solo instrument. His style has been enormously influential and has been described as the foundation of American Primitive Guitar, a term borrowed from painting and referring mainly to the self-taught nature of the music and its minimalist style. Fahey borrowed from the folk and blues traditions in American roots music, having compiled many forgotten early recordings in these genres. … While Fahey lived in Berkeley, Takoma Records was reborn through a collaboration with Maryland friend ED Denson. Fahey decided to track down blues legend Bukka White by sending a postcard to Aberdeen, Mississippi; White had sung that Aberdeen was his hometown, and Mississippi John Hurt had been rediscovered using a similar method. When White responded, Fahey and ED Denson decided to travel to Memphis and record White. These recordings became the first non-Fahey Takoma release. Fahey released a second album on the label in late 1963, Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes. To the duo’s surprise, the Fahey release sold better than White’s, and Fahey had the beginnings of a career. His releases during the mid-1960s employed odd guitar tunings and sudden shifts in style firmly rooted in the old-time and blues stylings of the 1920s. But he was not simply a copyist, as compositions such as ‘When the Catfish Is in Bloom’ or ‘Stomping Tonight on the Pennsylvania/Alabama Border’ demonstrate. … A hallmark of his classic releases was the inclusion of lengthy liner notes, parodying those found on blues releases. In the later half of the 1960s, Fahey continued to issue material through Takoma as well as Vanguard Records, which had signed him along with similar instrumental folk guitarists Sandy Bull and Peter Walker. Albums from this period, such as Days Have Gone By, The Voice of the Turtle, Requia, and The Yellow Princess, found Fahey making sound collages from such elements as gamelan music, Tibetan chanting, animal and bird cries and singing bridges. … The Red Crayola subsequently recorded an entire studio album with Fahey, but the Red Crayola’s label demanded possession of the tapes and recorded documentation of those sessions has been missing ever since. …”
Wikipedia, W – John Fahey discography
Guardian – John Fahey: the guitarist who was too mysterious for the world (Video)
New Yorker – A Celebration of John Fahey and American-Primitive Guitar (Video)
Interviews: John Fahey / Stefan Grossman
YouTube: The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death (Full Album), The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party (Full Album), Days Have Gone By – Full Album, Requia (Full Album), The Voice of the Turtle (Full Album), The Yellow Princess (Full Album), The New Possibility… Christmas Album (Full Album), America (Full Album)

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