October 17, 2011

-REVIEW: John Fahey: Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You (The Fonotone Years 1958 - 1965) (John Doran , October 17th, 2011, Quietus)
The title of this lovingly assembled box set of early, rare material originally released on 78, 33 and 45rpm vinyl between 1958 and 1965 on the Fonotone label comes from something John Fahey himself said. In 2000 Dean Blackwood, who co-ran Fahey's Revenant Records, invited Glenn Jones, the man who oversaw this project, to visit and discuss producing this set. Jones, who had known the legendary American guitarist for 25 years was greeted sternly by Fahey thus: "Boy, your past really comes back to haunt you! Glenn, I don't want this stuff to be issued. A lot of those recordings were made before I could play guitar. If Dean wants to put it out, he can pay me ten thousand dollars and I won't care what happens to my reputation. Or he can wait until I'm dead and issue it then." If I were given the chance I'd amend that quote by putting the word play in italics or single quotes - or maybe both - but when you listen to some of these 115 tracks, it's all too clear what he means. Some of the early 1958 blues numbers are gauche and some of the strumming and finger style picking painfully inadequate. If I never hear the few guitar and flute duets he recorded here again it won't be a moment too soon and the less said about his version of 'I Shall Not Be Moved' the better. But still this lovingly produced artefact, which indeed has come out a respectful amount of time after his death, is a thing of joy.

Posted by at October 17, 2011 6:54 AM

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