Tuesday, March 29, 2011

John Fahey - The Return Of The Repressed - 1994.


Back in the 1960s, when fingerpicking folk guitarists were a dime a dozen, John Fahey stood out for several reasons. For one thing, his sense of humor was sophisticated and unfashionably cynical for the period (this is the guy, remember, who simultaneously celebrated the blues tradition and ridiculed his own blues pretensions by adopting the nom de plume of "Blind Joe Death"). But most of all, he possessed absolutely astounding chops, and made no attempt to hide his superior guitar skills despite a pop music climate which was much kinder to earnest amateurism than to hard-earned virtuosity. Since that period, though, his profile has stayed pretty low. While he remains a revered cult figure among guitarists and a segment of the aging boomer population, the current music market is less amenable than ever to his particular brand of sly, hard-edged acoustic music. So this two-disc retrospective, culled from numerous Fahey LPs, is a rare and valuable overview, one which has met with significant critical approval. That said, it is certainly true that Fahey's music won't please everyone, and not just because of its complexity. Fahey's technique, while impressive, is sometimes a bit ham-fisted, especially on the early material. Songs like "Desperate Man Blues," "Sligo River Blues," and "Night Train to Valhalla" (you've just gotta love his song titles) are too loud at any volume -- you wish he'd vary the attack just a bit from phrase to phrase. But the stylistic juxtapositions he executes -- going from blues to flamenco and back, sometimes within the same chorus -- are awe-inspiring, as is his melodic inventiveness. Later material benefits from better production and the participation of guest musicians. Overall, this set is recommended, but the faint-hearted should try to listen before buying.

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mp3 128 kbps - 131 Mb

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