Robbie Basho Archive Live Shows
January 15, 2012 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Robbie Basho, "the father of the American Raga," recorded for John Fahey's Takoma label. He's often grouped with Fahey, Max Ochs, and Sandy Bull as a progenitor of "guitar soli," complex avant garde acoustic guitar (and other stringed instrument) playing. The Basho archives has posted two live shows, one from 1978, and the second from 1982, for streaming or download, and a 1983 radio interview and show for streaming.
posted by OmieWise (10 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
OmieWise, may Lakshmi bless you! I saw Robbie in Santa Cruz, California in the early 70s and have been haunted ever since by the memory of "Blue Crystal Fire." I am pleased that I am not alone in remembering him and loving his music.
posted by Fibognocchi at 2:13 PM on January 15, 2012

Related: Leo Kottke, which is 'American Primitivism' or somesuch. Not sure what the difference is between that and 'Guitar Soli' is.
posted by Hither at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2012

Lovely music; similar aesthetic to Billy Faier. Robbie was sadly taken from us too early by chiropractic.
posted by scruss at 2:22 PM on January 15, 2012

Nice to see Basho on the blue. I'd never heard about his death; that's pretty sudden and awful.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:57 PM on January 15, 2012

Nice. Hadn't heard Basho before. On a brief listen, a lot more focussed and less improvisatory than Fahey (& so more like Kottke... with less goose farts).

Interesting that these guys all found each other in those relatively isolated times. Along the same lines, hear Peter Lang (many names mentioned on that page). I heard him open for Fahey one memorable night (he was crispy while John was more than a little 'fuzzy' - though still an amazing improviser). (Lang, 2007)
posted by Twang at 3:15 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

FWIW, this has totally skull fucked me back to a cassette my brother gave me maybe about 79. Never seen the album even mentioned since then.

Bert Jansch, Avocet.
posted by timsteil at 4:22 PM on January 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Why have I not heard of this before? Sad me, now happy me.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:56 PM on January 15, 2012

Note that this page was put up by Steffen Basho-Junghans, who is a brilliant guitarist in his own right. He's from the former East Germany and has made at least 20 or so records since the 1980s. A good starting place is "Song of the Earth", although you wouldn't go wrong with any of these. (Thanks to the fantastic YETI magazine for turning me on to Steffen Basho-Junghans a few years back!)
posted by crazy_yeti at 8:25 AM on January 16, 2012

Thanks for these links, I've never checked out Basho and will give him a spin.

I love Fahey, Jansch, and Peter Walker so this should scratch that itch.

(Walker is as nice of a guy as he is a stellar guitarist - he toured with Jack Rose (R.I.P.) in the fall of 2006 and it was the most incredible solo acoustic set I've ever seen. We smoked some boo and I sent him a DVD of his set)
posted by porn in the woods at 8:26 AM on January 16, 2012

I'm listening to the first concert right now; thanks for sharing this, OmieWise. Up till now the only other recording I had heard by Robbie Basho was Bashovia, which is an anthology, I think.

A younger musician working in a similar vein as Fahey, Basho, Kottke, Basho-Junghans, et al is James Blackshaw. I don't have any links at the ready, but three or four of his records are on Spotify.

When I was an undergrad, I found out that one of my professors had studied folklore under D.K. Wilgus at UCLA just a couple years after John Fahey did his work there. I tried to fish an anecdote out of the professor, but he simply remarked that John Fahey was an avant-garde musician rather than a folk musician and changed the subject.
posted by cobra libre at 4:14 PM on January 16, 2012

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