I Remember Blind Joe Death
June 21, 2007 12:59 AM   Subscribe

Fahey is God.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:20 AM on June 21, 2007

That was nothing but good.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:21 AM on June 21, 2007

Dear god, John Fahey is so baked. Every sound he makes, spoken or instrumental, is baked -- not the sloppy stupid kind but sunny and sweet baked, delicious. Even his damn guitar is called bakin' all day. And he's talking to my grandmother from Brooklyn -- same hair, same scarf! -- only she's somehow a much hipper lady than I recall.

The net result leaves me feeling dimly baked myself, and I'll have you know I am sadly clean as Clorox. So thanks, y2karl.
posted by melissa may at 1:36 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Spectacular interview. John Fahey is a force to behold.

Just curious, what do you Fahey fans think of M. Ward? I hear him associated with Fahey often.
posted by carsonb at 1:50 AM on June 21, 2007

That was nothing but good.

Hear, hear.

Dear god, John Fahey is so baked.

Pretty much everyone holding a guitar in 1969 was baked. Everyone except that Laura Weber chick who was interviewing Fahey, that is. What a square she was. "Today we're investigating the guitar." lol.
posted by three blind mice at 3:23 AM on June 21, 2007

posted by unknowncommand at 5:45 AM on June 21, 2007

Yes. Thank you.
posted by OmieWise at 5:48 AM on June 21, 2007

Much as I've studied, I'd never heard the man speak. Now it all makes a lot more sense...

thanks for the post~~
posted by damo at 6:08 AM on June 21, 2007

Fahey was. He died February 2001. Apparently not noted by MetaObitFilter at the time, so, belatedly:


But, once a god, always a god. So, yes, Fahey is God.

Thanks for the post.
posted by beagle at 6:14 AM on June 21, 2007

Thanks for the post. I picked up "Death Chants, Breakdowns, and Military Waltzes" at the library without knowing anything about Fahey and was blown away. Seeing him play makes it all the more amazing.
posted by qldaddy at 6:22 AM on June 21, 2007

Awesome, thank you! Haven't seen these before.
posted by aletheia at 6:47 AM on June 21, 2007

What's his best album? I own Death Chants and America, and its that second one that I listen to probably once a week.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:34 AM on June 21, 2007

It's hard to say. I'd suggest that The Yellow Princess is closer to the stuff going on in America than are Death Chants or Blind Joe Death, which are both exceptional. YP is more layered and expansive.
posted by OmieWise at 7:39 AM on June 21, 2007

Him using the Hawaiian guitar as an ash tray at the beginning of the second clip is classic.
posted by splatta at 7:49 AM on June 21, 2007

I have been a Leo Kottke fan for many years but have never really listened to John Fahey. This is about to change.
Thanks for posting this.
posted by dougzilla at 8:44 AM on June 21, 2007

Oh man, thanks y2karl. Bookhouse, FWIW, the first album I ever found of Fahey's was Requia. It's still one of my favorites, but be forewarned, the second side of the album is him playing over a bunch of tape loops he and a few others created. I'd agree with OmieWise on The Yellow Princess as well.

And melissa may, he probably was baked, but he was actually more of a drinker and didn't like hippies and weed much, from what I've read. He was also homeless in Salem, OR and PDX for a time, finding valuable records in thrift stores to sell. He's also the reason, along with Ed Denson, most people in the 60s were able to see Bukka White play since they sent a letter to Aberdeen, MS addressed "Bukka White (Old Blues Singer)" and it actually made it to him... of course, you've probably heard me say this before.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:49 AM on June 21, 2007

It's funny that you tag this post with "sublime," cos that's exactly the first word that pops in to my mind when I think of John Fahey. If I don't listen to Fahey everyday, it's at least every other day; it's a transcendental comfort I imagine could be likened to something one might feel at a Sunday Mass. So, yes -- to me, Fahey is God as well.
posted by pfafflin at 8:55 AM on June 21, 2007

Maybe two years after that I finally got to see Fahey, at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach.

Highlights of his set were:

1. Midway through, he excused himself for a restroom break, presumably to pee or shoot up.

2. Someone brought a box turtle for him, and he again interrupted his set to get down on the stage surface and play with the turtle.

I don't remember much of the set other than it was really good.

I worshiped at the Altar of Fahey for a number of years.
posted by Danf at 8:59 AM on June 21, 2007

Thank you, thank you. I've been wanting to see something like that for years.
posted by christopherious at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2007

I never heard Fahey before, & missed the previous post about him, but having seen this, I’ll be ordering some CDs: thanks y2karl.
posted by misteraitch at 9:44 AM on June 21, 2007

She does look like a grandma. Particularly the way she seems so casual, like she'd been hittin' the sauce before the show.

Also, the way she strokes the neck of the guitar at her side; so...suggestive.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:04 AM on June 21, 2007

What's his best album?

I favor his first Takoma albums and his one Riverboat album, myself - Blind Joe Death; Death Chants, Breakdowns, and Military Waltzes; The Death of Death and Other Plantation Favorites; The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death and Days Have Gone By are among my favorites, the earlier sessions--with notable exceptions--more favorite than the latter.

The early covers were so mysterious, the enclosed booklets of liner notes so hilarious--homogenized she-wolf afterbirth, anyone?--and, then the music so minimal, wonderful, sonorous and profound. The The takoma and Riverboat records came with no photos, no marketing, no promotion. You came upon them in the record store, bought them and took them home and a whole alternate universe like something akin to that of the Tristero system in Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 opened before you. Life seemed so full of secrets and possibilities. Days have gone by, indeed.

But I favor Yellow Princess as well. It is a pinnacle in its own way.
posted by y2karl at 10:21 AM on June 21, 2007

y2karl, do you know if it's true that John Fahey titled an album "The Destruction of Takoma Park"?
posted by zennie at 11:06 AM on June 21, 2007

Thanks, y2karl. (Again. As usual.)
posted by MinPin at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2007

There is no such John Fahey album by that title to my knowledge. But the Fonotone Sessions does have a Takoma Park Pool Hall Blues on it.
posted by y2karl at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2007

A very pleasant surprise. Thank you.

At first, a person might think that Fahey was a contrarian, the way he was disagreeing with everything the host was saying, but in fact he was just being precise according to his point of view, which was unique, yet accurate.

Very interesting.
posted by rougy at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2007

Saw Fahey at the Iron Horse in Northampton in '81 or so. He wore three different plaids and was sloppy drunk. Sweating, cursing, nearly falling out of the chair he slouched in - that night he played some of the most beautiful music I'll ever have the honor to listen to....
posted by squalor at 11:45 AM on June 21, 2007

Thanks, y2karl. :) Maybe that album is just a local myth.
posted by zennie at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2007

It was a real blast for me to see Laura Weber. I used to watch this show (not this one, though- that was great. You don't see a lot of Marlboros on TV any more).
I learned a thing or two from Laura.
posted by MtDewd at 12:37 PM on June 21, 2007

This is great. Prompted me to go ahead and buy a cd.
posted by found missing at 1:55 PM on June 21, 2007

Can never have too much John Fahey. Well, I suppose you could, but it hasn't happened yet. Many thanks.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:56 PM on June 21, 2007

Wonderful, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:46 PM on June 21, 2007

God, the host is so annoying. Fahey is awesome. Never got into him until I read his obit. I was living a block away from where he grew up at the time.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 PM on June 21, 2007

Fahey fans will probably like the acoustic stuff Glenn Jones is doing. There's a nice stream at Spinning on Air that starts with some discussion of Fahey and then moves into on-air performances by Jones that are quite good. A bit smoother than Fahey at his best, but certainly in the ballpark.
posted by OmieWise at 7:20 AM on June 22, 2007

I made it to part three, but she got kind of annoying with the music teacher stuff. His bakedness seems to be really throwing off her intelligencia style. I'm curious if someone who remembers this show remembers if she was hip or square. I don't feel old enough to comment on this.

There's something very interesting in the beginning of part 1. The title in the video says this is from 1969. She talks about having seen him play live with tape recorded samples. He says that wasn't him. But in 1967, he released Requia, which includes heavy Burroughsesque environmental samples, tape loops, and other weird audio in the mix with his unusual finger picked guitar style. Maybe he didn't feel like correcting her.
posted by Area Control at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2007

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