John Fahey - Return of the Repressed: The John Fahey Anthology

John Fahey - Return of the Repressed: The John Fahey Anthology
Return of the Repressed: The John Fahey Anthology
Release Date:
Contemporary Folk, Folk Jazz, Folk-Blues, Progressive Folk, Finger-Picked Guitar, World Fusion, Traditional Folk

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.

Desperate Man Blues / John Fahey / TraditionalJohn Fahey4:01
Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Phillip XIV of Spain / John FaheyJohn Fahey2:33
Sligo River Blues / John FaheyJohn Fahey2:37
Sun Gonna Shine in My Back Door Someday Blues / John FaheyJohn Fahey4:39
On Doing an Evil Deed Blues / John FaheyJohn Fahey3:59
I'm Gonna Do All I Can for My Lord / John FaheyJohn Fahey1:26
Some Summer Day / John FaheyJohn Fahey3:28
Worried Blues / John Fahey / Frank HutchisonJohn Fahey2:30
Tell Her to Come Back Home / John Fahey / Uncle Dave MaconJohn Fahey2:43
Poor Boy / Booker White / Bukka WhiteJohn Fahey3:21
Orinda-Moraga / John FaheyJohn Fahey3:57
The Death of Clayton Peacock / John FaheyJohn Fahey2:57
Brenda's Blues / John FaheyJohn Fahey1:49
On the Sunny Side of the Ocean / John FaheyJohn Fahey3:15
Revelation on the Banks of the Pawtuxent / John FaheyJohn Fahey2:37
Night Train to Valhalla / John FaheyJohn Fahey2:19
Knott's Berry Farm Molly / John FaheyJohn Fahey4:34
Bill Cheatham / TraditionalJohn Fahey feat: Hubert Thomas1:55
Knoxville Blues / Sam McGeeJohn Fahey3:10
Sunflower River Blues / John FaheyJohn Fahey6:03
A Raga Called Pat (Pt. 1) / John FaheyJohn Fahey6:26
In Christ There Is No East or West / Harry (Henry) Thacker Burleigh / Public Domain / Desmond Dunkerly / John OxenhamJohn Fahey2:44

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