Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #252 - John Fahey, "The Best of John Fahey 1959-1977"

Back to the JP Archive for the first time in a wee while. I'm sure this is a gent that I have on tape playing at one of the Keeping It Peel nights on Radio One with Rob da Bank. Never caught the name, but I'm fairly sure it's the same kind of tunes. There are loads of them on his record shelves as well. So many that The Fall didn't get a look in in the first 100 albums in F.

"Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" is one of the tunes played. It's beautiful, rustic, easy-going music, so I'm a little surprised that I'm enjoying it so readily. There's no unease, no tension, no electronics and no lyrics. "Some Summer Day" sounds as sunny and wistful as the title would suggest. The lyricism lies in the guitar playing itself, I suppose. Fingers whirl and dance on "Spanish Dance" with tune and accompaniment all dealt with by the two sets of fingers and thumbs.

Judging by the titles, it may be that John was a bit of a fan of the auld Jesus - "In Christ There Is No East or West" and "I'm Gonna Do All I Can For My Lord". There could be a country element or a bluesy element with the whiphand at one time of another, but the main feeling is one of contentment. Contented fingers plucking away. The "In Christ" tune does maybe sound a bit more liturgical than the other tunes, but it's hard to get a grip on the music. "Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Court Of King Phillip of Spain" doesn't sound as though it'd be a mass of slide guitar; but it is.

It keeps on coming and while it doesn't get my heart beating must faster, it doesn't get tired either. Well, "Fare Forward Voyagers" is over twenty minutes long, so I rushed through that one a bit, As I want to do another album before bedtime. It's far slower to get going with the melody picked out slowly to begin with before slotting into familiar business. "Desperate Man Blues" doesn't really sound that desperate at all. An ounce of that desperation would set me right.

Rating: Joy out of Fingers

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