Coming off of good New Year’s Eve, and after a night spent listening to the, “Paris, Texas” Soundtrack, I felt inclined to listen to more slide guitar. This was also the night my lady convinced me to start writing a blog. This is for you Mel. Instead of trying to chew through the piles of fat and sinew of music I’ve wanted to listen to, I decided a while back to listen to an album a day, or as best as I can, cause I’m human and this is not my job. I should have started then, but I’m an idiot sometimes. Also, who cares, I’m starting now.
First up is this beautiful beast. The 7th album from John Fahey, and one of his stranger to be sure. Recorded in 1968, this album answers the question, “Is there an album where I can dance a jig, get extremely high, and somehow feel a strange nostalgia for a life I didn’t, and will never, live?” Yes, and this is that album.
A piece of me hates John Fahey, just because he’s too fucking good at slide guitar. I’ve tried to handle a tube of glass on a guitar before, and in the end it would have been better used as a straw for bubble tea. The classic side road story tells a tale where the devil gives someone (usually tabbed Robert Johnson) the ability to play guitar if they give up their soul. Well, the devil had to give his soul to John Fahey to learn how to play slide guitar; he’s just that good. You aren’t going to hear rocket speed licks coming from Fahey. He’s got nothing to prove to you or anyone else. Instead, you will hear a master at the craft playing around with slides and sounds. If you want, go ahead and try to play out these songs with an empty beer bottle and welcome to a world of fresh hell.
This album is probably best played on a hot summer’s day while getting a little fun drunk, and hopefully incredibly high, with a couple of friends. If you sit and listen to it on your own, like I usually do with everything, it’s a classical blues album that will push your boundaries and move right into the psychedelic. Don’t believe me? Just take a listen to, “A Raga Called Pat” 3 or 4, they are more journeys than songs. There aren’t many albums out there genre labelled as, “Avant-Garde American Primitive Folk Guitar”. And the reason is either that this label is incredibly esoteric, or because everyone knows that it’s already been done and nobody can do it better.
Fuck you John Fahey, stop making me believe in gods.