1. On Doing An Evil Deed Blues
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Poor Boy Long Ways From Home
4. Uncloudy Day
5. John Henry
6. In Christ There Is No East Or West
7. Desperate Man Blues
8. Sun Gonna Shine In My Back Door Someday Blues
9. Sligo River Blues
10. On Doing An Evil Deed Blues
11. St. Louis Blues
12. Poor Boy Long Ways From Home
13. Uncloudy Day
14. John Henry
15. In Christ There Is No East Or West
16. Desperate Man Blues
17. Sun Gonna Shine In My Back Door Someday Blues
18. Sligo River Blues
19. I'm Gonna Do All I Can For My Lord
20. The Transcendental Waterfall
21. West Coast Blues
Sit Down and Meet Blind Joe Death
Its snowing hard outside and I have the stereo on,not too loud.As I try to decide how to write this review,turning it over and over in my head I get visions of times gone past when you had to prove how good you were a song at a time,one person at a time.One man,one guitar.....John Fahey posesses a guitar playing style influenced by many but written,arranged and performed like no other person on this planet.
Covering recording sessions from Joe Bussards basement studio in 59 thru to 63-64 and 67 in Berkley,this disc is what that vision from the past and one extraordinary guitarist capable of lyrical songs with no words and sounds new to all but some can achieve - the sound called American Primitive.
On the 78`s of yesterday were all the ingredients needed to provoke the feelings needed to create this great music we`re talking about.Mr. Fahey will play for you and you will listen....you say you don`t like the sounds of those scratchy records then you should be afraid of someone on par with anyone from the history of modern music recorded cleanly and performances equal to any human beings in this or any world.
Enough talking has been done...buy it and listen for yourself and marvel at the talents of this great man.
Great, but missing a great track
While it's true that both the 1959 version and the 1967 version of BLIND JOE DEATH are contained on this CD, the disc is missing the 1967 version of "The Transcendental Waterfall." While that is certainly no reason not to buy this disc, buyer should beware that this track is missing. In my opinion, this missing track smokes the 10-minute version that was included on this reissue. This missing track is why I did not give this disc five stars. But get the disc anyway; it's still worth your time and money.
For more than just guitar-lovers!
This album is a great combo of some of Fahey's early material. In many ways, it's a perfect place to start if you're just getting into Fahey--not only is it chronologically (kind of) his first release (he re-recorded the album multiple times), but it also finds the guitarist at an earlier stage in his signature guitar technique--he basically innovated an idiosyncratic technique all his own, and Blind Joe Death finds him first finding his own [guitar] voice.
This album includes the '64 and '67 versions of Blind Joe Death, as well as a bonus track or two from the very old and less quality-recorded original. Like several of Fahey's CD reissues, this one's a great bargain, since you get both versions on one CD which can be found pretty cheap on alternate sellers here at Amazon. Unlike a lot of artists, having 2 versions of most every one of these songs is actually pretty awesome, since you can audibly hear the progress Fahey makes in his technique, recording quality, and you get a better idea of the melodic and compositional points the composer/performer is trying to get across.
Fahey's style is certainly very thumb-heavy (detractors are annoyed by this and sometimes call it ham-fisted), but it really doesn't bother me. Sure there are some more technically-diverse fingerstyle guitarists out there, but if you listen closely, you'll realize that Fahey is actually probably just as technically skilled as any other guitarist, but he makes a choice to play the way he plays. Why? It's folk and blues--it's not about playing as fast as you can and showing off, it's about feel, emotion, and simple but memorable melodies. That said, this album is chock full of all that stuff, especially melodies that you can't get out of your head after hearing them a couple times. Songs like "Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" and the lilting "Sligo River Blues" show that Fahey can play blues like no other, providing haunting melodies but also pushing the genre's structure and harmony with unconventional changes.
If you're not already a fan of solo guitar, don't be afraid of this music! I had my doubts too when first purchasing an album with only one instrument, but Fahey's music really does provide listeners with plenty to chew on, plenty to keep you engaged, and it's interesting enough that you won't miss a vocalist or accompaniment at all. Like the title of this review says, you don't have to already love solo guitar to enjoy this album--it should be interesting and worthwhile to fans of folk, blues and even rock who are willing to take a chance on some music they might not have otherwise tried. Once you get into this album, I'd recommend checking out [[ASIN:B00000C2PF Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes]] to hear what Fahey's style blossomed into in its later incarnations. Enjoy!