Q - 7/96, p.1373 Stars
- Good - "...a superlative acoustic guitar technician capable of blending elements of country, blues and ragtime into a style that in its spare, dark, haunting beauty was uniquely his own."
Musician - 3/97, p.90
"...nobody had more emotional range or profound melodic gift than John Fahey....Fahey's taste for the weirdly dissonant when dealing with foul emotions and his fascination with tone to the occasional exclusion of almost everything else is on fuller display here."
This reissue contains both the 1963 and re-recorded 1967 editions of BLIND JOE DEATH.
Solo performer: John Fahey (acoustic guitar).
Producers: John Fahey, ED Denson.
Reissue producer: Bill Belmont.
Principally recorded in Berkeley, California in 1963 and at Sierra Sound Recorders, Berkeley, California in 1967. Tracks 1-9 originally released in 1963 on Takoma (1002). Tracks 10-20 originally released in 1967 on Takoma (1002). Includes liner notes by Glen Jones, Ed Denson and Chester Petranick (John Fahey).
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1996, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Adapter: John Fahey.
Personnel: John Fahey (guitar).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Authors: Chester Petranick; ED Denson; Glenn Jones .
Recording information: Berkeley, CA (1959-1967); Sierra Sound, Berkley, CA (1959-1967); Takoma Park, MD (1959-1967).
Arranger: John Fahey.
In the early '60s, on a series of instrumental albums for Takoma Records, cult guitar hero and renegade musical icon John Fahey pioneered a unique acoustic guitar style that synthesized traditional and experimental elements. More than a folk artist, Fahey blended old time blues and country structures with progressive harmonies and melodies that drew from Indian modes and Native American music, incorporating avant garde shifts in style and texture and attention to atmospherics. An awkward attempt at labeling might define the result as Psychedelic Hillbilly Ambient.
Fahey's eclectic sensibilities are in full evidence on THE LEGEND OF BLIND JOE DEATH, supported, as always, by his masterful fingerpicking technique and sensitivity to mood and dynamics. Loping, meditative tracks such as "Slingo River Blues" and "Poor Boy Long Way from Home" contrast with unsettling, protean compositions like "Sun Gonna Shine in my Back Door Someday Blues," and Fahey's treatments of canonical tunes like "John Henry" and W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues." The album's second half includes shorter takes of the songs on the first half, but instead of seeming repetitious, THE LEGEND... plays like an uninterrupted suite of recurring themes. This is an excellent place to begin exploring Fahey's singular, retro/experimental aesthetic.