Q - 12/96, p.1533 Stars (out of 5)
- "Half of this 1968 album...is made up of pleasant, traditionally styled instrumentals....But it's the three lengthy improvisational pieces that dominate, pointing forward to his later, more elliptical work..."
Down Beat - 11/96, p.614.5 Stars
- Very Good/Excellent - "...has to be the strangest folk trip of the '60s....it's Fahey's loopy sound collages and odd sonic touches that make this largely instrumental album a treasure."
Recorded at Sierra Sound Recorders, Berkeley, California in 1968. Includes liner notes by John Fahey.
Personnel: John Fahey (vocals, guitar, steel guitar).
Audio Remasterers: Joe Terantino; Joe Tarantino.
Recording information: Sierra Sound Recorders, Berkeley, CA (1968).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Blind Joe Death; Tibetan Buddhist Monks; Hubert Thomas; Nancy McLean.
Arranger: John Fahey.
On THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE, John Fahey brings a progressive, highly conceptual approach to his love of rural roots music in a set that's both accessible and disquieting in its effects. Fahey's unique acoustic guitar style sounds much as it does on his earliest Takoma recordings, synthesizing old time blues and country structures with progressive harmonies and melodies. On TURTLE, however, Fahey plays with notions of genre and authenticity as well, recreating the scratchy effects of old 78 rpm records ("Bean Vine Blues #2"), front porch Cajun ("Bill Cheatum"), and drunken, deep swamp hollering ("The Story of Dorothy Gooch, Part I), to name a few.
Ever the trickster, Fahey rips his "historical" canvas with the inclusion of tracks like "A Raga Called Pat, Parts III and IV" in which eerie, off-kilter slide work floats through a cloud of intensely psychedelic electronic effects. Fahey's trickster mission is further reinforced by the album's hilarious, mock-historical liner notes-- written, of course, by Fahey himself under an assumed, rather long-winded and digressive alter ego. A quirky disc that manages to be at once highly conceptual, stylistically idiosyncratic, yet wonderfully listenable, THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE is an important addition to any Fahey collection.