Thursday, July 9, 2015

God, time and causality

John Fahey found revelation and redemption in the acoustic blues primitivism of this expansive expressionistic exploration.   Fahey had studied philosophy, psychology, and folklore at the University of California at Berkeley and  UCLA while releasing his music on his own Takoma Records.  He also released albums on other labels like Riverboad, Vanguard, Reprise, and Varrick over the course of three decades.  His music is rooted in a seminal revisionist blues aesthetic that utilizes odd tunings and brings in old recordings and international classical styles, while his albums have employed an extensive backstory involving an alter ego Blind Joe Death.   Starting with 'Blind Joe Death' in 1959 and continuing with other accomplished albums like 'Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes''The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death''Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites''The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party and Other Excursions''The Voice of the Turtle' 'The Yellow Princess' , and 'Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice)';  Fahey established a new avante garde movement in folk music that he coined American Primitivism.  

The music that was released as 'God, Time and Causality' was recorded in 1977 at Spectrum Sound Studios in Portland, Oregon with producer Terry Robb and engineer Mike Moore.  The sessions featured John Fahey on guitar.  Takoma refused to release the recordings at the time and they remained on the shelf until 1990, when Shanachie Records put them out.  Fahey explained away the title:   "It's just a joke from a former philosophy major ... When I play the guitar, even when I am practising, I am besieged with images, memories, deja vu experiences, and emotions; and for every chord I play, for every tune I write, there is within me a distinct and unique image, emotion, or feeling. What made and continues to make guitar playing exciting for me, and what makes it bearable during long, long two-set jobs, is the continual show of emotions, images, memories, etc., that comes before me internally as I continue to practice or play... Where was I when I wrote this song? What is the name of this strange feeling I am having while I play this chord sequence or this song? Consciousness is in a constant state of flux."

"Red Pony"

'God, Time and Causality'
full album:

All songs by John Fahey

"Revelation" – 3:47
"The Red Pony" – 6:28
"Lion" – 6:38
"Medley: Interlude/The Portland Cement Factory/Requiem for Mississippi John Hurt" – 11:37
"Medley: Snowflakes/Steamboat 'Gwine Around the Bend/Death of the Clayton Peacock/How Green Was My Valley" – 11:46
"Medley: Sandy on Earth/I'll See You in My Dreams" – 16:29

Rockpalast 1978
part 1

- On The Sunny Side Of The Ocean 2:22
- Hawaiian Two-Step / Spanish Two-Step 6:05
- Lion / Tiger (evolved from How Long) 8:08
- Wine & Roses / Red Pony / Approaching The Disco Void 15:47

part 2

- Wine & Roses / The Red Pony / Approaching The Disco Void 0:00
- Poor Boy Long Ways From Home / Steve Talbot on the Keddie Wye 3:12
- Steamboat Gwine Round De Bend 8:22
- How Green Was My Valley 12:20
- Candy Man / Brenda's Blues 15:10

part 3

- Beverly / Indian Pacific Railroad Blues 2:01
- Take A Look At That Baby / I'll See You In My Dreams / Ann Arbor / Death By Reputation 06:50
- Revolt of the Dyke Brigade / Funeral Song for Mississippi John Hurt 15:56

part 4

- Revolt of the Dyke Brigade / Funeral Song for Mississippi John Hurt 0:00
- The Grand Finale / Camptown Races / Old Southern Medley / The Discovery of the Sylvia Scott 6:08
- Encore Slide Medley / Poor Boy / Steel Guitar Rag 11:42

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