“Better records were never made…”

Insomniac’s unite to the strains of acoustic guitars. It was 4:15 am when I began writing this and then I took the doors of the jeep and drove around in the building heat waving to other IMG_4806idiots and smiling a lot as I drank my morning coffee. Sunny days have that affect on me it seems as does ice cold water in the heat and Fatboy Ice Cream sandwiches.

I own a fair bit of Leo Kottke but absolutely too little John Fahey and no Peter Lang. You have to love any musicians who’s genre is American Primitive Guitar. I have an image of Fahey and Kottke wondering the woods tracking down game to slay with their guitar licks, dressed in loin cloths and hairy bare chests naked to the world as they scream their defiance to the woods.  The truth is Fahey spent the last part of his life in a cheap motel about 10 miles from where I am sitting and Kottke is touring still, I am not sure about Lang although Wikipedia tells me he is still around.

It is not too funny to think of the genius of Fahey wasting away in cheap motels, this afternoon I drove along 99E and looked at the line of cheap motels filled with transients and those too poor to pay for better but not poor enough to join Portland’s homeless. No I did not trawl the mean streets in a voyeuristic way, I was on my way to something boring to do with work and then home.

IMG_4805The other day rooting around in the crates in the back room I found a Takoma Records sampler featuring Fahey, Kottke and Lang. It has fast become my go to late night/early morning album although the playing is not exactly quiet at times as Kottke finger picks the 12 string like a demon. Fahey’s four tracks at the end stand on their own as being unique and totally different. Lang and Kottke are great players but Fahey’s tracks have an otherworldliness that makes them transcend the others. He also has a nice way with a title, On the Sunny Side of the Ocean and Revolt of the Dyke Brigade being my two favorites.

There is something a little disconcerting about Fahey’s playing. It is almost as if he drank from the same well as Robert Johnson but managed to evade the consequences for longer. All of this when listened to right before bed makes for some interesting dreams.


2 thoughts on ““Better records were never made…”

  1. I like this album too, and enjoyed your Fahey comments. I too have much more Kottke than Fahey (about 10 to 4 I guess).
    Reckon you’re onto something with the crossroads thing. Maybe John’s was a railway crossing?

  2. I’m with you on there being something a little other worldly about Fahey’s playing, Legend of Blind Joe Death is a real favourite of mine, but there is something in it that upsets my balance a little.

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