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Better than John Fahey?

GUEST,Sligo 11 Sep 12 - 10:19 PM
GUEST 12 Sep 12 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,matt milton 12 Sep 12 - 06:16 AM
Spleen Cringe 12 Sep 12 - 07:13 AM
Will Fly 12 Sep 12 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 12 Sep 12 - 07:53 AM
Bobert 12 Sep 12 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,matt milton 12 Sep 12 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Kevin 12 Sep 12 - 04:47 PM
Bobert 12 Sep 12 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Stim 12 Sep 12 - 07:04 PM
Bobert 12 Sep 12 - 08:01 PM
The Sandman 12 Sep 12 - 08:30 PM
Bobert 12 Sep 12 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Stim 13 Sep 12 - 12:33 AM
michaelr 13 Sep 12 - 12:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Sep 12 - 01:07 AM
Will Fly 13 Sep 12 - 03:41 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 12 - 05:22 AM
Spleen Cringe 13 Sep 12 - 07:19 AM
Bobert 13 Sep 12 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,gillymor 13 Sep 12 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Stim 13 Sep 12 - 03:39 PM
voyager 13 Sep 12 - 07:30 PM
voyager 13 Sep 12 - 07:31 PM
GUEST 14 Sep 12 - 10:58 AM
GUEST 14 Sep 12 - 01:33 PM
voyager 14 Sep 12 - 02:51 PM
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Subject: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,Sligo
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 10:19 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7C6YKyzjdo

James Blackshaw. Hell of a player.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 04:05 AM

He's a good player, but what would he have sounded like withouy John Fahey? He`d probably be listening to Saxon.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 06:16 AM

Personally I think Blackshaw's boring as hell. I don't think he even really has much in common with Fahey, though he's clearly influenced by him.

Blackshaw just does a very clean, very virginal kind of post-Terry Riley, post-Penguin Cafe orchestra minimalism. It sounds very ECM, very Wyndham Hill in its sensibility. There's no dirt, no rough edges. There's none of Fahey's bluesiness or quirkiness.

I also don't even think Blackshaw's that amazing as a player: he never takes any risks, just sticks to the same thing all the time. There's almost no ryththm to his playing, no syncopation, it's all relentless right-hand arpeggios.

I love John Fahey for the humour in his playing, the earthiness, the syncopation: it's like Fahey swallowed and wholly absorbed the Harry Smith Anthology the way Bill Badley in Black Books swallowed the Little Book Of Calm.

There are loads of interesting fingerstyle acostic guitar players who are influenced by the Fahey school right now who make much more interesting music than Blackshaw: Michael Rossiter, Jason Steel, C Joynes, Wooden Spoon, Richard Leo Johnson to name but a few.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 07:13 AM

... and we can add Glenn Jones, Nathan Salsburg and the late great Jack Rose to that list.

I do like James Blackshaw - particularly Cloud of Unknowing - but I have to be in the right mood. I find his stuff quite soporific, and that's not necessarily what I'm looking for in a guitarist.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 07:18 AM

There was a lot of 'impressionist' fingerstyle playing in the 60s and 70s - John Fahey, Leo Kottke and those influenced by the 'folk baroque' playing of Graham, Jansch, Renbourn, Martyn, etc. I was intrigued by Fahey at the time and, like Matt, impressed by his earthiness and syncopation. He could also be a very direct and simple player - check out his lovely version of "A Bicycle Built for Two" for example - as well as being immersed in convoluted rhythms and harmonies.

I don't know anything about James Blackshaw other than this clip, so I can't really comment other than to say that - on this showing alone and in my opinion - he's not better than John Fahey. I should temper this by adding that, these days, this sort of stuff doesn't interest me any more. I prefer grittier and more positive harmonic statements.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 07:53 AM

Nothing John Fahey ever did impressed me!
I'm truly amazed that he is so well thought of.
I find his work so plodding and uninspired.
Now I know Leo Kottke was influenced by John Fahey, but surely Leo is a far more interesting musician.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 08:48 AM

Fahey??? Now there is a 24 carrot whacko... And his music was disjointed and spacey... I wouldn't want to be compared to him...

BTW, John was from the same area where I grew up and I, along with most of my buds who played music, thought Fahey was a rude drunk..,

Just MHO, of course..

B~


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 09:13 AM

"And his music was disjointed and spacey... "

That's what made it so great! I mean, you could say the same of the music of Skip James...

One of the main reasons I piped up in this thread is that I might like James Blackshaw's music if it were only a bit more disjointed. (Though maybe a little less spacey...)


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,Kevin
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 04:47 PM

People really don't like John Fahey? That's a new low for this place.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 05:08 PM

Skip James music wasn't at all spacey... It had a melody... Fahey wouldn't have known a melody if it bit him on his ass... Might of fack, John would have been so drunk that he wouldn't have felt it... Yes, he had some promise but he broke it with inconsistent playing/performing and no practice... He thought all he had to do was show up...

He was a boorish person and very few other musicians in the area wnated to be around him...

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you like the play???

B~


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 07:04 PM

John Fahey seems to have died homeless and friendless. Isn't that enough to satisfy you, Bobert?


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 08:01 PM

Hey, Stim... I felt sorry for him... He lived a miserable life... He also could have been a real decent guitar player if he didn't have the demons... Sad case...

B~


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 08:30 PM

He was a decent guitar player, and his playing is recognised as such by quite a number of people, he is certainly more famous than any of the contributors to this thread, no offence meant, Will, I enjoy your clips too., but to dismiss him as a rude drunk is irrelevant , so what if he was, he could still play and he made recordings which prove it.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 08:34 PM

Did you know him???

B~


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 12:33 AM

De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: michaelr
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 12:43 AM

Blackshaw isn't even spacy, he's just boring.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 01:07 AM

Well 43 thousand people seem to like him - that's quite an achievement.

I'm sorry John Fahey had a sad life. I never liked his stuff much - but he was a a fellow struggler on life's highway, a guitarist.....whatever his personality was like, its an honourable ambition to create something wonderful on the guitar, and you could tell that about his work....he was giving it his very best shot.

Who was it said - comparisons are odious? Not picking technique wise - but this Blackshaw chap reminds me more of Gordon Giltrap than anyone. and that's no bad thing. I wish him luck with what he's trying to do - personally, I'd much sooner listen to Will Fly.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 03:41 AM

no offence meant, Will, I enjoy your clips too

And none taken, Dick - Fahey was unique, and I could never be that.

And thanks for the kind comment, Al.

Fahey wasn't always a boorish drunk. He had done a huge amount of research into American traditional music and he was a pioneer of a way of playing and utilising the guitar, drawing on a wide variety of genres. Here he is at his simplest - a simplicity which almost hides a sparing, precise technique. I love this piece:

A Bicycle Built For Two


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 05:22 AM

"Skip James music wasn't at all spacey... It had a melody... Fahey wouldn't have known a melody if it bit him on his ass... "

Well I don't really know what you mean by "spacey" then... I was thinking of "lots of space" (something that I think is UNDENIABLE about Skip James's playing). He's not a dense player, he's a sparse player. But also in the sense of "outer space", otherworldly. The Skip James recordings of the 1960s have a lot of quite out-there, particularly in the intros. (They're a bit like the introductions to Indian ragas in that respect.)

I notice you don't quibble with "disjointed": again, I think it would be hard to deny that Skip's playing (like Fahey's) is disjointed, and that that's what makes it GOOD. I'd say the same about some of Buddy Moss's playing, some of Archie Edwards' playing, and definitely about CeDell Davis's playing. Respected bluesmen all. But it's the rough edges, the disjointedness that makes em interesting.


As for Fahey and melody.... well, I am humming one of John Fahey's melodies right now, this thread having prompted me to go listen to Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death, my favorite Fahey album.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 07:19 AM

You know, it's great living an entire ocean away from where the late John Fahey lived and being from an entirely different generation. That way I don't have to worry about whether he was rude, drunk, didn't practice enough or any of the other personality flaws that have been identified.

I also suspect that if my record collection was based on whether or not I'd enjoy the company of the artists, it would be a whole lot smaller.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 09:01 AM

"Spacey" as in "space case"... In other words, not too focused... John was a great technician and had the potential to be a great geetar player... With that said, he would lose his concentration and take risks that tended to bust up his songs... Okay, I'll give him credit for generally figuring a way to solve his own screw-ups and make it seem like he meant to do it that way... I saw him live many times and witnessed it over and over...

But beyond that, he really didn't respect other musicians or the audience... I heard him at Wolftrap in No. Virginia begin his set by announcing, "I'm just gonna jam a little and if ya'll don't like it I don't give a shit"... That's not the way to endear yourself to people who have paid $$$ to hear you... It was this belligerence that marker Fahey in the Washington, D.C. area that folks who saw him more than once knew all about...

I'm sorry that he had problems... We all have problems... If I can't give 100% then I'm not going to take the man's $$$ to perform in the man's joint... That's called professionalism... In that respect. John did not behave as a professional... IMHO...

B~


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 03:07 PM

Fahey is a sort of touchstone for me. I learned a bunch of his early shorter pieces when I was first starting to play and it helped me get to the next level. When I get frustrated or bored with stuff I'm working on I go back to Take a Look at that Baby, Spanish Two-Step, I'm Going to do All I Can For My Lord, Poor Boy, In Christ...etc. and play them in that straight forward, deliberate manner that he favored and I found so appealing.
Somebody used the word "disjointed" and I think it does describe his later, longer pieces some of which could be pretty boring, to me.


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 03:39 PM

As for the original post, your boy is in open tuning, and walking a couple chord fingerings up and down the neck. If anyone here doesn't already know how to do that, and would like to learn, there is no shortage of help here...


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: voyager
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 07:30 PM

In God There Is No East Or West (John Fahey - 1969)

But on the Mudcat, there is no shortage of musical tastes.

voyager


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: voyager
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 07:31 PM

Errata -

In Christ There Is No East of West (Fahey 1969)

voyager


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 10:58 AM

Fahey was so good (or bad, depending on your viewpoint) at what he did they named a guitar style after him. They called it "American Primitive."


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 01:33 PM

Fahey is #35 on the Rolling Stone list of the Best Rock Guitarists of All Time, perhaps a dubious honor, but it shows that, for many people, his music has had a lasting importance. Bobert is a fine person, and a solid and compelling musican, but sometimes he gets...well, like we all do.

At any rate, I have been listening to JF's "America" since this thread started, and, with the passing of years, I find that I hear more there than I ever remember...


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Subject: RE: Better than John Fahey?
From: voyager
Date: 14 Sep 12 - 02:51 PM

Visiting my son in Philly last week, he had an unplayed banjo set to an Open G tuning. By instinct I started playing this Fahey song -

Desperate Man Blues

Desperate Man Blues on the Banjo (kinda of redundant, huh)?

voyager


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