Wednesday, September 16, 2009

John Fahey (The last of 78rpm Blues)

John Fahey
"Double 78-RPM record"
(Perfect, 1996)

Some of the first recording made by Fahey upon his return to music in the mid-90s.

"It was while he was at Harvard, with vague plans of finding a career of music law and returning to Austin, that Dean Blackwood made the fateful Fahey connection.

A dedicated and passionate music fan with a penchant for eclectic esoterica, Blackwood was struck by a "where are they now?" feature on Fahey in a 1994 issue of Spin. Written by Byron Coley, the expansive profile said that the influential guitarist was living in an Oregon flophouse and scrounging through used record bins for discoveries he could sell to collectors, after succumbing to an alcoholism that had put his performing career on the rocks.

Blackwood was then working part-time at the Boston office of Sub Pop Records (in the midst of its Nirvana windfall), while devoting some of his side energies to the production of 78 r.p.m, records. Though CDs were threatening to make turntables obsolete, and the 78 had long been eclipsed by 45 and 33 as turntable options, Blackwood was fascinated by this anachronistic art object that had all but disappeared in the '50s.

"I'm not an anti-CD person; I think they're wonderfully convenient and a great storage medium," he said. "But as far as having a nice, dense slab, a physical object to hold in your hands, there's nothing like 78s."

Blackwood got Fahey's phone number from Coley, in order to ask if the guitarist might be interested in recording a 78 for Blackwood's Perfect label, one that could pass as a relic from the medium's heyday. Fahey felt an affinity for the commercial absurdity of the project. "He was always up for something that has a little prankster element to it," said Blackwood.

Scott Colburn:
"So I get a call from Fahey's soon-to-be manager Dean Blackwood. He asks me if I would go to Salem, Oregon, and record John Fahey in his hotel room. My first question is "Who is John Fahey?" After I get the low down, I decided that he was a legend and it would be in my best interest to do it. Besides, I always dreamed about those Folkways recordings that were done in hotel rooms. Now was my chance. I rent a car and travel down there to record for about 2 hours. Damn, this guy is good and he doesn't mind that I want to record experimentally, by moving one of the mics around the room hand held. From this session, the disc was born. Sorry, the hand held recordings are in the archive."

A Morning pt.1
B Morning pt.2
C Evening, Not Night pt.1
D Evening, Not Night pt.2

Very Rare.


Anonymous said...

thank you

Antiseptic said...

thanks for all the great posting!

miguel said...

Grazie per condividere la musica.
te recomiendo en:
y puedes leer mis críticas en:

eric - said...

I regret not having kept all the 78 RPM records my dad collected before he switched to 8-tracks and then cassettes. He would not have had that Fahey record though so thanks for posting this.


JTO'BK said...

I love the concept of a 78 on vinyl, bet it sounds beautiful. Thanks for making this beautiful music available.

A said...

At last! thank you X infinity!

j said...

thank you, thank you, thank you.

eventhejungle said...

holy smokes! i guess i'm a little late finding this, but i'm excited.... i got linked here by some site after trying to find out if throbbing gristle really broke up and started browsing......i never even knew this release existed...thanks an uber bunch

Disconnected Press said...

What a brilliant blog, it's the bloggers just like you that inspire me to do what I do. We're quite similar, while I'm more of an archivist, devoted to preserving history. Notorious history, history, if forgotten, they'd still not care. So I've taken it upon myself and minimal staff to preserve, and entertain.

You're site's an absolute GEM for music discoveries, if you come across the Proton 1 Split (German; V/A; covers yt69-74 (I THINK!)), let me know! :D :D Dying for that one! and a kraut v/a from the kraut days, preferable from a local scene, haha. Good luck with that'un

The fact you're providing information, free to the public for a mere thanks, that's genuine. Keep it up,
- S. M. Nyxx

PS, feel free to email me; I have been looking for a reviewer for a smal paid position at, my new start up. I love your taste in music, I love the reviews you type up constantly. I've been watching the site for a few days. Most importantly you review for the love of your music, the site focuses on obscure releases, and I think you'd provide a substantial input. If you have any interest at all, please drop me a line at To anyone else reading this, if this, too, is you; drop me a line. There a two positions.

Once again, this site is incredible bro,
Keep it up.