January 02, 2011

The Voice of the Turtle - John Fahey [1968]

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard throughout the land
 - The Song of Solomon

Y Brawd once heard Country Joe tell of how at a 60s gig supporting CJ&The Fish, Fahey stopped mid-virtuoso solo, promptly left the stage, peed, resumed his seat on stage (bottle at  feet) and re-commenced the solo in the exact same locus he had left off. Technique and eccentricity the man did not lack.

The Voice of the Turtle is something of an early curio in the canon. Wildly eclectic, using collage ambience over and above straight ahead virtuosity. Herein expect to find: guitar and flute combos, vocal duets (including overdubs with his own pseudonymous persona Blind Joe Death), experimental psych, excursions into white noise reverb, and baffling interpolations from original 78 recordings (Bean Vine Blues #2 is in fact The Easy Winner recorded by The Blue Boys in 1928).

Still retaining an overall traditional tone, there is an underlying darkness and tension that, along with the variety, make this Y Brawd's favourite Fahey collection. Magic.

Oddi wrth y brawd
a raga called John

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