Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Strange (Weird) Holidays: John Fahey

purchase [The New Possibilitiy]

I'm not at all sure what constitutes a "Weird/Strange" holiday (holiday most likely = Xmas for this post). My sense of weird/strange, my understanding of holiday could likely be strange to you: I live in a Moslem-predominate environment, where Xmas means little, but the New Year is celebrated more or less the same (big turkey dinner ... gifts all around) We've also got all sorts of other holidays here, like the one where we slaughter sheep.

Regardless of the holiday, there are some givens: we hope to be together with the family (as best as possible); there are often gifts- and at this time of year we aim for green, red and white lights on a tree... Most anything that goes against these given traditions probably constitutes strange or weird.

It was on <The Dance of Death and Other Plantation Favorites> that I first heard the man and his guitar. The year would have been about '73, although the album by then was close to a decade old. It being the 70s, it must have been the droning, repetitious curiously off-note style that captured me.
I confess it has been several decades since I though much about the man and his music, but a pre-holiday post I ran across the other day noted a Christmas album called <The New Possibility> that he did way back in 1968. It is filled with your classic Xmas tunes - in the Fahey style.

As the reviewer/primary source I came across notes: you can almost hum along to his versions. They are certainly recognizable, even if they arent quite right. There's always a note or beat that shouldnt be there, but works just fine all the same. In the Fahey style.