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John Fahey

Requia & Other Compositions

Label: Vanguard

Format: CD

Genre: Folk

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In his liner notes to this release, John Fahey mentions his desire to have an entire world orchestra in his guitar, Western to Eastern, bagpipes to gamelan. Perhaps it's this mental approach that sets his music so deliciously far apart from other so-called folk guitarists. Requia is essentially in two sections. One is a series of blues-based pieces in line with music he had previously recorded. These include the lovely "Requiem for John Hurt" and a wry "Fight On Christians, Fight On," both of which sound remarkably modern more than three decades after they were recorded. The slightly off-center variations he works on these songs are more vital and gorgeous than any ten of his peers. The second major section here is a four-part suite, "Requiem for Molly," which interpolates tape collages with his guitar playing. These do, in fact, sound a bit dated, largely because his source material ("Deutschland Uber Alles," marching bands, screams, etc.) sounds heavy-handed and trite in retrospect. Still, he anticipates similar usage by Charlie Haden in his Liberation Music Orchestra from the following year, as well as pointing toward wider explorations in that field that Fahey himself would undertake in the future. Requia doesn't rank up with the absolute best of his releases, but contains enough fine and interesting work to recommend it to Fahey fans.
Details
Cat. number: VSD 79259
Year: 1997

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