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Guitar Artistry of John Fahey


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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Rounder / Umgd
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NYYDVQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

One of acoustic music's true innovators and eccentrics, John Fahey was a crucial figure in expanding the boundaries of the acoustic guitar over the last few decades. His music was so eclectic that it's arguable whether he should be defined as a folk artist. In a career that saw him issue several dozen albums, he drew from blues, Native American music, Indian ragas, experimental dissonance, and pop His good friend Dr. Demento has noted that Fahey was the first to demonstrate that the fingerpicking techniques of traditional country and blues steel-string guitar could be used to express a world of nontraditional musical ideas harmonies and melodies you'd associate with Bartok. Charles Ives, or maybe the music of India. The more meditative aspects of his work foreshadowed new age music, yet Fahey played with a fierce imagination and versatility that outshone any of the guitarists in that category. His idiosyncrasy may have limited him to a cult following, but it also ensured that his work continues to sound fresh. Fahey was a colorful figure from the time he became an accomplished guitarist in his teens. Already a collector of rare early blues and country music, he made his first album in 1959, ascribing part of it to the pseudonymous Blind Joe Death. In college, he wrote a thesis on Charley Patton (an exotic subject at the time). Yet Fahey did not perform publicly for money until the mid-1960s, after his third album. Fahey's early albums for Takoma in the mid-1960s laid out much of the territory he would explore. His instrumentals, filtering numerous genres of music into his own style, evoked haunting and open spaces. At times they could be soothing and plaintive; at other times they were disquieting, even dissonant. He was a catalyst in other subtle ways, helping to form Canned Heat by introducing Al Wilson (who played on a Fahey album in 1965) to Bob Hite, and rediscovering Delta bluesmen Bukka White and Skip James.- Richie Unterberger

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on August 10, 2011
Format: DVD
This is another is really fine series of "Guitar Artistry of...." Videos from Stefan Grossman's Vestapol label. Grossman, a fine guitarist in his own right, and a long time student of Rev. Gary Davis, has been releasing video since back in the old VHS days. Though some contained performances, Grossman's main product was the guitar tutorial: a series of video lessons by some of the true experts in finger picking.

As a person who loves to hear good guitar playing but is "all-thumbs" when it comes to actually playing, I always look forward to a new video of performance - or, as in the case of this DVD, interview and performance. And this volume with the legendary John Fahey is one of the best.

I've known Fahey's music since the 1960s when I first heard his Takoma records label. (You will hear how the label started if you watch this DVD.) But I don't ever remember seeing him play, until now. The 2 ¼ hour long "main program," consists of a NEWLY recorded interview (actually a question is raised and you see and hear Fahey's reply) mixed with earlier performances - mostly in a studio, though there is an audience for some. There are 16 songs lasting from under two minutes to one that goes on for 13 minutes! Fahey's stories are wonderful. The ones he tells about hanging around with Elizabeth Cotton (composer of "Freight Rain") are my favorites. Raised in the urban East near Washington, DC, Fahey wrote his first song at age 14. He headed west to Berkeley where his got his degree and then went into performing full time.

Like the other "Guitar Artistry" DVDs, this one serves two purposes: to inform and entertain non-musicians like myself and to educate those who play guitar.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richardson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2011
Format: DVD
This DVD consists primarily of material which has been issued as John Fahey - In Concert and I was going to avoid it as merely a name change until I noticed extra songs, and interview and a running time reflecting additional material.

What we have is John Fahey's appearance from a tv show in 1969 and a concert filmed in 1996 ...along with a new set of performances and an interview which appear to be the most recent of the batch. Unlike the first DVD which presented the programs as aired with interview segments and a concert they have sort of cobbled together a program which reflects the nature of this series..in which they film an artist and between songs he or she discusses their music. These "guitar artistry" series are not concerts but done in studio. So unlike the previous DVD which gives you the benefit of feeling like you are watching a concert and program this feels a bit choppy....but it does have extra songs and an extra interview and they are filmed very artistically and as a life long fan of Mr Fahey they are so welcome that I'm happy to have both DVDs and am not bothered by the duplication. I also think that there is some interview footage from '69 missing on this collection so rabid fans like myself will be happy to own both.

There is also a bonus guitar lesson thrown in from one of the series that were filmed in the mid 90's as well.

If you are unfamiliar with John Fahey, I can't say I'd recommend starting here as your first choice..I believe his music would be where I would recommend you going and some highlights are
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