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Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 11, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(DUST-TO-DIGITAL) 115 tracks (Fonotone 1958-65) LP-sized Boxset with 88 page hardcover book.

Medium 1
Interview With John Fahey On Fonotone Records
Franklin Blues
Smoketown Strut
Steel Guitar Rag
Takoma Park Pool Hall Blues
Buck Dancer's Choice
Medley: Pretty Polly / Shortnin' Bread
Barbara Namkin Blues
In Christ There Is No East Or West
Stak 'o Lee Blues
The Transcendental Waterfall
John Henry
Over The Hill Blues
St. Louis Blues
On Doing An Evil Deed Blues
Reinumeration Blues
The Transcendental Waterfall
Mississippi Boweavil Blues
Green River Blues
Over The Hill Blues
Libba's Rag
Chris's Rag

Medium 2
St. Louis Tickle
Pat Sullivan's Blues
Blind Blues (Martin's Esso Blues)
Poor Boy Blues
Long Time Town Blues
Gulf Port Island Blues
Blind Thomas Blues (Part 1)
Blind Thomas Blues (Part 2)
New Newport News Blues #2
Wanda Russell's Blues
Going Away To Leave You Blues
Lay My Burden Down
Hill High Blues
John Henry
Paint Brush Blues
Blind Thomas Blues (Part 3)
Blind Thomas Blues (Part 4)
You Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond
Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dyin' Bed
Banty Rooster Blues
Tom Rushen Blues

Medium 3
Yallaboosha River Blues
You Gonna Miss Me
Wissenschaftlich River Blues (Part 1)
Wissenschaftlich River Blues (Part 2)
Zekiah Swamp Blues
Nobody's Business
Going Crabbing Talking Blues (Part 1)
Going Crabbing Talking Blues (Part 2)
You Better Get Right So God Can Use You
Weissman Blues
Dasein River Blues
Racemic Tartrate River Blues (Part 1)
Racemic Tartrate River Blues (Part 2)
Smoky Ordinary Blues (Dance Of The Inhabit...


If you are of the opinion that such distinctions are completely arbitrary and that all the year s releases should be judged against each other, then if you combine the votes cast, and points applied, in both the Main and Archive charts to get 2011 s Ultimate Releases of the Year according to The Wire, you would get a top ten that looked like this: 1. John Fahey Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You: The Fontone Years (1958-1965) 2. Albert Ayler Stockholm, Berlin 1966 3. James Ferraro Far Side Virtual 4. Bill Dixon Intents And Purposes 5. Rustie Glass Swords 6. Theo Parrish Ugly Edits 7. Eliane Radigue Transamorem Transmortem 8. Hype Williams One Nation 9. The Beach Boys The SMILE Sessions 10. Michael Chapman The Resurrection And Revenge Of The Clayton Peacock --The Wire, Tony Herrington, Dec. 09, 2011

Best New Reissue, 9.5/10: The liner notes for Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You-- the complete recordings guitarist John Fahey made for the tiny but crucial Fonotone label between 1958 and 1965-- comprise an 88-page book, bound in beautifully toned, dense cardboard. These 88 pages brim with an obsessive sort of information about Fahey: his slapdash drawings of important people and places in his life, the first known photograph of him with a Gibson F-hole guitar, the receipt for his Holzapfel 12-string, his Boy Scouts photo, and even a personal letter to Fonotone owner Joe Bussard where he begs for recordings of a few old blues heroes. There's a revealing and hitherto unpublished interview, remembrances from past collaborators, and Italian researcher Claudio Guerrieri's guide to the various hand-written labels Bussard affixed to the center of each record he hand-cut on order. This set is not just for Fahey zealots. It's for anyone interested in the story of American music, from its Appalachian string bands and mean-moaning Delta blues singers to the hymns sung from its church pews and the country-rock anthems soon enough crafted by its hippies... A must-have collection of lore, music, and history, it's a unified, brilliant, and often very challenging archive. --Pitchfork, Grayson Currin, Oct. 27, 2011

Grade A: A rich exploration of Appalachian roots, Delta blues, and country, this isn't just a celebration of the grandfather of steel-string guitar fingerpicking, it's a history of American music. --Entertainment Weekly, Melissa Maerz, Nov. 25, 2011

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Interview: John Fahey on Fonotone Records and Joe Bussard
  2. Franklin Blues
  3. Smoketown Strut
  4. Steel Guitar Rag
  5. Takoma Park Pool Hall Blues
  6. Buck Dancer's Choice (1)
  7. Medley: Pretty Polly/Shortnin' Bread
  8. Barbara Namkin Blues
  9. In Christ There Is No East or West
  10. Stak 'O Lee Blues (Louis Collins)
  11. The Transcendental Waterfall (1)
  12. John Henry (1)
  13. Over the Hill Blues (1)
  14. St. Louis Blues
  15. On Doing an Evil Deed Blues
  16. Reinumeration Blues (Brenda's Blues) (1)
  17. The Transcendental Waterfall (2)
  18. Mississippi Boweavil Blues
  19. Green River Blues
  20. Over the Hill Blues (2)
  21. Libba's Rag
  22. Chris's Rag

Disc: 2

  1. St. Louis Tickle
  2. Pat Sullivan's Blues
  3. Blind Blues (aka Martin's Esso Blues)
  4. Poor Boy Blues
  5. Long Time Town Blues
  6. Gulf Port Island Blues
  7. Blind Thomas Blues, Pt. 1
  8. Blind Thomas Blues, Pt. 2
  9. New Newport News Blues #2
  10. Wanda Russell's Blues
  11. Going Away to Leave You Blues
  12. Lay My Burden Down
  13. Hill High Blues
  14. John Henry (2)
  15. Paint Brush Blues
  16. Blind Thomas Blues, Pt. 3
  17. Blind Thomas Blues, Pt. 4
  18. You Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond
  19. Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dyin' Bed
  20. Banty Rooster Blues
  21. Tom Rushen Blues

Disc: 3

  1. Yallaboosha River Blues
  2. You Gonna Miss Me
  3. Wissenschaftlich River Blues, Pt. 1
  4. Wissenschaftlich River Blues, Pt. 2
  5. Zekiah Swamp Blues
  6. Nobody's Business
  7. Going Crabbing Talking Blues, Pt. 1
  8. Going Crabbing Talking Blues, Pt. 2
  9. You Better Get Right So God Can Use You
  10. Weissman Blues
  11. Dasein River Blues
  12. Racemic Tartrate River Blues, Pt. 1
  13. Racemic Tartrate River Blues, Pt. 2
  14. Smoky Ordinary Blues (1) (Dance of the Inhabitants (1))
  15. I Shall Not Be Moved
  16. Old Country Rock
  17. Little Hat Blues
  18. Guitar Solo Title Unknown (1) (Revelation on the Banks of the Pawtuxent
  19. Guitar Solo Title Unknown (2) (Night Train to Valhalla (1))
  20. Some Summer Day (2)
  21. The Langley Two-Step
  22. Dream of the Origin of the French Broad River

Disc: 4

  1. Saint John's Hornpipe
  2. Sail Away Ladies
  3. Dreaming Under the B & O Trestle
  4. 900 Miles
  5. Prince George's Dance
  6. Improvisation for Flute and Guitar
  7. Dorothy/Calvert Street Blues (1) (Brenda's Blues (2))
  8. Brenda's Blues (3)
  9. Buck Dancer's Choice (2)
  10. Night Train to Valhalla (2)
  11. In the Pines
  12. Pretty Polly
  13. Take This Hammer
  14. Yazoo Basin Blues
  15. Stomping Tonight On the (Old) Pennsylvania/Alabama Border
  16. Smoky Ordinary Blues (2) (Dance of the Inhabitants (2))
  17. Revelation on the Banks of the Pawtuxent (2)
  18. Bean Vine Blues (Pea Vine Blues)
  19. Green Blues
  20. Stone Pony

Disc: 5

  1. Dorothy/Calvert Street Blues (2) (Brenda's Blues (4))
  2. Days Have Gone By
  3. Some Summer Day (2)
  4. Texas & Pacific Blues (My Bucket's Got a Hole in It)
  5. John Henry Blues
  6. Brenda's Blues (5)
  7. St. Patrick's Hymn
  8. Bicycle Built for Two
  9. The Blues You Saved for Me
  10. House Carpenter
  11. How Long (1)
  12. The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California
  13. You Take the E Train (The Last Steam Engine Train)
  14. I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
  15. How Long (2)
  16. O Jesus I Have Promised (1)
  17. I Am a Rake and Rambling Boy
  18. Medley: Goodbye Old Paint (1)/Whoopee Ti-Yi-Yo, Git Along Little Doggie
  19. Goodbye Old Paint (2)
  20. Simple Gifts
  21. Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
  22. Goodbye Old Paint (3)
  23. Western Medley
  24. Durgan Park
  25. The Bitter Lemon
  26. Old Southern Medley [Fragment]
  27. Bottleneck Blues

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Dust to Digital
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,178 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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four stars: oh, there's PLENTY of five star stuff in here, but there's some three star stuff too, and loads of things in between. but not five in sum because this box set is not representative of fahey's best work, and because it relies heavily on fahey's influences. also, over five discs, the music tends to become repetitive. sometimes the juvenilia of fahey's approximation of patton's voice becomes a little awkward to listen to, and fahey's collaborations on disc four are not really impressive recordings. if the offerings had been pared down to one or two discs, perhaps the quality could rise to "five stars" (whatever that is supposed to mean anyhow...). but if it had been pared down, we'd have a diminished portrait of fahey's earliest years of recording. at any rate, a "four star" package from john fahey beats the hell out of most of the four or five star crap being pushed by the industry today.

the music, the label, the package--i'll offer comments on each in that order

the music: it's john fahey. it's eerie, other worldly, never dull, often stunning, but--across these five discs--inchoate. the music is unlike any other sound being recorded in the '58 - '61 era, and is truly visionary stuff, galaxies beyond the typically fey folk music of those years. as a fan of fahey, the listener will enjoy this not only for the guitar playing, but for the insight into john fahey's early career. much of the five discs is fahey imitating and emulating charley patton and blind willie johnson, with the spirits of many other early bluesmen summoned. this diverges from much of fahey's post-fonotone career. to my ears, the most fascinating and compelling recordings in this box set are the ones where the famous "fahey sound" (yup--i just made that up) appears in its inchoate form.
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If you're a John Fahey fan, this is a great set of rare music, and if you're new to the man, the included hard bound book is a wonderful introduction (though I'd still say his own books make for a better read). The last two discs are especially lovely, which include Fahey's little-heard vocal works under the moniker of Blind Joe Death. It's too bad though, that like many labels have in both DVD and music sets lately, Dust-to-digital opted for the card-stock paper slip sleeve design. When I received this set, the discs were already scratched (in places so severely that entire tracks were unplayable). I'm sure this didn't happen to everyone, but the design lends itself to a good deal of sliding around. I have a couple friends who got the set with only minor scratches, so I was able to hear the entirety of the recordings from him, but returned mine (reluctantly). Given that the audio is the main selling point of this package, it's unfortunate that corners were cut on the most important part. Other than that, a solid set of recordings, and a great looking box to have on the shelf (at least from the outside). I hope that if they ever release this as simply an audio package, they'll take the time to put the discs in a proper case. My rating does not reflect the work of Fahey, whoever wrote the lovely liner notes, or the sound production folks who made this happen, but the aforementioned problematic slip case design.
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Ok. I am THE John Fahey fan. I've been a fanatic of his recorded work for 49 years, and have heard him perform, up close. So it was with great relish that I perused the book and played through the disks. The book is especially wonderful, as it helps to fill in the gaps in the mythology of the JF ouvre. There is the wonderful map that reminds me of Middle Earth, or maybe Game of Thrones. I myself, have lived in some of those places and visited them all, so odes to the invisible inhabitants of Bladensville particularly resonate. And it is fascinating, in a sort of clinical way, to listen to what are clearly early incarnations of tunes that would appear in a slightly different, more polished format, on later recordings for Takoma. BUT, and its a pretty big but--At least 2 of the disks are pretty much unlistenable with no real relevance to his great and accomplished body of work other than to document that he was a not so gifted imitator of a blues singer, in the days of his youth. On the other hand, it IS worthwhile to observe his development as a guitarist, where of course, as we all know, he seemed to have a sort of divine gift. Now I have heard it all.
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I've been an avid listener of John Fahey since the early '70s when I first heard Blind Joe Death, Death Chants, Breakdowns and what have you. All the Takoma stuff and then the Vanguard. I've read his books, Charlie Patton and How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life, articles in Guitar Player magazine, followed that blog he briefly had on the web after his 'rediscovery', and since I first heard him, have considered him my favorite guitar player. In short I am what Glenn Jones describes, in his excellent writeup that comes with this set, a "Fahey Obsessive."

I was always curious to hear the early Fonotone stuff that he had recorded with Joe Bussard but never had the chance until now. Some of the material is obviously not up to the level of expertise he later achieved, but it is surprising how good he was at a tender age, 98% good stuff. I even like the vocal imitations of Charlie Patton. The packaging of the CDs could have been better. None of mine were damaged in removing them from the stiff cardboard retainers, and I've since ripped the material onto my computer and placed the discs in jewel boxes.

The book is full of rare photos and interesting and informative text from all of the contributers. I'm very happy with this purchase and thankful that the material has finally been released. For those of us who 'grew up' with Fahey, and really loved his art, this is a wonderful release. That it is a labor of love is evident. Commercially it will probably not be a best seller and Dust To Digital/Revenant must have known that before they went with it. Only the hard core will go the $ for this set, but for us it is well worth it.
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