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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

John Fahey's Georgia Stomps, Atlanta Struts revisited

Following last week's CL’s cover story, Soul Searchers: Atlanta's Dust-to-Digital Records unearths the origins of blues legend John Fahey, local music videographer Mike Koenig posted this video from Fahey’s August 9, 1997 performance at Horizon Theatre in L5P.

In the info section Koenig explains:

“Before the show I was informed by Table of the Elements (who put on the show) that I couldn't film. So I asked John just before playing if it would be okay to film and he cordially said 'sure' when I indicated it was just for me personally. I presume he'd be okay with making this video available for anyone interested so I thought I'd share it. As a side note - it took me a while to get the hang of filming shows and as this was an earlier one I didn't have the best steady hand, but the music is what's more important anyway. This show was recorded by Table of the Elements and released as a live album, which I believe is long out of print.”


Although Koenig breaks his promise to Fahey by posting this video on Youtube, it is a cool look at a performance that spans a broad chunk of his career — "Marilyn" reaches all the way back to Old Fashioned Love from 1975, and "Juana," comes from his divisive '97 blend of bottleneck blues and the avant-garde, Womblife. There's an interesting swath of traditionals woven into the set as well, giving rise to a dreamlike sense of timelessness that defines Fahey's later years.

The recording of this show that Table of the Elements released in '98 is titled Georgia Stomps, Atlanta Struts & Other Dance Favorites.” … And yes, it's long out of print, but it's never more than a mouse click or two away; legally and/or otherwise.

However, it's important to note that in 2007 Georgia Stomps ... was packaged together with Fahey's Hard Time Empty Bottle Blues and Womblife, and sold as Sea Changes & Coelacanths: A Young Person’s Guide to John Fahey. While it's not an easy point of entry into the wrold of Fahey, it's a damn good one, and an intriguing look at the man's later years when he married experimentation and drone with traditional fingerpicking, all with a renewed sense energy as he entered his twilight years.

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