Payday Albums: 3/29/13
But it’s a 6-LP box set. The Transcendental Waterfall: Guitar Excursions, 19631967 collects John Fahey’s first six releases: Blind Joe Death, Death Chants, Breakdowns & Military Waltzes, The Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites, The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death, The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party & Other Excursions, and Days Have Gone By.
The set was released by 4 Men With Beards, on December 18, 2012, and it nagged at me every day thereafterI kept thinking, “Should I buy it? Should I buy it? Should I buy it?”until I finally broke down and bought it. Really, I don’t know what took me so long. The set is limited to just 2000 copies, and I’m fairly sure that one of those copies was made just for me. Owning it, then, is not only a joy, but a relief: I can stop worrying about it. I can sit back, relax, listen, and wonder.
Now that I have one, I think that I should have bought two: one to play and one to stash away somewhere safe.
I don’t feel prepared to write about John Fahey. His music is extremely special to me, touches me in a way that no other music can. I’ve heard that Fahey was loving, reclusive, unpredictable, impetuous, his own worst enemy, a kind of mad geniusand I’ve read the books, have listened to the tapes, and have watched the videos, all of which do nothing to dispute those claims.
When I listen to John Fahey play the guitar, I think he must have been an angel.
In an interview with Byron Coley, for the Perfect Sound Forever webzine, Fahey said:
I’ve always really thought of myself as a spiritual detective and a psychological detective. I guess with my music I’m always trying to get to a fuller understanding of myself. I felt so alienated from the culture around me, like I was from a different planet, like I wasn’t really a member of the human race. I had two heads, one just wasn’t visible. So I was looking for another path of music. I didn’t really know what it was. I didn’t care what it was and I still don’t. Makes no difference to me and that’s perfectly okay. ’Cause I’m just a little blip. The whole style is just a little blip on all the mainstream of music. We don’t fit anywhere. And we never will.
The six 180gm LPs are housed in beautiful tip-on jackets, with perfect reproductions of the original album art and liner notes. In addition, The Transcendental Waterfall box includes a t-shirt, poster, and postcard. I bought my set, number 441, from Forced Exposure.