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Let Go

John Fahey

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Album Review

Anyone who has read liner notes on John Fahey albums knows they are not necessarily to be taken as strict truth, but in the case of Let Go, it seems likely that the man was talking straight. Most of the back cover of the LP is a caustic, satirical diatribe against "Volkmusik" fans who try to pigeonhole Fahey as a folk artist. Almost the first words are "No folk music on this record, not even anything that sounds like or suggests folk music." Fahey almost delivers on that promise on this album of Brazilian jazz, blues, old-time medleys, and other miscellany. In the hands of a guitarist with a less individual style this could have been a chameleon act or a hopeless mishmash, but Fahey pulls it off nicely. Producer and session guitarist Terry Robb duets with him on about half the cuts, and there are sparse but effective bits of percussion and bass that flesh out a vastly superior remake of "River Medle,y which originally appeared on Of Rivers and Religion. Other highlights include the peaceful "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise and the energetic two-guitar remake of "Layla." On the latter, Fahey plays Clapton's bridge note-for-note, but makes it completely his own thanks to his distinctive phrasing. If everything else on this album was trash, that cut would make it worth buying, but thankfully that isn't the case. Let Go may not be the definitive John Fahey album, but it is a very good one from end to end.

Biography

Born: 28 February 1939 in Takoma Park, MD

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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 finger-picking...
Full bio

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