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Perfect 10 Series: Twilight On Prince Georges Avenue

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Album Review

Guitarist John Fahey recorded four albums for Rounder's Varrick imprint during the 1980s, before being "rediscovered" by indie rock and vanguard music fans in the '90s, shortly before his death. These recordings — Let Go (1983); Rain Forests Oceans & Other Themes (1984), I Remember Blind Joe Death (1986), and Old Girlfriend's & Other Horrible Memories (1988) — were given some marginal notice, but generally weren't regarded as among his best. That said, one could rightfully argue that some of that criticism came from "journalistic" quarters that were more interested in music that was currently "happening" rather than music of quality in its own right. The ten selections compiled on Twilight on Prince Georges Avenue: Essential Recordings and taken from those albums are proof that the critics were dead wrong. While Fahey may have been struggling with health issues and personal poverty, his guitar playing continued to reflect his sense of adventure and wry humor; it blended various world musical traditions with American roots music from folk-blues to Appalachian country melodies, and was never better (despite his being tagged as a "new age" musician, a catch-all phrase at the time) or more canny in its sense of blurring time between past and present. Each selection here is worthy, and so were the albums they came from. This is an excellent introduction to an obscure period in the father of American Primitive guitar playing's strange, nearly mythological career. It won't set you back much and may indeed prod you into seeking out the very recordings represented on this budget compilation.

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...
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