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Days Have Gone By, Vol. 6

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Album Review

Sam Graham once referred to Fahey as the "curmudgeon of the acoustic guitar," while producer Samuel Charters noted that Fahey "was the only artist I ever worked with whose sales went down after he made public appearances." This tumultuous spirit, in turn, made tumultuous music on albums like Days Have Gone By, filled with odd harmonics, discord, and rare beauty. The esoteric titles like "Night Train of Valhalla" stand beside more abrasive ones like "The Revolt of the Dyke Brigade." Fahey's guitar work on the latter song, however, does little to evoke the title. Instead, it reminds one of what might happen if a guitar player from the Far East, familiar with open tunings, interpreted Blind Blake. "Impressions of Susan" combines the same odd tunings with nice, and at times joyful, fingerpicking. Dissonance, though, remains the primary mood that Fahey's guitar resonates. "The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California" begins with a lovely cascade of notes, only to fall into odd harmonics that create a pensive foreboding. To call attention to the disharmony and discord, though, is not a criticism. Days Have Gone By, like all of Fahey's early- and mid-'60s work, expands American blues traditions by enriching the palette of the guitar with Eastern tunings. He may create a challenging work like "A Raga Called Pat—Part Two" that is difficult to interpret, but its opulence is undeniable. Fahey has often been grouped with new age music but this — especially with his early work — is somewhat of a misnomer. New age strives to build harmony; Fahey revels in conflict. Days Have Gone By is another rewarding reissue of the master's classic '60s work and will be eagerly greeted by guitar aficionados. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

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Days Have Gone By – John Fahey

This is definitely one of Fahey’s finest and most enduring albums and includes a few of his finest compositions like Joe Kirby Blues, Nigh Train to Valhalla, and Days Have Gone By. The best part is how the album works as a whole – it flows from one song to the next creating an intense dream-like mood and sense of place that is highly evocative. An important aspect of Fahey’s technique is his use of space instead of speed. It is great to hear this album digitally without the hiss and pops in the quite passages one experienced with the original LP release; and to not have to break the mood and turn the album over in the middle. On second thought, this is probably my favorite Fahey albums as it is unique and powerful today as it was decades ago.

Biography

Born: February 28, 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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