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America
John Fahey
America
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Format: 180 gram gatefold 2LP ltd to 3000 numbered copies Originally released in 1971, America is one of the artistic high points of John Fahey's career. And yet, for nearly 30 years it was not heard in its entirety, as...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: John Fahey
Title: America
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Takoma
Release Date: 3/25/1998
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop
Styles: Traditional Blues, Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 025218890328, 029667980326

Synopsis

Album Description
Format: 180 gram gatefold 2LP ltd to 3000 numbered copies Originally released in 1971, America is one of the artistic high points of John Fahey's career. And yet, for nearly 30 years it was not heard in its entirety, as what was originally intended as a double album was pared down to a single LP. 4 Men With Beards is proud to present the complete America double album, released on vinyl for the first time ever. Fahey himself had this to say about America: "Out of all the songs I ever wrote, I consider only two of them `epic' or `classic' or in the `great' category and they are both on this record." Deluxe gatefold packaging that includes a reproduction of the original illustrated booklet. Limited edition of 3,000 numbered copies.

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CD Reviews

Beautiful Album, Shoddy Reissue
Mr. T. | New York, NY | 08/24/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"From the liner notes: "This CD Contains 98.6 percent of the music recorded by John for America... Given the technical constraints of the Compact Disc medium... we were forced to edit two minutes from one track ("Mark 1:15")."

What isn't explicit in the comments above is that these two minutes were taken out of the most important cut on the original album. Of this cut, Fahey has said:

"Out of all the songs I ever wrote, I consider only two of them 'epic' or 'classic' or in the 'great' category and they are both on this record. It's taken me more than five years to complete these. Most of the melodic ideas existed a long time ago, i.e. the primary 'lyric' melody in 'Mark 1:15' is the same as 'When the Springtime Comes Again'..."

So, while this CD release may contain 98.6 percent of the music recorded by John for America, it only contains 95% of the original LP, with 13% (2 minutes from a 16 minute track) of the most important song omitted. I think this was a poor decision. This album should have been issued in a format similar to Rhino's expanded 2-CD version of Randy Newman's "Good Old Boys." The original LP should have been on one CD and the bonus material should have been on the other. This release reminds me of the original CD version of Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" where "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" was trimmed by 36 seconds.

The liner notes to "America" further state that "The only alternative [to this hatchet job] would have been to release a more expensive 2-CD set." Isn't it worth the extra 3 dollars to have this thing done properly? 2-CD sets simply do not cost that much more money, at least to the consumer.

John Fahey's "America" deserves a better treatment.
"
Enigmatic masterpiece
Howard Sauertieg | Harrisburg, PA USA | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fahey's "America," in its expanded 79 minute form, bridges two phases of the man's musical evolution. The first half is generally in the early "Blind Joe Death" manner of 3-4 minute original compositions and arrangements of old popular tunes. We're treated to a skeletal "Amazing Grace," a skeletal Skip James lick called "Special Rider Blues," a lush reduction of a slow movement from Dvorak's 8th Symphony (trust Fahey to pass over interpolations from the "New World" symphony for his "America" program), and a couple of resonant versions of a Charlie Patton number called "Jesus is A Dying Bedmaker." Two longer tracks, "America" and "Dalhart, Texas 1967," approach the more meandering improvisational style that dominates the second half of the program - but both tracks are so tightly focused that they seem as if they'd be impossible to improvise. "Mark I:15" and "Voice of the Turtle" run 30 minutes between the two and are among the best examples of Fahey's mystical musical "voyaging." If Fahey's other albums weren't so uniformly good, I'd assert that "America" is the only Fahey album you'd ever need to appreciate and enjoy all the artist's various facets. But it's hard to imagine anyone being satisfied with only one Fahey album, particularly one so impressive as "America." All of Fahey's albums aren't "essential," or even "classic," but they're all worth having on the shelf. Listeners who come to Fahey from rock music are fortunate if they investigate some of Fahey's blues influences - the celebrated Charlie Patton, Skip James, Bukka White, and John Hurt among them."
Perfect title for a perfect album
Rob Damm | 11/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

""America" just about sums it up. Fahey manages to cover much of the history of popular song in America with just a guitar and his mindblowing skill with the instrument. This is great, engaging listening. you'll hear snatches of old-as-the-hills folk and gospel relics woven into the notes. The impact of this record is deep beyond words, it seems to speak to a deep, collective memory within us all--- a memory of a world before superhighways, strip malls and the internet. That is what this album evokes. It almost impossible for me to discuss it in a modular sense. The overall impact is what I come away with: the evocation of a primitive, simple place. It is at once merry and deeply sad, tinged with tones of loss and regret. One of the most powerful and important records of the last century."