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Requia & Other Compositions for Guitar Solo

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John Fahey

Requia & Other Compositions for Guitar Solo

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

John Fahey's extended experimentations decades later with avant-garde's music elite is foreshadowed on 1967's adventurous Requia. These moody, contemplative instrumental works (all featuring Fahey at his guitar-playing peak) resonate with passion, artistry, and--most of all--soul. "When the Catfish Is in Bloom" gradually crescendoes with Fahey's increasing, breakneck tempo, which--around the six-minute mark--becomes a blur of impossible fingerpicking that is both awe-inspiring and swinging. In the first part of "Requiem for Molly," the listener is bombarded by sound samples and tape loops, with Fahey slowly finding his chords. But the guitarist doesn't just noodle; he lets the composition slowly unfold, with humorous found-sound samples abounding and enough familiar guitar themes creeping up to keep you on guard. By part 3 Fahey reaches his most melancholy moment, letting out a methodical rendition of "California Dreaming" on top of lion roars and human screams. Though Fahey's playing influenced an entire generation of talented young guitar pickers, including Leo Kottke, his conceptual prowess goes unmatched here. A truly seminal recording.


In his liner notes to this release, John Fahey mentions his desire to have an entire world orchestra in his guitar, Western to Eastern, bagpipes to gamelan. Perhaps it's this mental approach that sets his music so deliciously far apart from other so-called folk guitarists. Requia is essentially in two sections. One is a series of blues-based pieces in line with music he had previously recorded. These include the lovely "Requiem for John Hurt" and a wry "Fight On Christians, Fight On," both of which sound remarkably modern more than three decades after they were recorded. The slightly off-center variations he works on these songs are more vital and gorgeous than any ten of his peers. The second major section here is a four-part suite, "Requiem for Molly," which interpolates tape collages with his guitar playing. These do, in fact, sound a bit dated, largely because his source material ("Deutschland Uber Alles," marching bands, screams, etc.) sounds heavy-handed and trite in retrospect. Still, he anticipates similar usage by Charlie Haden in his Liberation Music Orchestra from the following year, as well as pointing toward wider explorations in that field that Fahey himself would undertake in the future. Requia doesn't rank up with the absolute best of his releases, but contains enough fine and interesting work to recommend it to Fahey fans.

Additional Information

Artist John Fahey
Track Listing 1 Requiem for John Hurt - 5:10 2 Requiem for Russell Blaine Cooper - 8:56 3 When the Catfish Is in Bloom - 7:42 4 Requiem for Molly, Pt. 1 - 7:40 5 Requiem for Molly, Pt. 2 - 7:46 6 Requiem for Molly, Pt. 3 - 2:33 7 Requiem for Molly, Pt. 4 - 3:00 8 Fight on Christians, Fight On - 1:57

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