I first found one of John Fahey’s (“In Memory of Blind Thomas of Old Takoma,” 3/9) early Takoma albums with the esoteric liner notes tucked inside the jacket about 1965. There was an austere spirituality to it that caught my attention, and I soon collected all of his records. Soon, a small circle of friends had become an audience to these albums, and one friend, Dan Warrick, could play the pieces note for note (1968). After I moved back to L.A., in 1976, I began to hang out at Don Brown’s Jazzman Record Shop. Fahey and his girlfriend would drop in to chat with Don periodically, along with members of Canned Heat (Henry Vestine, Bob Hite). I first met Fahey in about 1979, when Mark Humphrey took me upstairs at McCabe’s to say hello. (Humphrey, a good friend of mine at the time, had befriended Fahey.) Mark mentioned to Fahey that I had all his records, and Fahey just kinda grunted to show little interest. Duck Baker was in the room, and Fahey told Baker he had listened to his records and did Baker listen to his? Baker just smiled.
I saw Fahey perform at least three times at McCabe’s, once horribly drunk. But he returned a few months later and did a good concert. His guitar playing did not have the same mesmerizing fluidity that his early records displayed, but it was always signature Fahey. For a while, Humphrey was bringing Fahey’s reissued vinyl over to my apartment to make tapes. These were albums by people like Arizona Dranes and the Rev. D.C. Rice. Fahey had suggested to Humphrey that they play duets at McCabe’s, but it never happened. (Humphrey was a great picker in those days and probably still is.) But Humphrey later did liner notes for one of Fahey’s albums. I will miss John Fahey, and although I never knew the man, his music has always moved me greatlyand it influenced my own guitar playing.
Thanks for the great music, John!
Santa Monica, Calif.