The Epiphany of Glenn Jones

By Ace Cannon. A saxophone instrumental which reached no. 17 in the US Top 20 in January 1962. Ace played “yakety-sax” in the style made famous by King Curtis; he made albums into the '70s. Also there was a swing band some time back there whose leader was called Tuff Green. That may have something to do with it.
Note: see Best of John Fahey Volume 2 for a completely different song called Tuff.
Gamelan Collage
Circa 9 minutes into this the whole thing begins to sound like Planaria (cf 1 min 30 secs) from Womblife – Fahey recycling himself at an ever-faster rate.
Maggie Campbell Blues
By Tommy Johnson; formerly recorded by Fahey in its eschatological version as Delta Dog (Through the Book of Revelation) on Railroad. This version is JF + drums, more or less. Right at the end Fahey plays a snatch of the doo wop hit Come Go with Me.
Gamelan Guitar
Reworking of the first part of Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.

John Fahey – Interview with Perfect Sound Forever:

JF: So I fought and I fought and I fought, and finally I called up Thirsty Ear and told them I wanted nothing more to do with this. I didn’t want my name associated with it, and I told them I’d quit if they didn’t put me in charge, which they did. I tell you, I never felt so good in my life as I did when I walked in there and said, “Okay,cut!” and went and erased all those tapes. You have no idea how horrible the record would have been. But it ended up turning out okay, it’s a fun record. I especially like the recitations at the end, like Nothing.

That’s my favorite, too. Was that written out beforehand?

Oh, no. I’m pretty good at making those things up. I think the brilliant one on that record’s the synthesizer player, he was great. You take the synthesizer off the record, and you’ve got practically nothing.

Has this experience turned you off to the idea of collaborating?

No, not at all. I’m sure they’re gonna want to do another record with me, especially since this one’s selling so well. And that’s fine, I’d like to - and if I’ll have to be a bastard again, I will. It got to be fun, you know, after the explosion.

Glenn Jones – from the notes to "Epiphany":

As for the album that had been envisioned: The songs we’d planned to include that actually made it onto the album were Our Puppet Selves (a Cul de Sac number which Fahey really liked – he barely plays on it though; the day he was do his part, he decided to stay at his hotel to flirt with the woman who cleaned his room -- listen for a snatch of Fahey on lapsteel at the very end of the piece, which we cut-and-pasted from an earlier rehearsal); New Red Pony (Fahey tried to talk us out of using it, but eventually relented); and Gamelan Collage.

Songs we rehearsed but which were axed by John in his “I refuse to be associated with this” meeting with me a few days into the project, were K (which appeared on the next Cul de Sac album, Crashes to Light, Minutes to its Fall -- Fahey had written a nice longish introduction to the piece, but had trouble executing it properly when it came time to record; this may have contributed to his reason for nixing this song); Immortality Lessons, another CdS number which we’ve never rerecorded.

Things we worked up in CdS’ Cambridge rehearsal space but never took up again once we got to Warren were Venerable Dark Cloud, a composed collaboration between John and I; another unnamed song, simple, but which John later decided sounded too much like House of the Rising Sun; a piece for slide guitar (John) and fingerpicked guitar (me), which John decided he didn’t like after listening to the tape of the rehearsals.

Everything else on the album was composed or assembled in the studio. John had thought about using Tuff from the beginning, but I was unimpressed with it when he played it for me fingerstyle and he’d dropped it. In the studio he got the idea of playing it lapsteel style instead, REALLY slow, and that worked beautifully. In fact the version on the CD is a first take of the first time he tried it this way. He also wanted to record the Del Vikings’ Come Go with Me, and segues into it at the end of Maggie Campbell Blues. He took stabs at pieces from his old repertoire, such as House Carpenter and the like, but nothing quite came together.

In keeping with some of John’s oldies notion, I’d wanted to attempt an arrangement of the Tornadoes’ Telstar, one of the first songs I recall hearing on the radio as a child. (I was in the branches of a huge willow tree in Bellevue, Nebraska, at the time, when some older kids brought a transistor radio into the vacant lot where the tree was. I was mesmerized by it, and it remains my favorite instrumental to this day.) Our attempts to do something with it didn’t come to anything. John had recorded another spoken word piece, Beginnings, which was considered for the album right up to post time. It was the first thing he recorded after scrapping the album we’d started to make.

Because there wasn’t room for the complete piece on the album, Jon Williams, the producer, made an edited version. Fahey rejected it. (By the way, Fahey said several times that Jon Williams was the best producer he ever worked with. Despite whatever reservations he had about the rest of us, he loved Jon, and expressed a desire to work with him again. Fahey thought the recording of his acoustic guitar was the best on any of his albums. Not sure I agree, but what a nice testimony to Jon’s expertise. I’ve never worked with anyone who knows mics and microphone placement better than Jon does.)

One thing John had learned that quite shocked me was a Robbie Basho piece. I forget which one. The problem was that John hadn’t figured out the second part of the song, and despite my urgings and pleadings to try to come up with something, there just wasn’t enough to do much of anything with. Given my love for Basho’s music, I’d have dearly loved for that to come together for the album. But alas.

According to Joe Piecuch (a friend of John’s on the west coast, who saw John shortly after he got back from these sessions) one of the reasons Fahey gave for being so pissed at us was because he had wanted to record Boston’s (the band) More Than a Feeling, and I wouldn’t let him. for the love of God, Montressor, that’s an absolutely gawdawful, unstomachable song in my book! If John ever made such a suggestion to me I don’t remember it, and I think I would have if he did. Maybe I thought he was joking? I just don’t recall its ever having come up. I like to think that if Fahey had mooted it as a possibility to anyone in the band or to our producer, we’d have had him committed!

But the songs I think are truly collaborations, and the ones that I think are the deepest and most interesting on the album, are Gamelan Collage (I challenge anyone to identify / separate Fahey’s and CdS’ contributions!), Gamelan Guitar, Magic Mountain.

Another reason I think it is at least partially successful as a “sum /difference of it’s parts” is that it doesn’t sound like any other of Fahey’s or CdS’ albums. I especially admire the use of electronics.