Sessions Notes 1967 - 1973

1967 (or thereabouts) : MISCELLANEOUS

A Raga Called Pat Part III
A Raga Called Pat Part IV
These circulate minus the sound effects

Eight bits and pieces, sometimes called "Sierra outtakes". Include parts of "The Portland Cement Factory", "When the Catfish is in Bloom" and "Requiem for Mississippi John Hurt".

Unknown Song/Guitar Lesson
About 15 minutes of JF playing an otherwise unknown piece, during which he at times breaks off to give directions on how to play it to a silent friend.
• Always assuming you have the same guitar lesson I've heard: are these not the 'Requia' pieces, including 'The Catfish' song? The tune referred to as the first song on the record is surely 'Requiem for John Hurt'. The 'E modal song' is 'Russell Blaine Cooper'. The last extended piece taught has parts of 'Requiem for Molly, Part 1'.

The Bastrop Waltz
One minute long. Bastrop is where Fahey & Hansen recorded Hubert Thomas.


A wonderful tape of a cracking performance which one day must be released as part of a Fahey "Bootleg Series". Not technically perfect by any means, but bursting with a manic vitality and a missionary belief in the healing properties of the alternating bass.
At this point in his career, Fahey was selling his own albums during the intermission.

The Yellow Princess
JF: "This'll be number one on the record." (Meaning the new record, not out yet.)
Remarkably, this is the only live version of one of Fahey's greatest compositions. Has extra sections and is therefore two minutes longer than the released version.

Requiem for Molly Part Five
JF: "This is 'Requiem for Molly Part…one…two…three…four…Five' without - I just play it straight, without sound effects. And see what happens. There's more on this record. This is what's going on underneath all the noise. So on the next [unintelligible] I'm gonna make 'em issue it without any noise."
This clearly indicates that pretty soon after the release of "Requia" Fahey became disenchanted with it.
After close analysis using most of the techniques afforded by the modern sound laboratory, the IFC report that what Fahey actually plays here in this so-called Part Five is substantially different to what he plays on Parts 1-4, so it's really a New Song, and a unique item in this discography.
• It sounds much like Part IV to me: same key, same chords.

Requiem for Lion
Exactly as recorded on "The Yellow Princess".

Commemmorative Transfiguration at Communion at Magruder Park
Contains sections later omitted on the official version.

Irish Setter
JF: "This is called 'Irish Setter' which I think should go on about number three on the first side probably employing the sound effects department. See all of these things are gonna be cut real short. So this is called 'Irish Setter'". Before he starts the song Fahey changes his guitar, saying "The action's too high on this one. I'll never get through the song." Perhaps one of those guitars was the Bacon and Day, pictured on the cover of "Requia" and currently (1999) residing in the village of Manea in Cambridgeshire, England.
Note JF is still enamoured with the sound collage concept, even though he doesn't like the ones on "Requia" any more. Also note that at this time he was playing unreleased material, a practice later abandoned as he claimed that guitar players in the audience would rip him off.


Be Present at this Table, Lord
White Christmas Fantasy
The first part of this unreleased track is the snippet used at the beginning of "The Story of Dorothy Gooch" on VOT.


From "Don't Forget to Boogie : The Canned Heat Story" (Dark Star magazine, 1975):
"The showpiece of side 2 [of "Living the Blues" , Canned Heat's double album], was 'Parthenogenesis' , a musical collage of short tracks which featured nine pieces in all, of great contrast and colour. Several pieces are entirely individual efforts…One of Al Wilson's pieces, 'aga Kafi', consisted of shimmering chromatic harp juxtaposed against the atmospheric murmuring of some sitar/tamboura and is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard."
Fahey strums the five opening chords of this song suite, but is not given a sleeve credit.
He later used an outtake from the sessions which produced the Raga Kafi part for inclusion on "Old Girlfriends and other Horrible Memories" (1992). That time he didn't credit Canned Heat.


Buckingham Stomp
"Top Gear" was a much loved radio show on Radio One (BBC). John Peel was the DJ, and at this time was King of the British Hippies. (Later transfigurated into Godfather of British Punk, but that's a whole other story). Peel promoted Fahey like crazy in the late 60s. On the radio his tones were hushed and he'd say things like "If you're very good I'll invite you for tea and play you "The Death of the Clayton Peacock" which would be the nicest thing that could possibly happen, and then we'll go and feed the ducks." The track list for this radio session is taken from "In Session Tonight : The Complete Radio 1 Recordings" by Ken Garner, a book listing all John Peel sessions which is festooned with typos, so "Buckingham Stomp", in the absence of a circulating recording, would probably have been "Bucktown Stomp" (see "After the Ball").

The Death of the Clayton Peacock
Sunflower River Blues
In Christ there is No East or West
Steel Guitar Rag
The Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Philip XIV of Spain
Some Summer Day
Poor Boy

Late 1969: GUITAR GUITAR (Canadian TV show)

Issued on video in 1993 by Stefan grossman's Guitar Workshop in conjunction with Shanachie Records.

Wine and Roses
The Death of the Clayton Peacock
Farther Along
Only a little snippet
In Christ There is No East or West
The Voice of the Turtle/When the Springtime Comes Again
Fahey had no title for this at the time.


Memphis Rag
Compare "Nobody's Business" by Mississippi John Hurt.
St Louis Blues
Praying on the Old Camp Ground/Lonesome Blues
From John Hurt, and part two from "Lonesome Weary Blues" by Roy Harvey & Leonard Copeland.

Three guitar duets by fahey and Barth issued under the pseudonyms R L Watson and Josiah Jones on "Memphis Swamp Jam" (Blue Thumb BTS 6000, later reissued by Arhoolie under the title "Kings of Country Blues Vols 1 & 2" with the sale sleeve note).
This recording was a jolly jape going right back to the days of Fonotone.

On the original sleeve of "Memphis Swamp Jam" in 1969 someone composed straightforward notes about the performers (Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis et al), but for Fahey & Barth performing as R L Watson and Josiah Jones there was the following:

Whilst their names are new to collectors of authentic Negro American folk music, the lineaments of the delightful instrumental music of guitarists R L Watson and Josiah Jones, longtime playing partners, are firmly within the established playing practices of those revered traditions. Literally found on the streets of Memphis, to which they had repaired in the hopes of earning money through their sidewalk entertaining and pantomines (both are mutes), the pair was brought to the attention of producer Chris Strachwitz by his close friend, the distinguished ethnomusicologist Prof Franz-Georg Goldwasser, who was producing a radio documentary on the Memphis festival for his popular show "Blues, Boogie und Schwarzermusik", which is broadcast on the German state radio network Sudwestrundfunk. Schrachwitz was immediately taken with the wistful, energetic music of the elderly pair of guitarists and arranged that their insinuating performances of three traditional pieces - a rag, a blues and a spiritual - be included in this set. Unfortunately, little is known of the backgrounds of the two performers, as Strachwitz was unable to conduct an interview with them and all attempts at communication were forestalled in the face of the pair's undisguised mistrust of, if not outright hostility towards, blond, blue-eyed Silesians.


"Zabrieski Point" soundtrack music.
Consisting of around 45 minutes of solo guitar which has been earmarked for future release by Revenant.

The Antonioni Fiasco

The excellent Byron Coley article in Spin magazine (1994) states: "To assemble the soundtrack, Michaelangelo Antonioni (the director) [zabriskie point ] reportedly asked various American hippies what music they liked. 'Zabrieski Point' features one particularly long sequence with couples making love in the desert, and this is the one Antonioni wanted Fahey to score."
JF, 1994: "Antonioni says 'What I want you to do is to compose some music that will go along with the porno scene.' I kept saying, 'Yes, sir.' Then he starts this, 'Now John, this is young love. Young love.' I mean, that's young love? All these bodies? 'Young love. But John , it's in the desert, where there's death. But it's young love.' He kept going 'young love/death' faster and faster. I was sure I was talking to a madman. So I experimented. I had instrumentalists come in and I told them just to play whatever the felt like. They had to pretend to understand what I was talking about, especially if Antonioni came in the room. I came up with some sections of music that sounded more like death than young love. I played it for Michaelangelo and he thought it was great."
Alas, it seems that after the music was all agreed, there was a celebratory dinner, tete-a-tete, and as the wine flowed the discussion turned heated. Antonioni began explaining to Fahey how he hated the USA. Fahey bade him govern his Marxist malevolence. Antonioni took offence and couldn't understand why Fahey wasn't part of the revolution which was engulfing the nation at the time. They had reached the point of no return. Fahey left, and Antonioni, strangely, ditched the composed music and just used the first 3 minutes of "Dance of Death" instead.
What happened to the stuff with the instrumentalists playing whatever they felt like, and who were they anyway? What we have left to us is just Fahey alone, as usual, but sounding very subdued.
Elsewhere, Fahey has said: "This stupid film is in the book 'The 100 Worst Ever Films Made'. It deserves inclusion."


I'm Gonna Do all I Can for my Lord
Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming


In America, you couldn't have bought the first two albums at all unless you were a member of the penumbra of the inner circle, as it were. Or unless you got your gas tank filled at Martin's Esso Station near Takoma Park in 1959. It would have been the West Coast which first saw Fahey records in any number, in the years 1965 and 1966. Thereafter, one assumes, reprints were made and issued by Takoma, and everyone caught up. But in Britain, the situation remained acute until as late as 1968.
Acute meaning No Fahey At All.
Transatlantic issued the first UK release in 1968 ("Transfiguration"). The next one was "The Yellow Princess" on Vanguard. Thus British fans got their chronology hopelessly confused from the start, like first generation British Dylan fans.
After dearth came glut. In 69 Sonet issued the '67 versions of Volumes One and Two; then Vanguard issued "Requia". So five albums came out in two years. Then the imports of all the rest of them began in earnest, first sightings of which were in 1970. By '71 they were a regular feature of the import section in Virgin's first shop in London. That's where one of your editors had to hitchhike to get them. Finally, Sonet caught up with "America" in '72, so that made eleven albums in three years.

JO ANN KELLY SESSION 1972 (no date)

High Sheriff Blues
Stocking Feet Blues
New Mind Reader Blues
Released on "Jo Ann Kelly" (Blue Goose, 1972)
Shave 'em Dry
Try me One More Time
Outtakes released in 1990 on "Retrospective 1964-72" by Jo Ann Kelly (Document). The singer died shortly after that release.

Sessions 1974-2000