John Fahey

Visits Washington DC

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John Fahey's final album of the 1970s was also his first studio album in nearly five years, his prolific pace in the first dozen years or so of his recording career slowing notably by the middle of the decade. He pretty much just picked up where he left off on Visits Washington DC, however, offering another set of acoustic guitar instrumentals with stellar picking and an eclectic range of influences. A good share of the material this time around came from other sources, as he put together a medley of Doc Watson's "Silver Bell" and Bill Monroe's "Cheyenne" for the first track; incorporated Leo Kottke's "Death by Reputation" into the second, and also covered Bola Sete's "Guitar Lamento." On his originals (and to some degree even his interpretations), echoes of Appalachian folk, bluegrass, blues, ragtime, and flotsam and jetsam of Americana (with Stephen Foster liberally quoted in Fahey's composition "The Discovery of the Sylvia Scott") blend and merge. Some of his characteristic moodiness emerges in passages from "Ann Arbor" and "Melody McBad," and Richard Ruskin, another artist on the Takoma label, adds second guitar to "Silver Bell."

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