John Fahey

The Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites

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The title The Dance of Death and Other Plantation Favorites might lead some to believe that this is a collection of public-domain items that go back to the Deep South of the 19th century. However, while this 1964 session does contain a song titled "Dance of Death," most of the material (including that tune) was written by Fahey himself in the early '60s. So an intriguing title is simply that: an intriguing title. Nonetheless, Fahey's music does have strong southern roots. Unaccompanied, the acoustic guitarist/instrumentalist demonstrates his love of African-American blues as well as the Anglo-American country, folk, and hillbilly music of Appalachia. This is essentially a folk album, but a folk album with strong country and blues leanings; in fact, numbers like "Worried Blues" and "Revelation on the Banks of the Pawtuxent" incorporate the slide guitar technique that came from Mississippi Delta blues. Not that Fahey limits himself to American influences -- Appalachian music is a descendent of British, Scottish, and Irish music, and Fahey is hardly unaware this. Further, Indian raga is an influence on the Fahey piece "On the Banks of the Owchita." This album makes it clear that even back in 1964 Fahey was quite original.

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