I recorded The Thing in the summer of 1972. It was produced by Kerry Fahey and John Isted, and recorded in the verdant gardens of Cecil Spiller, a movie soundman in Los Angeles. The "Audio-Sonic Research Installation" was a converted garage in the backyard. Cecil would put on reels of tape and start the recorder, and with pinking shears in hand, he would disappear into the gardens beyond the door.
This album is special to me for many reasons. In part, I suppose, because it was my first record, and therefore I had a whole life to write it. However, just as important was the magic of the times (and the timing) which brought me to the label. It is hard for me to look back without taking that into perspective.
That time encompasses the 60s and early 70s, a breakwater period in American popular music. The historic traditions of blues and jazz had reanimated in the rich musical trappings of the late 50s. By the mid-60s, the power of the black experience had infused itself into much of the music that dominated the era. Takoma Records was a child of the era. The same blues traditions so seminal in the formation of the music of Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and dozens of other artists and bands of that era were also present in the early music of Takoma's founder and first artist, John Fahey. But Fahey evolved, and that evolution created a broader form of expression that encompassed texture, dissonance, and space. Takoma facilitated change in the way people look at the traditions and trappings of acoustic music, and (more specifically) the guitar in America.
The album's songs were written during a period from 1966 to 1972. John Fahey's input expanded the horizons of this album. Though he felt I was ready to record, he suggested I open the music up, try to go with a little regimentation, and experiment with space and form. He also suggested that I try working in a longer format with some of the pieces - I believe those tracks represent some of the strongest material on the album. This reissue features three additional tracks V/The Connecticut Promissory Rag, Flames Along The Monongahela, and Going Down The China Road. I believe all three embody the spirit of the record.
By Peter Lang