1979’s last long-lost classic from John Fahey’s Takoma albums sees the master on dazzling form without any concept beyond returning to his roots while paying tribute to music inspiring him both past and present.
John Fahey could strike when least expected. After “Old Fashioned Love”, 1974’s third and final John Fahey & His Orchestra outing, there was another Christmas album and 1977’s “Best Of John Fahey [1959-77]” while Fahey sold Takoma Records to Chrysalis because he couldn’t handle the day-to-day running. Then, after rumours that Chrysalis rejected an entire album now famously known as the Nuthouse sessions, along came “John Fahey Visits Washington D.C.” in 1979, which was not only magical but heralded a fertile new phase which dazzled through the 80s until debilitating illness took hold.
Most of Fahey’s 70s albums carried some kind of theme, but if “John Fahey Visits Washington D.C.” has any concept it’s Fahey going back home [metaphorically-speaking as he hadn’t been back to Washington since 1969 and wouldn’t until after his father’s 1995 death]. His surreally-expansive liner notes returned with a vengeance while the music sees mainly solo Fahey reworking old themes and melodies while updating his cover versions to include more contemporary guitarists, even those he inspired like Leo Kottke.
Fahey takes the breath away on much of this under-rated album, the last long-lost jewel in Fahey’s Takoma crown to see daylight again.
By Kris Needs