Album review

John Fahey - Red Cross

John Fahey's reputation rests on his'60s recordings, elaborate explorations of acoustic folk/blues that erased distinctions between roots music and the avant garde. By the '90s, however, Fahey had become disgruntled with his legacy. He switched to electric guitar, dabbled in industrial murk and seemed studiously indelicate. Red Cross, finished just before his death in 2001, marks a surprising reconciliation with his old style. Fahey's playing remains hesitant, but for contemplative rather than alienating ends, as he turns uptown standards by Irving Berlin and the Gershwins into spectral, rustic laments. A bewitching last testament.

Rating: 4 / 10


Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 35th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Weird serendipities aplenty this week: versions of "O, Death" on two albums I downloaded one after another, by Mike & Cara Gangloff and Bessie Jones; dovetailing into Sea Island overlap between Jones and Loscil. It makes for a nice blurring between time and genre with, say, the Gangloffs...