Summertime, part 2: Fahey
Summer, Tim Howe
Summertime - John Fahey
Yesterday, one of my favorite “Summertimes,” today, something lesser. Don’t get me wrong, Fahey’s brilliant. But here's what I've secretly thought of him ever since I first heard Requia maybe 10 years ago. He's the smartest kid in class who just can't keep his hand down. As savvy as his deconstructions of certain canonized works, there's always this smug assertion of self, this seething John Fahey-ness. To appease the Faheyites, I'll say this: It's the mark of a magnificent risk-taker and artist, if an indifferent interpreter. In this buzzing steel-stringed transcription, Fahey affirms his finger-picking virtuosity (as if confirmation were needed). But the track’s a cool, mannered piece, a claustrophobic take that echoes off studio walls like a conversation with itself, when--recorded some 65 years and several thousand versions after the original composition, for God’s sake!--it should be engaging in dialogue with its predecessors and contemporaries. If Fahey’s interpretation is witty, with those punchy plucked strings, it also scans as a little derisive. I don’t know what to do with this.
Tomorrow, The Twilight SingersElsewhere: Spoilt Victorian Child has an amazing interview with Richard Greentree, formerly of The Beta Band, presently of The General and Dutchess Collins. And some songs from the new band.