Tuesday, February 3, 2009

zabriskie counterpoint

"you can't

cool off in the mill pond...
you can only die."

Unusually grim fare from American folk innovator, John Fahey; recorded in the wake of his rehabilitation from alcohol addiction and depression compounded by a debilitating infection.

After collaborating with Cul de Sac and overseeing the release of a double CD retrospective on Rhino in the mid nineties, Fahey - revitalized and uncowed by populist expectations which had dogged him through the better part of two decades - began work on a new album, while living out a motel room in Salem, Oregon. Alienated, especially, from those traditionalists who once formed the major part of his audience, "City of Refuge" was originally released on Portland's Tim/Kerr Records in 1997.

Recorded and produced by the same team behind that LP - Scott Colburn and Jeff Allman - "The Mill Pond" was released in April of the same year on Little Brother Records, another Portland sibling. Allman was responsible, too, for providing those disconcerting electronic sounds bubbling under Fahey's barbed vocals and guitar.

I like this 'newer' Fahey, immensely. Out of print for too long, a vinyl rip of the complete EP may still be available on WFMU, where regular, Lukas alerted me to it through an excellent post a couple of years back.

I make no apologies for resurrecting it here; a slack jawed witch bobbing back up on its ducking stool, spilling pond water and a curse.

JOHN FAHEY: GHOSTS from "The Mill Pond" 2 x 7" 45 (Little Brother) 1997 (US)


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