Marisa Anderson —
Mercury ... CD Mississippi/Important Records, 2013. New Copy ...
Lovely instrumental work from Marisa Anderson – guitar sounds both acoustic and electric, played in a style that's certainly folksy – but often a bit less traditional than you might expect! There's these cool darker tones around the edges here – a quality that maybe starts with John Fahey, but also echoes some of the more simply expressive solo guitar work of the post-punk generation – especially on the electrified numbers that let the fuzz ring out around the edges, and really help the tunes take shape. The album's quite unique, and very different than most of the contemporary guitar underground – and titles include "The New Country", "Sinks & Rises", "Galax", "Red Sky", "Embudo", "Trinity", "Mojave", and "Furnace Creek". CD
A important record from Joan Baez – one that has the singer expanding her sound, but in all the right possible ways – bringing in some Nashville elements to her folksy roots! The record features some larger backings arranged by producer Norbert Putnam – with bits of strings, The Memphis Horns, and some backup vocals – but most of a focus around the core combo of the album, which includes Charlie McCoy on harmonica, and Pete Wade and Norman Blake on guitars. Titles include "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Three Horses", "Last Lonely & Wretched", "Lincoln Freed Me Today", "Gabriel & Me", and "Fifteen Months". LP, Vinyl record album
A perfect illustration of the genius of guitarist Robbie Basho – a set recorded early in his career, but with music that's light years ahead of most of his contemporaries! Although a set of solo acoustic guitar tracks, the music isn't really folk – nor is it the sort of acoustic underground music that would emerge more strongly in the 70s – and instead, it's got a real edge throughout – lots of odd tones and weird phrasings that almost preface a whole generation of guitar experimentalists like Derek Bailey or Eugene Chadbourne – yet still within a setting that's relatively tuneful overall! Basho's music has this subtle mysticism that we really love – and the solo sounds here are as evocative as the titles – which include "Mountain Man's Farewell", "Seal Of The Blue Lotus", "Sansara In Sweetness After Sandstorm", "Dravidian Sunday", and "Bardo Blues". LP, Vinyl record album
(Beautiful heavy pressing – with a paste-on cover image, just like the original version!)
A soaring set from the great Robbie Basho – one of the most unique artists of his generation! Basho's often mentioned in the same breath as John Fahey, but a record like this really shows his difference – as the record not only features wonderful work on both 6 and 12 string guitar from Basho, but also has lots of these oddly-sung, surprisingly heartfelt lyrics – in a mode that's quite far from folk roots, and which instead has this really soulful warbling that really adds a lot to the spirit of the tunes. The only other instrumentation is some very cool work on the South Indian log drum – and titles include "Omaha Tribal Prayer", "Sweet Medicine", "Roses & Gold", "Joseph", "Blue Corn Serenade", and "Wounded Knee Soliloquy". CD
Robbie Basho —
Zarthus ... CD Vanguard (UK), 1974. New Copy ...
One of the trippiest records ever from Robbie Basho – in case you couldn't guess from the striking cover image! The set's a blend of Basho's sublime work on guitar – very much in the John Fahey side of the spectrum – and more Eastern-styled elements from Ramnad V Raghavan, who plays mrdangam on all tracks – creating these captivating rhythmic pulses alongside Basho's guitar! Basho also sings and plays a bit of piano – both very eerie, and very unusual – especially on the last track on the record, which takes up almost all of side two, and has an almost Gurdjieff sort of vibe. Titles include "Zarthus", "Khalil Gibran", "Bride Divine", "Rhapsody In Druz", and "Mehera". CD