12 days of Christmas, Day 8

Current conditions at AM, Then FM world headquarters in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on this Saturday night in December:

It is 27 degrees, with north winds at 29 mph gusting to 40 mph. We hear the wind outside. We’re under a blizzard warning for the next 19 hours. We’ve had more than 3 inches of snow in the last 5 hours. We’re expected to wind up with 8 to 12 inches of snow by morning, followed by much blowing and drifting of that snow all day long.

Oh, yeah, and I have to go to work in the morning. Charming.

Confined to quarters, we’re making the house ready for Christmas. We brought the tree inside. It’ll go up tomorrow. The wrapping paper is out of storage, poised for use over the next week or so.

So on this quiet evening at home, a quiet favorite.

John Fahey, “The New Possibility,” 1968.

Commonly known as “The New Possibility,” its full title — as you can see — is “The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album.”

We’ve had this gentle, laid-back record since the late ’70 or early ’80s. It’s perhaps the most accessible of the eccentric folk guitarist’s albums. This fine web site on Fahey describes his style as “American primitive guitar,” and that’s fairly accurate. His sound on the steel-stringed acoustic guitar is spare yet elegant.

Here’s what Fahey had to say about “The New Possibility” in 1979:

“Well, the arrangements are pretty good, but on the other hand there are more mistakes on this album than on any of the other 17 albums I’ve recorded. And yet, here’s the paradox … this album has not only sold more than any of my others, I meet people all the time who are crazy about it. I mean really love it. What can I say. I’m confused.”

We have three other Christmas albums by Fahey — “Christmas With John Fahey, Vol. II” from 1975, “Christmas Guitar, Volume 1” from 1982 and “The John Fahey Christmas Album” from 1991. We rarely listen to them. The first one is the best.

Here’s why:

“Joy to the World”

“Medley (Hark, the Herald Angels Sing; O Come, All Ye Faithful)”

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Fantasy”

“The First Noel”

“Go I Will Send Thee” (One of the few traditional African-American Christmas songs, done by Fahey in a Delta blues style.)

“Silent Night, Holy Night” (Done in an interesting slide blues style.)

All by John Fahey, from “The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album,” 1968. (The link is to the 2000 CD re-release, which adds six cuts from the out-of-print “Christmas With John Fahey, Vol. II.”)

In addition to the records mentioned, Fahey also recorded “Popular Songs of Christmas and New Year’s,” an album of duets with guitarist Terry Robb, in 1982.

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2 Comments

Filed under Christmas music, December 2010

2 responses to “12 days of Christmas, Day 8

  1. Once again, thank you for the Christmas music.
    Always nice to see some different tunes.

    I do have a question, tho…Am I the only one upset that Billy Idol’s Christmas Album is out of print?

  2. Curt Shannon

    I’m a little late to the party, but thanks for posting this album – people might argue, but this may have been the first “alternative” Christmas album ever done.

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