From time to time over the next month or so, we’ll take our three Christmas tunes from the same album, giving you a little taste of something you really should go out and get the rest of.
Tonight’s selections come from an album I seemingly have had forever. If memory serves, I bought it in 1980 or 1981 on the recommendation of Mike, the laid-back gent who ran — and still runs — Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau, Wisconsin. I don’t know how I would have otherwise found out about it. Folk guitarists weren’t played on the radio I listened to at the time.
Commonly known as “The New Possibility,” its full title is “The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album.”
Released in 1968, it is perhaps the most accessible of the eccentric folk guitarist’s albums. An excellent 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 is 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.”
I have two other Christmas albums by Fahey — “Christmas Guitar” from 1982 and “The John Fahey Christmas Album” from 1991 — and he recorded two more. Each has its moments, but the first is still the best.
Fahey is no longer with us, having died in 2001, but he’s left us this wonderful gift. It isn’t Christmas at our house without this one, either.
“Joy to the World”
“Medley: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing; O Come, All Ye Faithful”
“Silent Night, Holy Night”
All by John Fahey, from “The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album,” 1968.
Enjoy. Hope you’re getting a nice little Christmas mix out of what you’re finding here. More to come.
If you have a request, drop me a note. I’ll see what I can do.