Say It's Your Birthday: John Fahey

No, that's not John Fahey's band. That's the B-52's including birthday girl Cindy Wilson.

Most of you have never heard of John Fahey and that seems

to be okay with the man himself. He's a brilliant and influential guitarist but

he's not exactly what you would call a tireless self-promoter. Born this day in

1939 in Cecil County, MD, and raised in nearby Takoma Park, Fahey's early

passion for county music led him to rural blues. When country collides with

blues it usually produces something like rock and roll. In John Fahey it

produced something else again. Fahey is a master of traditional blues and blue

grass styling. But filters them through a modern consciousness with a voracious

appetite for all things musical. There are faster guitar players than John,

there are better guitar players, but there are no other John Faheys, as you can

hear for yourself on the double CD anthology Return of the Repressed

(Rhino). There's also a fascinating story that goes with the music, but

this is a birthday card not a biography. For that you'll have to consult the

anthology liner notes by Barry Hansen (as Dr. Demento calls himself when he's

being serious). Or the big story that ran in Spin a while back. (When

was the last time you saw Spin give major feature space to an old white

acoustic folk-blues guitarist?) That should be enough to tell you there's

something unique to be discovered here. Happy 57 John, may there be 57 more.

Other birthdays are Rolling Stones founder, the late Brian Jones, Cindy Wilson

of the B-52s, Phillip Gould of Level 42 and Joe

South.