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Album Review: Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You: The Fonotone Years, 1958-1965 by John Fahey
Exceptionally Good, Based on 3 Critics
Pitchfork - 95 Based on rating 9.5/10
The liner notes for Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You-- the complete recordings guitarist John Fahey made for the tiny but crucial Fonotone label between 1958 and 1965-- comprise an 88-page book, bound in beautifully toned, dense cardboard. These 88 pages brim with an obsessive sort of information about Fahey: his slapdash drawings of important people and places in his life, the first known photograph of him with a Gibson F-hole guitar, the receipt for his Holzapfel 12-string, his Boy Scouts photo, and even a personal letter to Fonotone owner Joe Bussard where he begs for recordings of a few old blues heroes. There's a revealing and hitherto unpublished interview, remembrances from past collaborators, and Italian researcher Claudio Guerrieri's guide to the various hand-written labels Bussard affixed to the center of each record he hand-cut on order.
Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You: The Fonotone Years, 1958-1965 is a massive John Fahey document that was a full decade in the making by Dean Blackwood of Revenant, guitarist Glenn Jones, and Lance Ledbetter of Dust-to-Digital. Released a full decade after Fahey's death, it contains 115 tracks compiling the guitarist's complete 78-rpm recordings for Joe Bussard's Fonotone label -- solo, as Blind Thomas, the Mississippi Swampers, etc. -- remastered from the original reel-to-reel tapes.
The title of this lovingly assembled box set of early, rare material originally released on 78, 33 and 45rpm vinyl between 1958 and 1965 on the Fonotone label comes from something John Fahey himself said. In 2000 Dean Blackwood, who co-ran Fahey’s Revenant Records, invited Glenn Jones, the man who oversaw this project, to visit and discuss producing this set. Jones, who had known the legendary American guitarist for 25 years was greeted sternly by Fahey thus: “Boy, your past really comes back to haunt you! Glenn, I don’t want this stuff to be issued.