This guitar piece started as a sort of fake Irish air in DADGAD but somehow became a slide guitar piece in Csus2 tuning (if I remember rightly), by way of one or two other tunings I can’t remember right now. Or maybe the slide version came first. Anyway, I can’t quite decide which way I prefer it. But there’s no reason I can’t keep them both in the repertoire (though I’ll need to practice them a bit before I do them in front of a real audience again).
Here’s the slide version, which acquired the title ‘Faintly Fahey’. Not that I’m as well acquainted with John Fahey’s work as I ought to be, but when I played the first demo version back, it reminded me vaguely of ‘The Death Of The Clayton Peacock’, even though the tune and tempo are completely different.
Here’s the other version. It didn’t have a title originally, but it’s now called ‘Fainter Fahey’ because it’s pretty much the same tune as the other, but not very Fahey-like bereft of its slide context.
Having tried heavier bronze strings on my resonator, I found myself trying for something a little different in the way of a slide instrumental. This doesn’t have a title as yet and will change as I get to know it, but I really rather like it as it is.
Just played into a microphone: nothing subtle in the way of manipulation, and I haven’t yet tried connecting it via its pickup. It’s a Gretsch Bobtail, if anyone cares…
If you’re unfortunate enough to have heard a lot of me in the last 30 years or so, the chances are you’ve heard this song. The version we recorded in the 1980s for an album that was never released has now been removed, since it’s now about to be released as a single. Finally!
So the above is a more recent demo version with just my acoustic guitar and occasionally double-tracked vocal.
He never wanted her love, just a piece of her time A loving night now and then, and no loving lies Just a tender glance from distant eyes But he learned too late to recognize That he was far, far away – he’d missed the alarm Drowning far, far away in other arms He hadn’t noticed her changing till daylight broke him the news Far, far away, one step away from the blues
He never wanted to stray far away from himself He never thought he’d rely on anyone else For a light in the window, a knock on the door Somewhere to keep warm when the nights turned cold But she was far, far away when the blizzard set in The door stood silent and locked, and he was soaked to the skin He hadn’t noticed her changing till she left him with nothing to lose Far, far away, one step away from the blues
He only wanted to give a small part of himself But she took his heart then found someone else She never thought he’d give her more than a thought or two When she packed a few bags and cut herself loose And went far, far away in search of herself Never thinking to leave her new address Neither of them knew he was changing Till he woke up with nothing to lose Far, far away Far, far away Far, far away One step away from the blues…
There is a studio recording of this which is more rock ‘n’ roll, but I haven’t really done it in public since the disbanding of the Flying Piglets (yeah, I know, but the name wasn’t my idea…) so I thought I’d try a new arrangement. Needs work, but I think it will be OK.
Here’s the 1980s version: vocals, acoustic and slide by me.
I woke up with my mind’s eye facing your direction:
I looked hard and I saw you needed help.
You’re choking on paper and tape and legislation,
But you can’t produce one thing to help yourself.
Paper city at the heart of a paper empire:
You’ve got strings to pull, you’ve got wires all over the earth.
Sky-climbing parasite, concrete and paper jungle,
You’ve got money to burn, but I know you’d rather freeze to death.
You’ve got stacks of stocks and shares and bonds:
You’ve got telephone and telex,databank and dateline too.
But you can’t produce as much as one lead pencil,
Or a bar of soap, or a rubber band to pull you through.
The media twitch at the flash of a freemason’s handshake:
Speeches are made and the punters gather round;
Paper politicians and faceless company men,
Taking the pulse of an ailing paper pound.
I bet you know just what you’re worth on paper:
When the market crumbles, what will that do to you?
A lot of cold people don’t own the earth they lie in:
Will you be all right in your green-lined paper tomb?
Paper city at the heart of a bankrupt empire:
Your towers get higher as your assets hit new lows.
Nose-diving parasite, I wouldn’t mind you dying,
But you’ll take so many with you when you go.
A piece I was playing about with a few months ago on resonator guitar. This is actually played on the same guitar, but messing about with it to get a more 1950s steel guitar sound. Still needs work on the production, but I like the overall feel of this version.
Improvised slide piece that reminds me a little of John Fahey.
I’m ashamed to say I’m not well acquainted with the work of John Fahey, though I have occasionally played ‘The Death of the Clayton Peacock’ which I learned, I think, from a guitar anthology album. Even the way I play ‘Poor Boy/Vestapol’ ultimately derives from Stefan Grossman rather than either Fahey or Robert Wilkins. But that’s another story.
This is actually an improvisation (which started as a sort of pseudo-air in D-modal but somehow moved to a slide piece in Csus2), but it reminded me a little of the Fahey tracks I heard in the 70s. And now I think I’m going to have to start listening to him again.
Slightly tighter version than previously, played on resonator guitar.