“On the Sunny Side of the Ocean” by John Fahey

Beginning in 1959, John Fahey’s “Blind Joe Death” excursions for solo acoustic guitar were the first to radically reconsider traditional blues and old-time music, extending by personalizing what Harry Smith did with the Anthology of American Folk Music (1952): rather than mythologizing what at that time was a largely unknown recorded legacy, as Smith did, Fahey … Continue reading “On the Sunny Side of the Ocean” by John Fahey

“Spoon” by Can

Across five albums and five years Can rendered the categories meaningless and set the bar for the kind of rock future that would make stars out of bands like Radiohead; there’s probably an argument that theirs is still the standard.  Like the better so-called “krautrock” bands of the era, Can’s music sounds like little else, … Continue reading “Spoon” by Can

“Sowiesoso” by Cluster

Keith Jarrett‘s success in his tours of Germany in the early 70s owed some debt to the burgeoning, radical art scenes taking over that country’s larger cities.  German audiences supported a fiercely independent free rock culture that drew heavily from American jazz — particularly the extended, disciplined jams of In a Silent Way-era Miles Davis — and that pushed Hendrix‘s electric sorcery … Continue reading “Sowiesoso” by Cluster

“1970” by the Stooges

Three months after Miles Davis unleashed Bitches Brew on the rock and jazz worlds, the Stooges second record, Fun House, appeared.  Like Davis, like a lot of music in 1970, the band was looking for the elemental, pushed by psychedelics to the fringes of structure, open minds creating extremes of focus.  For the Stooges that meant … Continue reading “1970” by the Stooges