John Fahey: “Wine and Roses”

So we had some John Fahey yesterday, but I’m going to put up one more song: one of my favorites. This is a rare video of a very young John Fahey playing what’s identified as “Red Pony.” However, I think the song is misidentified, as I’ve long known it as “Wine and Roses” from his Takoma album Dance of Death and Other Plantation Favorites. It has that combination of folk, blues, and melancholy that’s characteristic of Fahey’s music.

I once wrote Fahey—we had some correspondence—asking what guitar he played. He answered that he played an old “Bacon and Day Señorita guitar” that he bought with a bowed neck. (He also told me where he got it, but I’ve forgotten. I don’t think many fans wrote to him!) And indeed, that’s the guitar he’s playing here.


  1. Robert Neely
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Around 1968 I was in the habit of doing my homework while listening to John Peel on the radio (in N.Ireland). Peel regularly played John Fahey and his distinctive sound drove me to learn country ragtime and blues guitar. I think Peel alternated Fahey with Michael Chapman for his guitar orientated listeners.

    Here is Chapman for comparison

  2. Posted March 1, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I am fascinated by the ending:”I stole that last chord from Holst, the Planets” comment and the camera pans to the interesting lady observing his playing.

  3. Tom Czarny
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    American Primitive guitar at its finest by the guy who coined the term. His Christmas music album “The New Possibility” is another example of religious music reimagined superlatively. Can’t agree with your assessment yesterday of Leo Kottke being an inferior version of Fahey however, Jerry. With his release of the “6 and 12 String Guitar” (Armadillo) album on Fahey’s old Tacoma label, Kottke pretty much revolutionized the playing of the 12-string guitar world-wide, frustrating generations of lesser players such as myself. But that’s what makes the give-and-take arguments over musical styles so endlessly fascinating and enriching.

  4. rickflick
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I’m so amazed at such skill. I watch the hands and fingers and try to superimpose the image onto my own hands in my head. I instantly seize up and realize that some people have it, and some people don’t.

  5. JoanL
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    WEIT reader KD33 posted a link yesterday to YouTube’s site for Josh Turner. Josh has a version of Red Pony; he says “The tune was recorded on different occasions under names as diverse as “Wine and Roses,” “The Approach of the Disco Void,” and “Walk on By.”

  6. Andrea Kenner
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink


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