Important Records‘ new release is out – a tribute to the great American poet, guitarist and spiritual mentor- Robbie Basho.
Bahso was a guitarist, who’s first album was released by John Fahey‘s label Takoma, and the two, along with fellow guitarist Leo Kottke, were somewhat the father figures of the art of acoustic guitar.
Basho, to me, was the most unique and interesting of the three. He declared ‘Soul First, Technique Later’, and this saying is presented in each note he plays and sings.
His guitar abilities were phenomenal. He used many alternative tunings, most of them really strange and uncommon, to produce the color and moods he wanted to pass through music. When he opened his mouth and sang – it made heavens open. His singing is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in my life.
His compositions took many elements from Japanese music, to Indian, Persian, Classical, native Americans and more.
No wonder, that with such talent and emotion spread in his music, he gained many followers in recent years. In his life though, he had hard times getting recognition, maybe due to the complex music and unusual voice. His last three albums were released on cassettes as he had troubles finding a label. In mid-eighties, he died in an accident. More info about him, can be found in the great archive that the German guitarist Steffen Basho-Junghans set up in his honor and is a must see for fans of Basho’s music.
Thanks to the internet, many new listeners, like me, were exposed to Basho’s music. Mainly, through musicians like Glenn Jones and Steffen Basho (that dedicated 20 years of research about Robbie Basho), that kept carrying the torch and the message.
The two also helped making the fantastic release of Bonn Ist Supreme (with Bo’Weavil Records) – a recording of a solo show of Basho, 1980 in Germany.
Next one to come in the Basho-related projects is this new tribute album.
Buck Curran, a guitar builder and a member of the folk duo Arborea (along with his wife Shanti), decided to take an action and produced this project. He gathered musicians to perform their songs, written under the Basho influence, and arrangements of Basho songs, and crossed generations of musicians. Steffen-Basho and Glenn Jones on one hand, and Fern Knight, Helena Espvall (on cello), and Meg Baird (all from the Philadelphia folk scene), Cian Nugent from Ireland, Iraqui Oud master Rahim Alhaj, and Arborea.
In the digital version of this album, there will be tracks by Portuguese guitarist Joseba Irazoki, English guitarist Cam Deas. And a track of mine ;).
My contribution to this tribute album was an early version of Skinny Fists (later appeared in my album Remember).
The name for this album, was taken from a line appears in the beautiful song Moving Up A’ways (from his Rainbow Thunder album).
Robbie Basho – Moving Up A’ways
BUY : Important Records. Important Records will give a special discount for those who’ll come from Small Town Romance, so in your order, enter the words Small Town Romance and get the discount!