Boomkat Product Review:
A transcendent collection of cuts snipped from a bumper 5CD set of unheard Basho material recorded between 1965 and 1985. American Primitive guitar / Fahey / Takoma / Six Organs of Admittance fans pay attention.
Filmmaker Liam Barker discovered legendary guitarist Robbie Basho after coming across Tompkins Square's reissue of "Venus in Cancer" and what followed was an "incredible fact-finding expedition" that resulted in his full-length documentary "Voice of the Eagle : The Enigma of Robbie Basho". While he was putting together the film, he came across a treasure trove of unheard Basho material, which he's now compiled as a generous five-disc set - this special album snips the very best from that bounty.
Taken from across Basho's career, the record features seven pieces that highlight the breadth of his skill as a guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. He's best known for bringing his interest in Indian classical music, Japanese music and Native American music into American folk and blues forms, and centering the steel string guitar, playing it almost like the Indian sarod. Here, that influence is obvious from the outset, as Basho hollers over an ethereal folk jangle on opener 'If I Had Possession' and becoming even more evident on long, spiritual jam 'Gypsy Rosary'.
Plenty of Basho's music has been reissued over the last few years as interest in the American Primitive style has surged, and while many of his records are uneven, this short, sharp collection should slake the thirst of any astral travelers thirsty for more. Fans of John Fahey, Six Organs of Admittance, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones et al, you know what to do.