And More...

Among the people Peel was championing at the time was someone called Captain Beefheart, whose Safe As Milk album actually gained an Australian release and was viewed as quite amazingly brilliant and someone called John Fahey, who, from what I could gather, turned up in some shape or form on almost every one of Mr Peel’s radio shows.

Fahey records with titles like The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death were reviewed in the English press, but these little bits of exotica were on some obscure independent record label called Takoma and were almost unbelievably difficult to get in our part of Australia. It was probably altogether different in the capital cities but we were away in the back blocks. So John Fahey was one of those people I had on my chase these down some day list but I didn’t expect that day was likely to come any time soon.

Then, lo and behold, in the early seventies a Fahey record appeared on a major label, and, surprise surprise, the major label actually released the thing in Australia! 

The album was called Of Rivers And Religion and from the time I collected the copy I’d ordered, I was rapt. 

The cover, which to this day remains a favourite, had a picture of a a gathering of black people apparently dressed for church posed on a ferry made of tree trunks beside a water mill. The cover had a texture that suggested that the cover was on the bottom of a stream and you were looking at it through rippled water or something like that.

More impressive was the fact that the music on the record matched the feel of the cover perfectly and the vibe of the thing matched the sort of back porch music I’d found so appealing on the Taj Mahal album mentioned in the previous theme.

As time went by and imports became easier to chase down, my John Fahey collection grew, much to the bemusement of some of my colleagues who associated the name John Fahey with a school inspector who allegedly referred to himself as The Smiling Taipan. But Of Rivers and Religion remained in my list of indispensable albums, along with Love’s Forever Changes, Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter and Mother Earth’s Living With The Animals - but more of them later on. ..

B© Ian Hughes 2012