Fahey expanded Takoma stable, signing guitarists Leo Kottke, Robbie Basho and Peter Lang, pianist George Winston, Mike Bloomfield, Rick Ruskin, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Maria Muldaur and Canned Heat. Fahey sold Takoma to Chrysalis Records in 1979, and they passed the label on to Fantasy Records in 1995.

Personal relationships, alcohol, homelessness and health issues came into play in the late seventies, Fahey's output declined. He moved to to Salem, Oregon in 1981 with his third wife and contracted Epstein-Barr syndrome, a long-lasting viral infection similar to chronic fatigue syndrome five years later. While he continued to perform around Salem, he broke up with his wife and made what looked likely to be his last album in 1990. He won his five-battle with Epstein-Barr, but spent much of the early ninetiess living in cheap motels, paying his rent by pawning guitars and reselling rare records found in thrift stores. Then, in the mid-nineties, after an entry in Spin magazine's Alternative Record Guide publication, Fahey acquired a new audience, including US bands Sonic Youth and Cul de Sac. A two-cd retrospective called The Return of the Repressed and new releases started to appeared in rapid succession, along with reissues of all the Takoma releases by Fantasy.

An inheritance from his father’s estate provided the seed money to set up another record label, Revenant Records, looking to reissue obscure recordings, early blues, old-time music, and whatever else caught Fahey’s eye. Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton, a seven-disc retrospective won three Grammy awards in 2003. and Fahey won a Grammy in 1997 for contributions to the liner notes for Revenant's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4.

Studio albums:

1959 Blind Joe Death (Takoma) Reissued 1964 with partial re-recording as Vol. 1; 1967 with full re-recording; 1996 on CD as The Legend of Blind Joe Death (Fantasy)

1963 Death Chants, Breakdowns & Military Waltzes Reissued 1967 with partial re-recording as Vol. 2; 1999 on CD

1964 The Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites Reissued 1967 with new cover (both LP releases had Vol. 3 on the cover; 1999 on CD with 4 bonus tracks

1965 The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death  (Riverboat Records) Subsequent versions on Riverboat, Trans-Atlantic, Takoma and Chrysalis listed the album as Vol. 5; 1997 on CD as The Legend of Blind Joe Death (Takoma)

1966 The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party & Other Excursions (Takoma) LP listed as Vol. 4; 2000 on CD 

1967 Days Have Gone By (Takoma) LP listed as Vol. 6; 2001 on CD 

1968 The Voice of the Turtle (Takoma) 1996 on CD

Requia (Vanguard) First issued on CD in 1997

The Yellow Princess (Vanguard) First issued on CD in 2000 2006 version has 3 bonus tracks

The New Possibility (Takoma) Later known as Christmas with John Fahey Vol. I

1971 America (Takoma) 1998 on CD

1972 Of Rivers and Religion (Reprise) 2001 on CD (Collectors' Choice Music)

1973 After the Ball (Reprise) 2003 on CD 

Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice) (Takoma) 1992 on CD (Shanachie) and 2007 (Ace)


© Ian Hughes 2012