Monday, October 21, 2013

In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey (James Cullingham, 2013)

John Fahey is one of the best and most overlooked guitarists of the 20th century, and James Cullingham's mini-feature does about as good a job as one can do in bringing the recluse to life. Fahey left little in the way of anecdotal or personal value, which leaves little for the director to sink his teeth into. But then, Fahey left behind a considerable back catalogue of avant-garde but eminently listenable music, a nexus point of Eastern classical and Memphis blues that found constant variation in repetitious structures. Cullingham is at his best when he finds ways to visually ape those compositions, but in all this is one of those documentaries that succeeds artistically only in the sense it makes you want to see out the subject's work.

My full review is up at Spectrum Culture.

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