John Fahey was a folk revivalist, a blues purist, and an occasional musical weirdo. But more than anything he was a spectacular guitarist — a profound and proficient instrumentalist whose style spanned continents and genres. He hit his stride in the early 1970s, but this terrific five-disc box includes 115 songs from his earliest years, most of them on CD for the first time. Fahey's fans range from Pete Townshend to members of Sonic Youth, and you can hear his influence in their work. Whether he's picking an old blues standard, rewiring 50 years of American music in his own compositions, or making his single guitar sound like an entire symphony, Fahey (who died a decade ago at the age of 61) is a marvel, tossing off riffs, leads, and strums like they were his lifeblood. — Gallucci
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