The Essential John Fahey

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The Essential John Fahey
Greatest hits album by John Fahey
Released 1974
Recorded 1967–1968
Genre Folk
Length 66:05 (CD reissue)
Label Vanguard
Producer Sam Charters, John Fahey
John Fahey chronology
Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice)
The Essential John Fahey
Leo Kottke, John Fahey & Peter Lang

The Essential John Fahey is a compilation album by American fingerstyle guitarist and composer John Fahey, released in 1974.


The original 1974 double-LP release included all songs from both Fahey's Vanguard albums — the only two albums Fahey recorded for the label.

The CD reissue in 1996 of The Essential John Fahey contains all the tracks from The Yellow Princess and four from Requia, missing only the four-part "Requiem for Molly".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Dirty Linen (no rating) [2]

In his Allmusic review, critic Mark Allan describes the album as "Essential John Fahey is not essential, but because it features this extraordinary musician solo and with a band — members of Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne — it could be a good place to start."[1]

Writing for Dirty Linen magazine, Ivan Emke, in referring to the original albums wrote "Although they did not sell well at the time, they show Fahey well ahead of his time, and in good form. This is clearly experimental folk. Or the early use of sampling (from 1967, remember) during the four-part "Requiem for Molly." However, there was also the more standard fingerpicking, including the brilliant "Requiem for John Hurt." These CDs will help to remind us all of those paths that Fahey cleared.[2]

In a review of the original LP release of The Essential John Fahey in the July 3, 1974 Milwaukee Journal, Pierre-Rene Noth praised the release but referred to "Requiem for Molly" as "[Fahey's] worst.. a horrid mix."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by John Fahey.

  1. "The Yellow Princess" – 4:51
  2. "View (East from the Top of the Riggs Road/B&O Trestle)" – 4:57
  3. "Lion" – 5:10
  4. "March! For Martin Luther King" – 3:43
  5. "The Singing Bridge of Memphis, Tennessee" – 2:51
  6. "Dances of the Inhabitants of the Invisible City of Bladensburg" – 4:10
  7. "Charles A. Lee: In Memoriam" – 4:01
  8. "Irish Setter" – 7:18
  9. "Commemorative Transfiguration and Communion at Magruder Park" – 6:02
  10. "Requiem for John Hurt" – 5:08
  11. "Requiem for Russell Blaine Cooper" – 8:55
  12. "When the Catfish Is in Bloom" – 7:41
  13. "Fight on Christians, Fight On" – 1:55



  1. ^ a b Allan, Mark. "The Essential John Fahey > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Emke, Ivan (November 1999). "Review: The Essential John Fahey". Dirty Linen. 
  3. ^ Noth, Pierre-Rene (July 1974). "Review: The Essential John Fahey". Milwaukee Journal.