In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey
|In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey|
|Directed by||James Cullingham|
|Produced by||James Cullingham|
|Edited by||Caroline Christie, Jessica Anne Cullingham|
In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey is a 57-minute documentary released in 2013 that focuses on the life of the musician John Fahey, who is considered the father of American primitive guitar.
The documentary was filmed and based in Washington D.C. where Fahey was born, the Mississippi Delta, where Fahey met and recorded with many musicians, and Salem, Oregon; where Fahey resided in during the last 20 years of his life. The documentary includes a series of video clips of Fahey’s performances, interviews with those who were involved with the musician in his personal and professional life up until his death in 2001.
The film gives viewers an understanding of what Fahey’s personal world was like, and how he worked as a musician through animation, interviews, video clips and documentations of Fahey.
- Melody Fahey as herself
- Chris Funk as himself
- Barry Hansen as himself
- Joe Bussard as himself
- Joey Burns as himself
- Terry Robb as himself
- Pete Townshend as himself
- Rob Bowman as himself
- Stefan Grossman as himself
Music critic Richie Unterberger called the film "well done" and respectful, but noted the film "could have been more comprehensive." Writing for The Quietus, Sean Kitching praised the film as a "wonderful, expressionist documentary [that] admirably portrays the many facets of the man behind the music and the myth." Conversely, Jake Cole, writing for Spectrum Culture, summarized the film as "never [rising] above the mark of a mildly adventurous TV special, and its stylistic cleverness cannot disguise that this is, at heart, not far off from a cursory overview" and claimed "there is a gap here that makes Cullingham’s inventive and atypical approach to artist biography feel incorporeal. It avoids the pitfall of over-explaining an artist with a dull information-dump, but it nevertheless fails to fully join its impressionistic melding of image with Fahey’s music to any deeper revelations, which results in a play of signs without a signifier."
- Miller, Dale (January–February 1992). "Reinventing the Steel". John Fahey. Acoustic Guitar.
- Mark Jenkins (October 24, 2013). "'In Search of Blind Joe Death': Documentary spotlights legendary area guitarist John Fahey". Washington Post.
- Kitching, Sean (February 21, 2013). "Fahey's A Jolly Good Fellow: In Search of Blind Joe Death Reviewed".
- Unterberger, Richie (July 10, 2014). "John Fahey Documentary Review".
- Cole, Jake (August 20, 2013). "In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey".