In 1978 Robbie Basho released the legendary Visions of the Country. Coming relatively late in a career which saw him, alongside John Fahey, develop the 'American Primitive' guitar tradition, Visions of the Country is a remarkable album filled with spirit, emotion, and ruggedness. The guitar playing is raw and intense, and his singing is just breathtaking. A marvel.
Vinyl LP £21.99 GNM026LP
140g black vinyl LP on Gnome Life. Comes in an old style gatefold tip-on jacket with poster insert.
Out of print for 35 years until Gnome Life decided to resurrect it, here’s the late, great Robbie Basho’s 1978 album ‘Visions of the Country’ making a welcome return to vinyl. For those who don’t know, Basho was a master of the folk/raga guitar picking style popularised by John Fahey, delving deeper into the cyclical Eastern styles and venturing further from the blues than ol’ Blind Joe Death.
The liner notes reveal that this album is Basho’s “portrait of North America as a beautiful woman”, an interesting approach, and really what that means for you is lots of beautifully picked guitar meditations and tasteful minimal arrangements, mostly six string-led but with a handful of numbers on 12-string and even piano. Basho’s wibbling, plaintive voice is another major feature, popping up on about half the tracks and particularly evocative on ‘Blue Crystal Fire’ at the end of side A. Another highlight is ‘Leaf in the Wind’ which unexpectedly combines Lubomyr Melnyk-esque flurries of piano notes with some spooky yet soulful whistling. In terms of this style and era of guitar soli Basho is second only to Fahey in terms of historical impact and lasting emotional resonance, and listening to this album it’s not hard to hear why. Truly beautiful recordings.
9/10 Greg 9th July 2015
This record's absolutely beautiful, from the cover to the end of the last track. He's clearly chanelling mother earth here, requiring him to not hold back on the intricate guitar, bold whistles, jaunty piano and his inimitable voice. I was snared by Blue Crystal Fire but that's now just one feature of the landscape of the whole record. It's a heady mixture that ranges from ambient passages to operatic crescendos, transporting you to his land of deer with silver antlers and fast flowing waterfalls.
9/10 Mikey Phillips 4th March 2014
Beautiful record. This is an essential part of any music fans record collection. Seriously rich and emotive performances. It's pretty difficult to try and describe Robbie's music with words, couldn't recommend moreso to get a copy of this while you still can, sit back and let it raise the hairs on your neck. Thanks for keeping this in stock xo
10/10 Ali 3rd March 2014
Robbie Basho is an absolute beast and this record is a belter. I bought it purely for 'Variations on Easter' and 'Blue Crystal Fire' but having listened to it there is no particular favourite anymore they're all bangers. If you are of the singer songwriter persuasion then then this should be first on your list. His style reminds me of Nick Drake in the way that the strings seem to dance and sing to each other while the vocals are seperate.
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