Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“On the Sunny Side of the Ocean”

Music for a hot day here in Portland, Oregon—temperatures predicted to climb into the high 90s! We are certainly “On the Sunny Side of the Ocean.”

This is a signature piece from the late, great guitarist & composer, John Fahey. For those who are unfamiliar with his work, he was much influenced by the fingerstyle guitar playing of Delta blues musicians like Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt & Charlie Patton. Fahey morphed the sound of that music into his own style, which he called “American Primitive.” Although Fahey did compose a number of pieces in standard tuning, he (like his blues playing predecessors) favored open tunings like open G (which is the tuning he used for “On the Sunny Side of the Ocean”) & “crossnote tuning,” or open D minor, as was used in particular by Skip James.

“On the Sunny Side of the Ocean” was originally released on Fahey’s 1965 album The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death; this video is from a 1978 concert in Hamburg, Germany—sorry they cut the final chord a second or two short!

Hope you enjoy it.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons

John Fahey in Studio playing his Recording King guitar, c. 1970. Photo is by Ellis408, who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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