Robbie Basho - Basho Sings
Whereas folk guitar master John Fahey focused on the old, weird America and the blues, cohort and contemporary Robbie Basho took his influence from Eastern modes.
Thanks to his studies with Ali Akbar Khan, Basho sought to replicate the droning tones so prevalent in Indian music with unique open tunings while his finger-picking technique was singular in itself, in part to his time working with the Sarod, an instrument of Indian classical music.
Basho Sings is another beast altogether. Released in 1967, the same year as the stellar Falonconer’s Arm LPs, Basho chose to showcase his voice on a set of more traditional folk tunes and ballads. When it comes to his voice, he’s powerful to say the least. He goes from soft, almost gentle vocalisms to booming, banshee-like trills that are as surprising as they are transfixing. “Katari Takawaitha” has the feel of a Native-American dirge in its minor-key pulse but it urgently switches and transforms to a rallying cry at its chorus. “Dance Colina” is more subdued taking on singer-songwriter-like cues influenced by the pre-war blues songsmiths that came before him while, “Basket Full of Dragons” is written in 12-bar blues but features Basho’s virtuosic runs up and down the neck of his guitar.
Robbie Basho deserves to be revered in the same ways that John Fahey and Leo Kottke are. With his catalog finally getting reissued over the last few years and a new documentary just completed, (The Voice Of The Eagle), that time is now. (Dom)
Check out a track here.