Every week, a different FADER editor compiles a playlist to highlight a new release and give you a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers. These Staff Selects live in our Spotify app, alongside GEN Fs from our archives and playlists for each issue. This week, it’s Emilie Friedlander on the pre-depression era roots of the American Primitive genre that John Fahey spearheaded in the 1950s.
Record Store Day is just two days away, and if you're looking for an album that actually speaks to the indispensability of recorded sound in our lives, then you probably couldn't find anything more meaningful than a new, little-talked-about guitar music compilation that archival label Tompkins Square is putting out. The latest installment in a series dedicated to the cross-generational, idiosyncratic tradition of American, fingerplucked guitar music, Imaginational Anthem Vol. 6 shuttles back in time, past the young Steve Gunns and Daniel Bachmans of today (and of Imaginational Anthem Vol. 5) and the John Faheys and Sandy Bulls they grew up listening to, focusing instead on the warbly voiced, open-tuning-loving, pioneering country bluesmen without whom we wouldn't be talking about American Primitive music today. All of the tracks on the compilation were recorded between the years 1923 to 1930, and there's even a "Guitar Rag" by a Louisville axeman by the name of Sylvester Weaver, believed to be the first piece of guitar-based music ever captured on tape. Listen to that track on today's Spotify Playlist, along with cuts from other artists featured on the release and some of the latter-day guitar greats they inspired.
Staff Selects: The First Guitar Solo Ever Recorded