Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Let’s make this month a Robbie Basho special.

In 1967, Basho released two albums on the Takoma label. The music within both The Falconer’s Arm I & II is Basho at his most visionary, spiritual, emotional best. The playing is straight from consciousness and on into the ether, the listening experience otherworldly. This is true psychedelic music, spiritual transcendence by strength of strings.

The vocals are kept to a minimum on these two albums, lengthy ragas making up most of the running time. Basho’s philosophy of “soul first - technique later” was probably never truer than here.

In a previous Basho post, I have mentioned the need for his music to be reissued. It is simply criminal that these two albums remain original issue vinyl only. In 2001, John Fahey conceived a Robbie Basho sampler entitled ‘Bashovia’. It contained tracks from both Falconer’s Arm L.P.’s, but they should reissued as originally released, retaining the original concept.

I should make it clear that these vinyl rips are not of the greatest quality (but hell, they‘re better than nothing). If anyone knows of better versions, please let me know.

The selections are followed by Basho’s own notes.

The Falconer’s Arm I

Takoma 1967

01. The Falconer’s Arm
02. Tassajara - Zen Shinji
03. Lost Lagoon Suite
      a) Walking Into The Forest
      b) Prelude
      c) Blue Wolf
      d) Sky Medicine
      e) Finale
      f) Walking Out Of The Forest
04. Pavan Hindustan
05. Babs

The Falconer's Arm - A rough-hewn piece from my personal forest of recollection. It could be an ancient Scotch Crusader's wail for overcoming ignoble establishments. There’s one thing the Blues is afraid of and that's the pipes.

Tassajara - Zen Shinji - A dedication sung to Tassajara - site of an old hot springs resort now the first Zen Monastery in the U.S., situated in the California Mountains southeast of Carmel. The piece itself is a duet for Guitar and Flute. The fine musicianship of Susan Graubard made it.

Lost Lagoon Suite - Vancouver, Canada - Theoretically a four movement symphony for a 12 string.

Pavan Hindustani - A miniature raga encapsuled in Western Guitar form, utilising the Running Himalayan Rondo.


The Falconer’s Arm II

Takoma 1967

01. Variations On “Shakespeare Wallah”
02. Song Of The Snowy Ranges
03. Pasha
04. Song Of God

Variations on "Shakespeare Wallah" (Sunyat Raye) - Recorded live at the "Rainbow Concert" at Santa Cruz. Fine recording of guitar by placing the recording mikes in the audience between the two speakers. Lord love a Nagra ( a miniature Swiss tape recorder).

Song of the Snowy Ranges - Definition of a bummer - too much too soon. Definition of acid - Karmic Cosmetics. Bringum-back-alive-Basho's contribution to the ant-acid campaign. Better to wait 3 years for a good thing than to push it and get "jammed". From beneath icy pinecones, the breath of peace.

Pasha - A song of Persian Autumn - raga and flamenco techniques. Sing a song of Scorpio. A Pocket full of Pasha.

Song of God -12 string. This piece opens with what I call the Crest of Richard The Lion Hearted (Tantric Heraldry), adapted from a composition by Billie Roberts called Folk Fugue. Then into the Song of God proper, which is my attempt to render a feeling for the manifestation of : Krishna, Manjurs, Rama, God and
Meher Baba.


Contemporary Guitar - Spring ‘67

Takoma 1967

01. Max Ochs - Raga
02. John Fahey - Sampler
03. Bukka White - Old Man Walking Blues
04. Max Ochs - Raga
05. Harry Taussig - Water Verses
06. Harry Taussig - Children’s Dance
07. Robbie Basho - The Thousand Incarnations Of The Rose

The same year, Takoma released a sampler of the artists on their roster. This sampler, so far, has not been part of the Takoma reissue series. A shame, it contains an exclusive Fahey track but the real treasure here is the 14 minute ‘
The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose’ by Robbie Basho. A breathtaking  tour-de-force unavailable elsewhere.