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Robbie Basho 1971
Takoma Pressefoto 1971
Robbie Basho 1972
Takoma/Vanguard Pressefoto 1972
Robbie Basho 1972
Robbie Basho 1972


Eine persönliche Geschichte über Robbie Basho in den frühen '80ern:

"In the early 80's I was browsing at Leopold Records in Berkeley. A man entered, announced himself as Robbie Basho at the counter and inquired about buying some of his old L.P.s The sad implications of this request impelled me to withdraw from earshot...."
read more "Piedmont-Avenue" Dorian's Writing and Photo Journal
Notes (von GLENN JONES, STEFFEN BASHO-JUNGHANS, RICHARD OSBOURN..) für das gerade veröffentlichte: ROBBIE BASHO "BONN 1st SUPREME" - in Kürze

From ED Denson's notes to "The Seal of the Blue Lotus" by Robbie Basho (1964 - Takoma, reissued 1997 by Fantasy):

Fahey invited [Basho] to the final rehearsal for the Episcopal Youth Show, and one thing led to another until Robbie found himself on the stage in a church playing second guitar while an unsuspecting girl read from the script Fahey had written: "The next song was sung by an old cajun woman discovered by Samual B. Charters in Watertight, Louisiana. No one could understand her dialect, and unfortunately she died the next day before a translator could be found, but the melody survives" and then the ensemble played a Fahey invention, followed by a guitar and kazoo version of an old Columbia record with the church organist...taking lead kazoo."


in THE WIRE„Blood on the Frets“:

Takoma had also established a label identity with its distinguished roster of guitarists, capped by the release of up-and-coming guitarist Leo Kottke's classic debut, Six And 12 String Guitar. Fahey smiles, "Everybody in the office said, 'That's no good, it won't sell. He just plays like you do'. I said, 'No he doesn't" But I just saw a big dollar sign on the wall." The roster was completed by Peter Lang and the eccentric Robbie Basho, whose two volume release was called The Falconer's Arm.

"He was crazy," Fahey laughs, "very hard to get along with. I didn't put out his records, ED Denson did. I never really liked them until Al Wilson pointed out that there were some really good songs. He was right, there is some great stuff on those records. I never hung out with Robbie personally much. Nobody did. You couldn't."

Compared with one act that turned up in 1969 looking for a deal, however, Robbie Basho was a model of sanity.


someone in front of me on line had four fonotones, and i had previously only seen this on website and through hearsay. I have never seen them and know about its history only through stories and myths. there was one by blind thomas, one which featured robbie basho in a group, and two others i cannot remember. when john saw these, he said, "those are collectible but they're not even good" (repeated twice)...


I think there is still a lot of influence from Basho, frankly. His very linear way of playing guitar which treats it more like a sarod—the influence of Ali Akbar Khan for the most part—working in an open C. So much of what I learned was inspiration from Robbie Basho. More than any other player, he’s the one that I studied. It’s true that my approach to how chords are played is more classical than Basho’s. He was content to stay in a really raga-esque place in terms of picking. As my music evolved, I found I was doing less in terms of playing melodies exclusively with the thumb on the third, fourth and fifth string as Basho did in imitating the sarod. I was using chordal stuff more, but the movement up and down the neck is still very much a product of Basho.

Robbie Basho was an angel. I don’t believe he was terrestrial. I would watch him play and be transported in a way I’ve never been transported before. I’d see him have conversations with people who I did not see in the room. I truly believe that his reality was more accurate than mine. He was seeing a spirit that I was not. I think he may have died a virgin. Robbie didn't have a driver’s license. He was not of this world and was not equipped to be part of this world. I’m not surprised he left this world early. It must have been very tiring for him to try to be in it, but his influence on me is so vast and seminal that I can’t possibly overemphasize it. I think people should go back and listen to his music. There’s some powerful, powerful stuff. Though his voice was odd, it was so powerful. I never really studied with Robbie. I wanted to but I was just too undisciplined to do it and at some point Robbie, exasperated, said to me "Oh, so you need the short lesson." I said "I guess so," and he said "Don’t be afraid to feel anything" and "Sing every melody out loud. If all you’re doing is guitar riffs, there won’t be enough there." Very often a guitarist thinks he’s playing a melody when all he’s doing is a chordal progression with a picking pattern. Unless you can sing the melody as an independent thing and have it work as a melody just note by note by note, you haven’t really written a melody. It’s one of the greatest exercises to engage in when writing. It was a tremendous tool that he gave me. He lived on a spiritual plane that was very real and he made beautiful, beautiful music that people would be well served to listen to today. Doing records with this man who I revered was a big deal for me.


He had a big effect on me. He had an old 12-string guitar and used to wear cowboy outfits and carry around Japanese movie review books. He sang a lot more a traditional mode back then, and I always loved his voice -- it was really good, and spooky . I'd keep trying to talk to him, and one night at a place called the Unicorn I was following him and I said, "Gee, I'm really kind of nervous, because I've been listening to you so much, I'm afraid I'm going to sound a lot like you." And he said "Aw, that's all right, we all go through somebody sooner or later."

"I just never thought it would be a job but it turned into one"
Leo Kottke Interview von Tom Murphy Fri., 27.Jan. 2012
Who is Furry Jane?
That's a good question. The song was Robbie Basho's favorite song of mine and Robbie was a guy who was entirely unknown to himself. And I mean that in the most absolute sense 'cause I met him when I was a kid in high school and I'd follow him around. He was not the guy that...well he remains obscure but he did make a few records on the label I wound up on briefly. He was an entirely different guy when I knew him. He was a cowboy that was into Japanese movies, and he was drunk all the time, and he sang all the time, and he didn't go anywhere near all the stuff that he became later.  
When I talked to him on the phone and he told me about Furry Jane, I said, "I remember you from high school. Remember me? I used to bug you and drive you crazy asking you questions about your twelve string." He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "When you were playing around DC and Maryland." And he said, "Uh, that wasn't me. I didn't play around there." I said, "Well you were a cowboy, and you were always wearing boots and all that garbage." He said, "No!" "You're into Japanese movies." "No! No, that wasn't me." It was him.(mehr..)


Es gibt heute sehr unterschiedliche Meinungen über Robbie Basho und oft wird seine Musik mit inzwischen vertrauteren gitarristischen "Mainstream"-Standarts verglichen, ein hinkender Vergleich, wenn nicht im Zusammenhang mit der Zeit, seiner persönlichen Geschichte, seinen Einflüssen, Ideen und Vorstellungen betrachtet wird. Bei gibt es einige "Kunden-reviews" zu "Guitar Soli", von denen einige zeigen, daß dieser Zusammenhang offensichtlich nicht beachtet wurde und so gewissermaßen, wie so oft, Äpfel mit Birnen verglichen werden. Es ist wirklich nicht alles nachzuvollziehen, was da geschrieben wird, einige Stimmen sind jedoch interessant und zeigen, wie der frühe Robbie Basho im Kontext seiner Zeit verstanden werden kann.

Richard S. Osborn "artpaws" (Saratoga, CA USA)- alter Freud und Kollege von Robbie sagt zu "The Seal of the Blue Lotus":

There are several truly atrocious pieces on this album. But keep in mind that all of the music comes from his earliest recordings. To understand what is going on here, remember Robbie's own guiding axiom: "Vision first, technique second". You are listening to a kind of musical record of one man's inner spiritual journey, someone whose soul expanded with visions from India, Tibet, China, Iran, Armenia. So, to the reviewer who trashed this album, I would say: you have missed a rare glimpse into the creative process itself, what jazz musician's call "deep in the shed", LONG before it gets polished and prettified for public consumption. ausfühlich
und "chrisjr" (Orlando, FL United States) schreibt:

Robbie Basho is always lumped in with Leo Kottke and John Fahey since he shared the Takoma label and was an innovative talent himself, however it's not fair to compare Robbie Basho to either aforementioned guitarist. Basho has been referred to as "psychedelic" and "spiritual". His compositions don't draw on the same roots as Kottke or Fahey, and though his raw passionate sound certainly parallels the power of Kottke's plucking and Fahey's experimental out standings, Basho still traverses a land all his own. True, Basho may be an acquired taste especially when one is familiar with the precision of Kottke, as precision wasn't Basho's aim--expression was. Basho had a punk attitude; he was more interested in making the music then making it "technical". In a sense he comes off as more an idealist and romantic than Kottke, and not as spiritually gimmicky, for lack of a better term, as Fahey.
Kottke and Fahey aside. Let's look at Basho. This CD represents a good sampling of his earliest recorded work, it's very raw and edgy and when Basho "sings" (in tongues) or whistles it's eerie but beautiful. Basho's later works are more accomplished in the traditional guitarist sense, but to me less interesting and less obviously innovative than his first few recordings. Basho is endlessly experimental and endlessly expressive. You'll here subtle ambient sounds behind his guitar like bells and chimes. It sounds authentic; one can imagine sitting on a monastery porch next to the guitarist in some far away Eastern land.
Robbie Basho/Foto: Jeffrey Dooley
Frets 5/81, Foto: Jeffrey Dooley
Robbie Basho live frühe '80er
Robbie Basho live 1981
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