As astute reader Nicky Longlunch pointed out in a comment on my last post on 50 Great Guitarists, John Fahey was not only a fantastic guitarist, he was also a published author. Fahey wrote three books–1970’s Charley Patton, a biography of that great blues guitarist (out of print now unless you buy the Charley Patton box set); 2000’s How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life, a collection of mostly humorous anecdotes and stories; and the posthumously published Vampire Vultures, a collection of Fahey’s letters, limericks, and interviews. HBMDML and VV are both still in print from Drag City (you can also read a PDF extract from HBMDML there).
I remember enjoying How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life back when it was first published, when Mr. Longlunch was kind enough to let me borrow it (I returned it folks!). I recall it as being funny, insightful, and Bukowski-spare; I recall it also exhibiting the same raw pathos that Bukowski infused in his work, but with none of the vulgar meanness. The best parts of the book detail Fahey’s young years in Maryland. I can’t really remember much else. I’d love to read it again, but I can’t really shell out $20 for a paperback right now. And unfortunately, I can’t just borrow it from Longlunch again, because he is no longer in possession.
In his comment, Longlunch griped at me to “Focus!” and he’s right–this blog is supposed to be focused on stolen books, and, poor guy, his copy of HBMDML is (I’m guessing) somewhere in Texas. Or he’s just misplaced it for the past seven years. Or he’s lying about it being MIA because he doesn’t want to loan it out. Which is fair, I guess.
Before I leave, I should also point out that Fahey isn’t the only author I overlooked in yesterday’s post. For years now, Pete Townshend has been doing “research” for his as-yet-unpublished autobiography. So we have that to look forward to.