Voice of the Turtle: the earliest pressings

Since it settles quite a few debates, here are pictures of the original 1968 black & silver labelled copies of Voice of the Turtle; these show that both the eleven and twelve track pressings existed from the off. Neither of these is easy to find, although I suspect that serious collectors will want both.

Original 11 track pressing, side 1 has 5 tracks:

Original 12 track pressing, side 1 has 6 tracks:

For more discussion of the complex history of this album, or to add any comment, please see my earlier post, The Mystery of the Turtle. These pictures have been included in that post; I've put them here as well to highlight the update.

Please add any comment to the 'Mystery of the Turtle' post, rather than here.


Takoma Records 1968 Catalog

This catalogue was routinely packaged in with albums for a while. It is worth noting that the One String Blues album (shown as B1020) was not actually available when this catalogue was published; it eventually appeared as B1023. With the exception of the Phil Yost album, none of those listed as 'in preparation' ever made it to release.


Three Day Band

It's not too often that CDs get mentioned here (other than to complain that Fantasy could have done better) but sometimes needs must, as it were.

Last year the Newburyport MA based indie Important Records re-released The Mill Pond as a limited edition CD. They still have it (as do the big online retailers) but those among you who collect Fahey's CDs may not be aware that it comes in two different sleeves - one white board, and one brown chipboard. It's well presented, with a booklet of John's paintings, and if it passed you by you should seek it out before it's gone. If you order directly from Important, you can specify which sleeve you prefer, or there's a $1.98 discount if you order both.

Now they've followed that up by releasing Three Day Band, a collaboration between Fahey and Ayal Senior recorded in John's hotel room in 1999. There are a couple of improvised music pieces, and 15 recordings of John reading excerpts from his writings. They've got some lengthy mp3s up, so you'll know what you're letting yourself in for - I think it's enjoyable, not just one for the completists.

If you'd far rather look at pictures of cats than even contemplate ownership of a CD (there'll be some, I know) they have a rather nice cat page .


New labels

Once again this is here to flag up some additions to long-standing posts. Glenn Jones has very kindly photographed some of his rarest Fahey records, in particular the original 1959 Blind Joe Death and the limited edition of Transfiguration (shown above to catch your attention).

You can see all the new labels by clicking on the Record Labels link in the sidebar, then scrolling down the page.

My thanks to Glenn who has put in a lot of work on this. He's sent me more, and I'll be getting that posted in due course.

Please add any comment on the labels to the original posts, rather than here.


The Bastrop Waltz

Another terrific recording, probably left over from sessions that contributed to The Voice of the Turtle. Considerably longer than the recording mentioned on the Fahey Files, and with the usual thanks to the provider, here is The Bastrop Waltz.


The Eye of the Turtle

It has long been said that there were two different eye variations for the turtle that presides over the front cover of Voice of the Turtle. After I had an email from Glenn Jones confirming their existence, I thought I'd better check my own copies with a magnifying glass, and yes, there are indeed two versions. All the early sleeves (at least until circa 1974), the ones that have the outer pasted wrap-round, have a plain pupil. However, when the sleeve switched to the later and more standard construction, printed to a higher standard off new plates, cross-hatching substitutes for the colour of the earlier ones . I've seen it suggested that there is more than one variant of hatched eye; however the two examples of cross-hatched eyes I show here (from the two batches of the last gatefold sleeves manufactured) appear different only in that the printing plate has been more heavily inked in the earlier than the later example, so ink has flowed into the hatching at some points. I suspect that the hatching was added by the person who made up the new printing plates for the later sleeves, possibly to cover up a flaw or error in the photo-etching, but probably damage to the original artwork. Further plates were made up when the switch was made to the single sleeve around 1977; this added a second turtle (copied from the first but slightly smaller) to the bottom right-hand corner of the sleeve, replacing the promise of a book within. The hatching in the eye remained although it is difficult to tell whether it is the same, given the considerable difference in print quality. The smaller of the two turtles has clearly had its eye reworked, probably because the hatching wouldn't reduce easily (the pictures below are shown in scale to show the relative size of the smaller turtle).

As always, click to enlarge the pictures.

Early eye 1968-Circa 1974, 3rd sleeve, original plates:

Later eye, Circa 1975-1977, 1st printing, second plates:

Later eye, Circa 1975-1977, 2nd printing, second plates:

Last eye, main turtle, Single sleeve, Circa 1977

Eye of second turtle, Single sleeve, Circa 1977

For more details on the various sleeves for this album, or to add any comment, please see my earlier post, The Mystery of the Turtle. This new information has been included in that post too; I've put it here as well to highlight the update. If you own another variation, get in touch.

Please add any comment to the 'Mystery of the Turtle' post, rather than here.


The Roots of John Fahey

In my 'to do' box, as it were, has been the intention to start uploading the original source material that Fahey drew from and used to shape his own music; I had very kindly been sent a copy of the wonderful VrootzBox and had found that a lot of the material on it opened up Fahey's work more than I anticipated. I had got as far as ripping an initial selection of recordings, but now I find that I have been beaten to it by the Irate Pirate over on Wrath of the Grapevine, who has produced his own 5 CD selection of material (plus a bonus disc). He's put a lot of time and effort into a very substantial project, and it's well worth taking advantage of all his work.

Here's the link to the Pirate's specific post - The Roots of John Fahey

Dick Waterman's wonderful photo is of JF with Son House; I've appropriated it from the Irate Pirate but only to catch your attention!