Death Chants: the 1967 recordings.

When Fahey re-recorded his first two albums in 1967 it was because of dissatisfaction with various aspects of the recording quality with the earlier versions rather than any intention to release them in stereo, although the commercial realities of the record market meant that stereo mixes were made the following year.

One does not have to be a purist to recognise the inadequacies of the stereo versions with their absurdly exaggerated separation; on headphones they sound less like one exceptional guitar player than two decent ones engaged in some bizarre guitar playing equivalent of synchronised swimming. Possibly intentionally, they mock the audiophile pretensions of the record buyer only prepared to buy 'stereo'.

Those 1967 mono versions were of course withdrawn after scarcely a year, and have never been available since. Given that they sound so considerably superior to the stereo mixes, it is disappointing that Fantasy didn't elect to use the mono masters when they put out their CD reissue. It was not for nothing that those 1967 records had stickers boasting that they had been recorded in 'Magnificent Mono', so here are those 1967 mono recordings for Death Chants.

Note: The titles 'Spanish Dance' and 'Take a Look at That Baby' had their respective tunes swapped between the 1963 and 1967 releases. I have left the titles (and music) here as they appear on the record in the interests of historical truth; you can of course reverse the titles (and maybe the sequence) if you prefer. As with the later 1968 cover, the sleeve reverses the sides for the listings, and omits 'Take a Look at That Baby' entirely.