August 17, 2007

"It Was Twenty...Five...Years Ago Today"

Somehow that "five" really messes up the meter of that line, but as I'm neither John nor Paul, I'll stick with it.

On August 17th, 1982 a joint venture between Philips Electronics of Holland and Sony Corporation of Japan gave birth to the now ubiquitous compact disc. In this era of the MP3, filled with iPods and other portable music players, the CD is starting to look a little long in the tooth. Having said that, CD sales still account for most of the music industry's recording revenues. The promise of a better fidelity than the l.p. record - with the convenience of cassette tape - is sure to still raise some ire among audiophiles. Nevertheless, the 1990s were the heyday for the CD, with millions of music fans replacing their favorite cassettes and record albums with shiny reflective discs.

While the CD made its debut (twenty-five years ago) today, commercial release of titles and players didn't happen until the fall of '82...

...just in time for this fine 1982 release from iconoclastic fingerstyle guitarist John Fahey. Founder of the Tacoma record label (which released Leo Kottke's seminal "6- and 12- String Guitar" and Peter Lang's debut "The Thing at The Nursery Room Window"), Fahey is often heralded as one of the earliest innovators of solo fingerstyle guitar played on a steel-string.

While Fahey's discography is quite varied in terms of style (as well as accessibility), this release displays his interpretation of familiar holiday classics that can be enjoyed by all.

A fine example of innovative guitar music answering the clarion's call of the compact disc.

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