Takoma R./Fantasy Robbie Basho : Bashovia (1967,1971)***°
This is a compilation of Robbie Basho in theory of last three Takoma releases, included are in fact nearly complete both Falconer's Arm (vol 1,2) releases (1967) with parts of "Song of the Stallion"(1971).
The release came to existence with the help of conversations with John Fahey, who actually mostly celebrated the singing of Basho at "Basho sings", also from 1967, a release we are still waiting for to be rereleased.
This release is with a bit more attention to the guitar, as you could expect from seeing the picture on the cover, with some exceptions. Unfortunately I am not capable for comparing with the concepts of the original albums into this new one. It is for me the only chance to hear these tracks. "Bashovia" is (like) the world of Basho, a world in which especially John Fahey sees his full imagination enfold, with an impossibility to get a grip upon Robbies full mysticism.
This particular album might not the best and best accessible starter. Personally I think "Guitar Soli" (****) gives a better overview of Basho's work.
For the song "Song of the Snowy Ranges" the voice seems not be recorded perfectly. One of my favorite tracks on this one is "a North American Raga (A plumstar)", one of his most worked out raga guitar pieces from those days, with a spiritual native talk included, and "Roses and Snow" in the same technique, with added tabla, both tracks originally from "Song of The Stallion". Hearing these two tracks compared with the rest it seems that the ideas and styles are much more worked out on later albums, and I wish this album came as a compilation of the '67 albums only or as "Song of the Stallion".
The guitar technique of Basho also on his first explorations is very unusual, but the longer he knows his technique the more clear it becomes that it can have some higher aspect too, transcending a more deeper human character in them.
Basho himself says : "soul first, technique later". May be that was his secret for being able to delve into new and pleasant areas of guitar music. Another quote on "Song from the Stallion" is "better to drink wine from the hands, than water from a pretty cup". "But the ultimate is wine from a pretty cup." May be Basho started bringing wine to us with his bare hands, but in the development of his style, and surely with the addition of singing these hands became like a golden grail, with a sort of guitar presentation which Steffen Basho Junghans gladly learned from, and develloped into something different of his own.