Country Blues > Saturday Night Fish Fry

The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose: A Festival of American Primitive Guitar


And I was just tipped off to this one--not Country Blues, but it may be of interest to some:

OK trivia fans ... here's one for ya. "The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose" was originally the title of a 16-minute guitar epic by Robbie Basho, issued in 1966 on Takoma C-1006, an instrumentral LP called "Contemporary Guitar". Other artists on it were John Fahey, Max Ochs (two tracks both called "Raga" ... it was the mid-1960s) and Harry Taussig. In among all this earnest exotica is a track  called "Old Man Walking", by Booker White with Jimmy Rainey on (light) drums). It was part of a three-track session Booker did in Berkley in 1964; the other two tracks, "World Boogie" and "Midnight Blues" were issued on a Takoma 45 ("Midnight Blues" also came out on Arhoolie LP-1018, the "Bad Luck 'n' Trouble" anthology).  "Old Man Walking" is interesting at least partly because Booker plays it in minor tuning, but seems to be treating it as though he was playing in major. Anyway have a listen (the disc pictured on YouTube says "Spring '67", but the album pictured  is not the original issue, which says all tracks are copyright 1966).

I thought after his rediscovery, and a lot of listening to Lightnin' Hopkins, which enamored him of the repeated hammer-on from the open third to first fret, White retuned most of his songs previously played in Vastapol into Crossnote, and played them holding the 3rd string fretted at the first fret. This is pretty clear in most of the videos of him.


I picked up the LP with the collage/montage cover back around 1970 or so. I checked and it appears that there are still mint LPs available for around $20, although I don't know whether they are NOS or re-issues for the retro vinyl market as the Takoma catalog has changed ownership several times over the years.

I always loved the Booker White track, although I remember some of my guitar-centric friends thought that it was out of place on the record.

Perhaps this item of trivia belongs in the "Newton Gaines - 1920s Cowboy Singer and Physics Professor," thread, but Harry Taussig is another Ph.D. with varied interests and talents. He's done work in film, photography and as a visual artist.


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