Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

493

Harry Taussig: Fate Is Only Once

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
As far as records go, Harry Taussig's Fate Is Only Once is about as rare as they come. Recorded in 1965 as a short-run private pressing, this is Taussig's only full-length recording, which has not been previously re-released. Thus Fate Is Only Once has been a long sought after collectible for folk guitar enthusiasts, most of whom by necessity will forever remain empty handed. That is, unless they can be placated by this CD release of Fate Is Only Once by Tompkins Square. It's a terrific album of unassuming folk tunes that deserved to be resuscitated.

Taussig's style is nimble and precise without the "how can he do that?" reaction that comes from listening to Leo Kottke or John Fahey. None of these songs are written by Taussig; rather, they are adaptations of folk tunes and popular songs of days of yore. Most of them succeed splendidly. The Gary Davis tunes that kick off the CD are textbook finger-picking, and songs like "Dark Town Strutter's Ball" take the songs in directions the composers likely never intended. "Sugar Babe, Your Papa Cares for You" is a fantastic song played on the 12-string that is about as Fahey-like as a player can get.

Taussig stumbles a bit on the second half. "Dorian Sonata" is a meandering exploration of that mode which doesn't seem completely developed, and the downright awful title track begins with the wince-inducing beginning of playing all the open strings in standard tuning (an amateur's trick), and never develops into anything remotely interesting after that.

Despite all this, Fate Is Only Once is a great listen that recreates a style of music rarely heard today. Taussig never recorded again after this, which makes this record all the more special. Wherever he may be, he can rest assured that he took advantage of an opportunity to record a gem.


Track Listing: Baby Let Me Lay It On You/That'll Neever Happen No More; Blues For Zone VII; Dark Town Strutter's Ball; R.R. Bill & Co.; Rev's Rag; Sugar Babe, Your Papa Cares For You; National Ragtime Stomp; Rondo To Death; Monte's Blues; Dorian Sonata; St. Louis Trickle; Fate Is Only Once.

Personnel: Harry Taussig: guitar.

Title: Fate Is Only Once | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Tompkins Square

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Thank You For Coming To Life" CD/LP/Track Review Thank You For Coming To Life
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Voices in the Void" CD/LP/Track Review Voices in the Void
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Silent Voices" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Voices
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Parrots Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Parrots Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "A Chicken in a Bottle" CD/LP/Track Review A Chicken in a Bottle
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 17, 2017