Robbie Basho Live in Forli, Italy, 1982
Published Feb 18, 2018Robbie Basho's world encompassed the whole school of American Primitive guitar (John Fahey, Leo Kottke, et al). His fingerstyle technique was without peer, as was his eccentric spirituality and presence.
A truly unique force of nature, from changing his last name to honour an ancient, Zen-inspired Japanese poet, to a vibrant booming voice in song and a quasi-medieval dress code. His repertoire included music from the 13th century ('The Grail and the Lotus") to Indian classical music, all fed through Basho's own filters of personal mysticism.
This release is a beautiful representation of his work performed in a beautiful 18th century hall to a small but appreciative audience in an even smaller Italian town. Basho's fingerpicking is clear and articulate, playing fast and furious on six- and 12-string acoustic guitars — and this is the one thing that is a bit regrettable. Recording acoustic instrumental guitar is a tricky business and this recording emphasised that. The sound is clear and, to be sure, not muddy or corrupted, but it is definitely a bit thin. However, the performance itself is very good, and one can really hear that he was happy to be there, playing semi-apologetic MC in quite passable Italian. (Stranded)