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Mark Fosson - The Lost Takoma Sessions

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Artist: Mark Fosson

Album: The Lost Takoma Sessions

Label: Drag City

Review date: Jul. 23, 2006

Dig this record’s back-story. Somewhere around Thanksgiving, 1976, an aspiring finger-picker from Ashland, Kentucky named Mark Fosson sent a demo to Takoma record. Label boss John Fahey suffered a fit of enthusiasm when he heard the tape – “Best demo tape I’ve heard since Kottke,” he wrote. A little over a month later Fosson moved to LA, a month after that he recorded this album.

There the fairytale ended; shortly afterward Fahey sold his interest in the label and gave the master to Fosson, who had no luck finding another label and deposited the tape canister in his garage for nearly three decades.

Now dig this record. If you’re into Fahey’s milder moods, or vintage vocal-free Kottke, that won’t be too hard. Fosson, the son of a blues record collector, grew up in bluegrass country, so he was subject to some of the same influences that shaped his Takoma forefathers’ music. Like Fahey, he has a strong instinct for melodic elaboration, working intriguing turns into “Quarter Moon” and “Wind Through A Broken Glass” gambling figures.

But the general disposition of his compositions is sunny and sweet, more along Kottke’s lines; “All The Time In The World” conjures images of walking down a dirt road to the lake, fishing pole in hand, while “Frozen Fingers” is cut from the same fast-flowing cloth as “Vaseline Machine Gun.” Fosson sticks to 12-string throughout and gets a dense, bright sound from the instrument.

Lost no longer, this album should find favor with the new guard of acoustic guitar enthusiasts.

By Bill Meyer

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