Fate Is Only Twice Review
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Want to learn how to play guitar? Already a guitarist but still want to learn more? Just want to hear some wonderful and influential playing by an often overlooked master guitar player? If you answered “yes” to any of the aforementioned questions, here’s the CD for you: Harry Taussig’s Fate Is Only Twice, which was originally released in 1965 and is now available again.

The CD contains twelve songs, all which are instrumentals. For the “folkie” pickers, this release is certainly like finding a diamond in the rough; it’s Taussig’s only recording, which has long been sought after. Harry wrote none of the songs on the recording, but his interpretations of some folk songs, along with some songs that were popular at the time of the original recording, certainly have gotten the attention of serious guitarists.

If you’ve always loved the intricacies of playing the acoustic guitar, you’ll enjoy this CD immensely. Furthermore, many of the riffs and chords that have been played by countless players ranging from rock, pop, folk, and jazz came about from Harry’s playing. Whether any recording artists will claim Harry as an influence or not, there are plenty of songs in the history of folk or rock that, if traced back to the roots of acoustic playing, would come from Harry Taussig. It’s like saying that any pop group, looking back through the lineage of the genre, was influenced by The Beatles.

For instance, if you’re familiar with the Jefferson Airplane spin-off group, Hot Tuna, you’ll think of them when you hear Harry playing “Baby Let Me Lay It On You/That’ll Never Happen No More.” Both Taussig and Hot Tuna were influenced by the Rev. Gary Davis, and Harry opens the CD with his cover of Davis’s song.

The 12 tracks on the CD display emotion, melody, and a bit of melancholy—and it’s unfortunate that this was the only recording that Harry Taussig made. When I mentioned the album to a friend of mine, an accomplished guitarist, he remarked that anyone who plays the guitar can hear some mistakes in Harry’s playing, but, generally, he exhibits so much musical genius—and where Taussig would have gone if he’d made another record is anybody’s guess.

The CD is soothing. It becomes a friend—like a musical pair of your favorite sweat pants and T-shirt to end your day. How can you go wrong with that? And if you’re a serious guitarist, it can serve as a wonderful instructional CD.

Thanks, Harry. I just wish you would have given us more.

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