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Billy Fay

Bill Fay a UK based singer, songwriter and pianist, in hindsight an overlooked apocalyptic sage with a vision to the future. Ex-Them drummer Terry Noon helped Bill to sign a recording contract with ‘Decca’ putting out the oddly “Some Good Advice”/”Screams In The Ears” backed by Southend band The Fingers. This was followed by the lush orchestrated Bill Fay backed by Unit 4 Plus 2,  ex Mouse / Running Man guitarist Ray Russell, Nucleus drummer John Marshall, Ray Russell Quartet bassist Daryl Runswick & drummer Alan Rushton. The brass input was courtesy of The Mike Gibbs Very Big Band enhancing the anti-war “Gentle Willie”, organic “Garden Song”, a story of spiritual quest, “Methane River” and “Goodnight Stan”, all contemplating ballads that will stand the test of time.

Dispelling the string arrangements Bill then put out the raw apocalyptic Time Of The Last Persecution, largely an electric album featuring again guitarist Ray Russell  expelling nimble fingerwork on (“Til The Christ Come Back” & “Come A Day”) and “Laughing Man” while the pleading “Don’t Let My Marigolds Die” and naked “Tell It Like It Is” express an artist free of pseudo trimmings. This album did at least entrap the late John Peel who invited Bill to perform on BBC2 TV show ‘Disco 2’  and radio shows BBC Radio 1 ‘Night Ride’ and ‘Sounds Of The Seventies’. Sadly Decca’ ended Bill’s prophetic reign until the late 1970s and third and singularly most underrated Tomorrow Tomorrow & Tomorrow emerged, supported by The Acme Quartet. Hard to describe this spacy contribution, namely “The Strange Stairway”, “Spiritual Mansions” and surreal ”Cosmic Boxer”, the album highlight being “Jericho Road” a fitting epitaph to another call for repentance.

In 2004 ‘Wooden Hill’ released From The Bottom Of An Old Grandfather Clock - a beautiful collection of demos 1966 - 1970 backed by Honeybus who covered “Warwick Town” and “Maxine’s Parlour” during their BBC Radio 1 Sessions. This magical album spills infectiously with “Maudy La Luna” , “Doris Comes Today”, the ethereal “Strangers In The Field” and sublime “Brighton Beach”. Bill’s songs have inspired many, namely Wilco, songwriter/producer Jim O’Rourke, Ben Chasny of Six Organs Of Admittance and David Michael of Current 93. A cover version of Fay's, "Pictures of Adolf Again", by producer Jim O 'Rourke and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, can be heard in Koji Wakamatsu’s film United Red Army. The title track of "Time of the Last Persecution" became a live standard of the Brit Apocalyptic Current 93. Fay is due to release a new album entitled Still Some Light.

Added: October 19th 2011
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
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Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear
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