Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bill Fay

Bill Fay is a British singer/songwriter who released one single and two albums on the Decca label between 1967 and 1971, before seemingly disappearing into obscurity and a life working at a swimming pool.

Recorded in just two days, his debut album, the eponymous "Bill Fay" (1970) is a very English record. Imagine a much more obviously melancholy Ray Davis with a penchant for lush orchestration, a strange hybrid of Nick Drake, Syd Barrett and Bob Dylan, or perhaps more simply Sgt. Pepper on downers - and you may begins to approach the sound and feel of this sublime and eccentric record.

However, poor sales followed and Fay's subsequent album "Time Of The Last Persecution" (1971) was recorded on a much tighter budget. Gone are the lushly orchestrated arrangements of his debut, in it's place a more straight forward four-piece band setup. Recorded in only one day, most of the record was nailed in just one take, a fact that adds a degree of authenticity to the intense, stripped back beauty of the record. A consistency that remained from the first record was Fay's brilliant, broad and highly original songwriting approach.

After "Time of The Last Persecution" also failed to sell, Bill Fay disappeared for many years. He returned to the studio in the late 1970s to cut a third album "Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow" which eventually emerged in early 2005. This was preceded a year earlier by "From The Bottom Of An Old Grandfather Clock", a collection of demos recorded between 1966 and 1970. With fans including Jim O'Rourke, Ben Chasny of Six Organs Of Admittance and Wilco (with whom he appeared on stage last year in London) interest has never been a great as it is now for this unique and fascinating artist. New material from Fay is reported to be in the pipeline.

MP3: Bill Fay - Be Not So Fearful
MP3: Bill Fay - Plan D

Bill Fay on Myspace
Support The Artist. Buy. Buy. Buy.

Previously on SOTR: Friday Is For Covers

1 comment:

Phil said...

I just got in to Bill's music and he's a treasure. Excellent, thoughtful music.