Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All my time is lying on the factory floor…

Bill Fay was an English singer, pianist and song writer who made a single "Some Good Advice"/"Screams in the Ears" and two albums “Bill Fay” and “Time of the Last Persecution” for the Deram label between 1967 and 1971. Unfortunately these albums were never properly promoted and distributed and they didn’t sell. He was consequently dropped by the label. Following the likes of Nick Drake and so many artists who for some strange reason never make it in the music industry, Bill Fay faded out of sight. But the music on these two records is well worth seeking out.

On the first album “Bill Fay”, the songs have been embellished with orchestral arrangements giving them a rather lush and haunted feel. The lyrics are quite unusual and poetic and are not conceived with the intention of producing a commercial hit. As for Bill Fay’s voice, it is beautiful throughout the record sometimes sounding like a strange crooner of the common people.

On the second album, “Time of the Last Persecution”, Bill Fay opted for a more stripped down, organic but, at the same time, experimental approach recruiting guitarist Ray Russell. Russell went on to be a major session player, but at the time of this album he was better known as a noted musician on the jazz improvisation scene. His playing on Bill Fay’s album covers almost all the palette of guitar techniques and phrases ranging from 70’s traditional scale licks to complete atonal interventions or even noise. The contrast of having this avant-garde element opposed to the affirmative singing of Bill Fay makes this record very special indeed.

According to Julian Cope’s Headheritage site, Bill Fay eventually relinquished his career in music for a normal 9 to 5 job. From then on, it seems “all his time was lying on the factory floor…”

Record companies should be prosecuted for musical crimes against humanity.

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