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Bill Fay Original recording remastered

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Bill Fay is one of English music's best kept secrets — a genuine national treasure. Back at the dawn of the 1970s, he was a one-man song factory, with a piano that spilled liquid gold and a voice every bit the equal of Ray Davies, John Lennon, early Bowie, or Procol Harum's Gary Brooker. He made two solo albums but his contract wasn't renewed, leaving his LPs and his ... Read more in Amazon's Bill Fay Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Bill Fay + Time of the Last Persecution ~ Remastered (2008) + Life Is People
Price For All Three: £51.92

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 May 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Eclectic
  • ASIN: B0007MYKEI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,463 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By N. Watts on 20 Aug. 2008
Format: Audio CD
The first of Bill Fays' two albums was originally issued in 1970 on Deram Nova and this self titled effort is certainly the more accessible of the two.

The album is completely self written by Fay and fits into the singer-songwriter mode, although the songs seem to be hinged somewhere between darkness and light. This is perhaps where the Nick Drake comparison comes from, but in truth he has more in common with Bob Dylan in the vocal department. Fay is not a great singer and a lot of the songs have a very small range, but the delivery is impeccable. He puts a ton of emotion and feeling into very simple melodies which makes the songs very effective and affecting.

The album is also heavily orchestrated and features lush string, brass and woodwind arrangements by musical director Michael Gibbs. These arrangements are very nice and cover a number of styles. For example the arrangements on 'We Want You to Stay' and 'The Room' sound almost like they are from Broadway. Elsewhere the string arrangements are more understated as on 'Gentle Willie' and 'Be Not So Fearful'. Other tracks are a lot more sparsely produced, such as 'Sing Us One Of Your Songs May' which, after a militant drum roll intro, is just Fays' semi spoken vocal at his Piano soaked in reverb; or the closing track of the original LP 'Down to the Bridge' which has a pleasant accordion backing.

The lyrics concern themselves with a spiritual quest through such themes as time, nature and understanding human behaviour. They almost seem to plead for an understanding of life's mysterious journey. Fays' weary vocals really suit this setting, and are akin to a wise old man telling a tale.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Glaser on 6 Feb. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This has to be the most tranquil Album I own. The production values are first class. I first heard " Be Not So fearful" on a Nova sampler, but would never have guessed there would be such continuous quality on any Album. There is much to identify with this Album. It is a victory for fan of singer-songwriters. The " Narrow Way", with its cello is hypnotic and I applaud Michael Gibb's string arrangements that streams the songs " We have Laid Here", and " Methane River" into musical merryment. Bill Fay delivery is so earnest, as though he has glimpsed at the meaning of life. Certainly his anti militarism is compelling with " Sing Us one of your Songs May", as well as the sweeping uber Mantovani " Gentle Willie". Similarly the dark anti-drug song "The Room" echoes the decadent affliction to startling effect.

The "Garden Song", and "Goodnight Stan" seem to hold ones attention, with their earnest like missives This is as close to the gates of music heaven as possible." Down by the Bridge" with its captivating accordion closes the show. We have been well served. Wonderful
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I came late to Bill Fay via his recent appearance on 'Jools Holland', and bought the astonishingly original Life Is People, which was a real delight. I'm now playing rewind after buying Time of the Last Persecution ~ Remastered (2008), and this, his debut album.

Comparisons with Nick Drake appear limited, to my ears at least, to the orchestral approach to some of the songs here, and the fact most are quite short (indeed, the whole album, even with 'bonus tracks' only runs for 40 minutes). Mike Gibbs orchestration, and John Surman on sax appeal to my 'jazzy side', but there's really little to suggest a strong jazz influence beyond some rich, creamy sax.

To be honest, some of the arrangements suit Bill's wistful, fragile vocal more than others, though most of the tracks, such as 'We have laid here', 'The Room' and 'Cannons Plain' slyly lodge inside your head until you simply have to play them again. In a few cases I'd have preferred more restrained orchestral backing, as is the case with his curent album.

The biggest surprise for me is the inclusion of the bonus tracks, with 'Screams in the Ears' being a wonderfully powerful and scathing comment about the lonliness of parties. Both the bonus tracks seem to have been cut/transferred at a higher level than the rest of the album, and the dramatic way they grab your attention is very exciting.

Though not as complete/consistent as Bill Fay's recent album (where I'd suggest you should start if you're new to the man), there is still much to admire in an album which was put together in two days (quite indulgent, given 'Last Persecution' only took a day!). Honestly, who could turn out music of this originality and quality in that timescale today...? Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Simon D. Jones on 1 Mar. 2007
Format: Audio CD
In my attempt teo educate my musical work colleague I loaned him a copy of this and "Time of Last Persuasion" - he handed them back a few days later, shook his head and told me that they were not very good. You what?

Not very good? Bill Fay's first release on the legendary Deram label (actuily Nova) in 1970 is a stunner, a classic, a fantastic album. The first lines of "Garden Song" say it att: "I'm planting myself in the garden. Between the potatoes and parsley. And I wait for the rain to anoint me, and the frost to awaken my soul. I'm looking for lasting relations, with greenfly, spider or maggot". Take your time, listen then listen again and surely this album will "awaken your soul". Not a great seller at the time. Like Nick Drake this is an overlooked gem of an album.
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