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Life Is People

Bill Fay Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
Price: 10.32 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Biography

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

Life Is People + Time of the Last Persecution ~ Remastered (2008) + Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks
Price For All Three: 33.70

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Aug 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dead Oceans
  • ASIN: B008D1RCI6
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,364 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. There Is A Valley 4:150.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Big Painter 3:590.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Never Ending Happening 3:430.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. This World 3:430.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The Healing Day 5:140.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. City of Dreams 6:100.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Be At Peace With Yourself 5:000.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Jesus, Etc. 4:170.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Empires 3:230.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Thank You Lord 3:140.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Cosmic Concerto (Life Is People) 7:560.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. The Coast No Man Can Tell 3:060.79  Buy MP3 


Product Description

Product Description

Bill Fay is one of English music's best kept secrets. 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, which left his LPs and his reputation to become cult items. But he never stopped writing, the music kept on coming. Now, in his late sixties, he has produced Life Is People, a brand new studio album that shows his profoundly humanist vision is as strong as it ever was.

His debut on the underground Decca Nova label, Bill Fay (1970), included spacious big band jazz arrangements by Mike Gibbs, but it was the follow-up, Time Of The Last Persecution (1971), that cemented his reputation a harrowing, philosophical and painfully honest diagnosis of an unhealthy society and a messed-up planet, that featured the cream of London's fieriest jazz session players such as guitarist Ray Russell. Unable to make ends meet as a musician, Fay wandered through a succession of jobs for years, writing songs privately. Both solo albums were re-issued in 1998, and when the likes of Jeff Tweedy began singing his praises in the early 2000s, Bill began to come back into view and Wilco even convinced the shy singer to join them onstage in London in 2007.

A few CDs of Bill's early demos and home recordings have since emerged, but Life Is People is his first properly crafted studio album since 1971. He was motivated by American producer Joshua Henry, who grew up listening to his dad's Bill Fay albums on vinyl. Spooling through Bill's home demos, Joshua discovered an incredible trove of material. Matt Deighton (Oasis, Paul Weller, Mother Earth) assembled a cast of backup musicians to bring out the songs' full potential. These include Deighton on guitar, Tim Weller (who's played drums for everyone from Will Young to Noel Gallagher and Goldfrapp), and keyboardist Mikey Rowe (High Flying Birds, Stevie Nicks, etc). In addition, Bill is reunited on several tracks with Ray Russell and drummer Alan Rushton, who played on Time Of The Last Persecution.

And it's a stunning return to form. Ranging from intimate to cosmic, epic but never grandiose, Bill's deeply committed music reminds you of important, eternal truths, and the lessons to be drawn from the natural world, when the materiality and greed threaten to engulf everything.

It's time to recognise one of the great English voices. After nearly 50 years, Bill Fay has finally delivered his masterpiece: as rapturous and soul-stirring as any music you'll hear this year.

BBC Review

Some careers are hard-fought; some are just hard. And some are as lonely as the long-distance runner. Bill Fay’s happens to be all three.

After two distinctly powerful and ignored albums – 1970’s Bill Fay and the following year’s Time of the Last Persecution, whose title alone indicates an already wearying state of mind – Fay went into exodus. Twenty-seven years passed before his reputation was salvaged when both albums were reissued in 1998, with previously unheard material and Wilco’s cover of Fay’s Be Not So Fearful feeding the cult worship.

Arriving 41 years after Fay’s last original studio album, Life Is People represents the return of a prodigal son you never knew existed. Its religious symbolism is inspired by Fay’s own relationship with faith, the result a stunning, profound, moving and soulful record.

Fay’s never preachy, his questioning the kind you might expect from a brilliant mind who, at one point, worked as a factory cleaner. There’s environmental awareness, existential drama and considered advice. If Father Time made an album, it might sound like Life Is People.

Fay’s deep-set voice and the music both rise to the occasion. There’s a string quartet, a gospel choir on Empires and Be at Peace with Yourself, and some judiciously employed guitar (his principal collaborator is Paul Weller sidekick Matt Deighton). The organ/piano foundations sometimes echo Bob Dylan’s wild mercury sound, and can be reminiscent of early Mott the Hoople’s rolling, wistful, valiant feel.

But mostly, Life Is People is just hugely moving. Sad, too, but a comforting Nick Drake-style sad, so you wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s hope as well, even if The Never Ending Happening and The Healing Day undermine their titles with the feeling Fay is writing his epitaph.

This World’s opening line is, “This world’s got me in its grip / ain’t no way can I wriggle out.” Yet Cosmic Concerto (Life Is People) starts out with, “There are miracles in the strangest of places.” One of those miracles is that Fay, after so many years, is again making music.

Another miracle is how brilliant Life Is People is. Redemption time.

--Tom Hocknell

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Is it possible to be genuinely excited by the release of an album by an obscure English songwriter who will never trouble the charts and who recorded his last album 41 years ago? The answer is an emphatic yes, not least since Bill Fay remains one of the great lost artists of British music. He is one of those unexplainable great singer songwriters whose musical footprint never left any kind of substantial imprint. It is true that over recent years Fay's stock has risen not least as his first two albums have been re-issued and he has been championed by musical heavy weights like Nick Cave and Wilco's main man Jeff Tweedy. It is only right therefore that the latter has collaborated on this album with Bill Fay and if you do nothing else after skimming through this review please download the cover version of Tweedy's "Jesus, etc" which is one of "Life is people" many stellar highlights and easily matches the original. Better still get this album and listen to the sound of a composer who has been denied his proper deserts finally get his moment and grasp it with both hands. This is music for thinking, feeling and possibly "experienced" music lovers who know that the reaching of a certain age can shatter hope and ambition but also can lead to reconciliation and greater peace of mind. Bill Fay's "Life is people" is essentially a strategic overview of life's uneven journey, charting its desperate low points as a street sweeper in the evocative "City of dreams", an accommodation with faith in "Thank you lord" and in the seven minute "Cosmic Concerto "Life is people"" producing an anthem of quiet wonder. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singing against the Dark 18 Dec 2012
By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Given the low-key songs of acceptance and redemption here, and the underpinning Christian message, it's small wonder this collection won't suit everybody. However, if you're interested in music which offers a truly genuine sense of blessing and redemption, using deceptively simple yet addictive melodies, you should listen to the Amazon sampler.

Bill Fay is that rare thing: a genuine singer/songwriter who is self-effacing about his work (donating the proceeds of this album to Medecines Sans Frontiers). I found the haunting melodies here consistently compelling from first to last, especially the forgiveness, acceptance and hope in 'The Healing Day', which reaches out its arms to you, soothes you, and convinces you that all will be well. By contrast, 'Big Painter' and 'Empires' share the feeling of 'last songs', with an apocalyptic undercurrent, made explicit in 'The Coast No Man Can Tell'.

Some reviewers have spoken of Dylan or Nick Drake by way of comparison, but although there are echoes of some other musicians/albums here,(I thought of Gavin Bryars 'Jesus Blood'), plus some wonderfully atmospheric Hammond organ from Mikey Rowe, and memories of Patti Smith's 'Easter' in 'Healing Day', Bill's voice is a true original, hushed/weakened by the years, but just exactly right for these songs of wise acceptance.

This collection is strengthened by a fascinating explanation from Bill on how the album came to be made, including lyrics, and full credits on personnel involved (some lovely, sensitive work from Ray Russell on guitar, Ian Burdge's haunting cello work, Jeff Tweedy's vocal, and a fine Gospel Choir and String Quartet).
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is my first encounter with Bill Fay, an overlooked London based singer/songwriter who released a couple of albums in the early 70's that passed the world by. He dropped out of the professional music scene, doing a variety of dead end jobs, but then became something of a cult artist in recent years, championed by Nick Cave, and Jeff Tweedy from Wilco. He was approached by Joshua Henry, who was based in Nevada, and had listened to the first 2 Fay Decca LP's that his dad had, and fallen in love with them, with a proposition to record a 3rd album in a proper studio, just a mere 41 years after his 2nd album! Fay was understandably initially cautious, but after some cajoling, in collaboration with 3 original bandmates from his second album, and Matt Deighton (ex Mother Earth and sometimes Oasis band member with some classy solo albums to his name) in a strong supporting role, he was booked into a studio in north London .

His singing voice is deep and fairly flat, for me a dead ringer for Bob Dylan around the time of Blood on the Tracks. Religious imagery abounds from song titles like The Healing Day, Thank the Lord, and Be at Peace with Yourself, with references to God, Souls, and a cover of Wilco's Jesus etc . There are also references to nature, trees , and being at one with yourself and god. The arrangements are generally fairly downbeat and melancholy, but a spirituality with wisdom and humbleness shines through. A couple of tracks are stripped down, with Bill on piano quietly singing, on Jesus etc, on closer The Coast No Man Can Tell, and with just the addition of subtle cello on The Never Ending Happening. On other tracks there is a much more lavish production including the Vulcan String Quartet, and the 4 member London Community Gospel Choir,tastefully incorporated.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "For the sake of the music"
Despite listening to music since the late 60s, Bill Fay is new to me. This is of some regret because here is a true artist. Read more
Published 13 days ago by BrynG
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Brilliant. Spiritual, emotional, mesmeric. I'd never heard of Bill before but I can highly recommend his music on this CD
Published 2 months ago by Vivaitalia
5.0 out of 5 stars very relaxing and good music. Do not understand why I had never heard...
very relaxing and good music. Do not understand why I had never heard of Bill Fay who is clearly a talented musician.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs.Marleen Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recording
If you haven't yet experienced Bill Fay's artistry, then this is where I would recommend you to start. A musical treat indeed.
Published 12 months ago by cerneabbas
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic album by Bill Fay
Amazing album. I just love the songs and Bill Fay's lyrics. Very peaceful melodies. I can really recommend this album.
Published 16 months ago by Uffemio
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked genius indeed
Where the hell have you been hiding all these years Mr Fay. I love this album and musically it is excellent. Read more
Published 16 months ago by bigbaws
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for this- Beautiful!
What a true shock this album has been and discovering it has been a joy that is hard to express- I need to thank Paul Buchanan for his Mid Air album as his album was my best album... Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. MOORE
2.0 out of 5 stars Lovely man I am sure but sorry about the God stuff.
I heard snatches of this album in a Radio 4 interview and was so impressed by the background and circumstances of this album being released that I immediately bought it. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Bronte
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic Magic
I must confess, I had never heard of Bill Fay before, but a chance visit into the local HMV changed that. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lyecon
5.0 out of 5 stars divine
Everything I heard about this record is confirmed; melodic, spiritual, moving, interesting lyrically, folk, Gospel and piano, gorgeous guitar, sounds great on the iPod but even... Read more
Published 18 months ago by LaughingJane
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