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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lushly Orchestrated Singer-Songwriter album
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...
Published on 20 Aug. 2008 by N. Watts

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bill Fay (VINYL)
Although this is a very cost effective way of obtaining this `lost classic` on vinyl,buyers should be aware that it`s origins are somewhat dubious.Rather than being a legitimate reissue,this is a reproduction.The sleeve has been photocopied from an original,complete with remnants of an old price tag in the top right hand corner.There is no reference to any manufacturer...
Published on 6 Oct. 2012 by Monkey Music


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lushly Orchestrated Singer-Songwriter album, 20 Aug. 2008
By 
N. Watts (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (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.

The one noticeable thing about the songs is that they are all relatively short, rarely exceeding the three minute barrier. There are no weak cuts on the album, but the strongest songs are the opening 'Garden Song', 'Narrow Way' (which features a mandolin and some wonderful classically inspired cellos), 'We Have Laid Here' and 'Cannon's Plain'.

As a bonus the CD also includes both sides of his sole single from three years earlier which definitely fit more into the psychedelic category, especially 'Some Good Advice' with it's mellotron and haunting piano arrangement. Both these tracks are also excellent. This is one of those albums that might not be available that long so it is well worth getting this reissue!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill Fay Debut, 6 Feb. 2010
By 
A. Glaser "plaiser14" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Singing Sad Songs, 15 Jan. 2013
By 
Sentinel (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgottren classic, 1 Mar. 2007
By 
Simon D. Jones "mavmaramis" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill Fay: Remastered (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful......, 14 Oct. 2006
By 
R. SLYDEL "king bongo macongo" (South England UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill Fay (Audio CD)
I came across this and it's follow up (Time of the last persecution) while looking through MOJO's 1000 must have albums. Recently remastered, this his debut album, the songs are rich with great songwriting and the orchestrations range from striking intensity to glimmering melancholy. Yet again I am left in awe by an album from this era which albeit did not sell well in it's day, stands the test of time for it's all round quality. Well done that man!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The forgotten Bill Fay, 20 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
This album I bought when it came out on vinyl - thanks to a sampler album I purchased at the time (one track per artist) - yes they did them then!
It's great to hear it minus clicks hisses and the occasional THUNK,(yes I have software that dehisses and declicks but I can't afford the really high end stuff). The songs are melodic, melancholy and the lyrics match perfectly. The orchestral arrangements are lovely. Go On - BUY IT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the lost stars, 8 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
I usually say "Go on Youtube and check out..." to give people a taste of the album... but with Bill Fay it is a little tricky as not many of his album tracks are on there. However, if you like The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel, or Bob Dylan then I suggest you pop this beauty in your Amazon basket and buy it now. I'm not a huge Dylan fan, but Blood on the Tracks is one of my favourite albums ever, and Fay's music is in a similar vein to that classic album. Arguably my fave track on this album is "Be Not So Fearful". Beautiful song and a great taster for Fay's style.

Unlike some 'folk' contemporaries, Fay uses great instrumentals and isn't afraid of a little bombast too. Fay's later album 'Time of the Last Persecution' is arguably even better, and he must have been an influence upon bands and artists such as Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and The Shins as they utilise the same bold mix of styles which moves away from simple labels.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bill Fay (VINYL), 6 Oct. 2012
By 
Monkey Music (Brighton,East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bill Fay [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Although this is a very cost effective way of obtaining this `lost classic` on vinyl,buyers should be aware that it`s origins are somewhat dubious.Rather than being a legitimate reissue,this is a reproduction.The sleeve has been photocopied from an original,complete with remnants of an old price tag in the top right hand corner.There is no reference to any manufacturer and no bar code.Sound quality for the most part is ok,but again the sound has been recorded from an original vinyl copy.There is some distortion in places and the odd pop and bit of crackle.
If you are really desperate for a copy on vinyl this might serve the purpose,but if you want a quality pressing then probably best to look elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nice album., 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
Really unusual stuff, but I like it a lot. I had only heard Be Not So fearful done by the singer from Wilco, and I loved that song, so that is why I got the Bill Fay original. Obviously it is an old record (1971) but none the worse for that. Lots of songs about gardening, which can't be bad. He reminds me of a kind of mix of Nick Drake and Syd Barrett. My one criticism is that maybe it is a little over-produced, with a lot of the songs swamped in strings and orchestration. But the songs are great and I love his voice.
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3.0 out of 5 stars FAY BUT AVERAGE, 13 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
Whilst loving his last album "Life is People", this album, for me, portrays a young, talented man learning his trade. Their is something missing on every track and Bill is so laid back he is meeting himself. This is not to say that the album is bad, it just is little more than average. However if it leads to his latest offerings, it sure has done its job.
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Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks
Bill Fay ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks by Bill Fay (Audio CD - 2008)
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