It’s time to recognize one of the greatest English voices. After almost 50 years, BILL FAY has finally delivered his masterpiece.
He is one of English music’s best kept secrets – just like a national treasure. In 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 DAVID BOWIE or PROCOL HARUM’s Gary Brooker. After two solo albums he didn’t get a new contract and so all BILL FAY left were his LPs and his reputation to become cult items, later name, later name-dropped by the likes of NICK CAVE, WILCO‘s Jeff Tweedy and JIM O’ROURKE. But stopping to write songs never was an option for him. 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.
BILL FAY still lives in the area he was born, North London. His self-titled debut album included spacious big band jazz arrangements by Mike Gibbs, but it was his second album, Time Of The Last Persecution, which was released in 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. Unable to make ends meet as a musician, BILL FAY wandered through a succession of jobs for years, and when the likes of Jeff Tweedy and DAVID TIBET began singing his praises in the early 2000s, BILL FAY began to come back into view. A third album, recorded piecemeal in the late 1970s, was released in 2005 as Tomorrow Tomorrow And Tomorrow. WILCO even convinced the shy singer to join them on stage in London in 2007.
Also an CD of BILL FAY‘s early demos and home recordings has been released, but Life Is People is his first properly crafted studio album since 1971. He was motivated by American producer Joshua Henry, a fan who had grown up listening to the BILL FAY albums in his Dad’s record collection. Spooling through BILL FAY‘s home demos, Joshuo Henry discovered an incredible trove of material and decided to do something about it.
Life Is People is an album that ranges from intimate to cosmic, that is epic but never grandiose. His 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.
As I said in the beginning: it’s time to recognize one of the great English voices. BILL FAY is nothing but a genius!
from London, UK