Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bill Fay

"Time of the Last Persecution" 1971

Time of the Last Persecution is Bill Fay's second and last album for Decca. Released in 1971, it has attained nearly mythic status due to its unavailability for the better part of 30 years. Internet legends have touted that Fay went off the ledge of paranoia because of substance and psychic breakdown -- all of it's nonsense. This new edition on the U.K.'s Eclectic label has been wonderfully remastered and contains copious notes by Fay, who dispels falsities and offers a clear view of the LP's origins and processes. He wrote much of Time of the Last Persecution as a visceral and spiritual response to the slaying of four students at the hands of National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970. Other inspirations include his conversations with producer/guitarist Ray Russell and another friend on the books of Daniel and Revelations in the Bible, and his own reading of a book of sermons from the 19th century. For Fay, the record was a reflection on the end of the 1960s and an emerging darker era. It was a clarion call about transition, yet it was also intended to impart some hope. Sonically, Time of the Last Persecution stands in stark contrast to its self-titled predecessor. Gone are Mike Gibbs' Baroque arrangements and the 27-piece orchestra, but similarly, it was recorded in a single day. The band featured Fay on piano and a small group Russell worked with, including drummer Alan Rushton and bassist Darryl Runswick. Trombonist Nick Evans was part of the three-piece horn section. The intensity of mood on the album remains some 34 years later. Electric guitars and piano usher in the opener, "Omega Day." Ghostly characters from the past and present emerge; they slip in and out of the mix prophesying, philosophizing, and reflecting. On "Inside the Keeper's Pantry," Russell's razored guitar forces the otherwise droning, lilting ballad over the edge into something brooding and foreboding. The horns that frame "Release Is in the Eye" ground Fay's piano and vocal with distorted fills by Russell: "...Moon is over the water/Business in the boom/The clouds are in the thousand mountains/A silence tree grows/The vacancy chair/'Cause I've had my share...." Russell goes outside in the instrumental break, building tension without ever releasing it as the song ends. But there are gorgeous melancholy ballads here as well, including "Laughing Man," "Don't Let My Marigolds Die," and "Tell It Like It Is." The easy singer/songwriter rock of "Plan D" and "I Hear You Calling" is offset by Fay's words. The title track, with its sorrowful cello, foreshadows the tautness of the broken emotions in the narrative. It feels like a warning offered by a half-mad street urchin in a Dickens novel. The closer, "Let All the Other Teddies Know," is sweetened by Tony Roberts' flute and Rushton's canny tom-tom work. It's a bittersweet ode to the world becoming unhinged: "Be ready Teddy/Don't let the shadows get me/And be ready, Teddy/For when the cupboard explodes/And don't cry Teddy/For there's someone to turn to/And Teddy, let all the other Teddies know...." Russell's guitar opens the cage door and wails his way manically through to the end. It's a chilling sendoff, one that allows new listeners some cautious empathy with those who saddled Time of the Last Persecution with the weight of a myth. True, it's a dark tome, but it's not without its glimmers. Most importantly, the music here has stood the test of time; it bears repeated listening and proves instructive and inspiring; it also offers a view of Fay as an overlooked yet gifted visionary and songwriter. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide


Anonymous dave said...

I've seen the name before, and highly lauded, but never been tempted.But this has Ray Russell at the helm (I'm still searching for his Sardonicus... oh sweet memories of John Peel on Saturday afternoons...) so I'm going to give it a go. Thanks!

08 June, 2007 04:52  
Blogger whiteray said...

Thanks for this -- it looks interesting. By the way, you have a great blog! There's always something of interest.

(You might want to stop by my place:

08 June, 2007 06:31  
Anonymous Alexey said...

Thank You very much for this beautiful music!

10 June, 2007 02:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot !
I discover a great songwriter !
I'm look for his first album !
Can you it in a while ?

10 June, 2007 04:49  
Anonymous proghog said...

This cover always cracks me up..... Bill, I say Bill...!! You've had one bong too many... Who thought this cover was a good idea at the time....?? Poor old Bill looking sufficiently smashed about to be persecuted one last time.... great LP though...!!

10 June, 2007 13:12  
Blogger psicogeorge said...

Excelente, no lo conocia, muchas gracia por haberme dejado acceder al disco.
Que la musica sea el vuelo del alma.

14 June, 2007 02:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanx, Bill is scarey.

17 June, 2007 00:12  
Anonymous streaker said...


So heartfelt and beautiful.... too bad he recorded so little.

24 September, 2007 02:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this ivery nice. kind of gloomy folk-rock. thnmx

23 December, 2007 06:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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22 July, 2008 00:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New link:

08 August, 2008 06:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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13 August, 2008 05:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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27 September, 2008 21:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try this one.


27 September, 2008 21:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best link:

Simon House

10 November, 2009 07:28  

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