Saturday, January 30, 2010

Before Nick Drake there was........BILL FAY

BILL FAY-Some Good Advice/Screams In The Ears U.S, Deram 45-DEM-8501 1967

Till I'd purchased the 1996 See For Miles CD compilation "Psychedalia:Rare Blooms From The English Summer Of Love" (complete with flower seeds in the CD spine with instructions"Grow Your Own:Free Seeds") I'd never heard of Bill Fay. The CD contained both sides of his debut offering, a 45 on Decca's lovely Deram offshoot, which as you can see above also came out in the United States.

"Some Good Advice" is a somber number ushered in with some piano in a minor key with some gentle/subtle Melotron accompaniment playing behind the ivory tinkling and then this controlled eerie bit of distorted guitar. The whole thing is so simple because it has, really, only three verses but it's got so much going on musically that it's much more interesting bringing to mind Al Stewart's early work in '67-'68. The flip side "Screams In The Ears" is more upbeat with a jazzy swing to it while Fay sings in a rather Dylanesque manner with equally Dylanesque lyrics ("well they told me the budgerigar committed suicide, but it was you, I saw you put that gin in it's water I was standing by your side"). It seems to be an observation about a party and instead of Melotron this time around the piano is tastefully chased along by some faint Hammond organ with a deadpan chorus "will you stop asking me who I am. Go and find someone else to tell your jokes to. What a great party this is".

Sadly the record did not pip the charts making it quite obscure. Bill went on to be signed to Deram's offshoot Nova and under their banner released an untitled debut Lp in 1970 and another LP "Time Of the Last Persecution" on the same label the following year, both have cult followings and have been reissued on CD. Both sides of this single (also his only single) were included. as mentioned on the "Psychedalia" CD and also recently cropped up as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of his untitled debut LP.

"Some Good Advice":

"Screams In The Ears":

Bill's official website:

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