Bill Fay -‘Life Is People.’ (Dead Oceans)
Having made two albums in the early seventies –Bill Fay and Time Of The Last Persecution
, Bill Fay has taken until now to release a new album (although a lost album Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was finally issued in 2004). He is now regarded as a national treasure -and support from cult but significant artists like Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Nick Cave and Current 93’s David Tibet has helped him finally achieve the recognition that didn’t happen forty years ago.
So, parallels could quite possibly be drawn with the likes of Vashti Bunyan in terms of career revival; but to listen to his music on this album alone is to realise how much Fay has influenced others. Wilco covered Fay’s song ‘Be Not So Fearful’ and here Fay returns the favour by offering a radical and beautiful take on Wilco’s ‘Jesus etc..’ (originally to be found on Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot).
Beautifully scored and arranged, these songs stand out on their own and make up one hugely impressive whole. Whilst unbearably sad in parts, the sheer quality and beauty on this album is strangely life-affirming. I’ve become absolutely smitten by this album over the past week, and have listened repeatedly. So a cult hero for many years -on the strength of this album, his time has finally come. Make the time to listen-and make sure you buy it.
Life Is People is out now on Dead Oceans.