Friday, October 14, 2011

Prick Tunes: Bill Fay "Scream in the Ears"

It has been nagging at me for a while, but I've wanted to try to figure out a way to work a little more music into the blog. This seemed like the most logical way to go. Not every post will be this long. Sometimes it may just be a video with a sentence or two, but I will try to get these up every day, Monday through Friday at noon. 

From his first single in 1967, the "Some Good Advice" B-side "Scream in the Ears" is a shining example of the potential the once-obscure British singer-songwriter Bill Fay had. While poppier than much of the material that comprised his first two LPs, Bill Fay and Time of the Last Persecution, it's a damn fine song and indicative of his lyrical dexterity.

Unfortunately, those albums sold poorly, and his label, Deram Records, dropped him as a result. 

For 39 years nothing was heard from Bill Fay, while fans were left to wonder what happened to this wild-looking man. Despite understandable assumptions that he was dead based on the fact that this album cover was the most prevalent photo of the mysterious man, he resurfaced in 2010 with a new album, Still Some Light on Coptic Cat. If memory serves me correctly, he had been working a normal job completely unaware of his standing among a rather influential group of musicians including Jim O'Rourke, Six Organs of Admittance, and Jeff Tweedy, who has stated that Time of the Last Persecution was influential to the path Wilco has taken in the past decade. 

This is a cursory look at Bill Fay. For much better insight into the man and the music, there is a great two-part interview over at WFMU and a fine review of Time of the Last Persecution at Pop Matters.

In the meantime, here's that B-side for you to feast on. If you get the chance and haven't heard it yet, I cannot recommend Time of the Last Persecution highly enough.

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