Monday, May 2, 2011
BILL FAY - TIME OF THE LAST PERSECUTION
Before you get too jealous, this is a review of the CD remaster rather than an original Deram press of 'Time of the Last Persecution.'
I bought it from Amazon after an entire year of it sitting on my 'Records that people tell me I HAVE TO listen to' list.
So, I've listened to it.
Am I going to add it to my own personal 'Oh my shit! You absolutely have to listen to this record because it will make your tits explode with joy' list?
It's alright, I mean he looks fucking awesome on the front cover and what a name for an album. So why doesn't it get a high-five or even a pat on the back? Two reasons really.
First off Bill voice sounds way to close to that of my musical nemesis Ronnie Lane. That's right, the guy who made every Faces record he sang on sound pompous to the point of being fucking ridiculous. Anyway, it doesn't do well to speak ill of the dead so I won't expand on that other than to say that I still have nightmares about that man's singing 'ability' years after hearing anything he sang on.
If you need persuading give 'You're So Rude' a spin and listen to the way he pronounces 'They've all gone to see AUntie Renee'.
Where was I? Right, point 2. The saxophone. It doesn't feature throughout but whenever it does rear its ugly head it does nothing to benefit the over-all sound of the record.
When I was first told I had to give this a go I was told it was like Skip Spence's 'Oar'. It is a bit, but instead of the psychedelic undertones of that album 'Time of The Last Persecution' seems to be lumbered with Ray Russell's blues based guitar wankery. It also sounds far too English, too polite, too far away from the action.
Oh and whilst I'm at it the drums sound very 'session'.
What does work is the piano (as does the fuzz guitar). If Bill could some how have seen his way to relying more heavily on this tool we'd have something closer to the whacked out Elton John I'd been expecting.
Without wanting to list tracks there are some corkers on here and I am sure I sound like a heathen when I say it would make great source material for other bands to run with and improve. In fact in reading that back reminds me of the time I upset pretty much everybody I knew by saying that I preferred Girls Against Boys version of 'She's Lost Control' to the original Joy Division one.
Another reason to give this album the time of day is the lyrics. If that's your cup of tea and you take into consideration that this album comes from a very different world, one where the Vietnam war was present tense, one where that Haight and Ashbury dream of love and peace had just tuned out to be 'right drugs, right music, right time' rather than the beginning of the glorious global revolution and it makes a lot of sense. There is bitterness, apathy and disappointment in this music and it sounds pretty good 40 years on.