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January 22nd, 2010

Bill Fay Acetate Demos / Outtakes

Sometimes I could take or leave Bill Fay’s somewhat overproduced debut 1971 self titled album. I think a lot of people promptly dismiss it after hearing its oddly baroque instrumentation and I can’t blame them. The overproduced instrumentation just sounds out of place set against his unfairly maligned as Dylan tinged tunes. However, he has that distinctly British knack for effortlessly and seamlessly wandering between an upbeat and cheerful melody while half a minute later in the same song dragging you through the gutter. Like Ray Davies drinking cold Tea with Dylan with plenty of Cohen and Lennon thrown in the mix as well. I guess I’d plead with those who have formerly dismissed him to listen to the collection of Bill Fay acetate demos, my favorite of which is from 2007’s easily overlooked and mostly mediocre Fading Yellow 9 comp. The song, simply titled “Unknown Track” is pretty hauntingly brilliant and I don’t think appears on any other album or outtake collection. When I first heard the acetates awhile back I was surprised at how much better they were than anything I’d ever heard by him. Finally here was the Bill Fay promised to me in that beautifully bedraggled photo of him sitting solo at the piano. Stripped of the, in my opinion, unneeded flourishes found on his later albums, I’m a bigger fan of the stripped down sound on these early recordings. Trying to wake up too early, drinking coffee, staring out the window and seeing rain-these songs have made so much sense again lately. Maybe if I get over this cold I’ve had going on two weeks they’ll get put back up on the shelf for a bit, but until then Fay is better than any over the counter…

Bill Fay – Unknown Song (196- Acetate Demo / Unreleased)

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Download the 4 acetate songs here. While you’re at it, grab the other set of 20+ his 60’s demos/outtakes From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock…and save the 100+ bones that it’s now going for. There’s some overlap between the two, but the unknown track is only in the acetate roundup.

And two more songs for the road…

Bill Fay – Garden Song (Unreleased Version – London, 1969)

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Probably Fay at his most optimistic:

Bill Fay – We want you to stay

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Also, just last week he released a new double album that he recorded in 2009 that includes and extra disc of rarities and unreleased tracks from this same 60’s period. I’d say start with the above then head over and buy his new double cd set here:

Buy: Bill Fay – Still Some Light 2 CD Set

8 Comments »

  1. You fail to mention his completely amazing second album, Time of The Last Persecution, released in 1971. It’s great.

    Comment by Hungary — January 23, 2010 @ 9:48 pm
  2. The picture in your post is probably from the sessions for the second album. Here is the cover
    http://www.exiledrecords.com/shop/images/billfaypersecution.jpg

    Comment by Hungary — January 23, 2010 @ 9:51 pm
  3. I like that album a bit, but there’s something missing in his vocals on it compared to that earlier stuff. Just my opinion.

    Comment by Devin — January 24, 2010 @ 2:22 am
  4. Waiting for his newest comin this year, Still some light

    Comment by Mohdj — January 25, 2010 @ 4:14 am
  5. love this stuff. looking forward to the new release. have a bit of trouble with the saxophone solos in some of the other stuff.

    Comment by aaddaamm cc.. — January 25, 2010 @ 4:58 am
  6. Yeah I agree. I first heard Bill Fay from the outtakes which totally blew me away, then I got his first album and wasn’t so fussed. No need for the production.
    Although very different from his previous work, the Last Persecution album is stunning.
    Have you heard the Bill Fay Group album? It’s good, but not great.

    Comment by gt — February 5, 2011 @ 12:26 am
  7. That first song is called Noise Of Me, acc to a Bill Fay fan site.

    Comment by Mikael — August 29, 2012 @ 10:37 am
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    Comment by MerleWAmsili — June 11, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

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