January 19, 2010
Coptic Cat

Album Review

In his extensive liner notes to this double-disc, Bill Fay claims that only David Tibet would have released Still Some Light, a collection of demos from 1970 and 1971 gathered from various sources, and a disc of new songs. So it is Tibet we must thank as well. Fay is the British singer/songwriter whose first two albums -- Bill Fay and Time of the Last Persecution -- were issued by Decca in the early '70s to favorable reviews and poor sales. They disappeared until the 21st century, where they have been rightfully regarded as lost classics. The first disc in this collection features demos that Fay and his bandmates had lying about for decades. The fact that these relationships continued after the music stopped says a lot about all of the respect and trust for one another these men have. Fay plays piano, organ, acoustic guitar, and sings, while Alan Rushton is on drums, Daryl Runswick on bass, and Ray Russell on electric guitar. Fay's love of creation, his belief in a higher authority, and the consequences of human folly in caring for it, are at the heart of his argument on the song demos on disc one. The music is mostly melancholy and dark, even foreboding, but Fay is not a preacher, nor is he a prophet: there isn't a hint of self-righteousness in his approach, but a poetic sadness imbued with compassion. Whether it's the original demo for "Time of the Last Persecution" (his unique reading of the Book of Revelation), "Pictures of Adolph Again," "Love Is the Tune," or "Release Is in the Eye," they all reflect these concerns. The simple, even rudimentary recordings on disc two reveal that despite holding working class jobs for decades after his music career, Fay continued to write fine songs simply for himself. Their tone is lighter, offering glimmers of hope in darkened corners. Twenty-four of the 26 remarkable tracks are self-penned. The exceptions are set-opener "My Eyes Open," featuring Fay plaintively (and beautifully) singing over cellist/composer Michael Cashmore's instrumental, and the closer "I Wonder," written by brother John Fay (whose artwork adorns this gorgeous package). Three tracks here are the original versions of songs that appeared on Fay's widely acclaimed 2012 album Life Is People: "There Is a Valley," "Be at Peace with Yourself," and "City of Dreams." They reflect the humility and dignity in his approach. Songs such as "Jericho Road," the title cut, "Solace Flies In," "Your Life Inside," "Fill This World with Peace," and "I Will Remain Here" are almost prayers, yet are imbued with such a gentle but pronounced musicality that they touch the profound. For anyone at all interested in Fay, Still Some Light is an essential collection that underscores a well-deserved reputation only recently cemented. All of the artists' proceeds from the sale of the album will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Backwoods Maze
  2. The Sun Is Bored
  3. There's A price Upon My Head
  4. Time Of The Last Persecution
  5. Plan D
  6. Sing Us One Of Your Songs May
  7. I Will Find My Own Way Back
  8. Love Is The Tune
  9. Laughing Man
  10. Arnold Is A Simple Man
  11. Just To Be A Part
  12. Inside The Keeper's Pantry
  13. Pictures Of Adolf Again
  14. Tell It Like It Is
  15. Release Is In The Eye
  16. Dust Filled Room
  17. I Hear You Calling
  18. My Eyes Open
  19. Solace Flies In
  20. Long Way From Tipperary
  21. All Must Have A Dream
  22. War Machine
  23. There Is A Valley
  24. Road Of Hope
  25. Jericho Road
  26. City Of Dreams
  27. Time To Wake Up Now
  28. Hello Old Tree
  29. Anthems
  30. Still Some Light
  31. Fill This World With Peace
  32. I Will Remain Here
  33. Diamond Studded Days
  34. God Give Them Rest
  35. Keep Turning The Pages
  36. Your Life Inside
  37. I Thought I Heard Someone
  38. Be At Peace With Yourself
  39. All At Once
  40. Peace On Earth
  41. One Day
  42. Here Beneath The Vail
  43. I Wonder