You could easily pass over this record, thinking it doesnt relate to our times. We dont tend to appreciate the holistic and well made anymore, chasing ever decreasing circles of meta-tinged oddness in our music. But this album makes us face our fears – what if all this tangential shit was, well, just detail? And, what if (as the rest of the world seem to do) we should respect and listen to the elders? These 2 thoughts form the framework of our deepening appreciation of this comeback album of sorts by British long lost balladeer Bill Fay.
The older you get, the harder it is to make meaning out of the random shit that knocks chunks out of your soul every working day of your life. Bill Fay has been gifted a chance to make something count after 40 years. A new album after his career was stymied by Decca in the early 1970s. Truth is, most people wouldnt have much left to say. Shit I’m only 2 score years and I’m wrestling with that beast already. And Bill Fay is 60 something yet has made meaning stick to the piano balladeer formula that somehow proves that that chords and the lyrics thing can still work. Or proof of time travel. Over stilled nerves, Fay here recounts what is valuable in life, what remains with you as you get old and what seeps away. It’s one of those perspective notes, final maybe, and that gets our attention.
At the centre of this song cycle is the beautiful Life Is People. From it radiate the spokes of other floaty reveries Be At Peace With Yourself, The Never Ending Happening, and The Healing Day. In between he touches on the devine and the vanquished, attempting to absorb all of the world in one sitting. No doubt it’s going to be too much for some, speaking down from lofty heights rather than as a piece of lowly gravel. But we salute the attempt whatever it’s success as a demonstration of faith, in a system that we had all but abandoned.