In the Bible, there is an interesting story about a largely disregarded prophet named Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet in Israel, before and after its capture and exile to Babylon. In a time when most people in that nation were living in what they thought was “love, peace, and happiness”; Jeremiah was walking around telling everyone that judgment and destruction were imminent. For telling the inevitable truth, Jeremiah was ostracized and out of sync with the culture around him, all the while attesting to a future doom that was yet to come. In the same vein, a largely unknown folk songwriter at the onset of the 1970s named Bill Fay released the album Time of the Last Persecution from the fringes of the music culture, heralding the end of the era of hippie idealism with messages of judgment, human despair, and eventual consummation.
Bill Fay’s recording career was short, to say the least. Besides a 1967 single and two albums released within a year of each other, there is not much material to draw on. His third album Tomorrow and Tomorrow didn’t see the light of day until nearly 30 years later. Just last year, Fay released a double-disc collection of both old and new material titled Still Some Light, which featured a collection of songs from his 2009 home studio recordings. Beyond that there is not much to speak of.
Although his first self-titled debut album received some notice at the time of its release (with the gorgeous song “Be Not So Fearful”), it would be his second, Time of the Last Persecution, that would remain firmly fixed in the imaginations of many, especially notable fans such as Wilco, Six Organs of Admittance, and Sonic Youth member/Wilco producer Jim O’Rourke.