Time of the Last Persecution
Bill Fay’s sophomore album was written and recorded during a time when the English singer/songwriter was obsessing over the Bible’s books of Daniel and Revelations. The result, 1971’s Time of the Last Persecution, reflects a dark but spiritual journey. Yet the title track's riveting lyrics reveal that Fay was also musing heavily on the political tensions of the time—specifically the Kent State massacre. Ray Russell’s feverish leads and raw, psychedelic tone has drawn a population of guitar enthusiasts to this album, and his instrument’s distinctive voice sings (and squeals) loudest on the title track, with bastardized modal notes colliding into the era’s ear-searing acid rock. A versatile player, Russell shifts to an acoustic Spanish style on “Don’t Let My Marigolds Die,” a stripped-down folk song in which Fay sings heartwrenching poetry as if from his deathbed. Though his voice takes a Bob Dylan–style reediness in the following “I Hear You Calling,” the simplicity of his word choices and elegant restraint convey a deeper loss and desperation.