“The Never Ending Happening”
by Bill Fay
Even in his youth, Bill Fay never composed songs an older, wiser man wouldn’t have written. He already sounds seasoned on 1970’s “Garden Song,” begging to be buried among potatoes and parsley—a humble resting place for a lyricist equally preoccupied with the cosmic and the epic. Identifying with the ingredients of a peasant’s supper, looking “for lasting relations / with a greenfly, spider, or maggot,” he sings of bonding with the natural world, beginning with the bottom rung.
“The Never Ending Happening,” the standout track from 2012’s Life Is People, Fay’s first studio album in four decades, feels like a sequel broadened in scope. It consists of a simple circular piano progression, with a burst of grainy cello toward the end. Fay’s low voice, quavering yet resonant as a kindly senator’s, pores over not only the inevitable marriage of man and earth—in a word, death—but also the lot of man while on Earth:
The never ending happening
of what’s to be and what has been.
Just to be a part of it
is astonishing to me.
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