Fay Ray

Fay Ray were a Welsh New Wave/post-punk band that released the album Contact You on WEA in 1982.

Members: Sheila McCartney [Sheila Brook] (vocals, guitar), John Lovering (guitar), Owen Hughes (drums), Tony Travis (bass, backing vocals), Jeff Taylor (saxophone, accordion, flute, backing vocals)


Fay Ray’s roots trace to the Bangor post-punk combo Hot Water, which issued two 1978/79 singles on small-press Duff Records: “Different Morning” (b/w “Premium Bondage”) and “Get Lost” (b/w “Birds Eye View”). Vocalist Brenda Prescott subsequently cut two 1980 singles in Brenda & The Rattlesnakes. The core of Hot Water — guitarist/songwriter John Lovering, singer/guitarist Sheila McCartney, and saxophonist Jeff Taylor — enlisted the rhythm section of local rivals Dick Dick & The Dicks, bassist Tony Travis and drummer Owen Hughes.

The name Fay Ray is a play on 1930s Canadian actress Fay Wray, best known as the heroine in the 1933 monster-adventure King Kong.

Fay Ray debuted with the single “Family Affairs” (b/w “Didn’t Have To Say That”). It was produced by Nigel Gray (Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Police, Godley & Creme, Hazel O’Connor, The Planets, Wishbone Ash) and released in 1980 on his exclusive Surrey Sound Records label.

In 1981, Fay Ray recorded tracks with Gray for what would become their singular album, Contact You. It was released in 1982 on WEA (UK, NZ, NDL, Germany) and Elektra (US). The album features 20 songs, including the aforementioned a-side plus “(Waiting for the) Heatwave,” “Love Is Strange,” “Wargames,” “Cold as Steel,” and a re-recorded “Different Morning.” “Heatwave” was issued as a single, backed with the non-album “I Wish.” The recording was engineered by Pete Buhlmann (Bruford, The Passions, Gary Numan, Eurogliders) and mixed by Martin “Thing” Moss (Greenslade, The Enid, Jethro Tull).

The album cover for Contact You was illustrated by the firm A.D. Design, which also did album art for Van der Graaf Generator (World Record), Patrick Moraz (Out In the Sun), Steve Hackett (Please Don’t Touch!), Brand X (Masques), and Bow Wow Wow (When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going).

Fay Ray recorded material for a second album that never materialized. Contact You was first reissued in 2018 on the reformed band’s eponymous press with five bonus tracks.


Discography:

  • Contact You (1982)

Sources:

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