Bangor is a small town in north west Wales, nestled between the mountains of Snowdonia and the isle of Anglesey. The slate industry which made it prosperous in the C19th had died out by the 1960s. But the postwar public sector – hospitals, schools, and a university – more than compensated. These brought in students and professionals, many of whom stayed on to make it their home. A mainly Welsh speaking area became more diverse (Caernarfon, 10 minutes away, is the Welshest town in the world)
It was a great place to live – beautiful mountains and beaches, friendly people, lots of pubs, plenty of rain.
As it was the 1970s, there was no shortage of sex and drugs; rock n’ roll soon followed. People all over Britain began getting together in garages, pubs, and student unions to make do it yourself music.
In Bangor, the upstairs of the Glanrafon pub became the place to do such things (with the added thrill of possible electrocution thanks to dodgy wiring). Out of dozens of bands, one sprawling outfit – Hot Water – became a local legend in its own lunchtime.
Fay Ray was formed in 1979 by joining three former Hots with the rhythm section (Owen and Tony) from local garage band – Dick Dick and the Dicks.
The point of the band was to make people dance, which they did.
The songs are about the usual stuff – love and loss, anger and hope, parenthood, isolation, etc. As to what particular songs are about, you’ll have to work that out for yourself. Some were political, because the times were tense. In Northern Ireland, just across the water from Bangor, the Troubles were intensifying. Racism was becoming visibly nastier throughout the UK. And everyone felt the Cold War getting hotter.
That was over thirty years ago. We never imagined then that, if we survived the very real threat of a nuclear holocaust, the same problems would be looming just eighteen years into the new century. Those who don’t learn from history are condemned, etc etc…