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Kevin Ayers - Joy of a Toy CD (album) cover

JOY OF A TOY

Kevin Ayers

 

Canterbury Scene

3.61 | 71 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars JOY OF A TOY never did as much for me as WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING or THE CONFESSIONS OF DR DREAM (two of the most enjoyable Canterbury albums) but I love its A-side, which contains some of Kevin Ayers' most remarkable compositions.

The bizarre but irresistible title track sounds like a carnival party in full swing. In "Town Feeling" Kevin makes the best possible use of his glorious bass voice, languidly intoning: 'Today the town feels like a tomb, / everybody's locked up in his room' and: 'Now you come and tell me that you're sad / but you never talk about it when you're glad'. "Girl on a Swing" is a charming observation of a child in a park or garden. Just like 'Town Feeling', and like so much of Kevin's work, it's really an invitation to seize the day and enjoy every single moment.

The album's highlight, however, is the extraordinary "Song for Insane Times", which ought to feature on any Kevin Ayers 'Best of' although it is invariably omitted, since it doesn't sound simplistic enough! The melody is superb, the jazzy playing is great (with a starring role for Mike Ratledge on piano and 'fuzz box organ') and the lyrics are some of Kevin's most perceptive. Apart from Pete Townshend (on "Won't Get Fooled Again") very few rock musicians expressed their disillusionment with 1960s counter- culture as trenchantly as this. You must remember this was recorded at a time when dear little Jon Anderson could still be heard to sing: 'As long as we see, there's only us who can change it, only us to rearrange it' - well, Jon certainly rearranged Yes...

Ayers, on the other hand, goes: 'People say they want to be free, / they look at them and they look at me / but it's only themselves they are wanting to see / and everybody knows about it'. He then describes a number people going out of their mind at a party. Our Kevin may not exactly be the world's greatest lyricist, but he invariably expresses his thoughts succinctly and unforgettably. Canterbury fans shouldn't miss this album.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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