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Kevin Ayers - The Confessions Of Dr. Dream And Other Stories CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

3.33 | 41 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Girlie Ayers

By 1974, Ayers was firmly ensconced in his solo career, with a string of credible releases in the bag. The confessions of Dr. Dream and other stories was his first album for Island records, his move to a major label allowing him to populate the tracks with many famous musicians. Luminaries of the Canterbury scene and further afield, such as Mike Ratledge (Soft Machine), Geoff Richardson (Caravan), Nico and Mike Oldfield, along with a host of others, all grace the album at various points.

With just 8 tracks including an almost side long suite, this is arguably Ayers' most ambitious release. Such an observation is diluted to some extent when we find that the suite is in fact four separate tracks linked together, but this is nevertheless a key album in Kevin's discography.

The opening track Day by day sets the tone for the album with a funky pop orientated song complete with girlie voices and a catchy hook. Prog it most certainly ain't; but enjoyable? Well yes. See you later sounds for all the world like a short Bonzo Dog Band track. It quickly links via some superfluous whistles etc. and some hard rock guitar into I didn't feel lonely till I thought of you, another song peppered with a girlie vocal backed chorus. There is some fine guitar work concealed within the song, but overall it is little more than a commercial pop number.

It is only when we get to the melancholy Everybody's sometime and some people's all the time blues, that we find the type of song we expect from Ayers, and for my money the style he is best at. This slow, moody number offers him the opportunity to add a fine vocal performance.

The three part It begins with a blessing/Once I awakened/But it ends with a curse reverts to the soft downbeat style again, supported by some delightful organ. The song includes a combination of incoherent mumbling by Kev and loud vocalised choruses by his female accompaniment. Side one is rounded out by the brief throwaway Ballbearing blues, an amusing but inconsequential ditty.

The four part title suite may be something of a wolf in sheep's clothing, but it is still the highlight of the album. The four songs are far more adventurous and imaginative that anything else here, featuring some fine instrumentation (including Canterbury keyboards). There are hints of Hawkwind, Krautrock and a myriad of other styles throughout the suite, which hangs together surprisingly well as a major piece.

The album concludes with Two goes into four, a brief acoustic variation of Hey Jude with alternative lyrics.

In all, an album which probably pleased Ayers' new record company, since it contained some pretty commercial material. Long term fans, and progheads generally, are best advised to head for side two and in particular the suite which give the album its name. Noted producer Rupert Hine does a fine job with the material he is presented with, the sound being clean and uncluttered.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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