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Kevin Ayers - The Unfairground CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

2.90 | 17 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

So Kevin Ayers is back!! 15 years after his last recording! and what can we expect from Kevin in 2007/08? I know i wasn't expecting a masterpiece after all those years, especially knowing Kevin wasn't even able to pull one during his golden years in the beginning 70s!

But 33mns of music! Damn! damn! 10 songs and that's it! 15 years to produce ''middle of the road'' songs lasting for a grand total of 33mns. Even when vinyl was king, artists tried to produce around 40mns of music. Arrive the digital age and K. Ayers comes up with not even that amount.

One could counter that sometimes this is better having quality over quantity! right if i could compare what's on this CD to golden nuggets....But believe me, this ain't a goldmine!..Not a recording you will live happily with for the rest of your life.

Kevin Ayers brought a lot of ''stars'' to participate to this recording..We have new names that i don't know, Euro-pop they say, i am not familiar with. From the old guard, PHIL MANZANERA of Roxy fame lends his guitar and our ex- Soft Machine bassist invited other ex-Soft Machine members, namely HUGH HOPPER and our dear friend ROBERT WYATT. Sadly, all references to SOFT MACHINE stop here. Nothing to be amazed as Kevin abandonned a long time ago any links to his psychedelic debut with the mighty SOFT.

Don't get me wrong! there is nothing on this album that cannot be said:'' that's bad''..You can to listen to the whole 33mns and you won't get any headaches, only scratching your head when listening to totally unconsequential songs like the opener ONLY HEAVEN KNOWS or the closer RUN RUN RUN ;Boy scouts hymns to sing-along around a campfire!!!!.

Some titles are a little more ''thought'' or ''worked'' like COLD SHOULDER or BRAINSTORM (now this is not Hawkwind) where some arrangements add a little proggish resemblance to what Kevin used to record early 70s, but don't expect LADY RACHEL to show up at your door! She is nowhere in sight. But they are good average typical AYERS tunes.

When i reviewed AYERS from the good old times, i wrote Kevin was a musician of talent, but was more interested in good wine and good food and good company. Nothing wrong with that, but EVERY album of his has suffered from his lackaidisical attitude.....Great songs snadwiched by forgettable ones....remember CARRIBEAN MOON and TAKE ME TO TAHITI, not forgetting the dreadful HAT.

It seems nothing has changed much since the 70s. Kevin lives in the South-West French countryside, enjoying his ''retirement'' and still able to create 33mns of songs in 15 years. I may sound harsh, but it's just i liked the character very much and some of his songs really, really brought me a lot of pleasure. I will never forget SOFT MACHINE one, JOY OF A TOY or the good WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING, i still play them regularly but this CD THE UNFAIRGROUND won't be one of them!

On the positive side, i shoud mention that KEVIN didn't lost one step with his voice....still deep, cozy, charming, just the inspiration missing. Not a bad CD as i said, but nothing mesmerizing either! Some pleasant songs but that's not the place for a newcomer to start his AYERS discovery.

I hate to give 2 stars to an artist i like, but somehow you've got to be honest with yourself!


febus | 2/5 |


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