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Kevin Ayers - Shooting at the Moon CD (album) cover

SHOOTING AT THE MOON

Kevin Ayers

 

Canterbury Scene

3.60 | 54 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Back in the days when there was nothing but LPs and tapes, I didn't play this album very often. Compared to its immediate successors it seemed underwhelming. But the remastered CD (with bonus tracks) from 2002 turns it into something very special. Those old relaxed and easy ditties (e.g. "May I", "The Oyster and the Flying Fish", "Clarence in Wonderland") sound clearer than ever, and Kevin's duet with Bridget St. John on "The Oyster..." is a wonder. On the other hand, the harsher rock tunes shine more brightly as well, since now you can hear all that sonic detail better than ever. The great surprise here is Mike Oldfield's electric guitar solo (mean but masterly) on "Lunatics Lament". Makes you wonder what sparks would have flown if Mike had stayed on, as star soloist in a conventional rock band!

Both "Pisser dans un Violon" and "Underwater" are experimental pieces (without vocals) which would feel right at home on a 1972/1973 King Crimson album. They're rather low key (does Kevin play lead guitar as well as bass?) but now that I can finally hear them without crackle or scratches, I enjoy them just as much as some of those fabled Fripp-Wetton-Cross-Bruford improvs! Perhaps we should finally acknowledge Kevin for being the innovator he was clearly trying to be.

What turns this album into a four star one, though, is the addition of the delightful bonus material. "Puis-je" is identical to "May I", only the vocal is in French this time, and Kevin's ad-libbing during the sax solo always brings a smile to my face: you hear him muttering that he just wants to sit next to the lovely girl in the cafe and admire her beauty; he doesn't want to get "entre tes reins tout de suite". (A mischievous hint at a ballad by a certain S. Gainsbourg which was a huge international hit at the time, despite being banned by the Vatican!) "Butterfly Dance" delightfully foreshadows the opening of WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING, and "Jolie Madame" (another duet with Bridget St. John) is one of the loveliest ballads Kevin has ever committed to vinyl.

All in all, SHOOTING AT THE MOON is a near-masterpiece, and in its most recent incarnation I'd call it "not to be missed".

fuxi | 4/5 |

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