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Kevin Ayers - Whatevershebringswesing CD (album) cover

WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING

Kevin Ayers

 

Canterbury Scene

3.51 | 44 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Shedidn'tthinkyou'dsingitlikethatthough!

Following the release of "Shooting at the moon", which was actually credited to Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, that band toured in support of the album. Ayers however found that touring was not really his bag and subsequently disbanded the group. He then set about recording "Whatevershebringswesing" as a solo album. This was not however to be a one man effort by any means, and pretty much The Whole World(!) plus members of Gong step in to help out.

Released in January 1972, the LP consists of two sides of four tracks each. Each side starts with a feature track running to 7 or 8 minutes, supported by three shorter tracks. The first track is an amalgam of an Ayers song and a David Bedford composition. This track (alone) was actually recorded prior to the break up of The Whole World, hence Bedford's compositional credit for the full orchestra "Among us" section. After this rather avant-garde indulgence, the rest of the album seems more conventional and melodic.

"Margaret" is a delightful love song with understated orchestration, while "Oh my" is an old tyme brass band style happy song with a deep south jazz feel. The song is not unlike the similarly named "Ah me, ah my" by The Strawbs from around the same time. "Song from the bottom of a well" returns us to Ayers at his most indulgent, the spooky vocals (along the lines of the start of "Thriller"!) being supported by off beat sound loops and backwards recordings.

Although the title track is the longest on the album, it is not overburdened by complexity by any means. Here we have one of Ayers fine mid-paced soft songs, of the type which I feel he does best. Robert Wyatt adds harmony vocals and Mike Oldfield provides an extended lead guitar solo to this, the highlight of the album. "Stranger in blue suede shoes" provides some light relief musically and lyrically, the song also being released as a single.

"Champagne cowboy blues" is a sort of melancholy drinking song, with breaking bottles providing the rhythm. It is lightweight, but inoffensively pleasant. The album closes with the brief, appropriately titled "Lullaby", essentially a flute and piano duet. The piece is unusual for an Ayers album, but then by now we should expect the unusual.

Overall, a typically eclectic Kevin Ayers album. There is much to enjoy here along with the odd frustration along the way. The good far exceeds the not so good though.

The remastered CD has 4 additional tracks. One of these is just an early mix of "Champagne cowboy blues", but the other three are non-album tracks. "Stars" was the B side of the single, the song being upbeat and commercial. The other two bonus tracks are not actually from the same period as the album recordings, but were put together later in 1972. It seems the songs may have been intended as two sides of a single, but they remained unreleased until they appeared on an Ayers compilation album in 1976. Both songs are from Ayers whimsical, retro side, appealing but unchallenging.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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