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Kevin Ayers - Still Life With Guitar CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE WITH GUITAR

Kevin Ayers

 

Canterbury Scene

3.00 | 7 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Time passages, Ollie's swansong

Shortly after the death of his writing partner Ollie (Peter) Halsall, Kevin Ayers released this album. It is not clear (to me at least) what the relative timing was, and how much involvement Halsall has in this album but on the face of it, it would appear he is involved in just one song ("Ghost train"). A number of guests are present however, including members of the pop folk band Fairground Attraction, BJ Cole, and Mike Oldfield (playing guitar). The album is almost exclusively acoustic, the focus throughout being on Ayers' vocals.

Those vocals stand up well here, Ayers singing with an assuredness which is in turn reassuring to us. He still tends to have a natural croon, mixed with a Leonard Cohen like melancholy. Songs such as "Something in Between" are sparse and downbeat, a mood which is even more noticeable on the soft shuffle of "Thank you very much".

There are upbeat songs though, the jaunty "There goes Johnny" and the aforementioned "Ghost train" both offering a perceptive beat. On the latter, there is something of an Al Stewart feel (Stewart is still absent from PA I notice!). "I Don't Depend on You" is one of the better tracks on the album, the slow drawl giving the feel of a reflective alcohol inspired soliloquy.

The acoustic style of the this album means that the tracks are short and to the point. There is nothing remotely progressive here, just some fine vocal performances backed by a plethora of talented musicians. Fans of Kevin Ayers may well consider this to be something of a return to form. Personally I am rather take it or leave it, I find the album musically impressive but overall a bit dull and unexciting.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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