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Kevin Ayers - Sweet Deceiver CD (album) cover

SWEET DECEIVER

Kevin Ayers

 

Canterbury Scene

2.78 | 16 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Contains some Goodies

Kevin Ayers first few albums are considered by his followers to be his best. There is a general feeling that after he left the Harvest label and moved to Island, his output become more mainstream, and therefore less worthy. He is regularly accused of becoming lazy, and underachieving.

Such criticism does in some instances have a certain validity, but in general terms it is blinkered and unfair. There's no denying that albums such as "Sweet deceiver", his last recording for Island before returning to Harvest, are lighter and more accessible than his SOFT MACHINE related work, but seen for what they are they are still valid works.

A cursory look at the line up here will reveal that a certain Elton John plays piano on three of the tracks, although it must be remembered that while his star was rapidly rising, he was far from being the superstar he subsequently became.

"Sweet deceiver" consists of nine diverse tracks. Side one of the LP is slightly the more progressive, with four tracks. The opening "Observations" immediately features Ayers' rich distinctive voice, some modest changes of pace, and a decent guitar break. "Toujours la voyage" is a slower ballad with gentle lyrics and another fine vocal performance. Elton John's piano work here contrasts well with Ayers' guitar. The other tracks which feature Elton are "Guru banana", which sounds extremely similar to THE GOODIES "Funky Gibbon" single released the same year, and "Circular letter" where John's piano is the dominant feature of a lightweight, throwaway number.

"Once upon an ocean" continues the frivolity with a "Dreadlock holiday" (10CC) like calypso, but the closing track "Farewell again" restores order in a smooth, singer- songwriter sort of way.

Had Ayers' had enough material to make side two of the LP match the quality of the first, we could have been talking of a superior album here. As it is, we have a reasonably entertaining if unchallenging album, which is worthy of investigation but is far from essential.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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