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Kevin Ayers - Yes We Have No Mananas CD (album) cover

YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS

Kevin Ayers

Canterbury Scene


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Blue for you

Having previously left Harvest records and signed up for Island, Kevin Ayers made his return to the Harvest label with this album. His previous album, "Sweet deceiver" is retrospectievly perceived by fans of Ayers as being the start of his decline, and "Yes we have no Mamanas" is seen as a continuation of that decline.

In reality, while it is far from a classic, it is not a bad album. Admittedly, there are a few too many disposable pop based tracks, but the album is almost completely redeemed by the classic closing track. "Blue" may still be somewhat removed from Ayers' Soft Machine influences, but this wonderfully atmospheric ballad is a true classic in every sense. During the six and a half minutes of the track, Ayers moves from understated melancholy verses through powerful refrains and some of his finest guitar work ever, to a climax of choral vocals and ethereal guitar. A truly moving experience.

Other highlights rapidly become hard to spot. "Star" is a bluesy number, once again featuring female backing vocals and some good guitar. And that's about it. There are a few too many whimsical numbers, with the pop based "Mr Cool" ("Oh Mr. Hot don't you think you're cool 'cos you're not") being immediately followed by "The owl", a pleasant but lightweight number. "Ballad of Mr. Snake" plumbs the depths further, sounding like a Monty Python outtake. The penultimate track, "Yes I do" has some fine piano accompaniment in an effectively sparse arrangement, and thus forms an appropriate precedent to the aforementioned "Blue".

The star rating for the album reflects the inclusion of "Blue", otherwise this album would have been foundering in the collectors only department.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#78314)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars A RATHER PLEASANT LISTENING.

This is now 1976 and the hopes for a great successful career have evaporated for good by now.The contract of KEVIN AYERS with Island records has ended and has sadly not been renewed. Nevertheless, his old company HARVEST opened the door back to him and Kevin was back in a familiar setting he has frequented for quite a few years, earlier in his career.

Kevin back in his element offered us a new album perfectly in his image YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS.....GET YOUR MANANAS TODAY! You can't find a more KEVIN AYERS-like name, do you? Also, the design of the cover is admirably suited to his personality as we have a tropical setting with sandy beaches, bright sun, fresh fruits and gentle waves. Nothing to remind you of the collapse of the British economy in its grey brick suburbs happening at this time.

Does it mean we are going to listen to more calypso or reggae muisc?? Thanks god, no! This is still a KEVIN AYERS album, but surprisingly relatively coherent. We still have funny ditties like MR COOL or THE BALLAD OF MR SNAKE, but they are not destroying the flow of the album, but are rather pieces to enjoy, at least for me. There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking ON YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS, but a good pop/rock album with some really good numbers.

I guess KEVIN AYERS was more at peace by now, not feelling the pression he surely had to endure at Island records, trying to reach this problematic stardom that would never come.This is a relax album (Kevin has always been relax, maybe too much!!) . There are some good rockers ( a la AYERS of course) like the opener STAR or the sweet sugared ballad FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN.

However, KEVIN AYERS would prove us, he was still capable of composing absolute great songs like the last 2 from this album YES I DO and the gorgeous BLUE. These 2 songs can be seen as one as YES I DO is the perfect introduction to BLUE, a perfect piano-led BALLAD with tender vocals. You remember that the best musical moments of AYERS came when he was collaborating in the past with keyboardist/arranger DAVID BEDFORD like, for example, on THERE IS LOVING/AMONG US or LADY RACHEL.

Guess what? David is back on this track and it feels like it! The old magic is back!! BLUE is one of AYERS best ever composition with a nice athmospherique build-up, a great guitar solo and a very ''symphonique'' final with orchestra and grandiose choirs. Over 6 mns of pleasure guaranteed! That's too bad that those 2 souls didn't decide to do more music together as BEDFORD was the perfect remedy to all AYERS excesses and knew how to elevate his songs to a level Kevin couldn't reach alone.

YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS is not necessary listening, especially from a prog standpoint but nevertheless a good album to enjoy, surprisingly well balanced for an AYERS recording. I like it!! 3.5 stars......rounded to

3 STARS.

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#138664)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In spite of the gorgeous title, this album marked the beginning of the end for Kevin Ayers. Melodically and structurally, some of the uptempo songs are similar to the earlier SWEET DECEIVER, but everything has been simplified and prettified. On SWEET DECEIVER many songs benefitted from Ayers's playfully philosophical ruminations, but here on MANANAS, unfortunately, there are simply too many traces of lightweight cabaret and childish whimsy. (Needless to add that Kevin's extended psychedelic experiments also lay far, far behind him.) Silly ditties about owls and snakes lead to the suspicion that Ayers may have been reading too much Edward Lear. Earlier on in his career, the even darker fantasies of Lewis Carroll had a more beneficial effect. Furthermore, run-of-the-mill pop songs like "Star" and "Love's gonna turn you round" never did anyone any good, and covering Marlene Dietrich ("Falling in Love Again") is better left to German rockers like the legendary Udo Lindenberg.

Towards the end of MANANAS Kevin almost redeems himself by singing a splendid love song ("I Do") in which he sounds more forlorn than ever. And he goes on to take this mood even further in the gorgeous "Blue", which features superb vocal and orchestral arrangements, as well as a climactic guitar solo (performed by Ollie Halsall, I think) which won't leave you untouched. It's a helluva way to end an album! Pity that almost everything before it was below par.

EMI's recent digital remaster features first-rate liner notes and several bonus tracks, among which there's a live performance of "Blue". The bonus tracks are no great shakes, but the original album now sounds clearer than ever.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#265995)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Kevin Ayers - Yes we have no mananas (1976)

Kevin Ayers played with Soft Machine in it's very first phase and has since then been releasing albums under his own flag. On this rather odd titled album we can hear slightly Canterbury influenced alternative pop with a cabaret-like feel. Some tiny psych-pop influences from the heydays of the Canterbury scene can be found here and there, but most of the time we are listening to simple songs of a not-too-talented vocalist. Most arrangements are quite simplistic and the songs are all enjoyable - but never more then that. The dry and dopey vocals of Ayers gives the music a mellow feel, whilst his often slightly funny lyrics give the music some meaning.

Conclusion. Little to say here, an almost not even prog-related record that might still interest Canterbury purists. Two stars.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#751739)
Posted Friday, May 11, 2012 | Review Permalink

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