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Kevin Ayers - That's What You Get Babe CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers

Canterbury Scene

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Your money goes back to the rich (la-di-da)

Following the release of his 1978 album "Rainbow takeaway", Kevin Ayers packed his bags and moved to Spain, becoming something of a recluse in the process. Two years later however, he released this his last album (second time around) for Harvest records. Harvest decided that Ayers required some assistance to enhance his commercial appeal, and installed Graham Preskett as arranger and producer. The result is an album which was composed entirely by Ayers, but is actually more of a statement of where Preskett was at the time.

The songs here have an overtly accessible feel, with strong rhythms, catchy melodies, and generally brief running times. We have the usual range of Ayers sounds and styles, including cod-reggae, pop rock, quasi-ballad and whimsy. Perhaps the best example of this is "You Never Outrun Your Heart", where pretty much all the foregoing come together. The song is a toe tapping sing-a-long of marginal substance. The ballad part comes immediately afterwards on the pleasantly inoffensive "Given And Taken" which features some nice organ playing by the multi-talented Preskett.

Things probably reach their nadir on the irritatingly catchy "Super salesman" and the following "Money money money" (not the Abba song of course, but also released as a single) which includes such trite lyrics as "where does it go, down in some bottomless a ditch... you're money goes back to the rich (la-di-da)".

By this time, Ayers had pretty much given up on creating anything off the wall or original, and had settled instead decided to pursue commercial success. Unfortunately, this simply meant that he fell between two stools, and began his journey towards obscurity. "That's what you get babe" is not in itself a bad album, but it lacks character or originality. This is the sort of album most people will play once, quite enjoy, then file away forever.

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Posted Monday, May 21, 2012 | Review Permalink

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