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BANANAMOUR

Kevin Ayers

Canterbury Scene


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Kevin Ayers Bananamour album cover
3.14 | 33 ratings | 10 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1.Don't Let It Get You Down (4:04)
2.Shouting In A Bucket Blues (3:45)
3.When Your Parents Go To Sleep (5:47)
4.Interview (4:43)
5.Internotional Anthem (0:43)
6.Decadence (8:05)
7.Oh! Wot A Dream (2:48)
8.Hymn (4:35)
9.Beware Of The Dog (1:27)

Bonus tracks on CD re-release
10.Connie On A Rubber Band (2:56)
11.Decadence (Early Mix) (6:57)
12.Take Me To Tahiti (3:37)
13.Caribbean Moon (3:02)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Kevin Ayers / Guitar, Vocals
- David Bedford / Keyboards, Orchestral Arrangements
- Howie Casey / Saxophone, Sax (Tenor), Brass
- Dave Caswell / Trumpet
- Tristan Fry / Percussion, Cymbals
- Steve Hillage / Guitar
- Lyle Jenkins /Saxophone, Baritone, Brass
- Archie Leggett / Bass, Vocals
- Ronnie Price / Piano
- Mike Ratledge / Organ, Keyboards
- Barry St. John /Vocals
- Eddie Sparrow / Percussion, Drums
- Liza Strike / Vocals
- Doris Troy /Vocals
- Robert Wyatt / Drums, Vocals



Releases information

Harvest 803 (1973)

Reissued on CD with bonus tracks in 2002

Thanks to Hendrix828 for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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Joy of a ToyJoy of a Toy
Import · Remastered
EMI 2003
Audio CD$4.47
$3.61 (used)
Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$13.20
$20.43 (used)
The Harvest Years 1969 - 1974The Harvest Years 1969 - 1974
Box set · Import
Harvest 2012
Audio CD$23.81
$25.76 (used)
Yes We Have No MananasYes We Have No Mananas
Import · Remastered
EMI France 2009
Audio CD$4.34
$4.91 (used)
Confessions of Doctor Dream & Other StoriesConfessions of Doctor Dream & Other Stories
Import · Remastered
EMI France 2009
Audio CD$6.65
$14.15 (used)
Shooting at the MoonShooting at the Moon
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Import 2003
Audio CD$6.85
$7.75 (used)
Diamond Jack & Queen of PainDiamond Jack & Queen of Pain
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$28.39
What More Can I SayWhat More Can I Say
Remastered
Reel Recordings 2008
Audio CD$5.96
$5.20 (used)
WhatevershebringWhatevershebring
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
EMI Import 2003
Audio CD$5.45
$4.50 (used)
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KEVIN AYERS Bananamour ratings distribution


3.14
(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
9%
Good, but non-essential (61%)
61%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

KEVIN AYERS Bananamour reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars Ayers's fourth solo album is certainly not one of my favorites and is a definite downstep from Shooting At The Moon, although most of Ayer's backing group The Whole World is absent, he gets help from Ratledge and Wyatt and Daevis Allen introduced Ayers to Archie Legget and the backing group will take the name of Archibald.

The album is plagued by a rather shoddy horn section that would earn better marks listening to many of their peers from those years for a few lessons of savoir-faire and inspiration. The album starts with a daft Beatles-like track and are followed by rather uninventive blues tracks for the rest of the album's first side. Internotional Dream has an intriguing lead but serves as intro for the only noteworthy track of the album, Decadence - not by a small surprise the longest track on the album with great guitar from Steve Hillage and keys work from Ratledge.

Except for a earlier version of Decadence, the bonus tracks from the remastered version of this album, hold few interest for the proghead, and they are made up of A and B sides of the surrounding singles promoting the album.Certainly not his better album, if it was not for one track, this album would be a dud.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#62648) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 01, 2006

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This Kevin Ayers album is not quite as gorgeous as the two it's sandwiched between (WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING and THE CONFESSIONS OF DR DREAM) but it's definitely worth hearing and contains some superb moments. I'd place it roughly on the same level as SWEET DECEIVER from 1975.

"Don't let it get you down", the opening track, lacks a striking melody, but it is mainly of interest because of its great horn section and the enthusiastic vocals by Doris Troy, Liza Strike and Barry St.John - three names that will sound familiar to anyone who's read the liner notes to THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.

"Shouting in a bucket blues" is somewhat more original, and lifted to an altogether higher plane by the guitar solos of one Steve Hillage, who was playing lead in Ayers' band at the time. (Mike Oldfield had just left our Kevin to record TUBULAR BELLS).

Things get even more exciting with "When your parents go to sleep", in which the horn section strongly reminds me of Dexy's Midnight Runners, while the lead vocal is taken by Kevin's bass player, Archie Legget, since Kevin (with his warm bass voice) needed someone to sing in the style of Ray Charles.

"Interview" sounds like a foreshadowing of the trippiest moments of DR DREAM. Once again, the sung melody isn't very gripping, but Mike Ratledge's fuzz box organ (with lots of echo), combined with the excellent rhythm section, produces some of the most hallucinatory moments on the album.

The eight-minute "Decadence" is a masterpiece, beyond doubt. On top of delightful guitar arpeggios Kevin sings his ode to Nico, one-time chanteuse with the Velvet Underground, and creator of wonderful albums like CHELSEA GIRLS and DESERTSHORE. To my regret Kevin decides to address Nico as Marlene, 'because it sounds better', something which simply happens to be untrue in my part of the world... But it's interesting to realise that the OTHER great Kevin active in the 1970s (Mr Coyne) also wrote a marvellous song about someone called Marlene, AND collaborated with Robert Wyatt (on Michael Mantler's SILENCE).

Robert Wyatt himself duets with his former bandmate on "Hymn", BANANAMOUR's second highlight. You don't often come across songs as lovely as this one.

"Oh! Wot a Dream", on the other hand, is a not paticularly memorable tribute to Syd Barrett.

The bonus tracks are fun, as long as you don't have objections against "psychedelic reggae" ("Connie on a rubber band") or cod-calypso ("Carribean Moon"). The 2003 re-master includes all the artwork from the original album, including Bob Lawrie's superb banana drawings.

I first discovered Kevin Ayers' music two or three years after BANANAMOUR was released, and I first saw him live in 1980, at Rock Werchter, one of continental Europe's greatest annual festivals. At the start of the concert, Kevin must have felt unsure how his music would go down with such a large audience, but he seemed totally reassured when ardent fans threw bananas on the stage! On that particular occasion, Neil Innes (of Bonzo Dog Band fame) was playing piano for him, and Ollie Halsall lead.

I dedicate this review to the multi-talented Mr. Legget, who died a few years ago.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#130725) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This has always been one of my favourite, if not the favourite, Kevin Ayers' albums. There's a good light-hearted feel to it with some sterling musicianship.

"Don't Let It Get You Down" kicks off as a sort of Beatle-ish staccato piano number, enlivened by the excellent female backing vocals. "Shouting In A Bucket Blues", apart from having one of the best song titles of all time, is notable for the Hillage guitar work sprayed all over it. "When Your Parents Go To Sleep" is a slow blues number with a Joe Cocker-style lead vocal (not from Mr Ayers). "Interview" has a nice chugging bass line with effects on the vocals which give it an unusual feel. "Internotional Anthem" (sic) is basically a 43 second burst of backing vocals which lead into the drone of "Decadence". This is possibly the best track here (definitely the longest), with a repeated guitar figure over the monotone drone. "Oh! Wot A Dream" is a light-hearted tribute to Syd Barrett and is the only song I know which features a duck as part of the percussion!. "Hymn" is a gentle number featuring Robert Wyatt over some gently strummed guitars. The whole thing ends up with "Beware Of The Dog", which is the dramatic finale. It's a short number with a great ending ("She said 'you're not happy, you're just stoned'").

Despite some lower ratings here, this is still my favourite Ayers album and I thoroughly recommend it.

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Send comments to chopper (BETA) | Report this review (#137918) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars BANANA LOVE!

BANANAMOUR is the fourth AYERS album released but the last one on the prog label HARVEST before he left to ISLAND records for a shot at stardom.This album follows the same pattern than its predecessor WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING, except there are here no tracks as good as.for example THERE IS LOVING/AMONG US. On the other hand, there are really no silly songs (except the bonus tracks) either, disrupting the flow of the album, a remarkable achievment for someone like KEVIN AYERS!

What we have here is a good album that can be listened with pleasure but doesn't leave a memorable mark when it's over. All the songs are well arranged as usual but there is nothing you wouldl whistle when you are walking the streets.The opener DON'T LET IT GET YOU DOWN is a perfect example, great arrangements with a refined sound full of lush orchestrations, discreet horns, but what makes the song noticeable are the strong backing vocals of the 3 ladies repeating the chorus sounding a little bit like the ones used by latter days PINK FLOYDl Good, but not great!

STEVE HILLAGE was touring at the time with Kevin , but his contribution is limited to a great solo on SHOUTING IN A BUCKET BLUES! AYERS going blues?? Everything is possible! But a la KEVIN AYERS evidently; What strikes me when listening to SHOUTING and the next one WHEN YOUR PARENTS GO TO SLEEP , is those 2 songs sound like the.............ROLLING STONES period EXILES OM MAIN STREET, horns included!! Just listen to them and tell me if am wrong!WHEN YOUR PARENTS is so bluesy , even KEVIN AYERS let his new sidekick bassist ARCHIE LEGGETT take the lead vocal on this track as KEVIN'S voice is definitely not suited for ''earthy'' songs!

INTERVIEW is good psychedelic adventure with a hypnotic bass rythm enhanced by once again a wonderful fuzz solo organ from former bandmate MIKE RATLEDGE giving a great deal of help with his unique characteristic sound.INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM can be seen as an intro to the best track of the album, the ''trippy'' 8 mns DECADENCE , a really good song , i am sure,created and recorded ''under high influence'' .It might sound monotonous at first taking its sweet time to develop,but that's more of a special athmosphere to enjoy. It reminds me, yes, the build up of THE END from THE DOORS. Yes, this statement might sound stretched, but once again, tell me if this is not the same kind of deranged athmosphere.

DECADENCE is an tribute to his good friend NICO, the former VELVET UNDERGROUND singer nicknamed ''Marlene''here. Next, comes another tribute to one of his peer, Kevin has been used to be compared with, SYD BARRETT.OH WOT A DREAM is a very simplistic song, fun but not that memorable. Oh! no i forgot, there is something to remember about this song, what about the duck singing with AYERS! how could i almost forget? A duck doing backing vocals?? how more prog can you be?

HYMN is another great track well in the mood of the album: a tranquil, cozy, refined way to end the album followed by the ''epilogue'' 1mn 19'' orchestral BEWARE OF THE DOG. BANANAMOUR is definitely a GOOD album, just not a great one and not a necessary addition to your collection, but if you like AYERS music, of course you should get it.

I won't waste time describing the bonus tracks which showcase AYERS ''talent'' for writing ''tropical islands'' songs; so you are treated first on a REGGAE with CONNIE, then you go to TAHITI in a story with crazy bananas before ending under a CARRIBEAN MOON which happens to be yellow!!!3 stars for the album, no extra for the ''bonus'' tracks.

3 STARS.

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#138296) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 14, 2007

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Bananamour" was the fourth and final Harvest album by ex Soft Machine and Jimi Hendrix Experience alumni Kevin Ayers. Mike Oldfield did not appear on this album (he was recording on Kevin's borrowed tape loop machine at the time demos for what would become Tubular Bells!!)...in replacement was Steve Hillage. Too bad that more people have not really given these albums a chance as I think they are genius in creativity. Check out the 8 mins allusion to NICO "Decadence" or the strangely witty "Oh! Wot A Dream" a tribute to his musical friend Syd Barrett. Musically Ayers blends emotive vocals and deep lyrics over his expressive music. Really hard to classify his music as it hits so many different genres...folks, rock, prog and psychedelic. Oh yeah and the Banana theme throughout the album.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#223833) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In retrospect, it was always clear that Kevin Ayers' heart was more in sunny psychedelic pop than super-serious, ultra-complex progressive rock - in Soft Machine, his songs were the ones with the most pop appeal (in a good way), and the more progressive sections on the likes of whatevershebringswesing and Shooting At the Moon seemed too inconsistent (both in style and quality) to be the focus of the albums. In Bananamour, then, we mainly return to the approach of Joy of a Toy - psychedelic pop with a Canterbury twist. Though that said, there is a proggy semi-epic with the delirious and shimmering Decadence, a song in dedication to Nico - whose own The Marble Index and Desertshore albums are actually far more experimental than this one.

At first I really enjoyed this album, but I found that it's worn thinner with repeated listens than any of Ayers' other first four solo albums. The introduction of slick soul elements might be a little ahead of its time, coming as it did years before Bowie's Young Americans or T. Rex's Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow, but it isn't as deft or committed as either of those albums, coming across more as clumsy pandering to commercial tastes. There's plenty of decent little pop songs on here, but nothing as memorably catchy as Cowboy In Blue Suede Shoes or as darkly haunting as Song From the Bottom of a Well from its predecessor.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#500740) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Leonard Cohen on steroids?

A year after "Whateverwebrignswesing", Kevin Ayers brought together a fresh bunch of helpers to record this his fourth album and his last for Harvest records (for the time being). By this time, Ayers was making definite moves towards a more mainstream style, and despite the presence of stalwarts such as Robert Wyatt and Steve Hillage as occasional guests, that migration continues to be in evidence here. Ayers use of multi-tracking on his vocals combined with female backing vocals on the opening track ("Don't Let It Get You Down") serve to indicate a desire to present something generally more accessible than on previous albums.

On "Shouting In A Bucket Blues", Ayers does a passable impression of Leonard Cohen on steroids, the satirical lyrics being along the lines of those used by the wonderful Jim Stafford. The highlight of the song is actually some rather uncharacteristic lead guitar by Steve Hillage. On "When Your Parents Go To Sleep", Archie Legget takes on lead vocals. The song is a slow blues with a decent brass arrangement. It reminded me a lot of the Rolling Stones song "I've got the blues".

We move into looser, funkier territories for "Interview", where Ayers employs some pleasing effects to colour an interestingly offbeat song. The track merges into the brief "Internotional Anthem", which is simply a coda to "Interview".

If the album has a feature track, it is the 8 minute "Decadence"; a tribute to the singer Nico, with whom Ayers would soon perform live. The song features some of the old style Ayers motifs, the soft folk style also reminding of Tim Buckley. This is certainly the beefiest of the tracks here, and the most likely to please long term fans. The following "Oh! Wot A Dream", a tribute to Syd Barrett, places us right back in the realms of the whimsical, but it is inoffensively brief.

The soft "Hymn" features the multi-tracked vocals which Ayers increasingly favoured, the songs acquiring a dreamy, relaxed mood. The album closes with the brief "Beware of the dog", featuring an orchestral arrangement by David Bedford.

Overall, one of Kevin's most accessible albums ever, and one which is certainly enjoyable. There is little in the way of genuine highlights as such, the album tending to drift along pleasantly and inoffensively.

The CD reissue has four bonus tracks. One of these is a wonderful early version of "Decadence" with spacy sounds and a fine vocal. "Connie On A Rubber Band" is a cod reggae/calypso number with naughty lyrics. We might expect "Take Me To Tahiti" to be similar, and it is to the extent of its pop leanings. There is though a harder edge to the song, with strong guitar bursts and pop chants. The final extra track is "Caribbean Moon", a melodic calypso song of little substance.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#604120) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 06, 2012

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is another weird work by Ayers. Female choirs, country type ballads and proggy singer-songwriter experiments. It's worth listening also for Steve Hillage's guitar solos as for example on "Shouting in a Bucket Blues" (yes, one of the very large serie of "...mr Whatsit.. blues" things).

Mike Ratledge shows up on organ for "Interview" (some strange dissonance save this sort of bluesy number) while Robert Wyatt provides harmony vocals to the lilting "Hymn."

The centrepiece of the album is the whimsical "Decadence". It features a strong GONG vibe (thank you Steve), with a bed of frayed-hypnotic guitars, droning synths and metronomic beats. It's the most psychedelic song on the album, one of his proggiest for sure.

The only thing I dislike is the predictable "When Your Parents Go to Sleep".

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#648372) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Review by Einsetumadur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 10.75/15P. - The second to best listenable Ayers album, past 'Joy of A Toy'. On this record Ayers attains the apex of his possibilities from times to times (that's a lot for him!), but he most importantly avoids plunging into pseudo-avantgarde or complete triteness. The overall balance: eccentric and well-written pop music with minimalist percussion, sophisticated songwriting and the occasional glam sound - and with R&B replacing the country of the previous album as the main influence. It sounds less commercial than it really is!

Since April 2012 there's a new Kevin Ayers box set including all of the albums from 1969 to 1974 - remastered, including the most important bonus tracks of the previous releases plus the corresponding BBC sessions from the BBC Sessions CD. The con side: the booklet is annoyingly slim, containing only the song titles and the album covers. No liner notes, no lyrics, no information - that's surely a big chance missed. But the pro side: I always hesitated to spend seven euros for an Ayers album which merely includes 20 minutes of music which are really good; this collection is damn cheap - and it includes the BBC sessions, although it sadly lacks the full-length BBC concerts from 1970 and 1972.

But when listening to the Ayers albums I started wondering if this guy simply doesn't require recording a full-length album of good music, or if he actually likes this tacky and lazy pop music which he stuffs into most of his albums. He's an absolute songwriting talent and could have made albums like Whatevershebringswesing become a masterpiece, but he preferred recording lots of R&B, soul, pop and country music inbetween his pieces of sheer beauty, and that dropped it all quite a bit.

Bananamour is different to that effect that the pop numbers on the album are quite good. You only get one song as gorgeous as Lady Rachel or Rheinhardt&Geraldine, but quite a lot of solid four-star-songs - and none below the three-star-level.

First of all: the masterpiece on this album isn't Decadence, but rather Hymn, a tender psychedelic ballad featuring Leslied acoustic guitar, laid-back bass lines in the vein of Roger Waters and delicate tinkling piano. I absolutely adore this melismatic cascade of melody which Ayers sings there (double-tracked!), and Robert Wyatt provides some restrained backing vocals which do not sound as distinctively wyattish as in Whatevershebringswesing, but this contrast of Ayers' bass vocals and the high-pitched backings really sound similar and similarly convenient. Wyatt - at least I think it's him - also provides an interesting percussion arrangement which is totally reduced to the bone; it's just a percussion click track like in Matching Mole's O Caroline and it's all which this song needs. A flawless song, and the doubtless five-star-candidate on this album, and the only one of that sort. Maybe apart from the subsequent Beware of the Dog, which is really brief, but perfectly beautiful under these circumstances. It moves from a lovely British brass band arrangement by David Bedford - and I mean a British brass band with pastoral horns and trombones, and not a big band - to a rousing finale with Ayers paying (whimsical) tribute to his bonvivant life to majestic backing vocals and an orchestral drum roll. But why is it so short? Bedford stretched out his avantgarde brass arrangements quite a lot on There Is Loving from the previous album, and now that he's finally doing something really tuneful he does it too briefly. Excellent it is notwithstanding.

The best of the four-star-songs is Don't Let It Get You Down. Okay, the main riff is perhaps lifted from Pink Floyd's Echoes - just like A.L.Webber ripped it off from a disgruntled Roger Waters for the famous Phantom of the Opera title melody - but the chorus which gets louder and louder while modulating higher and higher through the chord progressions is close to (pop) perfection, as well as the boozy and outstanding melody in the verses. And you get the total Steve Harley glam rock feeling because of Ayers' lead vocals which are recorded through a Leslie speaker in the tremolo mode. A slightly American brass section and the backing vocals by St.John/Strike/Troy keeps it all down-home, but it doesn't distract all. It's a pretty perfect opener which invites both the pop and the prog listeners because there's qualities to enjoy for both.

Another good track Interview/Internotional Anthem, also available in a BBC version with spoken vocals and an extended organ playout. It's got a weird percussion rhythm, weird due to its minimalistic funky sound, and in a way everything else in these five minutes is weird, too. The spooky reverberated bongos, the Chris Spedding-like rockabilly madness of the two guitars - including acute whammy bar violation - and then there's Mike Ratledge fiddling around on his Lowrey organ just like in the days of early Soft Machine. But it's sounds really unusual because Ayers' distorted vocal melody is completely rock'n'roll, but it just sounds as if it was played in slow motion. Internotional Anthem takes the chord progression of the album opener Don't Let it Get You Down (For Rachel) and the melody/lyrics of Interview, performed by the Dark Side of the Moon backing vocals section (Doris Troy etc.). What they're singing in these 45 seconds is just too hypnotic to be soul/R&B and - again - it's a short track which is more than just a filler. This is actually the closest Ayers came to a coherent construction of an album. I'd never have thought that Ayers would reprise the opener of an LP at the end of side A - without playing it all over again.

Then there's Decadence, Ayers' tribute to German singer Nico who he found fascinating. It's a damn good atmospheric mantra with Steve Hillage's guitar drone and some spacy lead guitar, the ever-constant Hammond organ chord and synthesizer bass note which are kept from the beginning to the end and the Gong-like drum rhythm which doesn't appear before the second half of the song. I didn't realize how much is going on there in the last few minutes of the piece until now, especially guitar-wise, that means after Ayers starts chanting 'Marlene' over and over. If you like the stuff like Angel's Egg and You you should love this piece, too. Surprisingly, the lyrics are quite poetic compared with Ayers' other boozy feel-good songs!

Steve Hillage also plays on Shouting In A Bucket Blues, an intelligent and tongue-in-cheek pop song sounding a wee bit like Cat Stevens. The interesting detail: Hillage plays one lead guitar track throughout the album, but also a feedback-laden counterpoint in another track, and it's the mixture of both which creates this special floating mood. But the piece, comprising a nice jazzy chord progression in the stanzas and a catchy chorus, would also be above average without the guitar contributions. The BBC version in the new reissue, however, is just the same version as the album version - even in the same sound quality. I'd like to know who is responsible for this crap research; certainly no-one who has any relation to Ayers' music.

Oh! Wot A Dream is built around a loop of bass drum, guiro, a duck quack and sounds of glasses and should be a tribute to Syd Barrett. And it's that whimsical percussion track and the nice slide guitar which save this pretty naive country pop song from being a let-down. Whatevershebringswesing was country, as well, but a lot more artfully ambitious regarding the hypnotic bass line, the deep vocals and Oldfield's wonderful and faintly psychedelic guitar solo. Oh! Wot A Dream is a beautiful, but not too memorable song - even I though I have to grant that the chorus, somehow a bit similar to the chorus of ELP's Lucky Man, is a wee bit catchy. The BBC version featured in the new box set is quite similar, but a welcome addition thanks to the increased campfire atmosphere..

The only piece which simply doesn't fit in with the rest of the album is overly lengthy When Your Parents Go To Sleep. The problem isn't the American big band sound of this song; I must admit that some of the brass melodies, for instance this cool A-G hook at 1:39, in a sense make up the best component of this song. It's quite considerable that there are many soul ballads around, even by famous soul artists, which don't feature such a competent hook anywhere. But that song is too darn long for an R&B number, and it features Archie Legget singing. He's got an unbelievably 'black' voice, but that's an Kevin Ayers album, and Kevin Ayers albums are pretty tricky affairs because there are so many genres mixed which I even do not like too much when they aren't mashed up. It's merely because of Ayers and his special attitude to singing and playing that I can get into this eccentric mixture, and when somebody else sings it just doesn't have a lot to do with Ayers. I would appreciate such a song on an album like The Last Waltz by The Band, but it just won't blend in this kind of record.

Now let's talk about the remaining bonus tracks, which is the outtake Connie on A Rubber Band and the single Caribbean Moon with its b-side Take me to Tahiti. All of these songs are in some way reminiscent of a holiday on La Palma or somewhere at a Caribbean beach. Connie on a Rubber Band is a reggae version of Ayers' classic tune Clarence in Wonderland, and although I like the live versions by Ayers & The Whole World most, it's still by far more satisfying than the oddly hectic version from Shooting at the Moon. Instead you get a relaxed Hammond organ, muted guitar melodies and a groovy drum rhythm. It's pop all over, but as an appendix to the studio album it's enjoyable.

Caribbean Moon is even sillier than the Strawbs' Part of the Union. It seems Ayers always tried to finish one or more completely ridiculous songs per year, and this time he surpassed himself in ridiculousness with greatest advance. I mean, the song itself is already silly due to its completely stupid refrain ('caribbean moon, yellow, yellow (x3), caribbean moonshine all night.'), but you have to see the video accompanying the song: Kevin posing with an ukulele, dancing and swimming through a blue papier mache in a boat with some naked guys wearing just some underpants spangled with lemons and bananas. It's one of the music videos you have to have seen in your lifetime - and the song itself is cracking good, too. Take Me To Tahiti is a slightly more serious pop song which is upbeat, but which also features vibrating and shimmering glam rock guitars and some strange backwards vocals in the middle. And, of course, the banana appears again in the lyrics.

All in all, I like this album a lot more than the pseudo-intellectual chaos which destroyed Shooting at the Moon. And it might be even a bit better than Whatevershebringswesing because there's a better structure here - and neither an annoying Oh My! nor a Champagne Cowboy Blues. Don't expect any jazz fusion or psychedelic rock, except for in Decadence, but rather a varied and perfectly listenable insight into the strange vision of an eccentric genius. The good news: with this album you don't have to suffer several minutes of utterly bad music. It might be no masterpiece, but in any case a welcome addition to a collection of Canterbury music and pop music far away from uniformity. All in all a weak four star rating for a record nearly as good as Joy of A Toy. Utterly recommendable!

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Send comments to Einsetumadur (BETA) | Report this review (#754794) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 18, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars I hear just once again - after long time - this album from Kevin Ayers. And am inspired. This was really music in which one can drop yourself and which takes one with. Sometimes funny, sometimes laxly, but never shallowly. And some pieces are to be done by the kind which are granted only to few m ... (read more)

Report this review (#113753) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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