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Kevin Ayers

Canterbury Scene

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Kevin Ayers The Best Of Kevin Ayers album cover
3.13 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews | 43% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Butterfly Dance (3:46)
2. Girl On A Swing (2:51)
3. Soon Soon Soon (3:09)
4. Sweet Deceiver (2:50)
5. Caribbean Moon (3:03)
6. Irreversible Neural Damage (5:56)
7. Gemini Child (3:17)
8. Lady Rachel (4:50)
9. Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes (3:25)
10. There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving (7:22)
11. The Clarietta Rag (3:21)
12. Rheinhardt And Geraldine/Colores Para Dolores (5:40)
13. Stars (3:34)
14. Hat Song (1:16)
15. Singing A Song In The Morning (2:54)
16. Ballad Of A Salesman Who Sold Himself (4:31)
17. Clarence In Wonderland (2:09)
18. Diminished But Not Finished (4:26)
19. Song From The Bottom Of A Well (4:35)

Total Time 72:55

Line-up / Musicians

- Kevin Ayers / vocals, guitar, bass
- Robert Wyatt / drums, vocals
- David Bedford / keyboards
- Mike Ratledge / keyboards
- Zoot Money / keyboards
- Billy Livsey/ keyboards
- Lol Coxhill / saxophone, flute
- Didier Malherbe / saxophone, flute
- Mike Oldfield / bass, guitar
- Archie Leggett / bass
- Charlie McCracken / bass
- Nico / vocals
- Bridget St. John / vocals
- Ollie Halsall / guitars
- Steve Hillage / guitars
- Rob Tait / drums
- Mick Fincher / drums
- Dave Dufont / drums
- William Murray / drums
- Tony Carr / drums
- Eddie Sparrow / drums
- Michael Giles / drums
- Rob Townsend / drums
- Gerry Fields / violin
- Johnny Van Derek / violin
- Graham Preskett / violin

Releases information

EMI 792618

Thanks to trotsky for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy KEVIN AYERS The Best Of Kevin Ayers Music

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Original Album Series -  Kevin AyersOriginal Album Series - Kevin Ayers
original album series 2015
$27.24 (used)
Joy Of A Toy (180 Gram Vinyl)Joy Of A Toy (180 Gram Vinyl)
4 Men With Beards 2012
$24.99 (used)
Emi 1999
$6.98 (used)
Joy Of A Toy (Limited Edition Opaque Yellow Vinyl)Joy Of A Toy (Limited Edition Opaque Yellow Vinyl)
Limited Edition
4 Men With Beards 2018
Rainbow Takeaway/That`S What You Get Babe /  Kevin AyersRainbow Takeaway/That`S What You Get Babe / Kevin Ayers
Beat Goes On (BGO) 2017
$12.47 (used)
Odd Ditties (Harvest Heritage Pressing Lp Vinyl 1976)Odd Ditties (Harvest Heritage Pressing Lp Vinyl 1976)
$40.00 (used)
Lo-Max 2007
$11.75 (used)
The Confessions Of Doctor Dream & Other StoriesThe Confessions Of Doctor Dream & Other Stories
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$6.07 (used)
Alive In CaliforniaAlive In California
Box-O-Plenty 2009
$61.93 (used)

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KEVIN AYERS The Best Of Kevin Ayers ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (57%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KEVIN AYERS The Best Of Kevin Ayers reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At best a totally endearing songwriter unafraid to challenge his listeners, and at worst downright lazy, Kevin Ayers is perhaps the ideal candidate for a compilation album. This well chosen collection has 19 songs culled from Ayers' golden period of 1970-1978, and there's precious little to argue about. Each one of his albums ... Joy Of A Toy, Shooting At The Moon, Whatevershebringswesing, Bananamour, Confessions Of Dr. Dream, Sweet Deceiver and Rainbow Takeaway ... is represented to some degree with the odd exception of 1976's Yes We Have No Mananas.

Thankfully many of Ayers' best and most daring songs are here, which allows us to see what an engaging and eclectic creative force he is, although it must be emphasised that only a minority of his material falls strictly within the confines of the "progressive rock" label. Most notable among these are the symphonic, brass heavy There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving and Rheindhart & Gerladine/Colores Para Dolores is a gorgeous Canterbury style piece, although in its jarring sound-effects almost spoil the piece, turning it from a melodic one into a distant relative of The Beatles' Revolution #9, before a jazzy almost VDGG-like outro saves it.

Irreversible Neural Damage is an excerpt from Confessions Of Dr. Dream, which saw Ayers at his most ground-breaking and it is an avant garde sonic experiment, with a constant acoustic guitar riff, driving a mass of layers of sound that's dominated by violin and a haunting distorted contribution from model turned chaunteuse Nico. Another highlight of Ayers' most daring side is the eerie, cinematic Song From The Bottom Of A Well which has a spoken-word performance in which Ayers sounds somewhat like Leonard Cohen, although this one too is gradually consumed by a barrage of jarring sound effects.

For all the creative exploration of those songs, it's hard to dispute that Ayers is probably at his best when he's creating his own whimsical world out of simpler melodies. Two real highlights are Girl On A Swing, an evocative dreamy piece that calls to mind Barrett-era Floyd and the absolutely superb narrative piece The Lady Rachel. With flute, swirling organ, brass and a haunting earnest performance, this particular song has long been my favourite Ayers composition.

Elsewhere there is ample evidence of a strong strain of (gasp) accessibility that runs through the man's music. Singing A Song In The Morning and Carribean Moon should have been a huge summer hit, especially since they are more Mungo Jerry than Canterbury prog. Butterfly Dance moves along from engaging ditty mode into being a pulsating offbeat rocker. Sweet Deceiver is a catchy ELO like composition, with great violin playing. Soon Soon Soon is a snide attack, balanced out by some ludicrous female backing vocals and some twisty compostional tricks.

Then there's Gemini Child which may start off with a heavy rock riff, but soon becomes a classic tune (even it's most Caravan than Soft Machine!). And the irresistible jocular rocker Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes, which is a nod to Lou Reed's compositional style, with a bit of avant-garde piano solo thrown in to mix things up. There's also a fair bit of humour that laces cuts like The Clarietta Rag, Hat Song and Clarence In Wonderland.

Throughout his solo career, Ayers worked with an incredible amount of talent that included former Soft Machine buddies Robert Wyatt and Mike Ratledge, members of Caravan, Lol Coxhill, Mike Oldfield, David Bedford, Ollie Halsall, and even Elton John. And most of them make an appearance on this solid career tribute.

Of course some songs like May I, Pisser Dans Un Violin and Margaret have been left out, but I do think that this compilation is very representative of Ayers work during this period. I just wish that the songs had been presented in chronological order because, while the songwriting style doesn't change, the sound of Ayers' backing musicians does. Still I actually think that this is the best way to enjoy Ayers' charms, although I must say that newcomers expecting instrumental symphonic progressive rock ought to look elsewhere. ... 54% on the MPV scale

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

A best-of album from any musician will never get a 5 star rating as there is always a different ideal best-of to any fan! Why this particular great song was not included and that no-big-deal tune is in??It happens all the time, to you and to me!!There is nothing different with this KEVIN AYERS best-of.

I guess the idea of HARVEST records was to showcase all the differents sides of K. AYERS creativity!! So , we get proggy AYERS, tropical AYERS, minstrel AYERS and of course the whimsical AYERS, even scary AYERS. There are 19 tracks giving you a good idea about the artist overall. But the problem, it can also give you the wrong idea! Can someone explain to me why maybe the worst song in the history of rock music is featured on this best-of? Yes, the delirious HAT SONG from RAINBOW TAKEWAY is included with this set. Some might find this track funny, but sadly it is drowning the rest of the album.

Also, albums like JOY OF A TOY or WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING are a pleasure to listen to because of a certain athmosphere that unites all those songs, mainly due because of the DAVID BEDFORD great arrangements and KEVIN AYERS writing capabilities at their peaks. Some of their highlights are included like the lush GIRL ON A SWING or the grandiose THERE IS A LOVING/AMONG US with KEVIN at his most prog. Of course THE KA song the splendid THE LADY RACHEL is here as well and is the perfect example of KEVIN at his best.Sadly, they are surrounded by other inconsequential tunes that have no place on best-of!

We mention THE HAT SONG earlier, but SINGING A SONG IN THE MORNING, CARRIBEAN MOON or other BUTTERFLY DANCE also don't mix at all with the goodies as they show us the careless AYERS side when he is just here to have fun with his carribean rythms. Second rate songs like BALLAD OF SALESMAN or SWEET DECEIVER should have been replaced by some of the great ''classics'' like MAY I or TOWN FEELING, way better tracks!THE ' YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS ' album doesn't have any song represented here and BLUE is the obvious left-out!! for THE HAT SONG??? come on!

Overall, a pleasant album which gives you an idea of the persona with the good, the bad and the ugly...HAT SONG!more of a retrospective than a best-of!!Stick to the original albums!


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