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Kevin Ayers - Kevin Ayers & The Whole World: Shooting At The Moon CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

3.73 | 89 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

One year after his first solo album the very pastoral old-England JOY OF A TOY, KEVIN AYERS came back with a different band and a different musical formula.The old friends from SOFT MACHINE were quite busy jazzing with THIRD, only ROBERT WYATT would help with some backing vocals on one track. KEVIN decided to assemble his own band THE WHOLE WORLD featuring some CANTERBURY dignitaries such as pianist/great arranger DAVID BEDFORD, saxophonist LOX COXHILL, drummer MICK FINCHER and a totally then unknown 18 years old guitarist named ......-pre-TUBULAR BELLS- MIKE OLDFIELD.

SHOOTING AT THE MOON is regarded as the most progressive album of KEVIN AYERS with just reason as the singer besides his trademark sweet ballads goes into experimental territory bringing back some old psychedelic elements from the good old times of early SOFT MACHINE. Does it mean we are for a real good progressive treat? not really as some of those ''avant guard' trips, maybe they were fun listening to them back then, but i have to admit, it sounds very dated now and i don't see the enjoyment going through the 8 mn-something of''PISSER DANS UN VIOLON''.

This track is just a waste of vinyl (back then )in my opinion as it is just a collage of noise with no theme or melody whatsoever. I know some prog lovers like this kind of disjointed ''music'', but that rather sounds old for me in this new millenium.If we would have only one ''experimental'' track , would be OK, but that's not enough, i guess, because we are treated to another sonic ''exploration'' with UNDERWATER where Kevin let his finger have fun with one of his bass chord and the rest of the band ''plays'' around.

Thanks god, the good moments still overshadows those ''progressive'' moments. KEVIN AYERS came back with some of his typical sweet tender songs, all of them beautifully arranged by the great DAVID BEDFORD! The album opens with one of his greatest songs,the well known ''MAY I"", a delicate ballad with a gorgeous sax solo only Kevin can write. RHEINHARDT & GERALDINE/COLORES PARA DOLORES is a progressive track, but well constructed and a great melody as the opposite of the aforementioned experimental tracks.

LUNATICS LAMENT is a VERY rock song for a guy like KEVIN AYERS. This is where MIKE OLDFIELD really shines with a rather surprising brutal guitar solo when you know the music MIKE OLDFIELD would come up with, a couple of years later. We are getting also these AYERS usual ditties like the sweet but very simplistic CLARENCE IN WONDERLAND, an old song about the good wine KEVIN already sang back then in 1967 with SOFT MACHINE. BRIDGET STJOHN joins Kevin for a duet on THE OYSTER AND THE FLYING FISH, you know,..the ouh!la la song, fun but not essential listening.

The album ends up with the title track which like RHEINHARDT & GERALDINE gets adventurous, but in a good way. At least there is a structure to the song, even if it is a wild one, but pleasant. SHOOTING AT THE MOON is an album going in multiple directions (like any other AYERS releases anyway), sometimes too much making this album not as enjoyable to listen to as much as JOY OF A TOY or the next one WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING!That's only my opinion as SHOOTING AT THE MOON is usually well praised.

This band THE WHOLE WORLD won't last long as their concerts were quite chaotic, KEVIN AYERS not being the least responsible for that as many times he came on stage ''under heavy influence'' and visibly he couldn't perform properly. I witnessed one of those concerts on TV, believe me, it was a total disaster. But those were the times.

My CD version comes with a few bonus tracks including a few pearls like a french-sung version of MAY I ..PUIS JE or another French ditty, the sweet JOLIE MADAME.....AYERS as its best. GEMINI CHILD is also one of his typical great tender ballad. Those bonus tracks saw the light first time on ODDITIES, a never released before-tracks compilation album in 1976. I don't want to talk about the last bonus track, the famous HAT, one of the most silliest song i EVER heard in my entire life:''you like my hat, you like my clothes, but why don't you like me???......) and the music.....oh my god! I can't believe this track found a way to feature on a KEVIN AYERS Best-of album. Unbelievable!! I am sure a great wine party was going on when they decided on what tracks to put on this best-of.

SHOOTING AT THE MOON is an average recording with some highs, but also a few lows, so my rating will be average as well: 2.5 stars plus a half one for the bonus tracks.


febus | 3/5 |


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