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Kevin Ayers - Document Series: Kevin Ayers  CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

3.18 | 3 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Scratching the surface

This "Document series" compilation is a reasonable collection of tracks from Kevin Ayers two sojourns at Harvest records. The fact that he moved to Island for a couple of albums in the mid 1970's though leaves it open to accusations of being incomplete, but in mitigation the two albums he recorded while signed to Island were not among his best.

Thus the tracks included here take us from Ayers Soft Machine influenced years in the late 60's and early 70's through to the less inspired late 70's and 1980's "That's what you get babe" album.

The track selections are not necessarily the most obvious choices, the opening "All this crazy gift of time" from "Joy of a toy" for example being a folky, Lindisfarne like pop number. Even though there are two tracks from "Shooting at the moon", those selected are hardly representative of the progressive nature of that album. "The Oyster And The Flying Fish" is enjoyable, and its whimsical nature certainly reflects Ayers penchant for such songs on later albums, but on "Shooting at the moon" is it was a fish out of water.

There are a few rarer tracks, including the single B side, "Connie on a rubber band", and the single A side "Caribbean moon". Both of these re-visit Ayers calypso influences, but are lightweight and forgettable. There is also an alternative version of "Lady Rachel" from "Odd Ditties", the original appearing on "Joy of a toy". This orchestrated version tells the strange tale in a wonderfully atmospheric manner.

The highlight of the collection though is the wonderful "Blue" from "Yes we have no Mananas", a sumptuous guitar led piece.

For those unfamiliar with the diverse work of Kevin Ayers, this collection merely scratches the surface. While it is only partially representative of his work, the inclusion of "Blue" would render any Ayers collection worthwhile. The rarer tracks included here have now by and large been included as bonus tracks on re-releases of his original albums.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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