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 Post subject: Kevin Ayers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 263
Location: United Kingdom
Hello to all!

I have often read some wonderful threads on this forum and would very much like to be a part of future discussions, if I may, and to share with you what I feel to be relevant and interesting.

It was while listening to Family Tree and Bryter Layter that I first noticed a connection between Kevin Ayres and Nick Drake. Ayers emerged from the jazz frenzy that was Soft Machine to release his debut album Joy of a Toy (1969). It is not an easy listen, for the album moves in no particular direction and the songs can seem cluttered at times, but I assure you, with perseverance there are many fruitful rewards to reap. Ayers’ unabashed upper-middleclass vocal delivery has a comforting tone, the arrangements evoke a whimsical state of being while the slightly crooned lyrics are dealing with an underlying forlorn disposition; listen to Town Feeling, Girl on a Swing, Song for Insane Times and Eleanor’s Cake (Which Ate Her) to hear the link, especially with Drake’s Bryter Layter, but that is as far as it goes. The album is certainly poetic and unique in its own right, with its wonderful lyricism and jazz infused arrangements, it really deserves one’s attention!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk5e6GtKvjI

His following records: Shooting at the Moon (1970), Whatevershebringswesing (1971), Bananamour (1973) and Confessions of Dr Dream and Other Stories (1974) also have much to offer, Bananamour being the most accessible. Confessions actually marked Ayers’ move to Island Records from the Harvest label, so if Nick Drake had survived his severe depression, they would surely have crossed paths as label mates. I hope this to be of interest to you!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:21 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:41 am
Posts: 645
Location: Suihua, Heilongjiang Province, China
Yes Kevin Ayers is wonderful. And strangely I first heard of him through Nick Drake.


The first album I ever purchased was an Anitilles budget label copy of Five Leaves Left, in 1981. On the back of album was a blurb by one Bruce Malamut wherein he described Nick's voice as being a `combination of Astrud Gilberto's breathiness and Kevin Ayer's charm'. At the time I'd never heard of Kevin Ayers or Astrud Gilberto, or John Martyn or anyone else referenced in this blurb, but made my way to obtain all and listen to, if they were in some way related to the music I was hearing on Five Leaves Left.

(A strange sidenote to this is that I ended up smashing my copy of John Martyn's Solid Air because I decided it was `satanic' because of the song `I'd Rather be the Devil' ... I was just a stupid teenage kid, still in the thrall of fundamentalist christianity, egads)

Here's Kevin Ayers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUvG5-UB7_0
with an early song of his I like and have learned to play. (Dig the groovy guy on the alto sax)

And here's a recent (2008) comment by Bruce Malamut, whom I don't think I've seen referenced before re: Nick.

(Another mystery contact in the Nick Drake story).

Bruce Malamut
Posted July 19, 2008 at 7:53 am | Permalink
I loved Nick. He was a friend, a brother, an icon introduced to me by Bev and John Martyn one summer in the late 1960′s at their summer place in Winchelsea. His music, lyrics, got better with the years. His Mother asked I write the liners for his eulogy album on Island. I told some asides none of which were fit for print, so we settled on something acceptable that danced around the point, but could never aptly do Nick’s music and life justice.
I reviewed my own compilation album for Crawdaddy! and in that brief review said what I had wanted to say on those liners.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:31 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 263
Location: United Kingdom
This "charm" which Malamut (great name) speaks of is very apt. Interesting fellow. Incidentally May I? was the first tune I heard from young Kevin of Ayers and what a wonderful introduction that was. Naive was I to expect pop songs on playing the Shooting at the Moon record.

Think that's Robert Wyatt behind the drum kit?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:52 am 
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Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 11:00 am
Posts: 353
Location: Wirksworth
Robert Wyatt is wonderful. I first listened to him with Rock Bottom - which is extraordinarily intimate in the same way as Pink Moon. His latest album 'For the Ghosts Within' is another lovely record.

As for Mr Ayers, I only have whatevershebringswesing - which is certainly rather a strange, but still fascinating, record.

_________________
I have stolen a man
but never a thing of value
I roll up the bamboo blind

Suzuki Masajo


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:00 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 263
Location: United Kingdom
Whatevershebringswesing is almost certainly my favourite of Ayers’ output. The second song Margaret sends shivers down my spine with each listen; the way he sings “from a flower to a butterfly” in his melancholy way. The charm certainly flows through this record with graceful ease. Although some suggest he was not trying hard enough and that he was holding back, I think Ayers’ nonchalance makes the music all the more alluring.


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