Kevin Ayers - Joy Of A Toy (1st Album UK 1969)

Kamis, 01 November 2012

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Bitrate: 256
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Joy of a Toy is the debut solo album of Kevin Ayers, a founding member of Soft Machine. Its whimsical and unique vision is a clear indication of how Soft Machine might have progressed under Ayers' tenure. He is accompanied on the LP by his Soft Machine colleagues Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge and Hugh Hopper.

After a Soft Machine tour of the USA with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ayers had decided to retire from the music business. Hendrix however, presented Ayers with an acoustic Gibson J-200 guitar on the promise that he continue his songwriting. Ayers repaired to a small London flat where he composed and arranged a whole LP which was then presented to Malcolm Jones' fledgling Harvest label where it was recorded by Peter Jenner for the then exorbitant sum of £4000.

Joy Of A Toy features many of Ayers' most enduring songs from 'The Lady Rachel' to 'Girl On A Swing', the latter still, regularly covered by artists to this day like Candie Payne and The Ladybug Transistor. It was on Joy Of A Toy that Ayers developed his sonorous vocal delivery, an avant-garde song construction and an affection for bizarre instrumentation that would have a deep influence far into the 1970s and indeed the present day.

As the Soft Machine's first bassist and original principal songwriter, Kevin Ayers was an overlooked force behind the group's groundbreaking recordings in 1967 and 1968. This, his solo debut, is so tossed-off and nonchalant that one gets the impression he wanted to take it easy after helping pilot the manic innovations of the Softs. Laissez-faire sloth has always been part of Ayers' persona, and this record's intermittent lazy charm helped establish it. 

That doesn't get around the fact, however, that this set of early progressive rock does not feature extremely strong material. Ayers' command of an assortment of instruments is impressive, and his deep bass vocals and playful, almost goofy song-sketches are affecting, but they don't really stick with the listener. It's no accident that some of the tracks recall early Soft Machine: Robert Wyatt drums on most of the songs, and "Song for Insane Times" is virtually a bona fide Soft Machine performance, featuring actual backing from the group itself. A likable but slight album that is at its best when Ayers is at his folkiest. 

01.Joy of a Toy Continued - 2:54
02.Town Feeling - 4:54
03.The Clarietta Rag - 3:20
04.Girl on a Swing - 2:49
05.Song for Insane Times - 4:00
06.Stop This Train (Again Doing It) - 6:05
07.Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her) - 2:53
08.The Lady Rachel - 5:17
09.Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong - 5:35
10.All This Crazy Gift of Time - 3:57

Bonus material:
11.Religious Experience (Singing a Song in the Morning) Featuring Syd Barrett [bonus track] - 4:46
12.The Lady Rachael - Extended First Mix - 6:42
13.Soon Soon Soon [bonus track] - 3:23
14.Religious Experience (Singing a Song in the Morning) [bonus track] - 2:50
15.The Lady Rachael Single Version [bonus track] - 4:51
16.Singing a Song in the Morning - Single Version [bonus track] - 2:52

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