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Format : LP, 180 gram / Sleeve : Gatefold
1960s singer-songwriter Kevin Ayers sings 'Funny how the situation changes', at the start of The Unfairground, his first album for fifteen years. How true that appears to be, given the biographical facts surrounding this formerly psychedelic, and almost mythic, ex-Soft Machine operator. Running to seed, as the story goes, in the south of France, he gets re-discovered, hauled back to the UK and a batch of new songs - recorded on the hoof in a range of locations - is conjured around Ayers' wry, addictive, but ever so slightly broken, vocals.
And what a result! Although no Joy Of A Toy - Ayers' 1969 crazed, poetic, tour de force - The Unfairground is a compelling return, with songs covering the usual suspect narratives of girl lost/girl found, wrists nearly slit, ageing and having a good time disgracefully. His lyrics are, as hoped, top notch, going down memory lane on 'Only Heaven Knows', beseeching a lover to return on the exquisitely beguiling 'Baby Come Home', and on the album's centrepiece, 'Brainstorm', a claustrophobic, almost paranoid, lyric cries for the dream to live on, or!'a storm could just blow me away'.
Beside Ayers' undemonstrative, even flat, but always beguiling, delivery, the music arrangements are top notch throughout. A Spanish feel predominates from what sounds like a Mexican bass band and flamenco guitar, laid over a range of styles from whimsical guitar-based picking to country music, and to the discordantly bitter sweet, rather faded charms, of the British fairground.
The return of Kevin Ayers might not trigger a riot, but on this form its reason to get very excited indeed. --Charles De Ledesma
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I have listened to this CD at least 100 times since I bought it. I admit to being a Kevin Ayers addict and do buy it you are one. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Morwenna
A great offering from the sadly deceased Kevin, buy it you know you want to. You owe it to yourselfPublished 15 months ago by Elle et belle
Delightfully mature sound, Kevin Ayers aged with dignity. Reminiscent of his heyday, without trying to revisit old themes, this album is a reminder of what a talented artist he... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Chris Cornwell
This is a nice collection of songs more like Sweet Deceiver than the older works. Very rich and diverse arramgements, every hearing brings new surprises and treasures. Read morePublished on 13 Nov. 2011 by van doremalen
As so often happens, this disk comes in a cardboard sleeve that was so thin I first thought Amazon has posted an empty package. Read morePublished on 22 May 2011 by Martin Sladdin
I have always had a very soft spot for Kevin Ayers. I think that his work is neglected and occasionally sublime. Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2011 by Hugh Crawford
Unless you are a keen fan of Kevin Ayers this is not the best place to start. I first listened to him around 19702. Read morePublished on 21 April 2008 by Mikey