9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
KEVIN AYERS - Vocals, Rhythm & Lead Guitars
OLLIE HALSALL [of Patto] - Lead Guitar
ROGER SAUNDERS - Rhythm Guitar
BILL LIVESEY - Keyboards
CHARLIE McCRACKEN - Bass
ROB TOWNSHEND - Drums
B.J. COLE - Steel Guitar on "The Owl" and "Falling In Love Again"
PIP WILLIAMS - String Arrangements on "Falling In Love Again"
TONY NEWMAN - Drums on "Help Me"
RICK WILLS - Bass on "Help Me"
GEORGE `ZOOT' MONEY - Keyboards on "Help Me"
ROGER POPE [of Elton John's Band] - Drums on "Everyone Knows This Song"
MICK FEAT - Bass on "Everyone..."
ANDY ROBERTS - Guitar on "Everyone..."
NICK ROWLEY - Keyboards on "Everyone..." and Solo Piano on "Yes I Can"
DAVID BEDFORD - Choral Arrangement on "Blue"
Here's the breakdown (73:14 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 make up the album "Yes We Have No Mananas" issued on Harvest SHSP 4057 in the UK and ABC Records AB-1021 in the USA in August 1976. MUFF WINWOOD produced the original LP with all songs (excepting the 1930's cover of "Falling in Love Again") written by KEVIN AYERS.
There are nine bonus tracks on this expanded 2009 remaster. Tracks 11 to 14 are Studio Recordings made for the BBC's JOHN PEEL SHOW in Maida Vale Studios, London on 13 July 1976 (transmitted 27 July 1976). The band consisted of Ayers on Vocals and Guitar, ANDY SUMMERS of THE POLICE on Guitar, ZOOT MONEY on Keyboards with Charley McCracken and Rod Townshend from the album sessions on Bass and Drums.
Tracks 16 to 19 are 5 live recordings taped at The BBC's Paris Theatre in London on 30 September 1976 (transmitted on the "In Concert" program 23 October 1976). The live set added BILL EVANS on Flute to the same band line up (the witty title to this review is spoken by Ayers before "Ballad..."), while ace BBC engineer JEFF GRIFFIN produced both Peel Sessions.
The superlative 8-page liners notes are written by noted expert MARK POWELL and the original master tapes remastered by PETER MEW at Abbey Road. Mew has done a typically stunning job - BEAUTIFUL SOUND QUALITY (see my review for "Confessions Of Dr. Dream" for further info on his remastering work).
After his 'difficult', but brilliant two albums at Island Records ("The Confessions Of Dr. Dream..." in 1974 and "Sweet Deceiver" in 1975), "Mananas" was supposed to be a better and more mature work - but it only partially works. It's like a John Martyn album, half of it is good - but my God that good half is stunning. The whimsy of several tracks threatens to drown the record in quirkiness that's amusing at first, but doesn't bear repeated listening. But better tracks like "Help Me" and the Roxy sounding "Love's Gonna Turn You Round" have stood the test of time. But all is saved by the album's fantastic finishing double-whammy - "Yes I Do" and "Blue". With only Ayers on Lead Vocal and Kevin Rowley on Solo Piano, "Yes I Do" is an achingly stark love song and regarded by many as one of his best works - honest and lovely. Special mention should also go to Rowley's keyboard work - it's beautifully done - and in keeping other instrumentation out of the mix, Muff Winwood added extraordinary power to the song. Now with its 2009 remaster it's just gorgeous. It's followed by the six and half minute epic "Blue" with the band in full 'Ayers' mode - it contains truly stunning Ollie Halsall guitar work pumped up by David Bedford's arrangement of the choral accompaniment. Really brilliant stuff.
The nine Peel Sessions tracks are 4 in a studio and 5 live. Produced by long-standing BBC engineer JEFF GRIFFIN, the studio cuts are amazingly accomplished and sound like really good alternate album versions. The live tracks are less convincing - a slightly weedy audience - but welcome additions nonetheless.
So there you have it - weak in some parts, but masterful in others - this is still an essential purchase for me.
Another top job done by EMI - and a sound tribute to an artist who deserved better than never charting a single album.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A return to Kevin Ayers spiritual home of harvest sees a return to form of sorts while not scaling the highs of his first three albums this is a strong contender for level two. Strong songs such a 'Star', 'The ballad of Mr Snake' and `Blue' and a cover of `Falling in Love Again' in Kevin's best baritone voice, and backing from a cast of strong musicians make this a great album. Buy just for the fun of the music and you will not be disappointed. The bonus material 4 peel sessions and 25 minutes of `In Concert' contemporary to the album make this an example of how to re-issue an album
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2013
Rest In Peace Kevin, the world is a much duller place without you.
This is a very nice album. The tracks showcase Kevin Ayers whimsical and witty song writing talents. 'Star', 'Mr. Cool', 'The Owl' and 'The Ballad of Mr. Snake' all stand out for me. The weakest track in my opinion is 'Yes I do', all the others are good.
The bonus tracks are, well a bonus !
If you are looking for an introduction to Kevin Ayers, this is a good place to start.