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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks!, 11 April 2013
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This review is from: The Harvest Years 1969-1974 (MP3 Download)
I stumbled across vintage video of Mr Ayers performing Shouting In a Bucket Blues on BBC4 a month or so back and it cheered me up no end. I decided to invest in this download as it seemed such good value. Not disappointed; Hazy, eccentric, humorous, adventurous.

In some strange way it reminds me of a long departed 70's childhood in England.

Now where's my Tardis?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definative Harvest years, 13 Dec 2012
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This gathers together the individual cd extended edition releases plus adds on each cd more radio sessions from other cds. All you need in one great package at a very reasonable price. Buy it now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, but could easily have been 5-stars, 25 Oct 2013
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First, the good news: this compilation is great value for money - 5CDs comprising the original albums, plus BBC sessions and other bonus tracks.

Now, the not so good news - the bonus tracks do not include all of the other bonus tracks (mostly singles, B-dides and out-takes) that appeared on the invidiual album re-issues a few years ago. So this was a missed opportunity to pull all this material together (or maybe just put out a CD of the BBC tracks?). Also, there are very limited sleevenotes, and the accompanying booklet looks underbaked. Shame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music Great but misleading title!, 4 Sep 2012
Dr Dream was originally released in 1974 on Island! A great compilation though, despite the terrible box and lack of any notes!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joy of a Toy clearly has elements that are recognisable ..., 27 Nov 2014
The first 5 solo albums from the late lamented Kevin Ayers during his immediate post-Soft Machine period. Which is odd as he was only with Harvest from 1969-1973. The album that he released in 1974 (which is included here; The Confessions of Dr. Dream and Other Stories, was released on Island. We will not quibble about that though as this 5 CD set offers a real slice of magic at a bargain price.

Joy of a Toy clearly has elements that are recognisable from his contributions to his former band but as time progressed the proportion of whimsy increased and it is Bananamour and The Confessions of Dr. Dream and Other Stories that sound a bit dated in places, although they are still really good albums. The first three albums are must have items for anyone who is serious about collecting albums from bands considered to be part of the Canterbury Scene (don't let's get involved in arguing over the validity of that genre tag) there are elements of psychedelia mixed with elements of comic/nonsense songs, bucolic slumber and English whimsy.
The perfect place to start a Kevin Ayers collection. From here I would suggest going to his last album, Unfairground, and then you can pick from anywhere in his catalogue really. This guy was the personification of the 60s.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collection of Kevin's first 5 albums + bonus tracks, 9 Jun 2012
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J. R. P. Wigman "Hans Wigman" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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For me this collection of Kevin's first 5 records (Joy of a Toy, Shooting at the moon, Whatevershebringswesing, Bananamour and The confessions of Dr Dream) was a perfect buy at a very reasonable price as I only had his first record on cd and most of the others on vinyl, with the added appeal of a great many bonus tracks (singles and BBC recordings). There have been original album releases with bonus tracks, but those differ, at least partly, from the bonus tracks included in this release.

Soundwise it's fine, and I can only complain about the packaging. The jewel case box is a bit old school and the booklet included is a real disappointment: it just features pictures of the original records (front only) and a track listing with some production credits and session information. Not even the musicians are listed! Sloppy work, I'd say. Nowadays booklets in this kind of retrospective release usually are much more generous with background information and the like, and one would certainly expect this if it's released by the original recording company - and we're talking about EMI here!

Nevertheless, a great release, and with its modest price tag even appealing to all of you who've got most of his work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Herne Bay's Rock Star!, 6 Mar 2013
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James B. Spink "Jim" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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If EMI had waited another year they could, perhaps, have made this a slightly better tribute to Kevin Ayers who passed away in early 2013.As it is this April 2012 release is not a bad package - especially if you can get it for around sixteen quid from one of Amazon's sellers - but a little more effort could have improved it no end. Called "The Harvest Years 1969 - 1974" it features Kevin's first four albums recorded for EMI's Harvest label between 1969 and 1973 plus an album actually released on the Island label in 1974. The four Harvest albums use the 2003 remasters already released individually - but with different bonus tracks; the bonus tracks included here are mainly from BBC sessions. The Island album, Dr Dream, uses the 2009 remaster released by EMI that year - again the bonus tracks vary with this release.

You can check the differences in bonus material by looking at the earlier individual CD releases on Amazon and decided whether to buy them individually or as this box set. A better version of this box would have featured the earlier CDs with the BBC material included as a bonus disc! The booklet included here is rather basic with just pictures of the original album sleeves and track details and all packaged in an old-style multi-disc jewel case.

I can't see EMI revisiting Kevin Ayers' back catalogue any time soon so if you are new to his work, or thinking of adding something to your CD collection after his passing, then this is probably the best value for now. I reviewed Songs for Insane Times: An Anthology 1969-1980 a couple of years back and although I liked that set I would recommend this collection before that one. The music on this collection deserves five stars - although there is actually quite a bit of filler! - but the presentation is only three stars. So for the actual value of this package I have compromised and given four stars!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The golden years, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: The Harvest Years 1969-1974 (MP3 Download)
Kevin Ayers did his best work during the period covered by this compilation, though in calling it the Harvest Years, the compilers are slightly incorrect in that it also includes the first LP that he made for Island records in 1974. That's not of course a bad thing, since the island LP "The confessions of Dr Dream" was one of his very best.

What we have with this compilation, is the five albums made by this underrated artist over the five-year period covered by the title. This means that we get Joy of a Toy, Shooting at the Moon, whatevershebringswesing, Bananamour, plus the Dr Dream record.

The Harvest albums were remastered in 2003, while the Island album was remastered in 2008 –9. All of the albums come with bonus tracks, and while these are certainly well worth listening to, it is slightly disappointing that the bonuses do not match with the bonuses that were issued when the remastered CDs came out, thus we have radio session versions of some of the bonus tracks as opposed to studio outtakes.This doesn't really detract from the quality of the original albums course, and those fans already owning the original CDs, therefore have something new to find with this collection.

As other reviewers have already commented, the packaging is very disappointing, and for that reason only I have deducted one star from what would otherwise have been a five-star review. If you are new to the music Kevin Ayers, and and want more than just a single CD, I would say that this is a very good place to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The whole world, 1 April 2014
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Just love Kevin Ayers and his idiocentric musu=ic ever since I saw his band 'The whole world' at a Manchester art college dance in the 60s. Lol Coxhill sax playing wonderful and Mike Oldfield in the band!. Kevin sadly missed with his deep haunting voice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money collection., 25 Nov 2013
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I recently saw Kevin Ayers on TV singing "Shouting in a bucket blues" and wanted hear more by him. Thought I'd dive right in with this collection of his first five solo albums and was not dissappointed. Really enjoying all the albums here and would recommend as an affordable introduction to his work if you want more than just a compilation.
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