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24 August 2009

Kevin Ayers - 'Collection' (See for Miles)

This is like watching the clip show at the end of a TV series; I've just listened to 5 and a half LPs of Kevin Ayers and now I gotta push through one more that is just a greatest hits compilation. I really, really do not need to own this. The only justification I can offer: I found this cheap; and it sat on my shelf for years while I filled in the others, and I kinda forgot about it. Since I don't (and won't) own any of his later records, side 2 of this can serve as an adequate best-of from the Sweet Deceiver -> That's What You Get Babe years. The first side, drawn from the last few records posted about here, is somewhat painful because they stick 'May I', which I am already sick of, back-to-back with 'Puis-je'. In the CD era this is more forgivable because of remote controls and automatic track indexing, but in my vinyl haze I would be forced to actually get up, turn on the light, and lift the stylus to avoid hearing the same song twice. Except this is Disolcated Underbite Spinal Alphabetised Encourager Templates, where we don't skip anything. 'Carribean Moon' is here and the single 'After the Show', and also 'Shouting in a Bucket Blues' which is on Bananamour, a record I also don't have. But those are three songs I can live without. Side two starts with two songs from Sweet Deceiver, a record that even the liner notes to this best-of collection disses ('the lowest trough of his career ... showing just bare hints of his usual musical force'). Really! If I'm going to be kind, 'City Waltz' has quite a few of those hints, and is probably (along with 'Strange Song') the highest trough of side 2. 'Blue' and 'Star' are guitarsolo-heavy ballads that are dragged down by their own weight and forced whimsicality. 'Blaming it all on Love' and 'Money, Money, Money' are so limp that I'd almost prefer the rum-soaked fake calypso sound. But I'm being harsh - the 8 songs on side two are probably the best bangs from those years, so I should just be thankful for what's not on here.

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