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Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine

GUEST,JTT 27 Feb 13 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Feb 13 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,JTT 27 Feb 13 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Feb 13 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,JTT 27 Feb 13 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,JTT 27 Feb 13 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,SRD 27 Feb 13 - 05:49 PM
Lonesome EJ 27 Feb 13 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,me too 27 Feb 13 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,JTT 28 Feb 13 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,George Frampton 28 Feb 13 - 04:43 AM
Phil Edwards 28 Feb 13 - 09:29 AM
voyager 28 Feb 13 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,JTT 01 Mar 13 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 02 Mar 13 - 04:48 AM
Brian Peters 02 Mar 13 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,JTT 02 Mar 13 - 12:29 PM
Brian Peters 02 Mar 13 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 03 Mar 13 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 04 Mar 13 - 06:04 AM
Brian Peters 05 Mar 13 - 12:35 PM
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Subject: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 08:07 AM

I'm surprised to see no one posting in memory of Kevin Ayers, who died last week in the south of France, where he had lived for many years.
One of the most brilliant of the Canterbury rockers of the 1960s, Ayers' music with Soft Machine and as a soloist was fabulous.
Here's the New York Times' obituary.
Listening to Ayers' soft voice with its beautiful upper-class Kent accent singing -

A certain kind... of love, I'd say
Exists for me, and every night
Your kind of love sets me alight
And I know it's real, it's what I feel, what I feel...

And loving you the way I do
Makes everything seem right again


- brings those always-sunny (in memories) days wistfully back in a breath.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 09:58 AM

On a point of pedantry it was Robert Wyatt who sang A Certain Kind in its Soft Machine version, not Kevin (I have a Wilde Flowers version somewhere sung by a 15-year-old Richard Sinclair which is just dreadful...)

Anyway, here's Kevin in his glory. RIP & Vive la Banane!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T9NFEyzB7o


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 10:16 AM

Ah!

I've been going crackers trying to remember a song something like "Inside my wooden house..."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 10:51 AM

Doesn't ring any bells. You got any more of it??


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 11:35 AM

Not sure... have "Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun, but the sun don't come", but I'm not sure if that's not a different song.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 11:52 AM

Listening to this I realise for the first time how like Love their sound was. Wonder who influenced which most.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,SRD
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 05:49 PM

"Sitting in an English Garden...." is from I am the Walrus by the Beatles.
Sitting in an english garden waiting for the sun.
If the sun don't come, you get a tan
From standing in the english rain.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob goo goo g'joob.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 07:16 PM

Some interesting collaborations with Brian Eno in the 70s


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,me too
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 08:04 PM

hmmm

KA strikes me as someone who happened to be in the right place, at the right time

when things moved on, he couldn't keep up


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 03:23 AM

GUEST me too, I really don't think so. He had a scintillating talent; he just couldn't deal with the brutality of the commercial music world. And given what he said in this Guardian interview in 2008, why would you be surprised?

"I was the only white boy among 80 pupils at school, and I spoke no Malaysian. Then they put me in a Catholic boarding school full of homosexual priests who were always trying to get into my pants because I was blond and looked like an angel."

The effect of child sexual abuse, which utterly destroys the personality and leaves the victim without sexual or personal self-confidence, would not make for the kind of brash ruggedness needed to go through the destructive life of rock touring.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 04:43 AM

I first saw Kevin Ayers at Birmingham in 1972 at the so-called 'freshers' ball', headling after 'The Flaming Groovies' (rather loud). I welcomed his sublety and obvious quirkiness. That was around the time of his 'Bananamour' album - a much prized possession. I bought most of them since then: some brilliant, some not so good. 'Yes We Have No Mananas' is a particulate favourite.
His last album 'The Unfairground' was a belated return to his best.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 09:29 AM

I'm gutted to hear this. A few years back he came to Manchester and did a gig at Didsbury Cricket Club of all places. Like an idiot I didn't go (don't know any of his new stuff - or any of his old stuff since about 1978...). I wish, I wish, but I wish in vain.

Goodbye, everybody
Now it's time to go.
I hope I don't leave you feeling low,
Oh no....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: voyager
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 10:16 AM

Here's the poster from the Soft Machine concert I heard (back in the day) -
Soft Machine - Jimi Hendrix - Electric Flag - Blue Cheer (LA Shrine Auditorium)

Music etched in Life. Hendrix pyrotechnics, Blue Cheer exploding dual stack Marshall amps, the Soft Machine drummer driving the beat (wearing Speedo trunks) and the Electric Flag (Grooving is Easy).

Thanks for all that
voyager


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 07:16 PM

Rolling Stone obit for Kevin Ayers

It seems to me that acid has a devastating effect on the body; so many acid users died so young.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 04:48 AM

His last words (written on a piece of paper by the his bed):

If you don't burn, you can't shine.

Kevin's was a quiet genius born of a gentler optimism that shines through his art. Of the surviving members of the original Soft Machine - Mike Ratledge is living as far from the limelight as possible, Robert Wyatt lives a life of quiet musical cunning knowing he can do no wrong, whilst the eternally youthful Daevid Allen (at 75) is still the whirling cosmo dervish-cum-trickster forever producing his finest work whilst somehow managing to evade celebrity.

Anyway, here's Robert Wyatt's paean to Kevin, circa 1969. One of the high points of the second Soft Machine album; it's always brought a tear to my eye...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2CW1SvWh34

Kevin on earth be here.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 08:41 AM

Thanks to JTT for starting this tribute thread, although to my mind it didn't need 'Soft Machine' in the thread title to bestow. credibility on Kevin Ayers. 'Guest me too' has it entirely wrong in suggesting that KA just happened to be in the right place at the right time. You don't find yourself in a band with Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt, and then another several years later with Brian Eno, John Cale and Nico, by accident. He was supremely talented but, as has been pointed out, not the best in terms of career management.

I first heard Kevin in a live BBC recording with his 1970 band The Whole World doing a creepy version of 'Lady Rachel', which had a seriously discordant middle section with Lol Coxhill's soprano wailing away. I was hooked immediately. What a band - a free jazz improviser (Coxhill), a respected modern composer and keyboardist (David Bedford) and a teenage guitar whizz and future ambient music superstar (Mike Oldfield). You never knew what was coming next with that lot. Their LP 'Shooting at the Moon' went from laid-back cafe crooning, to furious rock'n'roll, to a lengthy sequence of random squeaks and bleeps, in the space of one side. In one live show they put on a spoof wartime drama, 'Murder in the Air': "He's walking into the propellor.... Nooooo....!"

Rock, avant garde, country, calypso, ska, Ayers did it all; he could be whimsical and funny one minute, seriously disturbing the next. He also provided the soundtrack to a significant period of my life, and I still listen fondly to 'Whatevershebrings' and 'Bananamour'.

Great Youtube clips, thanks Blandiver. Happy memories.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 12:29 PM

Brian Peters, I put Soft Machine in the title because that was how I knew Kevin Ayers' music, having discovered it when hanging out with some Canterbury folk - as is obvious above, I didn't know who sang what, just that the music was wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 01:27 PM

Fair enough JTT, and thanks for the thread, as I said.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 04:50 AM

Looking for the Lady Rachel mentioned by Brian above I stumbled across this Whole World Session from 1970 recently posted as a tribute. It's 12 minutes of perfect Kevin and could well be Brian's seminal session though I'm sure I've got one somewhere with Lol really going off on one (though what he does here is sublime). It's probably worth pointing out that the lovely melodic bass guitar heard throughout this session is played by a youthful Mike Oldfield, with keyboards by David Bedford.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQD62FxjKqs

Again - RIP Kevin & Vive la Banane!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 06:04 AM

Robert Wyatt pays tribute to Kevin in a fantastic interview with Stuart Maconie :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p015sxdr


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Subject: RE: Obit: Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Mar 13 - 12:35 PM

"could well be Brian's seminal session.."

It IS!! I've not heard that for forty-three years, and it still sounds utterly fantastic! Many, many thanks, Blandy! And it's now come back to me that even back then I noticed the bass playing.


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