Friday, 5 February 2016

"Whatevershebringswesing" by KEVIN AYERS (2003 EMI 'Expanded' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…No Eggsplanation…"

I’ve still no idea what the nonsensical title means and frankly who gives a rat's ass. Part genius - part hard work – Kevin Ayers has had a solo career to envy and his third solo album "Whatevershebringswesing" from 1971 was the beginning of an astonishing run of albums that ran into the later Seventies with Island Records. As brilliant and as prolific as his fellow Harvest Records label mate Roy Harper – he’s also as eclectic and infuriating as say Robert Wyatt or even Ivor Cutler. But would we have our heroes any other way… Here are those funny smelling cigarettes…

Released June 2003 - "Whatevershebringswesing" by KEVIN AYERS on EMI 07243-582778-2-1 (Barcode 724358277821) is an 'Expanded CD Remaster' and plays out as follows (51:26 minutes):

1. There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving
2. Margaret
3. Oh My
4. Song From The Bottom Of A Well
5. Whatevershebringswesing [Side 2]
6. Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
7. Champagne Cowboy Blues
8. Lullaby
Tracks 1 to 8 are his 3rd album "Whatevershebringswesing" by KEVIN AYERS released January 1972 in the UK on Harvest Records SHVL 800 in a textured gatefold sleeve

9. Stars - the non-album B-side to "Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes" - a UK 7" single released 27 August 1971 on Harvest HAR 5042
10. Don't Sing No More Sad Songs
11. Fake Mexican Tourist Blues – 9 and 10 recorded 1972 - finally released on the UK compilation LP "Odd Ditties" released February 1976 on Harvest Heritage SHSM 2005
12. Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes - an Early Mix/9 July 1971 - Previously Unreleased

The 16-page booklet has superb liner notes by fan and musicologist MARK POWELL - a name many will know well from his stellar work on the Esoteric Label and the Underground/Prog 3CD Box Sets covering the Polydor, Vertigo, Deram and Decca labels for Universal. But the big news is a fabulous remaster by the album's original engineer PETER MEW. It was done at Abbey Road in February 2003 from original tapes and the audio quality is amazing.

When the opening 3-part string-laden "There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving" exits your speakers - your hit with a sonic clarity that is wonderful and the real beauty of David Bedford's wonderfully lush string arrangements. Ayers made special mention of it on the album's inner gatefold. Both "Margaret" and "Oh My" come on as dainty old English ditties after the complex opener - but are lovely in their melodies - evocative of a vaudeville England long since past. I've always hated the dark and suffocating noisescapes of the Side 1 closer "Song From The Bottom Of A Well" - a song that does exactly what it says on the tin. It can stay down there...

Side 2 opens with the title song - the curiously titled "Whatevershebringswesing" which after the drubbing of 'well' comes as a blessed relief - bolstered so subtly by girly 'oohs' and a fantastically complimentary twin vocal half way through from ROBERT WYATT. Everyone's favourite spliff song follows - the wonderful and funny "Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes" - a song with lyrics that make me laugh to this day. MIKE OLDFIELD and his distinctive guitar style add much to "Champagne Cowboy Blues" while babbling water gurgles throughout the melodious finisher "Lullaby" - a gorgeous little ditty and a great way to finish the album. The four extras are worthy of the moniker 'bonus' - especially the 'early mix' of "Stranger" which is fascinating to hear.

Like his first LP for Island Records in 1974 - the brilliant and druggy dark "The Confessions Of Dr. Dream And Other Stories" - "Whatevershebringswesing" is the very definition of a 'cult' album. You either love it or dismiss it as one of 'those' Seventies records. I've always thought it genius - a bit like the man himself - and this superb EMI remaster does that defiantly English oddity a solid. As Kevin says on the "Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes" track during the fade out - "...thank you very much..."

PS: see also my reviews for "Bananamour" (1973), "The Confessions Of Dr. Dream And Other Stories" (1974), "Sweet Deceiver" (1975) and "Yes We Have No Mananas" (1976)

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is CLASSIC 1970s ROCK - an E-Book with over 245 entries and 2100 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 

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