Year: 1963-1967 (CD 1995) Label: Columbia Records (Europe), COL 480954 2 Style: Oldies, Rock, Pop Rock Country: Idaho, U.S. (1958–1976, 1978–2014) Time: 59:35 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 337 Mb
Paul Revere (January 7, 1938 — October 4, 2014)
Paul Revere & the Raiders are an American rock band from Boise, Idaho. Formed in 1958, the band released their first hit single three years later, "Like, Long Hair", which reached number 38 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following a few minor charting singles, including a version of "Louie Louie", the band worked with producer Terry Melcher in updating their sound, combining fast-paced, guitar-and-vocal-dominated rock and roll with an intimidating R&B flavor. The result was a string of commercially successful singles, beginning with 1965's "Steppin' Out" and continuing with "Just Like Me", which reached number 11 on the Hot 100, as well as "Kicks", "Hungry", and "Good Thing", all of which peaked inside the top 10. In addition, the band's three 1966 studio albums—Just Like Us!, Midnight Ride, and The Spirit of '67—were each certified gold in the United States.
The band's popularity began to wane during the late 1960s, but in 1971 they released their first U.S. number one single, "Indian Reservation", a song written by John D. Loudermilk. However, the band did not duplicate the song's success with any subsequent singles, and by 1975 Columbia Records abandoned the group.
Year: May 31, 1989 (CD 2010) Label: Arkeyn Steel Records (Greece), ASR CD-016 Style: Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Power Metal Country: St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S. Time: 76:42 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 536 Mb
This album was a self produced and self released one by the band and only released on cassette. In 2010 Arkeyn Steel Records remastered and released it on CD with two bonus track taken from the 1985 single.
US outfit BLACKKOUT was formed in 1984, initially consisting of Richard W. Elliott IV (vocals, guitars), Gale P. Morse (guitars), Triad (bass) and Jeff Patton (drums). This initial version of the band scored a 7 vinyl single Fallout in 1985.
Several line-up alterations later the band hit the studio again in 1988, now as a trio consisting of Richard Elliott IV, Jeffery Klaus and Triad, to record their only full length effort. The final result was released as the limited edition cassette Ignorance of Man in 1989. Greek label Arkeyn Steel reissued this production on CD in 2010, with the tracks from their 1985 single added as bonus tracks.
The final version of the band saw the light in 1990, this time with Richard Elliott IV (Vocals, guitar, flute, bagpipes), Jerry Outlaw (vocals, guitars), Darren McFarland (bass) and Lee Gibson (drums) as the members. In this guise they won a local metal band competition, and also started to record new material.
Year: Late autumn 1971 (CD 2003) Label: Universal Music (Norway), 038 510 2 Style: Prog Rock, Rock, Heavy Prog Country: Norway Time: 62:10 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 445 Mb
JUNIPHER GREENE was one of the first progressive group from Norway. The initial line-up included Bent ASERUD on guitars, keyboards, flute and vocals, Geir BOHREN on lead vocals, drums and sax, Helge GROSLIE on keyboards, Freddy DAHL on guitar and vocals and Oyvind Vilbo on bass. They released their ambitious debut album in 1971 called "Friendship". It stands as one of Norway's earliest progressive album and the country's first double LP. They were one of Norway's best bands together with RUPHUS and HOST, although they only released one more album, in 1973, named "Communication" (also very good), before splitting in the mid 70s. Two compilation albums, "Best Of" (1975) and "Rewind" (1981), which also featured a number of unreleased tracks recorded between 1969 and 1980, were issued. Helge GROSLIE left the band to join TITANIC in 1972, ASERUD and BOHREN kept the JUNIPHER GREENE name for various incarnations during the 80's, although these were very different to the original group. They've since built a reputation as the creators of Norwegian movie soundtracks.
01. Try To Understand (04:49)
02. Witches' Daughter (03:28)
03. Music For Our Children (06:41)
04. A Spectre Is Haunting The Peninsula (02:54)
05. Sunrise-Sunset (04:04)
06. Magical Garden (07:09)
07. Autumn Diary (01:53)
08. Maurice (04:25)
09. Attila's Belly-Dance (00:40)
10. Friendship Prelude - Take The Road Across The Bridge (06:14)
Year: May 1971 (CD 2002) Label: Polydor Records (UK), 589 550-2 Style: Psychedelic Rock, Punk Rock Country: London, England Time: 70:28 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 428 Mb
Pink Fairies are an English rock band initially active in the London (Ladbroke Grove) underground and psychedelic scene of the early 1970s. They promoted free music, drug use, and anarchy, and often performed impromptu gigs and other stunts, such as playing for nothing outside the gates at the Bath and Isle of Wight pop festivals in 1970, as well as appearing at Phun City, the first Glastonbury and many other free festivals including Windsor and Trentishoe.
Never Never Land is the 1971 debut album by the UK underground group Pink Fairies.
Polydor Records commissioned the group to record a single, "The Snake"/"Do It", and were happy enough with the results to offer the group an album contract. A promotional film was recorded for the single on the set of Oliver!, but the single was omitted from this debut album. The b-side, "Do It", did appear but with added overdubs. "Do It" was later covered by the Henry Rollins Band on their Do It album.
The sleeve came in a printed PVC cover, with an inner gatefold sleeve depicting two different scenescapes, and a printed inner sleeve with a photograph of the band.
200 copies were also pressed on pink vinyl the same year. Initial pressings properly credited the full band as songwriters on all songs. However, John Alder worked a deal with a different publisher that resulted in songwriting credits and royalties being erroneously awarded to him for "Heavenly Man", "War Girl", "Thor", and "The Dream is Just Beginning" on later pressings.
Year: 27 November 1970 (CD 2001) Label: Sanctuary Records (Europe), CMRCD206 Style: Folk, Folk Rock Country: United Kingdom Time: 37:30 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 215 Mb
Cruel Sister was an album recorded in 1970 by folk-rock band Pentangle. It was the most folk-based of the albums recorded by the band, with all the tracks being versions of traditional songs. Whereas their previous album had been produced by Shel Talmy, and featured quite a heavily produced, commercial sound, Cruel Sister was produced by Bill Leader, noted for his recordings of folk musicians.
"Lord Franklin" is a version of the traditional ballad, also known as "Lady Franklin's Lament", which describes Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. John Renbourn sings the lead vocal and plays both acoustic and electric guitar.
"Cruel sister", the song which provides the title for the album, is a traditional ballad (known in some versions as The Twa Sisters), telling the story of the violent rivalry between two sisters for the love of a knight.
The whole of side two of the album is taken up with an extended version of the ballad "Jack Orion", previously recorded by Jansch on his own Jack Orion album. "Jack Orion" is a version of the Child ballad "Glasgerion". The arrangement on Cruel Sister develops through several sections with different rhythms and instrumentation.
The album cover features engravings by Albrecht Durer. The front cover displays his "The Men's Bath" (Das Mannerbad) (date unknown). The picture on the back cover is his The Sea Monster (Das Meerwunder), dating from 1498.
Year: 4 December 1964 (CD 2007) Label: Repertoire Records (Germany), REP 4775 Style: Blues Rock, Rhythm and Blues Country: London, England Time: 75:09 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 260 Mb
Five Live Yardbirds is the live debut album by English rock band the Yardbirds. It features the group's interpretations of ten American blues and rhythm and blues songs, including their most popular live number, Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning". The album contains some of the earliest recordings with guitarist Eric Clapton.
Recorded at the Marquee Club in London on 20 March 1964, it was released in the United Kingdom by Columbia Records nine months later. Despite several favourable retrospective reviews, the album did not reach the UK album charts. It was not issued in the United States; however, four songs were included on the Yardbirds' second American album, Having a Rave Up.
One of the most influential bands of the 60s, the Yardbirds are best remembered as a breeding ground for three of the UK's finest guitar heroes - Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. This recently unearthed live recording features the first of that vaunted trio, offering a fascinating earful of the sound of hip London clubland in 1964.
What's astonishing about Clapton's playing is how fully formed it is for a player not yet out of his teens. By turns fluid, spiky and occasionally downright crazed, it's a far cry from the more mannered performances of his latter years. On Chuck Berry's ''Too Much Monkey Business'' he unleashes a solo of such ferocity you almost fear for your speaker cones, while closing slow blues ''The Sky Is Crying'' finds him sparring stylishly with Keith Relf's harmonica.
Relf's vocal performance is also remarkably powerful, filled with the kind of snotty white boy attitude which would go on to inspire countless US garage bands. Chris Dreja's bass playing is also worthy of note, skipping nimbly across the breakneck tempos of the Isley Brothers' ''She Is So Respectable''. At one point this bizarrely mutates into a blue beat version of ''Humpty Dumpty'', which serves to underline 60s British rock's debt to black music of all forms.
The set list is little different from the bands original debut, Five Live Yardbirds, but if you fancy a dose of raw, rocking blues, with the added attraction of a nascent Clapton on peak form then check this out.You might not feel like you're there, but you'll probably wish you were.
Pioneering early-70's Spanish progressive band, GRANADA was the musical project of multi-instrumentalist Carlos Carcamo (flute, violin, acoustic - and electric piano, mellotron, clavicordio, 12-string guitar, percussion and vocals!) and the other musicians Michael Vortreflich (electric guitar), Antonio Garcia Oteyza (bass) and Juan Bona (drums and vocals). GRANADA had a unique style. They remind of the Mexicans ICONOCLASTA, and also other Spanish bands like TRIANA or COTO EN PEL. The British influences come from YES, JETHRO TULL and other Italian bands very present in their sound. The emphasis of GRANADA relies on the keyboards (with profusion of moog and mellotron) and guitar instrumental passages, but with more keys that guitar. They sound like a mix of fusion and symphonic influences.
GRANADA released three albums: "Hablo De Una Tierra" ('75), "Espana Ano" '75 ('76) and "Valle De Pas" ('78). The debut-album "Hablo De Una Tierra" is their most original album. The six compositions sound very varied (from rock and bluesy to latin and symphonic) with strong Spanish vocals, powerful guitar (some biting solos), pleasant keyboards (many beautiful Mellotron waves) and IAN ANDERSON inspired fluteplay. The title track includes a splendid and very unique duet from the Mellotron and flamenco guitar of guest-musician Manolo Sanlucar, goose bumps! Two of their best albums "Espana Ano 75" and "Valle Del Pas" were reissued on 1 CD. They consist of instrumental, melodic progressive rock with occasionally surprising moments, which include the use of orchestration and bagpipes. They are both two excellent examples of Spanish prog and highly recommended. Definitely check them out!!!
GRANADA – Discografia Basica
With its wiser sonic architecture and a more inspired compositional drive in comparison with the promising debut album, Granada's sophomore effort "Espana Ano 75" installs a proper maturation of Carlos Carcamo's musical vision. It is from this album onwards that we can properly point out Granada as a major name in Spain's progressive rock for the 70s. Since this album was released in 1976, the title can be interpreted as a humorous allusion to remembrances of a near past time, and the specific title of the suite that fills the album's first half, 'El Calor Que Pasamos Este Verano' ('The Heat We Experienced Last Summer'), enhances this spirit of instant nostalgia for good, funny times that have just passed us by. This suite has 4 sections, with the first one, entitled 'Por Donde Andamos', providing a magnificent exhibition of symphonic prog with abundant folkloric flourishes and added spacey ornaments. It really starts things on a high note, and so section 2 'Todo Hubiera Sido Tan Bueno' slows down things a little bit and adds certain jazzy nuances to the rhythmic scheme. The soft and well-structured melodic warmth that takes place here is somewhat related to the Mediterranean feel we come to expect also from many Italian symphonic bands. Section 3, entitled 'La Autentica Cancion Del Verano', spices things up in order to state a similar dynamics to that we found in section 1: the cosmic synth solo helps to enhance the most extroverted passages, while the sax solo (guest Jorge Pardo doing an excellent Mel Collins personification) enters during a semi-funky excerpt. The last section 'No Me Digas Bueno, Vale' perpetuates the previous one's dynamics and right away expands on its rockier edge: the opening dual guitar solo is just splendid, while the electric piano flourishes that emerge afterwards provide a moment of Arabic/Flamenco colors. The final jam is catchy enough as to preserve the listener's attention throughout its repetitive cadenza. The album's second half starts with 'Septiembre', a piece with dominantly tranquil moods whose melancholic atmospheres remain a constant elements throughout the motif variations, even in those motifs in which the sonic framework turns a bit livelier. By the way, the final section (that sounds like a mixture of Le Orme and Jethro Tull) is one of the most magical moments in the album? and its weird ending makes it even more special. 'Noviembre Florido' brings a lighter set of moods, mostly based on Northern Spanish folk. After the 3 minute mark, the joy stops for a while and we find a softer passage driven on a ceremonious note: the combination of string synth background and Spanish guitar flourishes is just lovely, I could listen to this musical idea for a full 4 minutes or so, but actually it is quite brief, and things don't take long before they return to the original mood. The 7+ minute long closer 'Ahora Vamos A Ver Que Pasa (Vamonos Para El Mediterraneo)' is the most folk-centered piece in the album: featuring the mandolin and violin, with a dominant room for up tempo ambiences, it effectively wraps thins up with flying colors. "Espana Ano 75" is, all in all, a big demonstration of the solid colorfulness that prog rock musicians brought out to Spain's musical scene in the 70s: a collector's item to be dearly valued by prog maniacs everywhere.
(Review by Cesar Inca) (centraldoprog.blogspot.com/2017/09/granada-discografia-basica-hablo-de-una.html)
CD1:Hablo De Una Tierra (1975)
01. Granada (06:28) 02. Rompiendo La Oscuridad (05:35) 03. Hablo De Una Tierra (06:36) 04. Nada Es Real (05:01) 05. Es Le Momento De Oir Un Buen Rock (06:43) 06. Algo Bueno (06:12)
CD2:Espana Ano 75 (1976)
01. El calor que pasamos este verano - a) Por donde andamos (03:51) 02. El calor que pasamos este verano - b) Todo hubiera sido tan bueno (03:36) 03. El calor que pasamos este verano - c) La autйntica canciуn del verano (05:39) 04. El calor que pasamos este verano - d) No me digas bueno, vale (04:14) 05. 5 Setiembre (08:06) 06. Noviembre florido (07:07) 07. Ahora vamos a ver quй pasa (vбmonos para el Mediterraneo) (07:28)
CD3:Valle Del Pas (1978)
01. No Se Si Debo (05:11) 02. Breve Silueta De Color Carmin (04:28) 03. Noches Oscuras, Ocas Contentas (05:48) 04. El Himno Del Sapo (04:03) 05. Valle Del Pas (07:49) 06. Calle Betis (Atardeciendo) (06:51) 07. Ya Llueve (04:45)
Year: December 8, 1976 (CD November 24, 2017) Label: Asylum Records (Europe), R2-562944 Style: Rock, Country Rock, Soft Rock Country: Los Angeles, California, U.S. Time: 43:27, 48:38 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 295, 330 Mb
Hotel California showcases both the best and worst tendencies of Los Angeles-situated rock, but more strikingly its lyrics present a convincing and unflattering portrait of the milieu itself. Don Henley, handling five of the eight vocal tracks, expresses well the weary disgust of a victim (or observer) of the region's luxurious excess.
Yet the record's firm musical bases cannot be overlooked. Bernie Leadon departed and Joe Walsh arrived; the Eagles have abandoned most of their bluegrass and country & western claims in favor of a more overt rock stance. Walsh's exact effect isn't always obvious, but his record does have subtleties and edges that have sometimes eluded the group. The title cut, for example, incorporates a pinch of reggae so smoothly that it's more felt than heard. "Life in the Fast Lane," propelled by Walsh's guitar and Glenn Frey's clavinet, rocks like it really means it; "Victim of Love" works similarly, though at a slower tempo. Henley is superb on all three.
The frequent orchestration, however, doesn't always fit. "Pretty Maids All in a Row" employs glistening, high-pitched string synthesizer to good effect, adding a reserved tension to the slowly paced arrangement; but the approach fails on "Wasted Time," an overarranged wash embodying the worst of rock-cum-Hollywood sensibilities. What does work is the elegant fullness of "The Last Resort," whose concluding words sum up Hotel California: "You call some place Paradise...kiss it goodbye."
(Charley Walters, Rolling Stone, 2/24/77)
Try not to get too hung up on how middle-class their backgrounds may be, or whether there's any real sagebrush sticking to their spurs; the Eagles are pros and they try to represent themselves honestly. In their new Hotel California their professional standards are pretty high, and the result is a satisfying, well-turned album.
The most commercial song, "New Kid in Town", has more depth than we have any right to expect of the most commercial track in the latest album by a group with a large and faithful following already primed to salivate at the sound of the opening chords. I mean the Eagles could get by with a lot more coasting than they do in this instance. They could take more chances, too, of course, but this one seems to suggest that that may be a matter of constitution: their vision is tight and tidy; they don't have individual genius or a hot-dog soloist in their midst, but versatile part players and cooperators thinking Arrangement and Detail.
There is good contrast here between the acoustic and the electric aspects of their style, a smattering of dandy if derivative melodies (check "Wasted Time" and "The Last Resort"), some lyrics that reflect actual thought, and first-rate, unfancy vocals. I never thought I'd be praising a "group mentality" all over the place, but I guess it depends on what the group mentality does. Or maybe it's just rare to find a group that has mentality. Whatever, the Eagles have harnessed something here and made it do some fine work.
(Noel Coppage, Stereo Review, 4/77)
This long-awaited album of new Eagles material more than lives up to its highest expectations, as hundreds of thousands of concertgoers who heard the L.A. quintet in person this summer and fall performing songs from the upcoming LP can attest. The casually beautiful, quietly intense, multileveled vocal harmonies and brilliant original songs that meld solid emotional words with lovely melody lines are all back in full force, keeping the Eagles at the acme of acoustic-electric soft rock. At least three of the cuts are among the group's best ever and would seem likely to make memorable singles, if preliminary album-cut airplay is any reliable indication. With the exception of the lengthy Procol Harum-type title cut, the group isn't trying out any new departures here. But the album proves that there's a lot more left to explore profitably and artistically in the L.A. countryish-rock style. And Joe Walsh's hard rock lead guitar adds just enough extra impetus on a few effective change-of-pace uptempo tunes. However, the Eagles are still best on pretty ballads that grab the ear by smooth sound textures, and there's plenty of this on the LP, which ships platinum. Best cuts: "New Kid In Town," "Wasted Time," "Hotel California," "Try And Love Again," "The Last Resort."
Don Henley once called this best-selling of all Eagles' albums "the zenith of our career." On this album the Eagles lineup consisted of Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner. Hotel California generated two US number one singles, the title track and "New Kid in Town," and spent eight weeks on the top of the LP chart. "Life in the Fast Lane," a moderate hit single, reinforced the use of its title phrase to describe a particular seventies lifestyle. Henley and Frey's "The Last Resort" was a major extended piece.
"We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest," Henley said of the Eagles. "'Hotel California' was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles. It was meant to be a metaphor for the United States, for the excesses this country has always been known for. It wasn't meant to be just about California or Beverly Hills. It was more or less taken that way, but we had broader intentions than that. When you love something, you have to point out the things that are going wrong."
In 1987, Hotel California was chosen by a panel of rock critics and music broadcasters as the #48 rock album of all time.
(Paul Gambaccini, The 100 Rock 'n' Roll Albums of All Time, Harmony Books, 1987)
01. Hotel California (06:31) 02. New Kid In Town (05:04) 03. Life In The Fast Lane (04:46) 04. Wasted Time (04:56) 05. Wasted Time (01:23) 06. Victim Of Love (04:10) 07. Pretty Maids All In A Row (03:59) 08. Try And Love Again (05:11) 09. The Last Resort (07:24)
CD2:Live At The LA 1976
01. Take It Easy (04:47) 02. Take It To The Limit (05:18) 03. New Kid In Town (04:52) 04. James Dean (03:49) 05. Good Day In Hell (05:28) 06. Witchy Woman (04:20) 07. Funk #49 (04:03) 08. One Of These Nights (03:52) 09. Hotel California (06:49) 10. Already Gone (05:15)
Year: 1970 & 1971 (CD 2001) Label: Free Records (Germany), FR 2008 Style: Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock Country: California (U.S.) Time: 78:55 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 539 Mb
Help were a 1970s psychedelic, acid, hard rock power trio from California.
The band comprised Jack Merrill (vocals, guitar), Ron Rochan (vocals, bass guitar, percussion), and Chet McCracken (vocals, drums, percussion, formerly of the Evergreen Blueshoes).
They released two albums on Decca Records in 1970 and 1971.
McCracken went on to drum with The Doobie Brothers.
01. Do You Understand The Words (03:37) 02. All Day (02:46) 03. Good Time Muisc (03:30) 04. Hold On Child (04:00) 05. T.C.A (06:22) 06. Dear Lord (09:16) 07. Oh My (04:38) 08. Power (06:06)
Second Coming (1971):
09. For Sale (04:34) 10. Open Up The Door (02:31) 11. I Tried Too Hard (01:44) 12. Easy To Be Free (03:08) 13. Run Away (06:50) 14. Keep In Touch (03:59) 15. Take A Look At Yourself (04:42) 16. Commit Yourself (02:58) 17. Help Me, Help You, Help Me (04:05) 18. Tennessee Waltz (04:01)
Year: Jan 1992 (CD Jul 4, 2013) Label: Air Mail Archive (Japan), AIRAC-1700 Style: Rock, Alternative Rock Country: Kent, England (16 August 1944 - 18 February 2013) Time: 43:53 Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz Size: 264 Mb
Remembering Kevin Ayers, Britain’s Carefree Psychedelic Genius (RollingStone Magazine)
For the first 10 years that I spent buying and treasuring his records, Kevin Ayers – the British singer-guitarist-songwriter who died on February 18th at 68, at his home in France – was an irresistible mystery: an exotic, carefree genius of that nation’s psychedelic and progressive rock, accessible to this country mostly via hard-to-find import releases and never in person. He toured America once, for several months in 1968, as the singer-bassist in the improvising pop-art group Soft Machine, opening shows for Jimi Hendrix. That, apparently, was enough. He made no great efforts to return. The only time I saw Ayers perform live was at a New York club show in 1980, leading a band that featured the great, undersung English guitarist Ollie Halsall.
I was there and grateful. Ayers was everything I knew from his golden-era records on the Harvest label, including Joy of a Toy (1969), Whatevershebringswesing (1972) and Bananamour (1973): a wry, articulate observer of romantic failing and bohemian langour with a velvety baritone and a gift for eccentric, addicting melodies. Ayers made a pop music soaked in acid, Beaujolais and Ibiza sunshine, charged with an explorer’s restlessness that ensured he never made the same album twice.
A Reluctant Star
I actually met Ayers before that New York visit, during a rare promotional encounter in 1977 for one of his infrequent U.S. releases, Yes, We Have No Mananas. He signed my copy of the LP, something I especially treasure now because most of the green ink has faded. But the impression of his signature remains – an apt metaphor for the casual, often dismissive way Ayers passed through cult stardom, even at his busiest and best in the early and mid-Seventies. The British DJ John Peel, an ardent fan, famously declared that “Kevin Ayers’ talent is so acute that you could perform major eye surgery with it.”
But Ayers guarded that talent too well, reluctant to exploit his commercial potential and suspicious of the rewards. “If you’re aiming for the sky, it’s too high,” he sang in “Star,” the opening song on Mananas. “Unless you’re prepared to die, don’t try for a star.” As early as 1971, Ayers summarized the contradiction in his gifts – pop brains with a wayward rocker’s heart; magnetic good looks and a mistrust of surface charms – in the title of a perversely cheerful, rockabilly-flavored single, “Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes.”
Songs for Insane Times
In the Eighties, Ayers fell out of favor with major British labels and into heroin addiction. There were extended periods of invisibility broken by occasional records with heartening flashes of his Seventies prime. That bleak streak was finally broken by 2007’s The Unfairground (Lo-Max), a strong vocal and writing comeback made with the fond assistance of younger disciples such as the band Teenage Fanclub and older stalwart friends like British folk singer Bridget St. John and Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper (who passed away in 2009).
It is now a reassuring finale to a body of work that deserves and rewards rediscovery – the original LPs; Ayers’ often experimental BBC sessions and live-radio concerts; the weird, errant singles that were his curious idea of hits, such as 1970’s bright and dizzy boogie “Singing a Song in the Morning.” (An early take, with the working title “Religious Experience,” included a barely audible guitar played by Pink Floyd refugee Syd Barrett.) I recommend without reservation everything from the first Soft Machine album to Mananas. There is also much to examine and enjoy in what followed, particularly The Unfairground. For beginners, Ayers’ Seventies solo work has been decisively anthologized on the 2008 four-CD set, Songs for Insane Times.
“We talk all night and we’re all turned on/ Everybody heard him singing his song/ Telling us there was work to be done/ And we all sung that chorus, ‘I am the walrus,'” Ayers crooned in that rich deep register, backed by his ex-mates in Soft Machine, in the title song of that collection, a gentle mocking of pop idols and rock godliness from Joy of a Toy. Ayers never reconciled his ability to attract attentive, faithful fans with the price in integrity and freedom. But he made wonderful records out of that struggle, with invention and flamboyant spirit. In that way, Ayers was, whether he liked it or not, always a star.