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Joy Of A Toy Import, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, June 16, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

2003 remastered reissue of 1969 album includes six bonus tracks, 'Religious Experience' (Syd Barrett Session), 'Lady Rachael' (extended first mix), 'Soon Soon Soon', 'Religious Experience' (Take 103), 'Lady Rachael' (Single Version), & 'Singing a Song in the Morning'. Harvest.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 16, 2003)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: PARLOPHONE IMPORT
  • ASIN: B00008Y2IU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,089 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Kevin Ayers Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Stewart on September 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a delightfully odd and whimsical album from a genuine English eccentric. It is also an album of rare beauty full of unexpected twists and turns. This is the sort of album we wish Syd Barrett had made after leaving Pink Floyd. From the opener, a cheerful hum-a-long version of Ayers' Joy of a Toy (a radical reworking of the tune originally on the first Soft Machine album), we know this is not going to be typical rock fare. It does not however prepare us for the strange twiddly fragile gorgeousness of Town Feeling or Song For Insane Times, which must be up there in the top 20 most beautiful recordings ever. Then there is sonic locomotive trip of Stop This Train and the simply undefinable Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong...WOW.
This CD has 16 tracks on it but titles 1-10 (the original Joy of a Toy album) should be listen to as a unit on its own and the bonus cuts regarded as a separate listening experience. Of the bonus cuts Soon Soon Soon, sounding like something from some magnificent but very odd stage musical, is the most fun.
This is the sort of album you want to have in reserve incase you need just the thing to brighten up a dull and ordinary day at home. Magical.
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Format: Audio CD
In my opinion (IMO) there is not a bad song on this whole album. I think Kevin Ayers was a musical genius and a brilliant songwriter. He was like a more "accessible" Syd Barrett. And he got to make more than two albums! If you like the first Soft Machine album, you will LOVE this album. I've selected a list of my favorite songs from this album and have made a few comments for each song. I would encourage anybody who is even half way tempted by this album to just go out and buy it. It's one of those albums that changes your life because you say to yourself, "I didn't know that music could be this beautiful and deep," and, "where has this album been all my life?" This album came out ten years before I was even born, but I love it more than anything "my" generation has ever made. Sorry Nirvana and No Doubt. You make good music, but my heart is in the 60's. The vibe was just so much better... I just wish there were more people out there in my generation who listen to this music. It has sadly passed everybody by and is now just a long lost relic of the past. I feel the same way about Donovan. His music was just as beautiful, but is now largely forgotten. If you love Donovan you will love Ayers! Just compare "Epistle to Dippy" to "The Clarietta Rag." If those aren't the two greatest songs ever written, then I need to get my Nirvana Nevermind CD back out and give it another try!
Joy Of A Toy (Continued)
This is a continuation of the song Kevin first debuted with Soft Machine. I wish that Kevin had stuck around with that group for a little while longer, but just as George Harrison had to get out of the Beatles to do All Things Must Pass, Kevin had to be free to give us Joy of a Toy.
Town Feeling
"Today the town seems like a tomb. Everybody's locked up in his room.
Read more ›
2 Comments 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Despite his best efforts to avoid courting too much popularity, Kevin Ayers' emergence from the Canterbury scene first in the Wilde Flowers and then with Soft Machine is well known. Typically, he jumped ship from Soft Machine as they were taking off after a gruelling tour with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, selling his bass guitar to Mitch Mitchell and switching to guitar to write the songs that were to make up his first and finest solo album.

This is a light, folksy, if occasionally sinister collection of songs that benefit from the arrangements and piano playing of classical composer David Bedford, who was later to join the Whole World and work on all Kevin Ayers' best albums. Robert Wyatt drums throughout most of the album and the rest of the Softs turn up regularly, separately and together, notably on Song For Insane Times. Kevin Ayers has been musically likened to Nick Drake and Syd Barrett but he lacks the melancholy and some of the poetic genius of Nick Drake and also the manic intensity of Syd Barrett. Happily, unlike either of them, he also could not be described as a casualty, but is distinguished by his English sensibility and winsome eccentricity, which is eloquently displayed on this atmospheric debut.

In its re-mastered form Joy Of A Toy has acquired half a dozen bonus tracks including two remixed versions of Lady Rachel, one of his strongest songs, and early versions of his first single, Singing A Song In The Morning, under the working title Religious Experience. One of these has Syd Barrett himself playing guitar, though his mental health proved counter to the task and on the final single mix we can hear that Kevin Ayers himself provided a more than passable pastiche, abetted on organ and bass by David and Richard Sinclair from Canterbury compatriots Caravan. 
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Format: Audio CD
Ayers' influence on the Soft Machine's debut recording made the album for me. The smooth psych hooks and Ayers' sensible, affected voice only occasionally breached the surface of Wyatt's noodling-- "Joy of a Toy," Ayers' first album post-Soft Machine, allowed Ayers' pop genius to fully manifest itself.

"Joy of a Toy" also marks the swan song of Ayers' Canterbury Scene inclinations (with the exception of the first side of "Whatevershebringswesing," essentially the eulogy to Ayers' musical worth). It signals the fetal demise of the "Canterbury pop stage," a sound wet with pastoral imagination and everything beautiful about Englishness.

Ayers' songwriting on "Joy of a Toy" is masterful; the album simply drifts in and out of itself, smooth as, like, a dandelion. It begins with a note of feedback, challenging you to reject it at the outset before breaking into a Babes in Toyland-esque anthem of happiness. From there, the album becomes increasing impossible to refuse; it invites you to just laugh and sit, drink nectar in the rolling hills of a made-up countryside from a childhood dream.

And this is all without mentioning "Song for Insane Times." Backed up by a sessions band consisting of, well, The Soft Machine, the clear highlight of the album is just mind-blowingly chill. With lyrics like "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 the chorus/Of I Am the Walrus," it's like a cartoon of the Scene itself; totemically cool musicians sitting around, smoking, pounding away at the soundtrack for 1969 Britain.
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