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Songs for Insane Times: Anthology 1969-1980 Box set, Import

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, July 22, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

2008 four CD anthology that covers Ayers' musical career from 1969 to 1980; a period most fans and critics deem his best. Ayers remains one of Rock's oddest enigmas. He makes ordinary subjects extraordinary with his rich low vocals and inventive wordplay. He projects the image of a Prog-Rock beach bum writing about life's absurdities with a celebratory, relaxed detachment, yet he is also one of Prog- Rock's more important innovators, helping to launch the Soft Machine, and working with noted progressive musicians Mike Oldfield, Lol Coxhill, and Steve Hillage. Ayers' solo material reflected a Folksier, lazier, and gentler turn than Soft Machine. He was often compared to Syd Barrett, but without the madness and is never less than enjoyable and original, Discs One to Three contain 49 hits, album tracks and more while Disc Four was recorded at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 25th May 1973. EMI.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Town Feeling
  2. Song for Insane Times
  3. Girl on a Swing
  4. The Lady Rachel
  5. Stop This Train (Again Doing It)
  6. Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her)
  7. Religious Experience
  8. Soon Soon Soon
  9. Rheinhardt and Geraldine/Colores Para Dolores
  10. May I?
  11. Clarence in Wonderland
  12. The Oyster and the Flying Fish
  13. Shooting at the Moon
  14. Butterfly Dance
  15. Gemini Child
  16. Stars
  17. There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving

Disc: 2

  1. Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes [Early Mix]
  2. Song from the Bottom of a Well
  3. Oh My
  4. Margaret
  5. Whatevershebringswesing
  6. Decadence
  7. Oh! Wot a Dream
  8. Don't Let It Get You Down
  9. Interview
  10. Caribbean Moon
  11. The Up Song
  12. The Confessions of Doctor Dream: Irreversible
  13. It Begins with a Blessing/Once I Awakened/But It
  14. See You Later/Didn't Feel Lonely 'til I Thought Of
  15. Ballbearing Blues

Disc: 3

  1. After the Show
  2. Thank You Very Much
  3. Observations
  4. Toujours La Voyage
  5. Diminished But Not Finished
  6. Farewell Again (Another Dawn)
  7. Yes I Do
  8. Love's Gonna Turn You Round
  9. Ballad of Mr Snake
  10. Blue
  11. Ballad of a Salesman Who Sold Himself
  12. A View from the Mountain
  13. Beware of the Dog II
  14. Hat Song
  15. Money, Money, Money
  16. Super Salesman
  17. Where Do the Stars End?

Disc: 4

  1. Banana Introduction [Live] [Live][#]
  2. Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes [Live] [Live][#]
  3. Interview [Live] [Live][#]
  4. Whatevershebringswesing [Live] [Live][#]
  5. Oh! Wot a Dream [Live] [Live][#]
  6. Shouting in a Bucket Blues [Live] [Live][#]
  7. Caribbean Moon [Live] [Live][#]
  8. Don't Let It Get You Down [Live] [Live][#]
  9. We Did It Again [Live] [Live][#]
  10. Why Are We Sleeping? [Live] [Live][#]
  11. After the Show [Live] [Live][#]


Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 22, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Emd Int'l
  • ASIN: B0018BWTVI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,524 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 4-CD box set by Kevin Ayers is a great introduction to the man and his music. It spans his most essential years, and draws from the 9 studio albums he recorded for the Harvest and Island labels between 1969 and 1980. Everything is in chronological order, which is helpful for tracing his evolution. Even non-album singles and b-sides are inserted in the proper timeline. As the discs progress we hear him shift from psychedelic rock to more conventional songwriting.

Disc One is entirely psychedelic, Disc Two a little bit less, while Disc Three is comparatively "normal". Disc Four is a previously unreleased concert from 1973, and is looser and jammier in an almost jazz improv kind of way. Ayers performs a 16 minute "Why Are We Sleeping?", and an 11 minute "We Did It Again". Both are considerably longer than when they appeared on the 1968 landmark debut "Soft Machine Volume One" by the highly influential band Kevin co-founded before going solo. All are sung in his inimitable deep bass voice, which may be an acquired taste for some - but I've always loved it. The songs are self-effacing, charming, whimsical, laid-back, relaxing, and fun. There's really no one else like Kevin Ayers.

He's always attracted gifted sidemen. On these recordings you'll hear contributions from fellow Soft Machine great Robert Wyatt, Mike Oldfield, Steve Hillage, and a host of others. Special mention must be made of Ollie Halsall. He was a collaborator and close friend of Ayers for 18 years. Beginning with "The Confessions Of Doctor Dream" in '74, up through "Still Life With Guitar" in '92 - his guitar wizardry graces every album. When he died in '92 at age 43, he left Kevin bereft and directionless.
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I'm in agreement with the other reviewers here. This is a wonderful collection! Kevin Ayers is such a talented songwriter; and the music is warm, witty, inviting, and downright irresistible! I subtracted half a star for the booklet which ought to include the personnel featured on each album, but this was omitted. Other than that I have no complaints. The material is top notch, and I fell in love with Ayers' deep mellow vocals immediately. There is no point in mentioning the highlights, because this set includes the best material from the albums represented. Highly recommended!
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I recently discovered Kevin Ayers and decided to buy this set.
The 4 CD set is well compiled and has some great songs that challenge the listener with many twists and turns.
I expected as most box sets to drop off in quality as each year progressed but to my delight the quality of music remains as each year of recording is represented.

Well worth getting
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