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KEVIN AYERS AND THE WHOLE WORLD Hyde Park Free Concert 1970 Reel (2008)

Kevin Ayers

Counterpointing Ayers' latest and well-received release, the elegant and clubbable 'Unfairground', this very raw recording of a raucous performance at the infamous annual gig in London's Hyde Park captures the drinking man's Syd Barrett with his best backing band at probably his most artistically free-spirited.

Mike Oldfield, Lol Coxfield, David Bedford and on this occasion, Robert Wyatt, on a busman's holiday from Soft Machine, work Ayers' most demanding and original album 'Shooting At the Moon' into a set list that includes oddities like 'Hat Song', the daft loop mantra 'We Did It Again' and the epic 'Why Are We Sleeping?'

It's a poor recording of a wilfully erratic performance that scoops truckloads of improvised interplay and hurls it at the audience through a lousy PA that almost loses Ayers, as he roars and screams to be heard above the cacophony, yet, yet, yet ... it is clear that this must have been great fun to have witnessed. And that sentiment is worth the price of entry alone.

*** (a star less for the distortion)

Review by Peter Muir

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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