BBC RADIO 1967-1971

1. Clarence In Wonderland
2. We Know What You Mean
3. Certain Kind
4. Hope For Happiness
5. Strangest Scene (aka Lullaby Letter)
6. Facelift/Mousetrap/Noisette/Backwards/
Mousetrap Reprise
7. The Moon In June
8. Instant Pussy
9. Slightly All The Time/Out Bloody Rageous/Eamonn Andrews
1. Virtually
2. Fletcher's Blemish
3. Neo-Caliban Grides
4. Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening
5. Eamonn Andrews/All White
6. Mousetrap/Noisette/Backwards/Mousetrap Reprise/Esther's Nose Job

Kevin Ayers: bass, vocals
Robert Wyatt: drums, vocals
Mike Ratledge: keyboards
Brian Hopper: saxes
Hugh Hopper: bass
Elton Dean: saxes
Mark Charig: cornet
Lyn Dobson: saxes
Nick Evans: trombone

Recorded: CD1: 1-5.: December 5th, 1967 / 6.: June 10th, 1969; / 8. November 10th, 1969 / 9. May 4th, 1970. CD2: 1-2. December 15th, 1970 / 5. June 1st, 1971 / 6. November 10th, 1969
Released: 2003

kevin ayers

This first volume contains all the sessions recorded for John Peel's 'Top Gear' programme. This features several previously unreleased recordings, including the 1967 session with Kevin Ayers on bass, guitar and vocals. The running order is mostly chronological, but has been tinkered with by Robert Wyatt, "for reasons of aural satisfaction". The cover design features an abstract 'photograph' by Robert Wyatt and the booklet includes a liner note each from Hugh Hopper and Kevin Ayers. It also has detailed liner notes by Mark Ellingham and several band pictures by the great photographer, Mark Ellidge.

The two BBC Radio sets from HUX Records are a true discovery. This first two-cd-set has all the sessions from 1967-1971. The band performs great throughout the BBC recordings, maybe because it was a live experience and maybe also because their music was broadcasted live on the radio. What more do you wish? The first five tracks are going back as far as 1967. It was one of the few known live recordings with Kevin Ayers on bass guitar and vocals. The second surprise is a long medley with brother Brian Hopper in the studio, playing saxophone parts. The compositions would appear on Third in the next year, but are here played slightly different. The Moon in June is Robertís special treat, a homage to the BBC; he wrote the new words especially for this occasion. It is one of the best, maybe the best version of this song. This very version also appeared on Triple Echo and The Peel Sessions. Instant Pussy isnít actually a Soft Machine composition. Yes, it is one from Robert, but he would use it for his next band: Matching Mole. It is his solo contribution. The Slightly All The Time version was on Triple Echo and The Peel Sessions as well; itís a stunning performance. Disc Two brings us the classic quartet; the trio with Elton Dean, with an intermission from Robert in Dedicated to You, which is the same as on The Peel Sessions, the one with the treated piano and echoing vocals from Robert. The discs ends with the augmented Machine, also known from Triple Echo and The Peel Sessions. Great performances by a great band!

Paul Lemmens © 2014