Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kevin Ayers has left the building

The Web and (more surprisingly) the UK media have been awash with coverage of Kevin Ayers' recent passing (he died at home in southern France on 18th February, seemingly peacefully in his sleep). I was on my way back to Canterbury after seeing Syd Arthur and friends in Bristol when I got the news. I passed it on to Joel around the time Syd would have been getting ready to take to the stage at the Sebright Arms, playing to a sold out audience at that particularly trendy East London venue (they'd heard already, so Kevin would have been very much in mind while they played that set — I think they may have even mentioned him).

I don't think there's much I can add to what's already been said, apart from noting that with all the discussion of his character, voice, lyrical quirkiness, lifestyle, Englishness, etc., it's largely been overlooked that he was a fantastic bass player with the early Soft Machine. Live material from that era (especially the 1968 American tour when the trio were truly on fire) is sadly quite limited, but some excellent examples can be found if you search through the various episodes of Canterbury Soundwaves.

excerpts from Graham Bennett's Out-Bloody-Rageous, pp. 121 and 145

I was tempted to put together an extra episode of the podcast as a tribute to his music (despite having announced Episode 28 to be the final one)...but, no, I've decided to stick with my original decision and instead dedicate the first episode of the forthcoming Canterbury Sans Frontières podcast to him — that should be out in late March and will be announced here.

RIP Kev and...thank you...very...much!


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