The passing of Kevin Ayers was particularly sad as we had his album, The Unfairground, the first in 15 years in 2007 and there was hope that he would do some live dates and even continue to make more albums. Ayers disappeared from public view after the death of his long time guitar player Ollie Halsall in Madrid in 1992. This was the year that Ayers had released his last studio album.
Although considered one of the great British art rock eccentrics it was actually the continental culture of France and Spain that helped shape his idiosyncratic music. Unfortunately never got to see him live. BUT, I did meet him in a toilet at a Go Betweens concert at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London. Ha Ha! Happily the conversation continued outside. He seemed very uncomfortable with being away from the little French village he lived in and he mentioned this a couple of times. He was there because the Go Betweens were signed to the same label, Lo-Max and he had just put out his own record. I had a few questions of course, one was: How come you were on the front cover art for the first Caravan album but not on the record? His answer “I didn’t know I was”.
I have almost all of his records in the archive although Lady June’s Liguistic Leprosy has proved elusive.
Here’s a musical example:
Read his obituary in The Guardian, The Independent and in The Telegraph for good overviews of his life.
There is also a good piece in Mojo with some links to some rare footage. (Thanks Trevor Boyd)
Now go and buy his first nine albums at least as well as and his last album ‘The Unfairground’.
Here’s some highlights: