The late Kevin Ayers was a truly vagabond soul, one probably not well suited for this rather brutal world. Starting out in a seminal pop/prog/psych band, Soft Machine, which underwent a radical change after his exit, the guy changed styles frequently and, later in life, was musically kind of a rock cabaretic lounge lizard. Highly respected and pal'ed up some of with the creme de la creme (Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield, David Bedford, etc.), his career was checquered, and the guy tended to be his own worst enemy: most every time he was ready to break out big, he'd flee to an idyllic tropical hideaway and into drugs. From the 80s forward, Kevin was pretty much non-existent on the arts scene but nonetheless came to enjoy fanatical worship among modern rock groups like Teenage Fanclub and members of Trash Can Sinatras and Gorkys Zygotic Mynci. Well, toss Edward Rogers in with that press of admirers 'cause Kaye (Kevin AYErs) was created precisely as a tribute to the wayward artist.
The CD, however, isn't a collection of cover songs, only Ayers' After the Show appears, but instead an 'in the style' tribute abetted by sessioneers who have worked with Roxy Music, Ian Hunter, the Smithereens, Psychedelic Furs, and others. Rogers was early in life a drummer in a rock band until a tragic subway accident left him minus right arm and half his right leg. This turned the gent to composition instead, soon discovering he had real talent there as well, singing on and releasing four solo CDs and a couple more with the Bedsit Poets over the last 10 years. Not unexpectedly, his vocals aren't all that far from Ayers', sometimes nowhere nearly as polished (Kev was a suave cat and a crooner), though the trait blends well into the rougher aspects of Kaye.
Rogers does a good job capturing Ayers' subject matters, blends of innocence and worldliness—I was particularly impressed by the mellifluous Worry for the World—as well as his oft wild, rough, or undecided sounds. I can't help but locate influences of John Cale (who once caught Ayers sleeping with his wife, which produced John's stunning Guts), brief snatches of Be-Bop DeLuxe, Nick Drake, and others as well. Borrowed & Blue is a great folk opus with harmony vocals and would sit quite well further back in Kevin's old timeframe, at home with Pentangle, Roy Harper, and madrigalian rockers. Thus, did Edward Rogers accomplish his task? Indeed he did, and I'm quite sure that Kevin would have, had he not passed last year, relished the collection. Colin Blunstone, lead singer for the Zombies and also a fan of Ayers' work, so much admires Rogers that the two will be touring together in 2014. That should be interesting.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles