Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kevin And Robert - The Soft Brothers

In less than a month, two founding members of the great Soft Machine released there latest contribution to the music history, Kevin Ayers, first, with The Unfairground (September 10), then Robert Wyatt with Comicopera (October 8). The other three original members are still alive and well (thank you!); Mike Ratledge keeps the legacy of Soft Machine alive with Steam (August 2007), Hugh Hopper still works on numerous jazz projects and Daevid Allen in 2003 formed a new version of Gong with members of the Japanese collective known as Acid Mothers Temple, as well as playing and releasing material with his California-based band University of Errors.
I started to listen to the Soft Machine in the early seventies; it was for my young ears a major musical discovery. I must confess that I am quite pride that I was sensible to both the psychedelic-rock and jazz-rock that the Softs provided with their first two official albums (
Soft Machine and Volume Two). At that time, it was music hard to find in conventional record shops, it was call “experimental music” or “underground music”…
Subsequently, in few months, I had the chance to meet Daevid Allen personally, went to some Kevin Ayers’s gigs and experienced Soft Machine live (July 73 - unfortunately without Robert Wyatt, it was right after his accident). All great shows! Later, I was lucky to attend to one of the most amazing concert held in London at that time: THE come back of Robert Wyatt with the help of his friends,
Theatre Royal Drury Lane (recorded September 8, 1974 and released in October 2005). Ok, I stop talking about me.

I would like to say more about the influence of those guys for the music but I don’t have enough space here - you’ll find a lot to read elsewhere on the web, like the story of the Softs working as support on Hendrix’s first American tour - all I can add is that they also gave much pleasure to a lot of people including me.
Listen and buy The Unfairground and Comicopera. It’s great to hear Kevin’s voice again. The Unfairground is a very good and enjoyable album, his best since
Bananamour. Yes, Kevin, you “Did It Again”… Sorry, I don’t have much to say about Comicopera, just heard here and there some excerpts. Robert Wyatt voice is still amazing. It will be one of my future purchases.
Also read on Leaky Sparrow:

MySpace: myspace.com/robertwyatt

Kevin Ayers - Friends & Strangers (excerpt) .mp3
Robert Wyatt - Just As You Are .mp3 via Stereogum

Kevin Ayers - Supersalesman .mp3 (Live – New York, 1980) via Ollie Halsall Archive
Bonus: Robert Wyatt - Song For Che .mp3 from Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard
Robert Wyatt - Pigs In There .mp3



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