Joy of a Toy

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Joy of a Toy
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1969
Recorded17 June–11 September 1969
StudioAbbey Road Studios, London
GenrePsychedelic pop, experimental rock, Canterbury scene, psychedelic rock
Length41:30 (original issue)
1:07:04 (2003 reissue)
ProducerKevin Ayers & Peter Jenner
Kevin Ayers chronology
Joy of a Toy
Shooting at the Moon
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[2]
The Times5/5 stars[3]

Joy of a Toy is the debut solo album of Kevin Ayers, a founding member of Soft Machine. Its whimsical and singular vision provides hints of how Soft Machine might have progressed had Ayers remained in the band. He is accompanied on the LP by pianist and arranger David Bedford as well as his erstwhile Soft Machine colleagues Robert Wyatt and Mike Ratledge, and his eventual replacement Hugh Hopper, who had previously worked with him in the semi-pro band Wilde Flowers. Among the session musicians are cellist and arranger Paul Buckmaster, jazz bassist Jeff Clyne, oboist Paul Minns (of Third Ear Band) and drummer Rob Tait (formerly of Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments before going on to join Vinegar Joe).


After a Soft Machine tour of the USA with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ayers had decided to retire from the music business. Hendrix, however, presented Ayers with an acoustic Gibson J-200 guitar on the condition that he continue his songwriting. Ayers repaired to a small London flat where he composed and arranged a whole LP which was then presented to Malcolm Jones' fledgling Harvest label where it was produced by Peter Jenner for the then exorbitant sum of £4000 (equivalent to £64,700 in 2018[4]).

Joy features many of Ayers' most enduring songs from "The Lady Rachel" to "Girl on a Swing", the latter still regularly covered by artists to this day like Candie Payne and The Ladybug Transistor. It was on Joy that Ayers developed his sonorous vocal delivery, an avant-garde song construction and an affection for unusual instrumentation that would have a deep influence far into the 1970s and indeed the present day. He was assisted in this latter undertaking by David Bedford, who provided the musical arrangements for the album as well as playing piano and other keyboards.

For the recording of Syd Barrett's first solo album—The Madcap Laughs—Soft Machine were brought in to do overdubs for a few of Barrett's tracks.[5] It was during this time that Barrett recorded a guitar part for the track "Religious Experience",[6] (later titled "Singing a Song in the Morning"); this version wasn't released until the 2003 reissue of Joy.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Kevin Ayers

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Joy of a Toy Continued" – 2:54
  2. "Town Feeling" – 4:54
  3. "The Clarietta Rag" – 3:20
  4. "Girl on a Swing" – 2:49
  5. "Song for Insane Times" – 4:00

Side 2[edit]

  1. "Stop This Train (Again Doing It)" – 6:05
  2. "Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her)" – 2:53
  3. "The Lady Rachel" – 5:17
  4. "Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong" – 5:35
  5. "All This Crazy Gift of Time" – 3:57

Bonus tracks (2003 reissue)[edit]

  1. "Religious Experience" [take 9] – 4:46 ("Singing a Song in the Morning")
  2. "The Lady Rachel" – 6:42 (extended first mix)
  3. "Soon Soon Soon" – 3:23
  4. "Religious Experience" [take 103] – 2:50 ("Singing a Song in the Morning")
  5. "The Lady Rachel" – 4:51 (Single Version)
  6. "Singing a Song in the Morning" – 2:52 (Single Version)



Additional musicians on track 14[edit]

Shortly after Barrett's death, Ayers told Mojo magazine that when Barrett arrived at the studio: "....he was out-of-it....wasn't able to tune his guitar or find the chords". A third guitar is present on this track [take 103], most noticeably at 0:54-1:03, 1:37-1:42 and 2:34-2:51.



  1. ^ AllMusic review
  2. ^ Rolling Stone review
  3. ^ The Times review
  4. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Manning, Toby (2006). "The Underground". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 27. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.
  6. ^ a b c Bush, John (23 April 2012). "The Harvest Years 1969-1974 - Kevin Ayers : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  • Kevin Ayers by Richard Williams (Melody Maker 25 Apr 1970)
  • Joy of a Toy liner notes by Mark Powell (EMI 2003)
  • Joy of a Toy liner notes by Martin Wakeling (Harvest Sept 2006)

External links[edit]

  • Joy of a Toy - Best Albums of All Time by Peter Paphides [1]