Joy of a Toy
|Joy of a Toy|
|Studio album by Kevin Ayers|
|Recorded||17 June–11 September 1969|
|Studio||Abbey Road Studios, London|
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, Canterbury scene, experimental rock|
41:30 (original issue)
|Producer||Kevin Ayers & Peter Jenner|
|Kevin Ayers chronology|
Joy of a Toy is the debut solo album of Kevin Ayers, a founding member of Soft Machine. Its whimsical and unique vision is a clear indication of how Soft Machine might have progressed under Ayers' tenure. He is accompanied on the LP by his Soft Machine colleagues Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge and Hugh Hopper.
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 promise 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 recorded by Peter Jenner for the then exorbitant sum of £4000 (equivalent to £60,400 in 2016).
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 bizarre instrumentation that would have a deep influence far into the 1970s and indeed the present day.
For the recording of Syd Barrett's first solo album—The Madcap Laughs—Soft Machine was brought in to do overdubs for a few of Barrett's tracks. It was during this time that Barrett recorded a guitar part for the track "Religious Experience", (later titled "Singing a Song in the Morning"); this version wasn't released until the 2003 reissue of Joy.
All tracks written by Kevin Ayers
- "Joy of a Toy Continued" – 2:54
- "Town Feeling" – 4:54
- "The Clarietta Rag" – 3:20
- "Girl on a Swing" – 2:49
- "Song for Insane Times" – 4:00
- "Stop This Train (Again Doing It)" – 6:05
- "Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her)" – 2:53
- "The Lady Rachel" – 5:17
- "Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong" – 5:35
- "All This Crazy Gift of Time" – 3:57
Bonus tracks (2003 reissue)
- "Religious Experience" [take 9] – 4:46 ("Singing a Song in the Morning")
- "The Lady Rachel" – 6:42 (extended first mix)
- "Soon Soon Soon" – 3:23
- "Religious Experience" [take 103] – 2:50 ("Singing a Song in the Morning")
- "The Lady Rachel" – 4:51 (Single Version)
- "Singing a Song in the Morning" – 2:52 (Single Version)
- Kevin Ayers – guitars, bass, vocals
- Robert Wyatt – drums
- David Bedford – piano, mellotron, arranger
- Mike Ratledge – organ
- Hugh Hopper – bass (1 & 5)
- Paul Buckmaster – cello
- Rob Tait – drums (tracks 6 & 9)
- Paul Minns – oboe
Additional musicians on track 14
- Syd Barrett – guitar 
- Richard Sinclair – bass
- Richard Coughlan – drums
- David Sinclair – organ
- The Ladybirds – backing vocals
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.
- AllMusic review
- Rolling Stone review
- The Times review
- 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 November 6, 2017.
- Manning, Toby (2006). "The Underground". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 27. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.
- 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)
- Joy of a Toy - Best Albums of All Time by Peter Paphides