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AYERS, KEVIN and The WHOLE WORLD: Hyde Park Free Concert
Summer 1970 and a great band that drew in Lol Coxhill (national treasure), David Bedford (enfant terrible), Mike Oldfield (wildly over-qualified bass-player) and both Robert Wyatt and bandleader Kevin Ayers (respectively current and ex Soft Machiners). Someone recorded it all, and here, cleaned up as much as possible, are the traces. '70s PA system, big noisy space, wind blowing the sound about; it's all engraved into this CD. And through the lo-fi you can hear what made this period so interesting; bands didn't try to sound alike, they took risks, they shuffled up the genres and they found their own way to a musical language that was full of ideas, details and imagination. The Whole World was exemplary, and you can just about hear what it was all about here. Fans will like it, researchers will be informed and it's nice to hear Robert in this fluid, melodic context; if you were there, this will bring it all back; but doubters should go first to the studio CDs. These are precious documents, however.