KEVIN AYERS


 


I think it was just instant empathy. I met him while I was in the studio doing Dr. Dream; I think he was working with members of Colosseum [Tempest] at the time. I needed a guitar solo for "Didn't Feel Lonely Till I Thought of You." I opened the door, and there was this guy walking along with a white Gibson. I said, "Do you fancy doing a guitar solo?" Sure, he said… and then came in and did this stunning solo, after listening to it just once. That was it. That was love, you know?

Kevin Ayers


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The Confessions of Doctor Dream

1973

Dr Dream album cover

 

Didn't Feel Lonely

While Tempest were recording Ollie's song Dream Train, [at Air Studios, London with Geoff Emerick] Kevin Ayers was in the next studio working on his album, Confessions of Doctor Dream and invited Ollie to play on one of the tracks. Ollie enjoyed himself so much, he decided to de-camp' to the Ayers band

 


June 1 1974

Ayers Cale Nico Eno
Live at The Rainbow Theatre

June 1 1974 album cover

 

May I

Shouting in a Bucket Blues

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Everybody's Sometime

Two Goes Into Four

Although he is present on them, titles in italics do not feature Ollie on lead guitar.

Similarly, he doesn't play any lead guitar on the John Cale, Nico and Eno tracks.

Until 1998, the only official live Ayers/Halsall release - and then only three tracks. The solo on May I earned Ollie a place in Terry Theise's 'Top Ten' [see below] nearly three years later (Guitar Player magazine, January 1977)

Top Ten

 


Sweet Deceiver

1975

Sweet Deciever album cover

Observations

Guru Banana

City Waltz

Toujours la Voyage

Sweet Deceiver

Diminished But Not Finished

Circular Letter

Once Upon an Ocean

Farewell Again

Titles in italics include OH only on bass, acoustic, vibes or vocals]

Elton John piano on Guru Banana & Tojours la Voyage

 


Yes We Have No Mananas

1976

Mananas album cover

 

Star

Mr. Cool

The Owl

Love's Gonna Turn You Round

Help Me

Ballad Of Mr Snake

Everyone Knows The Song

Blue

Mr Cool features Ollie's only known use of wah pedal! I have long regarded these two albums (Sweet Deceiver & Yes We Have No Mananas) as among Kevin's finest achievements. Apart from some superb guitar, Ollie also provides most of the Deceiver bass parts.

 


Rainbow Takeaway

1978

Rainbow Takeaway album cover

Blaming It All On Love

Ballad Of A Salesman

View from the Mountain

Rainbow Takeaway

Waltz For You

Beware of the Dog

Strange Song

Goodnight Goodnight

Hat Song

CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE [JAN 2018]

EXCEPT AS DOUBLE CD WITH Rainbow Takeaway

Buy Stiil Life With Guitar CD NOW!

 


That's What You Get, Babe

1980

That's What You Get album cover

 

That's What You Get

Where Do We Go From Here

You Never Outrun Your Heart

Given And Taken

Idiots

Supersalesman

Money, Money, Money

Miss Hanaga

I'm So Tired

Where Do The Stars End

Titles in italics include OH only on bass or vocals

CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE [JAN 2018]

EXCEPT AS DOUBLE CD WITH Rainbow Takeaway

Buy Stiil Life With Guitar CD NOW!

 


Diamond Jack and the Queen of Pain

1983

Diamond Jack album cover

Madame Butterfly

Lay Lady Lay

Who's Still Crazy

You Keep Me Hangin' On

You Are A Big Girl

Steppin' Out

My Speeding Heart

Howling Man

Give A Little Bit

Champagne And Valium

Diamond Jack


Deia Vu

1984

Deia Vue album cover

 

Champagne and Valium

Thank God For A Sense Of Humour

Take It Easy

Stop Playing With My Heart

My Speeding Heart

Lay Lady Lay

Stop Playing With My Heart

Be Aware Of The Dog

OH plays guitar on only Champagne and Valium and My Speeding Heart but appears to play bass on everything else



As Close As You Think

1986
'Kevin Ayers featuring Ollie Halsall'

As Close as You Think album coverAs Close as You Think album cover

Note the incorrect spelling 'Ayres' on the front cover

 Stepping Out

 Fool After Midnight

 Wish I Could Fall

 Only Heaven Knows

 Too Old To Die Young

 The Howlin' Man

 Never My Baby

 Budget Tours (part one)

 Budget Tours (part two

The credit 'Kevin Ayers featuring Ollie Halsall' could almost be reversed - such is the balance of the collaboration. Indeed, Never My Baby is, to all intents and purposes, a Halsall solo performance.

The original vinyl version is out of print and, as far as we are aware no authorised alternatives are available for sale.

The riff on Too Old to Die Young (in fact another version of Champagne & Valium) was later ressurected on Another Rolling Stone from Falling Up.

Kevin wrote the new lyrics to 'Stepping Out'. Ollie's original version appears on the Caves album.

KEVIN AYERS Afrika

Tomás Graves Mentions this tape in his book Tuning Up at Dawn as being. In fact, it was one of the demos for Kevin's album to follow That's What You Get, Babe but was rejected by the record company.

Ollie's solo on this is just stunning; he does Coltrane. It was my first acquaintance with him in 1980, and it left me awestruck. Every hour I spent with Ollie then, gave me a month of developing ideas. "

Marvin Siau

The song was performed live on 1980 and 1981 tours but never made it an album until As Close As You Think in 1986, under the rather misleading title of 'Budget Tours''


Percussion

Film soundtrack 1983

Dr Dream album cover

Includes Howlin Man from the album As Close As You Think


Falling Up

1988

Falling Up album cover

 

Saturday Night in Deia

Flying Start

The Best We Have

Another Rolling Stone

Do You Believe

That's What We Did

Night Fighters

Am I Really Marcel?

Marcel features quite possibly the most elusive solo of Ollie's entire career, even remarking on it himself in a 1988 interview. Quite how he achieved the final note will remain a mystery

CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE [JAN 2018]


Still Life With Guitar

1992
Extended version 2002

Still Life With Guitar album coverStill Life With Guitar album cover

Original cover | 2002 version

Ghost Train

I Don't Depend On You

Don't Blame Them

It's getting very near the end and if Ollie's composition Ghost Train isn't now one of the most poignant pieces of music you've ever heard I'd like to know what is. What a shame the live 'Another Year Goes By' chorus came too late for the album version.

Ollie plays just acoustic on Ghost Train and Don't Blame Them and vibes on I Don't Depend on You.

The 2017 album The Happening Combo includes Ollie's original demo of Ghost Train.

Details

Market Square Records

£7.99 plus postage

Buy Stiil Life With Guitar CD NOW!

'Starvin' Marvin Siau


First Show in the Appearance Business

The BBC Sessions, 1973-76

BBC Sessions  album cover 2BBC Sessions  album cover

 

Another Whimsical Song

Lady Rachel

Stop This Train

Didn't Feel Lonely

The BBC Sessions, 1973-76 is a double CD with earlier Ayers tracks, so probably a better buy.


Too Old to Die Young

1998

Too Old to Die Young album cover

Didn't Feel Lonely

Observations

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Farewell Again

BBC radio sessions 1975 with Zoot Money keyboards.

 


The Happening Combo

2017

The Happening Combo (CD)

Issue Is or Issue Ain't*

Speeding Heart

Somebody Mean*

Lay Lady Lay with uncredited Zanna Gregmar vocal

Leaving It All Behind*

Gimme a Little Bit

Ghost Train*

Another Time Before

* Halsall solo demos some of which appeared on Ayers albums. Other tracks are alternative versions of songs from the Kevin Ayers album, Diamond Jack and the Queen of Pain. The album also includes, four songs by Lady June Cramer and Marvin Siau's origina demo of Another Time Before, which became Another Rolling Stone on the 1988 Kevin Ayers album, Falling Up.

 


 

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Live


Rainbow Theatre, London 1.6.74
Best bits released as June 1st 1974 album. Remainder poor quality, This is quite good though

Didn't Feel Lonely


Hyde Park, London 29.6.74
• May I
• Shouting In A Bucket Blues
• Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Whatevershebringswesing
• We Did It Again (with Gong)


Nottingham University 11.74
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Lady Rachel
• Interview
• Sweet Deceiver
• Guru Banana
• Observations
• Whatevershebringswesing
• Stop This Trainl

BBC Radio (Rock On) 11.11.74
• After The Show


Manchester Free Trade Hall 15.11.74
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• When Your Parents Go to Sleep
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Lady Rachel
• Interview
• Guru Banana
• Sweet Deceiver
• Observations
• Stop This Train
• Falling in Love Again
• Don't Be Cruel


Paris Salle Wagram 24.2.75 [Radio]
• La Ville De Paris
• Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
• Hat Song
• [Interview]
• The One Chance Dance
• Dr Dream Theme


BBC Radio 27.3.75
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues


Hurrah's Club New York
24.4.80
• Banana Intro
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Stop This Train

• Everybody's Sometimes
• Supersalesman

• Why Are We Sleeping
• Idiots
• That's What You Get Babe
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Animals
• Ballad of Mr Snake
• Beware of The Dog
• See You Later
• Falling in Love Again

One of the rare live shows with Ollie playing a Gibson Les Paul Junior with an extraordinary 'violin' tone.

LISTEN

New York, New York


Trax, New York 9.5.80
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Stop This Train

• Everybody's Sometimes
• Supersalesman
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Idiots
• That's What You Get Babe
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Animals
• Ballad of Mr Snake
• Falling in Love Again
• See You Later
• Take Me to Tahiti
• The Hat Song

The other rare show! Not as good sound as Hurricanes. Only known live versions of Take Me to Tahiti and The Hat Song

Hurrah's Club, New York, May 1980
Photo: TF

It was the Gibson Les Paul Junior guitar , pictured here, that was responsible for the extraordinary 'violin' tone[previously assumed to be a Fender Stratocaster] present on the New York recordings.

LISTEN


The Teddy Bears Picnic

Romareda, Zaragoza 10.3.81

May I

Shouting in a Bucket Blues

Didn't Feel Lonely

Take it Easy

Everybody's Sometime

Super Salesman

Beware of the Dog

Teddy Bears' Picnic

Africa

Stop This Train

Animals

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

A rare recording from this period of their career. Featuring Zanna Gregmar on keyboards and vocals and Ollie in spectacularly heavy form!

Listen out for Ollie and Kevin's extraordinary and inexplicable rendition of The Teddy Bear's Picnic at the end of Beware of the Dog.

The Zaragoza gig in March was among the first gigs with Ollie & Zanna in my two years working with Kevin. The TV special with John Cale and Andy Summers was towards the end of the year. During 1981 we did quite a few gigs in Spain including a bullring in Alicante with Dr. Feelgood, the Teatro Martin in Madrid with the Sex Beatles, the Magic in Barcelona and quite a few in Mallorca." - Ian Carpenter


Puerto de Soller, Mallorca
Discoteca El Patio
December 1981

• May I
Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Take It Easy [Run]
• Didn't Feel Lonely
Everybody's Sometime
Super Salesman
• Howling Man
• Beware of the Dog
• Animals
• Cocaine in My Brain
• Budget Tours Part 1 [Africa]
• Stop This Train
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Recording © Miguel Coll

LISTEN

 

Photo: Ian Carpenter


Venlo

5.4.82

Africa

Animals

Everybody's Sometimes

Howling Man

May I

Shouting In A Bucket Blues

Supersalesman

Champagne & Valium

Why Are We Sleeping

German Radio broadcast 11/3/82. Very good quality 'audience' recording. This show has been issued as abootleg CD Sweet Dreamer - so DON'T buy it! - listen online to better quality versions here.

Deia Parke Municipal
30.8.86

• Why Are We Sleeping
• Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
• Big Bamboo
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Animals
• Shouting in a Bucket
• Steppin' Out
• Everybody's Sometimes
• Flying Start
• Supersalesman
• Stop This Train
• Do What You Feel Like
• Cocaine Blues
• Flying Start

LISTEN

 


Rotterdam De Lantaren

1.3.88

Another Rolling Stone

Didn't Feel Lonely

Everybodys Sometime

May I

Shouting In A Bucket Blues

Steppin Out

The Best We Have

A quite staggering funk version of Didn't Feel Lonely, with an incredibly inventive solo building to a wonderful `chickin pickin' climax.


Amsterdam 4.3.88
Poor sound - not worth listing


Tilburg 6.3.88
[Poor sound - not worth listing]


Zeche, Bochum 8.3.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Steppin' Out
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman
• Animals
• Stop This Train
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel


Munich 10.3.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Steppin' Out
• Saturday Night
• Another Rolling Stone
• Everybody's Sometime

• [Supersalesman]
• Animals
• Stop This Train
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel


Aachen 13.3.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Didn't Feel Lonely
• Saturday Night
• Another Rolling Stone
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman

• Animals
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel?


Smile Awhile

Hamburg Fabrik 16.3.88

May I (part)

Shouting in a Bucket Blues

Didn't Feel Lonely

Another Rolling Stone

Everybody's Sometimes

Supersalesman

Animals

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Am I Really Marcel (part)

Unfortunately the end of the recording is cut short as is the beginning, but "Smile a while," says Kevin as Ollie launches into his May I solo. And he does.

The first solo in Didn't Feel Lonely manages to reference both Rhapsody in Blue and Sabre dance within four bars

Shouting in a Bucket Blues, which can only be adequately described as the musical equivalent of plate spinning.


London, Queen Elizabeth Hall 28.3.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Saturday Night
• Everybody's Sometimes
• Champagne & Valium
• Stop This Train
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel
• Why Are We Sleeping
• See You Later
• Stepping Out
• Animals
• Don't Fall in Love With Me


Leiden, Holland

19.3.88

May I

Shouting in a Bucket

Stepping Out

Another Saturday Night

Everybodys Sometime

Super salesman

Animals

Why Are We Sleeping

Stop This Train

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Am I Really Marcel

Cocaine Blues

Didnt Feel Lonely

A rare complete Am I Really Marcel together. Elsewhere, Ollie throws the Superstition riff into Didn't Feel Lonely.

Recording courtesy of Joerg Reinicke


Kyoto or Mido Kaikan Hall, Osaka
19.12.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Steppin' Out
• EveryBody's Sometimes
• Decadence
• Supersalesman
• Animals
• Champagne & Valium
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel


Tokyo 21.12.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Steppin' Out
• Everybody's Sometimes
Champagne & Valium
• Supersalesman
• Decadence
• Animals
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Stop This Train
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel
• Don't Fall in Love With Me
• Stop This Train

Poor sound for most of the recording, but one track [Champagne & Valium] that contains what must rank as one of Ollie's finest ever solos! Tokyo show is Included in the bootleg CD Spanish Troubadour

Japan


Fukuoka 23.12.88
• May I
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Steppin' Out
• Everybody's Sometimes
• Champagne & Valium
• Supersalesman
• Decadence
• Animals
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Am I Really Marcel
• Don't Fall in Love With Me
• Stop This Train


Bordeaux 6.4.92
• May I
• Steppin' Out
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman
• I Don't Depend On You
• There Goes Johnny
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
• Ghost Train

© Roy Wood


Paris 4.92
• Feeling This Way
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Animals
• May I
• Thank You Very Much
• There Goes Johnny
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman
• Ghost Train
• I Don't Depend on You
• Why Are We Sleeping

© Roy Wood

Concert review


The Elderly Brothers
VARA Fm, Hilversum, Netherlands
2.4.92
• M16
• There Goes Johnny
• Thank You Very Much
• Goodnight Irene

A rare acoustic session from Kevin and Ollie [on borrowed right-handed guitar]

Thanks to Jorge Souto Bartolomé

Richard Skinner Show (GLR) 30.4.92
• I Don't Depend on You
• May I
Another acoustic duo session by Kevin and Ollie


Amsterdam Paradiso
3.4.92

• Feeling This Way
• Shouting In A Bucket Blues
• Animals
• May I
• Steppin Out
• Thank You Very Much
• There Goes Johnny
• EveryBody's Sometimes
• Supersalesman
• Ghost Train
• M16
• I Don't Depend on You
• Stranger in Bliue Suede Shoes
• Irene Goodnight (yes, really!)
• Stop This Train

© Roy Wood


Still LIVE With Guitar

Rennes, France 9.4.92

The obvious companion to the album Still LIFE With Guitar. These live versions are the best quality recordings in existence. DAT straight from the sound desk [how could that happen?] and include the very best 'May I' solo of all - acknowledged by Kevin as The Ollie Halsall Experience! ['Goodnight Irene' is actually from the Amsterdam Paradiso but added to complete this superb show.]

Feeling This Way

Shouting In A Bucket Blues

Animals

May I

There Goes Johnny

Everybody's Sometimes

Supersalesman

Ghost Train

M16

I Don't Depend On You

Why Are We Sleeping

Stranger In Blues Suede Shoes

Goodnight Irene

Recording © Roy Wood


Cheval Blabc, Shiltigheim, Strasbourg 14.4.92
• Feeling This Way
• Shouting in a Bucket Blues
• Animals
• May I
• There Goes Johnny
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman
• Ghost Train
• I Don't Depend on You
• Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Thank You Very Much
• Two Goes Into Four


Dortmund 21.4.92
Poor sound - not worth listing

VIDEO


Bonn Jazz Galerie

22.4.92

Feeling This Way

Shouting in a Bucket Blues

Animals

May I

Thank You Very Much

There Goes Johnny

Everybody's Sometime

Supersalesman

Ghost Train

I Don't Depend on You

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

Why Are We Sleeping

Stop This Train

Two Goes Into Four

Again, basically the whole show but particularly Don't Depend on You. I'm not ashamed to admit to the odd tear during the final notes of the solo on this now exquisitely ironic piece. Not as good a sound as Rennes but my favourite concert overall. By the way, how many of you geetar players have managed to master the deceptively simple riff in Here Comes Johnny.

© Roy Wood

Concert review


London, Shaw Theatre 28.4.92

• Feeling This Way
• Shouting In A Bucket Blues
• Animals
• May I
Thank You Very Much
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman
• Ghost Train
• I Don't Depend On You
• Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
• Why Are We Sleeping

VIDEO

Concert review


London, Shaw Theatre

30.4.92

• Feeling This Way
• Shouting In A Bucket Blues
• Animals
• May I
• Thank You Very Much
• There Goes Johnny
• Everybody's Sometime
• Supersalesman
I Don't Depend On You
• Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
• Why Are We Sleeping
• Stop This Train
• Two Goes Into Four

Concert review


 

 

Full Ayers/Halsall concert recording list from
Why Are We Sleeping
magazine


 

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Galliery


 

 

 

Videolliegy



Shaw Theatre
28 April 1992


Lady Rachael • Belgian TV 1975


May I
• Palau Gran, Barcelona 1982


Shouting in a Bucket • Palau Gran, Barcelona 1982


Run [Take It Easy] Palau Gran, Barcelona 1982


Everybody's Sometimes •
Palau Gran, Barcelona 1982


Didn't Feel Lonely
Palau Gran, Barcelona 1982

 


Supersalesman 'Tal Cual'
Spanish TV 1982


Am I Really Marcel
'Tal Cual' 1982 Spanish TV 1982


Another Saturday Night • Tal Cual' Spanish TV 1982

 


Flying Start
• Spanish TV 1987


Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes
• Spanish TV 1987


Another Saturday Night • Spanish TV 1987

 

Tienerklanken (Teen Voices] Belgian TV 1975
Full video here


Complete show [nearly]
Dortmund 21 April 1992


Musical Express
Spanish TV 198 With John Cale and Andy Summers


 

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Books


Shooting At The Moon:

The Collected Lyrics Of Kevin Ayers

by Galen Ayers

 

The complete Kevin Ayers lyrics plus hundreds of photos including a large number featuring Ollie which you will not have seen before.

 


Kevin Ayers: August 16th 2013 Deià

by Susan Lomas

Kevin Ayers book

Fans, family and friends gathered to celebrate Kevin's life and music. Susan Lomas captures the atmosphere in words and pictures.

 

Tuning Up at Dawn

A Memoir of Music and Mallorca
by Thomas Graves

Tuning Up At Dawn

Includes a lengthy chapter on Ollie and his association with The Pa Amb Oli Band.

 


The Way Too Weard


Roy Weard toured with many bands in various capacities from T-Shirt seller to sound engineer, production manager and tour manager. Notably including Kevin Ayers

 


 

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Miscellany


 

 


 

 


Ollie Halsall is one of the most under-rated guitarist in the world - he played the shit out of people like Clapton and Jeff Beck. He was really adaptable and could go from the gentlest song. really listen to the song, not just like a guitar player, but sensitive to a piec of music. But he could also be as hard a rocker as anyone.

"My favourite Ollie quote is: "There are only two people I'd play free for: that's you and Randy Newman." It was an enduring collaboration: It was love at first solo.

"At the time, I had a nice big house in Mallorca, and he and his girlfriend [Zanna Gregmar] moved in - and we did a lot of work in and around Spain. We'd started collaborating and writing songs. It was like the musical equivalent of having a partner.

"I don't want to give everything away, really, but he started working with Spanish bands, as I didn't have enough going on, and they were paying him loads. And he hated it, and he fell into bad ways . . . and died of it. It was a massive loss of a friend and a great talent." - Kevin Ayers Uncut magazine, December 2008stening to it just once. That was it. That was love, you know.".

Kevin Ayers

Uncut magazine
November 2008


Muscian Who Earns Little

 

A "misunderstanding" between two friends led to them each being fined £5 when they appeared before the Canterbury magistrates on Friday. Kevin C. Ayers of 4 Russell Drive, Swalecliffe, pleaded guilty to carrying an unqualified passenger on his scooter whilst a learner driver, and Nigel H. Stoneley of 57 Westcliffe Gardens, Herne Bay, admitted aiding and abetting him.

They were stopped by the Police at Rheims Way, Canterbury, on January 12, when both admitted that they had provisional licences.

Ayers told the court that he agreed to give Stoneley a lift after asking him if he had a licence. Stoneley had said that he had. Stoneley agreed but said that he had told Ayers that it was provisional licence,

although Ayers may not have heard that, "I though he had a full licence and we just misunderstood each other," he said.

Ayers, who is 20, told the court he was a musician.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. S. Solly): And what do you earn as a musician?
Ayers: Very little - but I write as well.
Mr. Solly: And what do you earn as a writer?
Ayers: Very little.

The Kent Herald newspaper
24 February 1965

Thanks to Barry King for finding this little gem and to Martin Wakeling for publishing it in the magazine Why Are We Sleeping. And thanks to Kevin for making me laugh.


Musical Express

Spanish TV 1981


John Cale flew in to Barcelona from NYC and wouldn't play a note until he'd been paid. The camera crew had to stop work by about 1400hrs because of union rules, so RTVE had people desperately scurrying out to banks to get cash. It was getting close to time and Kevin was pleading with Cale to get started. I remember him saying 'RTVE is practically a government agency ... it's not going to not pay you' but Cale did not concur and stuck to his position. Eventually, the dosh arrived and I have NEVER seen anyone put a band together as fast as Cale did that day. Heartbreak Hotel was absolutely electrifying. - Jerry Hart


Yes, Cale when told that RTVE was a Government agency, only strengthened his resolve not to budge until he had been paid in US Dollars. I recall him stressing to me that Government agencies were NEVER to be trusted. After the taping of the show I had the job of minding Cale for the next 36 hours or so....Phew!!! - Ian Carpenter



I was gigging regularly with Kevin in the late 60s/early 70s the gigs would be totally unpredictable and that's what attracted me to his music in the first place I guess - the fact that there was no set pattern to what would happen. I recall one gig where I was soloing and spotted Kevin gesturing me to end the solo so I stopped and Lol Coxhill said 'why are you stopping?; I pointed to Kev and Lol shouted 'oh don't take any notice, you carry on!' Since two or three others were also soloing at the time I stepped away!"

- John Altman

 

Let There be Drums!

'Starvin' Marvin Siau has unearthed a marvellous clip of Kevin Ayers from Belgian TV in 1982.

The members of his touring band decided to play musical chairs with the instrumentation. This resulted in Ollie being reunited with his first love, the drum kit . Whilst girlfriend Zanna Gregmar does a Hendrix impersonation with his Gibson SG guitar.

"Kevin would play on any piece of wood that 's in tune and to save time in between gigs play on the same gear as the band before, " says Marvin.

"It encouraged me to play without pedals on an odd instrument in uncomfortable circumstances sometimes, see how long I would hold out, hihi, learned a lot from that!"

Bassist Bolle Gregmar recalls: " We all switched around on the instruments because Ollie didn't care to pose for a guitar solo he wasn't actually playing, so He's on Drums, Zanna on wicked Guitar, and Pedro Colom [bass player] on keyboard and me [drummer] on bass.

We did the whole thing in one real take and one rehearsal. wish it were better quality. but This is a fun moment in the Bruxelles TV station. On that same Billing were The Jam and they did A Town Called Malice. There was a guitar incident with a forgotten Rickenbacker 12-string for Paul Weller and he refused to even play Kevin's 6-string Rickenbacker which was offered. So the result was that Mr Weller performed in the video sans guitaire."

 

 

Thanks to 'Starvin' Marvin Siau


 




Playing with someone like Ollie makes the whole tedious process of going out on the road worthwhile."

- Kevin Ayers

Kevin Ayers memorial

Kevin Ayers memorial plaque laid in the churchyard at Deia, Mallorca, 16 August 2003

The incription along the bottom reads, "Well, that was something, as opposed to nothing."


 


I was the drummer in Kevin Ayers' band on the 1992 Still Life With Guitar tour and had the privilege of playing with the great Ollie, although it wasn't the first time I played with him (before that, we did a Spanish TV video and some concerts in Spain with Kevin Ayers' band).

Ollie played awesome during the tour, I couldn't believe my ears.The band sounded great most of the time (there was Claudia Puyó on keyboards and vocals and Marcelo Fuentes on bass). Roy Wood, the road manager, recorded all the concerts. Unfortunatly, the tapes were stolen in Paris, while we were having dinner at a restaurant. [The Archive does hold some of the recordings courtesy of Roy Wood - Ed.]

Ollie was such a humble person, he never used to talk about himself or the people he had played with. Actually, I learned all about his career after his death.

We got along very well. He used to come every time we played in Madrid with Claudia's group (Los Románticos de Artane). Kevin's tour finished in London (Bernard Shaw theatre). I remember Ollie (and us) singing some daring lyrics to a famous opera leitmotiv, during dinner at a London restaurant.

A couple of days before coming back to Madrid, Ollie took Claudia and I to an Indian restaurant and after that he called a taxi and took us to see London Bridge and Tower Bridge. It was late at night and there was nobody around. It was a foggy night and the scene was very oneiric. Ollie told us about the 1666 Great Fire of London. I think it was his way to say goodbye to us, although he wasn't aware of it.

We were so shocked when he died, we couldn't believe what was happening, we had had great moments playing together during the 30 day tour. Now I can say I feel better sharing these memories with Ollie's fans. I'm one of them.

Quique Villafañe, Madrid 2012

Besides his work as a teacher at the Escuela de Música Creativa, Quique is working in a project with his own compositions, mixing instrumental music, mixing and rhythms from North, Central and South America.

Quique Villafañe

www.myspace.com/quiquevillafane


Chord charts

written out by Ollie for bassist Marcelo Fuentes:

May I

Steppin' Out

Am I Really Marcel

Another Rollng Stone

Shouting in a Bucket Blues


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Epilogue


 

Exceprt from Stylus Magazine interview 2007 [?]

Mike Atkinson: It was round about this time that Ollie Halsall came onto the scene. He then stayed with you, as your closest musical associate, for the next eighteen years. At a time when an awful lot of collaborators were constantly coming and going, what was it about Ollie that led to the two of you sticking together for so long?

Kevin Ayers: [long pause] Gosh, that's a really hard one. I think it was just instant empathy. I met him while I was in the studio doing Dr. Dream; I think he was working with members of Colosseum at the time. I needed a guitar solo for "Didn't Feel Lonely Till I Thought of You." I opened the door, and there was this guy walking along with a white Gibson. I said, "Do you fancy doing a guitar solo?" Sure, he said… and then came in and did this stunning solo, after listening to it just once. That was it. That was love, you know?

MA: Ollie worked with you closely on the next album, Sweet Deceiver [1975]. This is a problematic one. I listened to it again this week and absolutely loved it—I had forgotten what a good album it was—and I really do think that it's one of your most underrated albums.

KA: Well, thank you for saying that. [emphatically] Thank you very much for saying that.

MA: Still Life with Guitar came out in 1992. Shortly after its release, Ollie Halsall tragically died—and then you didn't release another album of original new material for fifteen years. It's very tempting to draw certain conclusions from that.

KA: Well, you've got it, yeah. [pause] I mean, you've answered… it's a rhetorical question.

MA: OK. Well, I could delve further, but I kind of don't want to.

KA: No, I don't think you should.

Interview by MIke Atkinson originally published by Stylus Magazine 2007[?]

Read full interview here


For more information about Kevin Ayers, please visit:

Full Ayers/Halsall concert recording list from
Why Are We Sleeping
magazine

Kevin Ayers' official site

Facelift magazine archive

Claudia Puyól's website

Why Are We Sleeping


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