“Whatevershebringswesing” was Kevin’s next solo effort after the short lived “Kevin Ayers and The Whole World” band. The album was released in November 1971 and was produced by Kevin Ayers and Andrew King. The tracks were recorded at Abbey Road studios, London, between March and August 1971.
The cover is one of the most interesting things about the album. A basket tipped over with eggs hatching human babies, with “No Eggsplanation” written on the back cover. This just goes to show the fantastic sense of humour Kevin had. The gatefold has credits and a really nice picture of Kevin and his then girlfriend, Margaret, swimming in a lake.
The album opens with the Progressive epic: “There is Loving/Among Us/ There is Loving”. The orchestral arrangement was conducted by David Bedford, a former member of The Whole World who had loaned his talents on “Joy of a Toy”. The song clocks in at 7:22 and features heavy bass playing from Kevin with lyrics reminiscent of a precious Kevin hit “Butterfly Dance”.
The next song; “Margaret” Is a dreamy, relaxed psychedelic tune about Kevin’s then girlfriend. Many of Kevin’s songs at the time were about her. This one definitely showcases his love for her. The next track is another song about Margaret; “Oh My” is the first upbeat song on the album. The music behind it is very English and childlike, something you would find on Joy of a Toy, with lots of brass and kazoo.
Closing the first side is “Song From The Bottom of a Well”, the most Psychedelic song on the album, where we see a return to the deep, haunting voice we heard on the first Soft Machine single; “Feeling, Reeling and Squealing”. The song really makes the listener feel that they are in the bottom of a well, between Kevin’s growling voice and the horrifying, melancholic music to accompany it. It is truly a disturbing song. But it is by far, one of his finest works.
Flipping the album over to Side 2 we get the title track, “Whatevershebringswesing”, another long track at 8:13, very laid back and mellow. This has Kevin’s old Soft Machine band mate on backing vocals, Robert Wyatt. Hearing Robert on anything is always a treat. Mike Oldfield also makes a return for some superb guitar work. Many fans consider this song to be one of the best Kevin has recorded.
“Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes” is next, with the driving force of the drums and that memorable riff. This was written for Kevin’s love for early Rock and Roll. The lyrics are based on Kevin’s views on life: Encourage others to enjoy themselves, not be concerned with anyone else and doing what they love. The piano riff is a key to the song, same with the effect on Kevin’s voice. Very interesting for a pop/rock song.
“Champagne Cowboy Blues” follows, Kevin’s attempt at Country and Western music. It has a really nice solo from Mike Oldfield once again. Some interesting fiddle playing. But the stand out, is the small snippet of the chorus of “Joy of a Toy”; it comes on so unexpectedly and really draws the listener back in. Closing the album is the gentle, relaxing “Lullaby”, one of the best closing tracks ever. Soft piano, flute (Didier Malherbe from Gong) and a waterfall in the background. The perfect way to end the album. For those who have the vinyl, the waterfall goes into an inner grove and will continue to loop until the arm is picked up. Which was a great idea, because one could go to sleep with that on in the background.
All tracks written by Kevin Ayers except “Among Us” by David Bedford and “Champagne Cowboy Blues” by Mike Oldfield.
1. There is Loving/Among Us/There is Loving 7:22
2. Margaret 3:20
3. Oh My 2:59
4. Song from the Bottom of a Well 4:37
5. Whatevershebringswesing 8:13
6. Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes 3:24
7. Champagne Cowboy Blues 3:56
8. Lullaby 2:14
2003 reissue bonus tracks
9. Stars (B-side to “Stranger…”) 3:32
10. Don’t Sing No more Sad Songs 3:46
11. Fake Mexican Tourist Blues (1976 B-side to “Stranger…”) 4:38
12. Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes (Early Mix Previously Unreleased) 3:19
Kevin Ayers / vocals, guitar, bass (6)
David Bedford / keyboards (1,2,5,6,8,12), orchestral arrangements
Mike Oldfield / bass (1,3,4), guitar (5,7)
Dave Dufort / drums (1,4,5)
William Murray / percussion (2,3,7)
Tony Carr / drums (6,12)
Robert Wyatt / Harmony vocals (5)
Didier Malherbe / saxophone (1), flute (8)
Gerry Fields / violin (3)
Johnny Van Derek / violin (2,7)
Bruce Malamut / flugelhorns (1), incidental brass (1,2,5,6,8,12), ass’t engineer (1,2)
Additional information sourced from Wikipedia.
This really is a gem of an album, how have I managed to neglect it for the last 48 years!
Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes is still one of the best things to ever happen on this planet, in my opinion. I can listen to it over and over again.
Much good stuff other than that on this album as well. Song from the Bottom of a Well and Whatevershebringswesing in particular, all of which I have played on my radio show on GFM radio, a not-for-profit community radio station run entirely by volunteers, based in Glastonbury, Somerset.