Joy of a Toy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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.

Joy Of A Toy 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 Of A Toy 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.

Track listing

All tracks are credited to Ayers

  1. "Joy of a Toy Continued"
  2. "Town Feeling"
  3. "The Clarietta Rag"
  4. "Girl on a Swing"
  5. "Song for Insane Times"
  6. "Stop This Train (Again Doing It)"
  7. "Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her)"
  8. "The Lady Rachel"
  9. "Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong"
  10. "All This Crazy Gift of Time"

Bonus material on reissue

  1. "Religious Experience"
  2. "Lady Rachael"
  3. "Soon Soon Soon"
  4. "Religious Experience"
  5. "Lady Rachael"
  6. "Singing a Song in the Morning"


plus on "Religious Experience" / "Singing A Song In The Morning" :

It should be noted that 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. We put a couple of tracks down but he just didn't want to do it any more." This casts some doubt as to whether any takes of "Religious Experience"/"Singing a song in the Morning" feature Barrett in spite of the CD's claims.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Joy of a Toy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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