Kevin Ayers &
the Wizards of Twiddly,
Turn the Lights Down
(Market Square, 1999)

This is one of the most authentic live recordings that I have experienced in a long time. It does not have that high-tech editing feel, where perfection of production was paramount. This sounds to me like a "warts and all" live record of an actual performance by Kevin Ayers & the Wizards of Twiddly, and I feel that I am there.

It opens with a marathon "There Goes Johnny," lasting almost eight minutes but the time flies by. He follows this with a lovely little ditty that truly deserves that classification. At 31 seconds, it is just right and very light.

The sentiments of "I Didn't Feel Lonely 'til I Thought of You" will be familiar to many. One of my favourite songs is "Lady Rachel" -- again, an epic song.

The brass intro to "Am I Really Marcel?" is captivating and the song that follows will not disappoint. "Ballad of Mr. Snake" is a light piece that will get toes tapping, allow you to relax and let your mind wander and enjoy the music.

The joy of this album is the combination of deep songs and the apparently frivolous that then get very deep if we listen closely to the lyrics.

A live album is difficult to categorize. By its nature it should just be put on the player so you can turn down the lights, drift into that venue, listen right through and spend 68 minutes with the wonderfully named Wizards of Twiddly.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 23 July 2005

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