2008 four CD anthology that covers Ayers' musical career from 1969 to 1980; a period most fans and critics deem his best. Ayers remains one of Rock's oddest enigmas. He makes ordinary subjects extraordinary with his rich low vocals and inventive wordplay. He projects the image of a Prog-Rock beach bum writing about life's absurdities with a celebratory, relaxed detachment, yet he is also one of Prog- Rock's more important innovators, helping to launch the Soft Machine, and working with noted progressive musicians Mike Oldfield, Lol Coxhill, and Steve Hillage. Ayers' solo material reflected a Folksier, lazier, and gentler turn than Soft Machine. He was often compared to Syd Barrett, but without the madness and is never less than enjoyable and original, Discs One to Three contain 49 hits, album tracks and more while Disc Four was recorded at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 25th May 1973.
This double-CD contains three programs Ayers broadcast on the BBC from 1972 to 1976. A January 6, 1972 concert at the Paris Theatre in London takes up all of disc one, which is certainly the better half of this package, as it was almost a reunion of the Kevin Ayers & the Whole World lineup that had done Shooting at the Moon in 1970. Whole World-ers Mike Oldfield (guitar), Lol Coxhill (sax), and David Bedford (keyboards) are on hand to support Ayers, along with drummer Dave Dufort (who was not on Shooting at the Moon). Some singing accompanies the band, and orchestral arrangements also accent their playing on six of the nine songs.
…Stockfish continues to shine with its groundbreaking SACD technology. The precision and clarity of the stringed instrumentation is flawless, augmenting the acoustics without compromising the intended starkness. (…) Songs For The Road is an engaging album.