The solo debut of Kevin Ayers, originally released in 1969 on the Harvest label after his departure from The Soft Machine, was the start of a brilliant and unique career.
"Joy Of A Toy" is one of the greatest examples of late 60s music opening up to new influences and experiences. The result is an adventurous yet accessible masterpiece by a musician free of any artistic constraints.
In 1968, after an US tour with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Soft Machine's founding member Kevin Ayers decided to leave the band. Unsure about their artistic direction, worn out by an exhausting schedule and reluctant to become another part of the music business, he sold his bass to Noel Redding and moved to Ibiza. However, soon after he started writing the songs that would make up his first solo LP, "Joy Of A Toy".
The resulting album meanders in and out of its own affecting mood, taking wonderful pop, folk, psych and prog turns during its course. It starts with the joyful, circus-like title track and veers from the gentle beauty of 'Girl On A Swing' and pastoral gems like 'Eleanor´s Cake (Which Ate Her)' to ominous, experimental moments like 'Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong', based on a Malaysian traditional song, and the driving jam of 'Stop This Train'. It also features 'The Lady Rachel', a beautifully arranged track with a haunting atmosphere and one of Ayers' most representative tracks.