Not long after Island had disposed of his contract, Kevin Ayers hooked up with Harvest once again, releasing the mainstream-sounding Yes We Have No Mañanas in 1976. Although Ayers' symbolic banana references find their way into the title (the banana being his outlet for representing silliness in such a serious world ), the ten tracks find him singing some rather conventional pop/rock. Both "Star" and "Mr. Cool" were released as singles, with some noticeable guitar work from Ollie Halsall adorning both. Ayers made a name for himself by incorporating a unique brand of genial eccentricity into his music -- 1970s Joy of a Toy and 1973's Bananamour, for example, as "The Ballad of Mr. Snake" and "The Owl" are typical of Ayers' discounted vaudeville-like fair. On the whole, Mañanas has Ayers sounding more mature, which could account for the album's slight downfall. Even with Billy Livsey's keyboard ritziness, efforts like "Love's Gonna Turn You Around," "Falling in Love Again," and "Blue" are shy of Ayers' off-centeredness -- and the absence of this trait to some extent gives Mañanas a slightly colder feel than his earlier work. Two years later, Kevin Ayers released the more appealing Rainbow Takeaway, but he still wasn't his old self.
Yes We Have No Mañanas Review
by Mike DeGagne