Category: The Kinks

The Kinks – Percy

ARTIST: The Kinks                 220px-KinksPercySoundtrack

TITLE:  Percy

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: God’s Children

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: An instrumental of Lola

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, John Dalton, John Gosling, Mick Avory

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A soundtrack to a UK comedy film that was not released in the US. It shouldn’t have been.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record was the soundtrack to an odd UK film called Percy that featured Elke Sommer, Britt Ekland, Denholm Elliott and Hywel Bennett. Like many true soundtracks, there are a lot of instrumental and mood pieces, and a few songs which relate to the movie.

“God’s Children”, the single, was one of Ray Davies’ best ‘hidden’ tracks, but many of the other songs are laden with strings, are meandering mood pieces for the film, or sound like leftovers from other projects.

Pick and choose, but since “God’s Children” is on The Kink Kronikles, you may want to pass altogether.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Willesden Green” is sung by bassist John Dalton, the only track not sung by a Davies brother.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. It was appended onto the Lola CD, but it just clogs that record up. 

GRADE: D+: I’m saving a few, but there’s really only one track here, and the rest is just not worth it for anyone but the Kinks zealots

The Kinks – Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One

ARTIST: The Kinks                                                    The_kinks_lola_versus_powerman_album (1)

TITLE:  Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #35

SINGLES: Lola (#9 US, #2 UK), Apeman (#45 US, #5 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Rats

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, John Dalton, John Gosling

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks have a commercial comeback on the backs of a single that somehow got airplay due to the subject matter.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ray Davies and the Kinks had released some great albums in the late 60’s, but they lacked hit singles and their career was on the rocks until “Lola”, a single with the most unlikely subject, got them back on the charts.

The album that accompanied the single was a scathing look at the music business from a weary survivor. Davies blasts publishers, the music union, and the media circus around the pop world. After the group is chewed up and spit out, and the song writers got their measly cut, Davies and the Kinks think about nostalgia and a better life while they’re in the grip of the powerful men of the business.

Yet even though the commercial hopes of the band were revived, some of the songs either belabor the point, or are more about making the point than creating an actual song that propels the narrative. At the high points, this is an album worthy of the Kinks albums released from 1966-1969, and skipping a few tracks is OK.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The issue with the BBC wasn’t the transgender lover in “Lola”, but the fact they used a brand name (“Coca Cola”) in the song. That’s why some versions have “Cherry Cola” instead.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. A few B-sides and instrumental tracks. 

GRADE: B+: It’s probably a must buy for how the single fits into the story, but it’s got some tracks that are more narrative devices than songs.

The Kinks – Arthur (Or the Decline of the British Empire)

ARTIST: The Kinks                                     220px-the_kinks_arthur_album

TITLE:  Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #105 US

SINGLES: Drivin’, Shangri-La. Victoria (#62 US, #33 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Yes Sir, No Sir

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, John Dalton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Another concept album from Davies and the Kinks, this time about the struggles in post-war Britain.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Written for a television show that never got off the ground, this Kinks album is a straight forward concept album about Arthur, who emigrates from the UK to Australia, and his thoughts about life in the past and the future.

The music covers all sorts, from music-hall, to anti-war protest songs, to straight rock-and-roll, led off by the great single “Victoria”. The Kinks and Davis do a good job in presenting the story, with its various moods and themes of each song changing rapidly.

While some songs aren’t as strong as some of their previous records (“Australia” goes on way too long, and some of the arrangements seem overblown a bit) it got the Kinks back on the charts and set them up for their next success. It’s a worthy album in its own right.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Original bassist Pete Quaife left the band early in 1969, before this album was recorded.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with singles not from the album and some from Dave Davies’ solo album

GRADE: A-: Decent concept album which stays on point for the most part.

The Kinks – The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society

ARTIST: The Kinks   TheKinksVillageGreenPreservationSociety

TITLE:  The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: None (!)

SINGLES:  Starstruck, The Village Green Preservation Society

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Picture Book, Big Sky, Animal Farm

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory. Nicky Hopkins played keyboards.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks’ masterpiece. Ignored in its time, it’s grown in stature and reputation to become one of the defining albums of the 60’s.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ray Davies and the Kinks had moved away from three-chord rock to complicated, complex songs about like in the UK, and nostalgia for the old days. The record is steeped in tradition and memories of the past. Yet, Davies and the Kinks don’t make it a mere cloying homage; they make a sophisticated record that backs the wistful lyrics with melodies, arrangements and performances that fit each song and thought perfectly.

The first cut, “The Village Green Preservation Society” could almost be a Cliff’s Notes version to the album. The band wants to preserve ‘the old ways’ and protect ‘the new ways’. As the album goes on, each song tackles a different subject and puts the listener back into the time and place of the narrator.

It was a tough time for the Kinks, with Ray Davies frustrated at being a ‘hit machine’, legal issues and declining sales (and still being banned in the US). Somehow, through all of this, the Kinks come up with a masterpiece.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Ray Davies wrote every song for this record, a first for the band. Also, you may know “Picture Book” from a commercial for printers.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, bonus cuts, a full reissue in stereo and mono, and BBC cuts.

GRADE: A+: It’s was unfairly buried in the 60’s, but now it’s the best selling Kinks album. That’s fitting. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the theme and motif.

 

The Kinks – Something Else by the Kinks

ARTIST: The Kinks              220px-SomethingElseKinksCover

TITLE:  Something Else by the Kinks

YEAR RELEASED: 1967

CHART ACTION: #153 US, #35 UK

SINGLES: Waterloo Sunset (#2 UK), Death of a Clown (#3 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: David Watts.

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory. Nicky Hopkins played keyboards. Rasa Davies sang backups.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the better albums in 1967 find the Kinks telling tales about life in the UK during that era. It’s well produced with great songs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Before the album came out, UK fans flocked to the song “Waterloo Sunset”. Then, they snapped up “Death of a Clown”. When the album came out, though, it didn’t sell through as much as they thought.

Pity, because most every other song is excellent. Ray Davies tells compelling stories in the lyrics, and his arrangements and production (he produced most all of this himself) are well thought out with the right touch of baroque and rock, depending. Dave Davies comes through as well with three great contributions as well.

Album cuts like “David Watts”, “Two Sisters”, “Harry Rag”, “Afternoon Tea”, and “Situation Vacant” are great slices of life articulated by master song craftsmen. Only a couple of cuts don’t excite me as much as the others, but with 13 tracks you’ll get a clinker or two, perhaps. Grab this.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Death of a Clown” was actually credited to Dave Davies and not the Kinks when it was released as a single.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, as usual plenty of singles and B-sides to complement the record. “Autumn Almanac” hit #3 in the UK. “Susannah’s Still Alive”, another Dave Davies single, landed at #20, and “Wonderboy” hit #36.

GRADE: A: The Kinks were losing the teen audience, but gaining as musicians, and this album is sterling.

 

The Kinks – Face to Face

ARTIST: The Kinks Face_to_Face_(The_Kinks_album)_coverart
TITLE: Face to Face
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #135 US, #12 UK
SINGLES: Sunny Afternoon (#14 US, #1 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Fancy, perhaps.
LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory, Nicky Hopkins
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks set about to re-invent themselves and their sound based on the sound of their latest hit singles, and succeed.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ray Davies’ writing, especially his ear for arrangements and melody, had taken leaps and bounds in 1965 and blossomed in 1966. His eye for comment and observation was getting keen and sharp, and this entire album is full of snippets of life as he saw it.

Instead of pure guitar / bass / drums – the Kinks introduced disparate elements such as harpshicord and clavichord, all played by Hopkins (as well as the piano and organ). Over the next few years, the Kinks would be less of a rock band than a baroque pop band.

Songs like “Holiday in Waikiki”, “Session Man”, “Dandy”, “Fancy”, and “Sunny Afternoon” would be unheard of by this band in early 1965. Now, they were the way to the future for the band. This is a solid record, transitional sure, but well worth hearing all the way through.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The year 1966 was an ‘interesting’ year. The Kinks found themselves banned from playing in the US, and Quaife was injured and quit the band, only to return.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with some off-album singles: Dead End Street (#73 US, #5 UK) and Mister Pleasant (#80 US), along with their B-sides and outtakes. The bonus tracks are just as solid as the album.

GRADE: A-: Davies and the Kinks put together his first complete album, untouched by the US company, and solid from track 1 to 14.

The Kinks – The Kink Kontroversy

ARTIST: The Kinks 220px-1965_-_The_Kink_Kontroversy_-_front

TITLE:  The Kink Kontroversy

YEAR RELEASED: 1965

CHART ACTION: #95 US, #9 UK

SINGLES: ‘Till the End of the Day (#50 US, #8 UK). Dedicated Follower of Fashion (#36 US, #4 UK) is on the deluxe version.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Where Have All the Good Times Gone

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory. Nicky Hopkins and drummer Clem Cattini appear as session musicians.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks release an album with only one cover (an old blues song they re-arranged) and it shows Ray Davies emerging as a pretty good observational songwriter.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After the first couple of albums and wearying tours, Ray Davies was on a creative roll. He also knew that his strengths as a songwriter weren’t in the crash-bam of their earlier hits (as fine as they were) but as a teller of some small tales about love or neighborhoods or people you’d meet.

This album transitions the Kinks toward their 1966-71 musical peak. It still has some remnants of their earlier style, but some of the material is a lot more adult than the previous records. Even some of the rowdier numbers like “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” and “’Till the End of the Day” have maturity to them.

A key track for this transition is on the deluxe version – “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”. It’s a clarion call for the outsider in us.

NOTES & MINUTAE: The name of the record comes from their various issues on tour – they were banned in the US for fighting on stage and bringing a riotous element to the stage. Sure the Davies brothers fought, and Avory used to chuck drumsticks and even a bass drum pedal at Dave Davies. That’s not worth a ban, is it?

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes. But unlike the first two records it’s smaller since they only had a single and a couple spare tracks between album sessions this time around.

GRADE: B: By no means perfect, but it’s a decent 60’s album for sure.

The Kinks – Kinda Kinks

ARTIST: The Kinks 220px-Kinda_Kinks

TITLE: Kinda Kinks

YEAR RELEASED: 1965

CHART ACTION: #60 US #3 UK

SINGLES: Tired of Waiting for You (#6 US, #1 UK). The deluxe version has a boatload of other US and UK singles.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Come On Now, Something Better Beginning.

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The second Kinks record is a great improvement from the first. It still sounds rushed, but Ray Davies’ songs are much stronger. The deluxe version shows that Davies and the group were hitting their stride.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Recorded right after arriving back home following an Asian tour, and released two weeks later, the second UK Kinks album (third in the US) shows the band maturing. There are only two covers, and they’re rather perfunctory (and they’re exiled). The originals are stronger as a whole, and “Tired of Waiting for You” plus “Something Better Beginning” shows a great leap forward for Ray Davies, in that the promise of “Stop Your Sobbing” is fulfilled and then some.

Dave Davies also has his first moment to really shine in “Come On Now”, which is just a fun tune that gets you up and moving.

What’s great about the age we’re in now is that the Deluxe version gives such a broad picture of the Kinks at the time. “Set Me Free”, “I Need You”, “Well Respected Man”, “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy”, “See My Friend” and “Who’ll Be the Next in Line” were all singles and EP cuts released soon after this album. I’m only grading the actual album itself, but the Deluxe version makes it a B+ and not a B-.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Well, Pye Records in the UK didn’t want to release “Well Respected Man” as a single because it ran counter to the Kinks other singles, which were all up-tempo. However, the song was a big hit in the US and in Europe, while in the UK it was on an EP, then released on a compilation album in 1966.

Also, Reprise in the US cranked out one more US only album after this, making it five albums out of three + singles + Eps from the UK.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  That’s what I’ve been raving about.
GRADE: B-: Again, that’s for the regular version. I’m exiling the covers and some of the demos on the deluxe version and making my own great Kinda Kinks record!

The Kinks – Kinks

ARTIST: The Kinks 220px-KinksTheKinks

TITLE: Kinks

YEAR RELEASED: 1964

CHART ACTION: #29 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: You Really Got Me (#7 US, #1 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Stop Your Sobbing

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory + session guys like Jimmy Page and Jon Lord. No Page didn’t play on You Really Got Me.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First full album by the famous Brit band recorded to capitalize on the success of You Really Got Me. Unfortunately, the rush job shows.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After a couple of unsuccessful singles, Ray Davies came up with the classic “You Really Got Me”. It’s world famous, as you know. The band rushed into the studio with just a handful of Davies originals and a lot of cover versions they played in their live shows.

Let’s just say the album could be named “You Really Got Me, with Stop Your Sobbing and 12 Others”. Those two tracks, plus a couple of Davies originals, are the only standouts. The rest would be exiled if I didn’t think I was going to collect most every Kinks album. On second thought, nah, the bad ones are just soooo bad.

 

NOTES & MINUTAE: The US version contains only 11 cuts, not 14. They squeezed two whole extra Kinks albums out of their first three UK releases, thanks to pruning and appending some singles.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The Deluxe version streaming has over 50 songs! It has both the mono and stereo mixes of the album, plus demos, their first two failed singles, some BBC tracks, an UK EP and most importantly, the A and B side of their next single, “All Day & All of the Night”. That last one? A true keeper for any library.
GRADE: C-: If it didn’t have You Really Got Me and Stop Your Sobbing, it could have been a D or D-. They sound like the teenage band they were covering Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.