Posts Tagged ‘Ray Davies’

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Ray Davies’ well-documented thrall with the U.S. continued to deepen, even as it found new complexity on the 2017 U.K. Top 20 album Americana. He keeps digging here, picking at old scabs (including his scary encounter with a mugger in 2004) but also exploring the promise that this country still offers. Like most sequels, it’s not quite the equal of what came before. In fact, the album’s best lyric – “All life we work, but work is bore / If life’s for livin’, what’s livin’ for? – comes from a redo of a Kinks song from 1971. Still, that doesn’t speak so much to the relative quality of Our Country: Americana Act II as to a towering legacy that he has to wrestle with every day.

This is a demo version. The simplicity of the recording and the piano captures the feeling of being alone and in love so well. I Go to Sleep is a song written by Ray Davies. It was never recorded by the Kinks, but Ray Davies‘ demo is included as a bonus track on the reissue of their second studio album Kinda Kinks. “I Go to Sleep” was covered by The Pretenders and released as the fifth single from their second studio album Pretenders II. The song was later included on the Pretenders‘ compilation album The Singles. The song was also featured in the films Romanzo Criminale and Sweet Sixteen.

Unreleased song by Ray Davies/The Kinks from 1965

 

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society 50th anniversary super deluxe

BMG Records will issue a 50th anniversary edition of The Kinks‘ 1968 album The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society in October. The Enormous 11-disc super deluxe edition • 2018 remasters • 174 tracks

The band’s sixth studio album was originally issued in November ’68 and would be the last album by the original line-up (bass player Pete Quaife departed in early 1969). Describing the album today, Ray Davies says it’s about “the ending of a time personally for me in my life. In my imaginary village. It’s the end of our innocence, our youth. Some people are quite old but in the Village Green, you’re never allowed to grow up. I feel the project itself as part of a life cycle.”

The super deluxe edition is an eleven-disc set, no less. It contains a double vinyl LP with stereo and mono versions (both 2018 remasters) and a 12-track ‘Continental’ (Swedish) version on vinyl.

In addition there are five CDs of content as described below:

  • CD1:
    2018 Stereo Remaster, from the original HD tape transfers + bonus tracks of singles, B sides and original album related tracks
  • CD2:
    2018 Mono Remaster, from the original HD tape transfers + bonus tracks of singles, B sides and original album related tracks
  • CD3:
    Village Green Sessions – Including alternate versions, mixes and backing tracks, many previously unreleased
  • CD4:
    Village Green At The BBC – TV performance track audio and band interviews, many previously unreleased
  • CD5:
    Preservation, Sessions, Live & Demos – including mid 70s recordings, previously unreleased home demos, Ray Davies live in Denmark 2010 and unreleased track ‘Time Song’.

The three remaining discs are a trio of replica seven-inch singles, reproduced in picture sleeves. They are:

  • Days / She’s Got Everything (1968)
  • Starstruck / Picture Book (1968)
  • The Village Green Preservation Society / Do You Remember Walter? (1969)

There are 174 tracks in total (see full track listing at the bottom of this post) with “many previously unreleased tracks and versions”, including the previously unreleased track ‘Time Song’ which was performed by The Kinks at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in January 1973. This track was Davies’ commentary on the UK joining what was then called The Common Market. Ray says “This song was recorded a few weeks later but never made the final cut on the Preservation Act I album. Oddly enough, the song seems quite poignant and appropriate to release at this time in British history, and like Europe itself the track is a rough mix which still has to be finessed.” This track features in the box set and the 2CD edition.

Check out the previously Unreleased track ‘Time Song’ :

The box set comes with a 52-page hardcover book with extensive sleeve notes and new band interviews and includes essays by Pete Townshend and other writers. It boasts “special packaging” with debossed box cover, foil & metallic text, linen cloth finish and a ‘bespoke accessories holder’.

It also comes with what we like to call ‘stuff’… broadly categorised as ‘memorabilia’. This includes a poster of Village Green LP inner gatefold; Empire Liverpool 1968 tour poster; glossy 10” x 8” photos from Hampstead Heath 1968 photoshoot; colour press photo with reproduced band signatures; Bournemouth 1968 gig ticket; PYE Records promo card; ‘Days’ sheet music etc.

The other three physical editions are a 2CD deluxe ‘art of the album’ which features the stereo and mono remasters and bonus tracks (49 tracks in total), plus single disc vinyl and CD versions with just the stereo remaster.

The Kinks “Are The Village Green Preservation Society” 50th anniversary editions are out on 26th October 2018. The UK box set price of £94 seems pretty good for all that content .

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Fifty years ago on the 5th May 1967) The Kinks, led by singer/songwriter Ray Davies who as a great observer of daily life and an eloquent storyteller – released one of their most famous songs with Waterloo Sunset.  It was released as a single in 1967, and featured on their album “Something Else By The Kinks” . The record reached number 2 on the British charts in mid 1967 (it failed to dislodge the Tremeloes  “Silence Is Golden” from the number 1 position).

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Years later, in 2010, Ray Davies revealed this secret: “Liverpool is my favourite city, and the song was originally called ‘Liverpool Sunset’. I was inspired by Merseybeat. I’d fallen in love with Liverpool by that point. On every tour, that was the best reception. We played The Cavern, all those old places, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I had
a load of mates in bands up there, and that sound – not The Beatles but Merseybeat – that was unbelievable. It used to inspire me every time. So I wrote ‘Liverpool Sunset’. Later it got changed to ‘Waterloo Sunset’, but there’s still that play on words with Waterloo. London was home, I’d grown up there, but I like to think I could be an adopted Scouser. My heart is definitely there…”Now it’s time to dream away…

something-else-a-tribute-to-the-kinks

There is a rather tasty Kinks Tribute album being given away as the free cover disk with this month’s latest issue of Mojo.

The Kinks will always occupy an important place in rock music history thanks to their early hit “You Really Got Me,” which was one of the first rock songs to use guitar distortion. However, once the first wave of the British Invasion died down and The Beatles emerged as the biggest band in the world, the Kinks began to fade from the public eye, despite continuing to produce infectious pop-rock albums well into the mid-’70s. Singer/rhythm guitarist Ray Davies is widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters in pop music history and though only a few Kinks songs get played in regular rotation on classic rock radio, the band has dozens of albums worth of great material.

Many of the best acts across multiple genres have cited the Kinks as being a major influence, from punk rock groups such as The Ramones and The Clash to Britpop groups like Oasis and Blur. As one of the early pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal, the Kinks deserve to be in the same conversation as bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin when it comes to the godfathers of riff-based music.

It contains 14 tracks and includes the likes of Gaz Coombes, Nada Surf, Chuck Prophet, Jacco Gardner, Wreckless Eric, Mick Harvey and American Wrestlers amongst others.

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Have a listen to French duo Les Liminanas’ take on Two Sisters also featuring Anton Newcombe and Ty Segall’s version of perhaps the band’s greatest composition, Waterloo Sunset, and retains faithful to the original whilst imbuing it with a whole new gnarly charm.

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The Kinks, 'The Mono Collection'

The Kinks, ‘The Mono Collection’
In the Sixties, the Kinks developed from the raw singles band of “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and of the Night” into the brilliant album artists that crafted classics like Something Else and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. This amazing vinyl set collects all eight of the albums they released during the decade, plus the previously out of print in the U.S. mono mix of Live at Kelvin Hall. It also includes the bonus double LP compilation The Kinks’(a.k.a. The Black Album) and a hardcover 48-page book that has interviews with Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory. There’s also a 10-CD version.

The Kinks had a rocky romance with the U.S. After the band’s initial burst of fame in the mid-’60s, they were banned from touring in the States for four years, due to “rowdy” performances. In the ensuing years, the group’s popularity dwindled across the U.S. Audiences struggled to connect with the band’s often specifically English subject matter, and the Kinks couldn’t help matters by promoting their music in concert.
The situation turned after the ban ended in 1969, and the Kinks toured and scored their first U.S. hit in years with “Lola” in 1970. Although they soon got dumped from Reprise Records, they were rescued by RCA, who gave the Kinks a big contract and a $1 million advance.
Things were looking up for the Kinks, although frontman Ray Davies couldn’t say the same about Britain. He was dismayed at his country’s political status and bothered by the sense of history that was being lost as new subdivisions were destroying old neighborhoods. Davies witnessed this trend in the northern London suburbs, near Muswell Hill, where he and his family, including brother and Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, had grown up.
“It’s just very disturbing to see this happen,” Ray told Circus Magazine in 1972. “They’re knocking down all the places in Holloway and Islington and moving all the people off to housing projects in new towns.”

The songwriter decided to let his anger and sadness fuel the Kinks’ first RCA album, Muswell Hillbillies. As the title suggests, Ray Davies conceived the record as a mix of British social commentary and rustic American music styles, including country and bluegrass. He perceived a connection between the music of the downtrodden in the U.S. and the marginalized working class in the U.K.
“Muswell Hillbillies was about real people, real characters in the Davies family,” Dave remembered to Express in 2014. “Ray and I have always been great fans of the likes of Hank Williams and American country music, so [the album] gave us an opportunity to marry up the [idea] of Cockney families moving out to the suburbs and relating it to country music.”
Acoustic instruments, slide guitar, country beats and outdated equipment became the hallmarks of the Kinks’ new album. Lead single “20th Century Man” began with strummed acoustic guitar before turning into a country rock song in which the nostalgic Ray wondered about his place in modern life. “Here Come the People in Grey” matched a bucolic boogie-woogie with a story about government overreach. The song had its roots in the Davies brothers’ grandmother’s living situation.

“My gran used to live in Islington in this really nice old house, and they moved her to a block of flats, and she hasn’t got a bath now. She’s got a shower because there isn’t room for a bath,” Ray said in 1972. “And like she’s 90 years old, she can’t even get out of the chair let alone stand in the shower. … It’s just a lack of consideration for people. The government people think they are taking them into a wonderful new world but it’s just destroying people.”
Other family and neighborhood friends made appearances in other songs, from Uncle Son (who died from tuberculosis after doing outside labor for the government) to Rosie Rooke (a neighborhood fixture who symbolized a form of excitement for the young musicians). Davies found a way to tie Britain and America, thematically, on the sparse “Oklahoma U.S.A.” On the accordion-drenched tune, he sings of a poor English woman who finds joy in Hollywood escapism and the musical Oklahoma!
On the album’s closing title track, Davies sings of the American music and iconography that inspired him and so many of his fellow British rockers. Over glistening guitar, he declares: “My heart lies in old West Virginia / Never seen New Orleans, Oklahoma, Tennessee / Still I dream of the Black Hills that I ain’t never seen.” While many of Davies’ contemporaries got to see the U.S. on repeated tours, Davies felt he was kept at arm’s length from a country that interested him so much.
“I think a part of me always felt like I should have been brought up in Appalachia,” he admitted to The Guardian in 2013. “People associate me with north London, but I always felt a bit surprised to have been born here somehow. We had this strange thing that because we were banned, there was literally no way of us engaging with America. … I took the ban very personally.”
The Muswell Hillbilies album was released on November. 24th, 1971. Although critics reacted favorably to the album, it wasn’t a big hit on either side of the Atlantic (especially in contrast to Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One). Over the decades, it has become a well-respected entry in the Kinks’ chronology, with some even terming it the band’s last great album. When doing press for a deluxe re-release of the LP in 2014, both Davies brothers highlighted the album as one of their favourites, largely because of how it altered the Kinks’ musical perspective.
“Muswell Hillbillies, because of its transformation of the group, was a fine record,” Ray said.

kinksantology

 

The Kinks new anthology box set, over 100 songs over 5 cds all re-mastered including rare demos, interviews, alternative mixes, rare sessions outtakes, plus 25 previously unavailable tracks,set for release on November 3rd. Fifty years ago on September 10th the band secured the first number one of many legendary hits “You Really Got Me” among the other tracks are “Waterloo Sunset”, All Day and All Of The night”. The last album “Phobia” was released in 1993 with the band splitting in 1996 although there are talks of a band reunion.

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