Posts Tagged ‘Ray Davies’

While many other rock artists during the last part of the ’60s dismissed and pushed aside the mores and ideals of their parents and earlier generations, The Kinks embraced them, finding peace and a sense of harmony in the aftermath of the Summer of Love. Frontman Ray Davies invests too much heart and perspective for this song cycle about lost British traditions to be mere satire of the nostalgia and sentiment found in its words and music.

“The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society”, a masterpiece that was completely out of step with Swinging London, while at the same time being utterly timeless. “These were rock/folk tunes,” Ray Davies says now. “But it was unlike anything the Kinks had done before. We were known for ‘You Really Got Me,’ after all.”

Devoid of any obvious singles, or any fancy production techniques, the album is a true pleasure from beginning to end, arguably running circles around the competition in both song writing and cohesiveness, and 45 years later is more influential than ever.

Often cited as one of the most quintessentially English albums of its era, “The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society” was venerated by critics though largely overlooked itself by the buying public at the tme. Released in the same year as The Beatles’ “The White Album“, Pink Floyd’s “A Saucerful of Secrets“, and The Band’s “Music from Big Pink, Ray Davies’ concept LP had little in common with the rest of his contemporaries, many of whom were either looking to America for musical stimulation, or tripping themselves into outer space. Instead, Davies turned to his beloved England for inspiration, writing a collection of tunes full of intriguing characters.

Released (November. 22nd) in 1968: after nearly two months of delays, The Kinks released in the UK one of rock’s most enduring concept albums ‘on Pye Records (in the US three months later on Reprise Records); It was the group’s 6th studio LP was the last by the original quartet (with bassist Pete Quaife leaving in early-’69); a collection of vignettes of English life, the album served as a virtual thematic template for the ‘Britpop‘ movement of the ’90s; although arguably the band’s most important & influential long-form work, it failed to chart upon release, selling about 100,000 copies.

The title track is a tender ode to an England that was ever rapidly changing, especially throughout the 1960’s, where Davies and Co. are determined to conserve what remains of their country’s traditionally conservative culture, preserving “the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you/What more can we do”.

“It was obscure the week it came out,” Dave Davies jokes of the album. “Something Else” is probably my favourite Kinks album, but “Village Green” was just so good. We put those songs together in our front room, and we drew really heavily on our environment and our family, who had supported us, and I think that’s why it has such a distinctive English flavour and why the songs are so intimate in a way. Ray has such a great way of drawing characters. The song ‘Picture Book’ is like sitting in the front room looking at old photographs with your mum.”

The sentimentalism continues with “Do You Remember Walter” (a far more cynical take on aging than McCartney’s “When I’m Sixty-four”), “Picture Book”, and the deliciously languid “Sitting by the Riverside”. Davies laments the demise of old British Rail on “The Last of the Steam Powered Trains”, while yearning for pastoral sanity on “Animal Farm”.

“Village Green” was made at a time when we were banned from touring in America and we didn’t have much airplay,” Ray Davies says. “But I think the reason it’s become so beloved in retrospect is that it reaches people like folk music. Not many people have the “Village Green” record, but many people know it. I think it’s more to do with the sensibility, because it’s very different to typical rock music. I wasn’t worried about airplay and, whether I designed it that way or not, I reached people rather than record companies and little by little it broke through.”

Davies is right about the folky nature of the music. But it’s that very simplicity that gives the album its distinctive, if utterly straightforward, sound. While other records of the time can sound dated or perhaps too precious, Village Green has always sounded fresh and accessible, a work of an immensely in-sync group at the height of its powers, while still retaining a bit of that garage edge that makes rock ‘n’ roll so exciting.

“Everything about it was a low-achieving record, in every sense,” Ray Davies jokes. “But I intended that. We used a lot of ambient sound in recording the drums and things like that. Some people would say that made it sound like it wasn’t well-produced, but that’s the sound I wanted and it added to the poetic value of the record. It was designed to be that way.”

“That was a sound I was really into at the time,” Dave Davies remembers. “Pete [Quaife, The Kinks‘ bass player] and I were trying to get the excitement of our performances on record and that’s just the way it came out. On songs like ‘Big Sky,’ I’d think of a bass part and give it to him and he’d change it around — play off the melody, like Paul McCartney was starting to do at the time, because they both started as guitar players — and it would create something completely different and also really new-sounding.”

Ray was finding inspiration in unusual places.

“I was at a music industry schmooze fest and I couldn’t cope with all the business talk,” he says of the origin of “Big Sky.” “I conceived and wrote it on the balcony of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes [France]. I know it sounds very grand. But I had to share a room with my publisher, and so out of frustration I knocked over the geranium from our fourth floor balcony and the first line of the song, ‘Big sky looks down on all the people looking up at the big sky,’ came to me while I was looking out from the balcony of the hotel. I was in a situation I was not happy in, so I went into this world of irony and pathos and used my imagination that one day we’ll be free from all this. Because I’m sure there are lots of people like me who feel confused in a world that’s going mad and you try to find a spiritual way through it. It’s quite a spiritual record.”

The neo-psychedelic “Phenomenal Cat”, “All My Friends Were There” (which could have been penned by Syd Barrett), and “Wicked Annabella” (I can imagine a pre-T-Rex Marc Bolan grooving to this one), are all cleverly written and arranged, and slowly etch their way into the memory upon repeat listens.

As Ray Davies says in the liner notes contained within the mammoth 3-disc deluxe edition, “It’s the most successful failure of all time.”.  However over the decades appreciation for the album has multiplied, whose whimsical tales of English rural life and quaint eccentrics never seems to date. Many of these tunes have a delicacy as well as poignancy to them, not to mention a sturdy nod to American blues, Psychedelia, and folk-rock, along with a nostalgic measure of old-fashioned Music-Hall.

This is one of those classic LPs that must be absorbed and enjoyed from beginning to end, where throughout Davies paints a picture of a society that was as imaginary as it was genuine. A world invented as much on fact as it was on fiction. That it lacked a “Waterloo Sunset” or “You Really Got Me” was likely the real reason why it failed to reach a wider audience, and due not to any musical deficiency on the part of The Kinks themselves.

Originally issued in mono, “Village Green” can now be enjoyed in stereo (remastered from first generation tapes no less), making for a far superior listen (the mono version has been preserved on disc two for all the purists). However it’s the third disc that will have many a Kinks archivist’s pulse quicken, and is a Kinks fanatic’s dream come true. 55 minutes of outtakes, alternate mixes and other assorted rarities, the majority of which were previously unavailable. Only Ray Davies could have written lines such as “We are the Office Block Persecution Affinity/Gave save little shops, china cups and virginity” .

Tracklist:

01 The village green preservation society 02 Do you remember Walter 02:53 03 Picture book 05:21 04 Johnny Thunder 07:58 05 Last of the steam – powered trains 10:28 06 Big sky 14:40 07 Sitting by the riverside 17:32 08 Animal farm 23:00 09 Village green 25:13 10 Starstruck 27:42 11 Phenomenal cat 30:23 12 All of my friends were there 32:49 13 Wicked Annabella 35:33 14 Monica 37:53 15 People take picture of each other

kinks

The Kinks had brought proto-Americana to old London Town on 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies after Ray Davies had defined what it meant to be oh so veddy British in song and spirit with crystalline clarity and beauty on such delightful albums as “The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society” (1968) and “Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)” (1969). Then in 1972 they returned to America after a four-year touring ban by the American Federation of Musicians (for reasons that still remain unclear).

New day indeed. Davies turned his sharp songwriting pen to the United States here and there on this album. The Kinks would follow “Everybody’s in Show-Bizwith concept albums like “Preservation Act 1” and “Act 2” and “Soap Opera“. By the 1980s they became a U.S. arena rock band as befitted their iconic British Invasion status.

The original Show-Biz found The Kinks in a period of transition when it was released on August 25th, 1972, and combined studio cuts with live tracks from their tour earlier in that year. Organist John Gosling, whose Hammond B3 trills open the album, had already started filling out the band’s sound on the Lola Versus Powerman on the Moneygoround Vol. 1 album in 1970. A horn section was added to the touring group. The original release served as a delightful Kinks Kompendium for us Yanks who would happily be hearing much more from the Brothers Davies & Co. here in The Colonies in the years to follow.

There are many reasons to own and treasure this album, both its first incarnation and now expanded version. First and foremost among them is the title song, “Celluloid Heroes,” one of the glittering gems from the treasure chest that is the Ray Davies song catalogue. It’s an eloquent, touching and at times witty while also bittersweet rumination on fame, something Davies has always expressed mixed feelings about. It melds melancholia with nostalgia as it also serves as a backhanded tribute and at the same time offers a cautionary tale. It’s a song I can listen to forever and never grow tired of, and always be affected by.

“Sitting in My Hotel” – a minor Davies masterpiece – expresses similar feelings within one subdominant theme (among a number) of this collection: Life on the road as The Kinks return to America.

“Maximum Consumption” makes a horn-punctuated commentary on American food consumerism as fuel for touring (with subtle yet shimmering Dave Davies slide guitar), and “Motorway” (food is the worst in the world) bears a British title yet applies Stateside as it clips along like tires rolling on the pavement. Ray’s food fetish also was found on the original album’s studio tracks on “Hot Potatoes,” where the connection between edibles and love is explored.

The traveler’s loneliness and alienation gets its brief from both Ray (on his melancholic “Sitting in My Hotel”) and Dave (who penned the more upbeat “You Don’t Know My Name,” laced with more slide guitars and not one just but two flute solos).

Souls in motion float through an imaginary outer space on “Supersonic Rocket Ship,” buoyed by lilting steel drums that reflect a Kinks Kalypso phase that was also part of this album and era for the band.

The Caribbean also washes up on the first disc’s concert tracks with a short snippet of the huge Harry Belafonte hit “Banana Boat Song,” which would become a regular goofball feature of Kinks shows in the years to follow. Food gets served up again on “Skin And Bone,” one of five live tracks drawn from Muswell Hillbillies, implying that The Kinks were not averse to plugging their most recent releases, also with numbers from Lola (the wry “Top of the Pops”) and ’69’s Arthur (the searing “Brainwashed’). Ray also gets all show-bizzy and taps his English Music Hall roots on the pre-rock pop standards “Mr. Wonderful” and “Baby Face.”

The first CD now ends as the second vinyl disc did back when with a 1:42 tease of just the chorus of “Lola,” the fourth (at #9) of the only five U.S. Top 10 hits by the Kinks. (Ray would also toy with concert audiences in much the same way by playing bits of “You Really Got Me,” which one might say is missing from the live numbers here if what is played weren’t so largely wonderful.)

The 17 tracks added for the 2015 Legacy Edition round out and enhance the profile of the Kinks circa 1973. We get another Ray Davies gem in a verdant live rendition of “Get Back in Line,” one which many missed when it came out on Lola…It’s Ray’s song for the common and labouring man, a la Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” but rather than a mordant sharpen-the-razor-blades-and-pour-a-warm-bath rumination it’s a stirring call to do as the title advises and trudge on through life.

We also get full and rich in-concert renditions of past high points cum hits with “‘Til the End of the Day” and the always delicious “Sunny Afternoon.” Plus not redundant alternate live takes of “Muswell Hillbilly,” “Alcohol,” “Acute Paranoid Schizophrenic Blues” and “Holiday” from the Muswell album (plus that release’s “Have a Cuppa Tea” and “Complicated Life”), even better than the other ones on disc one, good as they are, and different, reminding us of the glory days of rock concerts when the way the songs were delivered and the experience could change from night to night (rather than today’s rote set lists).

There’s also a wonderful never-before-released Ray Davies studio number “History,” brother Dave doing his “Long Tall Shorty” thing live, and alternate takes on “Supersonic Rocket Ship” and “Unreal Reality.” The expanded set wraps up with a lyric-less backing track titled “Sophisticated Lady” that would later be fleshed out as “Money Talks” on “Preservation Act 2″.

All told, the significance of this collection can be found in how it becomes more than the sum of its parts, while at the same time so many of its parts are notable – like, say, Dave’s searing guitar work on the live take of “You’re Looking Fine” (from 66’s Face to Face), which proves him one of classic rock’s sadly unsung six-string heroes – ironically, as he did come up with perhaps the quintessential rock riff on “You Really Got Me.” The oft-battling Ray and Dave were even getting along – at one point the former introduces the later in a slight mock Italian accent as “a real good-a-friend of mine” – and this album is certainly a showcase for their also underrated brotherly harmonies.

Everybody’s in Show-Biz” may have caught The Kinks in transition, but it also captures the band in one of its primes. And this expanded reissue does what such releases are supposed to do: reiterate and double-down on an act’s greatness, bringing greater glory to the legacy of a band who, from the British Invasion on right up to their final 1994 release – the also largely (must I say it yet again?) unheralded live collection To The Bone, one of the favourite albums of this near-lifelong Kinks Konvert. Rock music would have been so much less without them, and not nearly as fun or deeply touching or…. God Save The Kinks!.

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Dave Davies, who first came to prominence as lead guitarist and co-founder of The Kinks; he has been an original & unpredictable force, without whom guitar-rock styles including heavy metal & punk would have been inconceivable; he slashed the speaker cone of an Elpico amp with a razor blade & fed it into a larger amp, thereby ‘Inventing’ pregain & a raunchy guitar sound that turned rock’n’roll guitar playing on its head, as heard on The Kinks first major hit ‘You Really Got Me’ in 1964. 

In addition to his dozens of albums with The Kinks, Dave has released a series of respected solo albums over the years; his evolution as a musician, songwriter & recording artist has paralleled his passionate pursuit of spiritual knowledge – a story told on his DVD, ‘Dave Davies Kronikles: Mystrical Journey’ he also released, with his son Russ Davies, The Aschere Project – ‘Two Worlds’…a futuristic concept album described as sounding like “Art Of Noise meets Pink Floyd”.

The Kinks in Concert BBC 1973

Ray Davies (lead vocals/guitar), Dave Davies (lead guitar), John Dalton (bass guitar), John Gosling (piano) Mick Avery (drums),

Setlist: Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Lola, You Really Got Me All Day and All of The Night, Waterloo Sunset.

Something Else by The Kinks

‘The Village Green Preservation Society‘ may the one that gets all the plaudits, but ‘Something Else’ can lay claim to being just as good in it’s own way, featuring some of the best of Ray Davies’ songwriting, which of course means it’s up there with the some of the best song writing ever.

Apart from “End of the Season”, the album was recorded between the autumn of 1966 and the summer of 1967, when the Kinks had cut back on touring and had begun recording and stockpiling songs for Davies’s as-yet poorly defined “Village Green” project. The song “Village Green” was recorded in November 1966 during the sessions for the album, but was released on a French EP in 1967 and did not appear on a Kinks LP until the next release, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

Opening with public school satire ‘David Watts’ (later made famous by The Jam), ‘Something Else’ is a bit of a dry run for ‘Village Green‘, lacking the overarching concept, but still rating high on essential Englishness and also delving into such standard Davies topics as identikit suburbia (‘Tin Soldier’), idle affluence (‘End of the Season) and sibling rivalry (‘Two Sisters’, apparently a coded comment on the band’s brother problems). What does it sound like? Well, it sounds like The Kinks, that is to say that there’s plenty of sprightly sixties RnB based guitar pop, a bit of copycat psychedelia (Davies was never one to overlook to convenience of hijacking bandwagons), some Cockney knees-up pleasantries (Dave Davies’ ‘Death of a Clown’) and enough good humour and essential pathos for most bands to base their entire careers on.

‘Afternoon Tea’, with it’s understated, very British sense of romance and charming, Davies brothers vocal interplay, would be quite enough to carry the LP on it’s own, but alongside the infectious ‘Harry Rag’, ‘David Watts’, ‘Lazy Old Sun’ and the rest, ‘Something Else’ is easily capable of unveiling masterpieces one after another. There is a little filler – Dave Davies’ other compositions don’t quite come up to the mark and ‘Situations Vacant’ is distinctly Kinks by numbers, but all in all this is an essential album by a band too often dismissed as a ‘singles act’. Oh, and it’s got ‘Waterloo Sunset’ on it – what else could you possibly want from a Kinks album?

A classic from the archives, “Something Else” is the fifth studio album by The Kinks and gets a loving reissue on Sanctuary Records. On 140g vinyl with the original UK track-listing, it’s the last Kinks album to be produced by Shel Talmy and showcases one part of a mid-career high that’s still an influence today. Out on vinyl LP from Sanctuary Records.

Originally Released 15th September 1967

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Much like the ebbing away of these unprecedented times, 50 years ago, the music world was coming to terms with the end of an endemic fever that had changed the face of society. As the Fab Four scrambled to studios to release their break-up albums, the Kinks seized that large Beatle-sized hole to mock the very system that had taken them to those dizzying, and ultimately suffocating heights, in their 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Pt.1”, which has been re-released and remastered in a glossy deluxe format.

The Kinks were the contrarian’s choice in the 60s music scene, the swagger of Mick Jagger and the Jesus-like appeal of John Lennon meant that Ray Davies and co. found themselves dwarfed in the zeitgeist of their era. Far from nobodies nonetheless –  such tracks as  ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘Sunny Afternoon’ belong in in the same pantheon as the ‘Hey Jude’s and ‘Angie’s of this world, but alas their popularity found itself dwarfed by the canonisation of their British Invasion counterparts.

“Lola” gave the Kinks an unexpected hit, and its crisp, muscular sound, pitched halfway between acoustic folk and hard rock, provided a new style for the band. However, the song only hinted at what its accompanying album, “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One”, was all about. It didn’t matter that Ray Davies just had his first hit in years — he had suffered greatly at the hands of the music industry and he wanted to tell the story in song. Hence, Lola — a loose concept album about Ray Davies’ own psychosis and bitter feelings toward the music industry.

He never really delivers a cohesive story, but the record holds together because it’s one of his strongest sets of songs. Dave Davies contributes the lovely “Strangers” and the appropriately paranoid “Rats,” but this is truly Ray’s show, as he lashes out at ex-managers (the boisterous vaudevillian “The Moneygoround”), publishers (“Denmark Street”), TV and music journalists (the hard-hitting “Top of the Pops”), label executives (“Powerman”), and, hell, just society in general (“Apeman,” “Got to Be Free”). If his wit wasn’t sharp, the entire project would be insufferable, but the album is as funny as it is angry. Furthermore, he balances his bile with three of his best melancholy ballads: “This Time Tomorrow,” “A Long Way from Home,” and the anti-welfare and union “Get Back in Line,” which captures working-class angst better than any other rock song.

These tracks provide the spine for a wildly unfocused but nonetheless dazzling tour de force that reveals Ray’s artistic strengths and endearing character flaws in equal measure. [The 50th anniversary edition of Lola Vs Powerman is expanded by three discs filled with rarities that span the decades. The Kinks needed to cast a wide net for this 2020 reissue since Lola received a healthy double-disc expansion in 2014, one that unearthed the outtakes “Anytime” and “The Good Life,” which are both here in new mixes. “Anytime” also seeds the newly created “The Follower — Any Time 2020,” where new spoken word elements are interwoven with the original track. There’s a lot of this kind of thing on this 50th Anniversary Edition, including several “Ray’s Kitchen Sink” tracks, which contain Ray Davies and his brother Dave discussing the album’s songs while music plays in the background.

A bunch of mono mixes and alternate takes, most previously reissued, are here along with an “Apeman” from Unplugged, selections from the Ray-starring production The Long Distance Piano Player, Ray singing “Lola” with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, and a version of “A Long Way from Home” from Ray’s 2006 Austin City Limits.

Some of this is strange, much of it is good, and all the worthwhile cuts were on the 2014 set, so this is for the hardcore Kinks fan, the one who appreciates the oddities of the bonus material instead of cursing the absence of unheard music (which likely does not exist).] What makes this album one of the Kinks’ most peculiar is its scattergun genre usage: the opening track, ‘the Contenders’ exhibits this vision, with a slow percussion and jaunty acoustic guitar transitioning, without warning, into a hard-rock crescendo. Initially this breathes freshness an invigorating freshness, but as the album progresses, this indecisiveness and laid-back approach towards genre makes this album difficult to fall in love with. For example, a song like ‘Apeman’, which is such a strong single, falls flat because it is surrounded by a weak music-hall tribute in ‘the Moneygoround’ or weird George Formby pastiche “Denmark Street”. With Christmas approaching, see this album as a box of Celebrations songs like ‘Get Back in Line’ and ‘A Long Way from Home’ sit like a Bounty amongst the fantastic ‘Lola’ and ‘Rats’.

Thematically, Lola Versus Powerman, can be lumped together with Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here or Pulp’s This is Hardcore as it is an album with the clear, age-old message – the music business is called a business for a reason – to cripple and pornographise the artistic expression and freedom of musical creation for profit and growth. On ‘Powerman’, the band channel their disgust for the abusive relationship between executives, artists and their music while ‘Top of the Pops’ is a brilliant slapstick satire about the process of making a hit, with Davies evoking the forced enthusiasm of the industry in his vocal performance. In fact, it is a crippling indictment (and brilliant foresight) of the band that the quip “I might even end up a rock’n’roll god / It might just turn into a steady job” rings true today, with bona fide legends such as David Crosby having to sell their publishing rights for money. No industry revolution will never be started by this album however – Davies misses the mark by not making his message cohesive enough. It is no surprise that ‘Lola’ was the first song written off the album, as every song feels like an attempt to make an LP to surround the big hit. The exotic nature of the iconic steel guitar on that track spreads its tentacles through the album and eventually looms large over them, stifling the listener to enjoy them only moderately.

Ray Davies described his oeuvre as “a celebration of artistic freedom (including my own) and the right for anyone to be gender-free if one wishes” and the bonus tracks offer an insight not only to how the album was created, but how the band transported their complex product to the stage with some roaring live tracks. What is clear is that despite its somewhat disjointed nature, Lola Versus Powerman is still a vibrant expression of what the Kinks became so famous for: variety, innovation and joy.

No other songwriter in rock during the 1960s portrayed life in the British Isles as richly and as pointedly as The KinksRay Davies. In songs such as “A Well Respected Man,” “Autumn Almanac,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and “Dead End Street,” and on albums like Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur, Davies captured vividly the class-driven lifestyles and peculiarities of the English, both present-day and in times gone by. By the time the 1970s kicked in, though, Davies had begun reaching into a deeper well for inspiration. The albums Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970), which took aim at the inequities of the music industry, and the following year’s country music-influenced, nostalgic Muswell Hillbillies, found Davies and the Kinks extending their lyrical and musical range.

The Kinks’ tenth studio album, 1972’s double LP “Everybody’s in Showbiz”, is about to get the Legacy Edition treatment from Sony’s Legacy Recordings. The classic studio/live hybrid album will be reissued along with a full disc’s worth of previously unissued studio outtakes (recorded at London’s Morgan Studios) and concert material (recorded March 2nd-3rd, 1972 during The Kinks’ Carnegie Hall concert stand). or Everybody’s in Show-Biz, released on RCA Records in the summer of 1972, the Kinks went the double-live album route—one studio disc consisting of 10 brand new songs, and a live LP recorded at Carnegie Hall in March of that year. The latter consisted primarily of songs drawn from the recent studio albums, while Davies’ new material—the writing of which coincided with the Kinks’ trend toward more theatricality in their live performances—mixed the autobiographical (a few songs focused on the touring life—and the crappy food consumed along the way) and the observational.

While not quite fully a concept album—not in the way that the following Preservation Act 1, Preservation Act 2 and Soap Opera were, anyway—the studio half of Everybody’s in Show-Biz was the most unified statement the band had made since 1969’s Arthur. It was, as all of their output had been over the past several years, exceptional.

It was also a relative bomb. In the United States, where the Kinks’ popularity had ebbed and flowed—largely due to a legal snafu that kept them from touring in the States between 1966-69—the album only reached #70 in Billboard, 35 points lower than Lola had (but better than Muswell Hillbillies, which stalled at #100). Show-Biz also failed to produce a hit single, whereas the title track of Lola had given them their first U.S. top 10 in five years.

In retrospect, what’s most astounding, perhaps, is how American radio—and, consequentially, record buyers—utterly failed to initially recognize what was easily one of Davies’ finest compositions to date: “Celluloid Heroes.”

Incredibly, the song failed to chart. Today, it’s considered something of a Kinks Klassik—one of those songs that defines the band and is often cited as being among Davies’ finest creations. The ballad finds the singer looking wistfully at the heyday of Hollywood, that era when all it took was a dream, a modicum of talent and a bus ticket to Los Angeles for fame to turn from a dream to reality—or not.

In the opening stanza, Davies sings: “Everybody’s a dreamer and everybody’s a star/And everybody’s in movies, it doesn’t matter who you are/There are stars in every city, in every house and on every street/And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard, their names are written in concrete.”

The latter reference, to the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, is Davies’ nod to the many who’d come and gone, “Some that you recognize, some that you’ve hardly even heard of/People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame/Some who succeeded and some who suffered in vain.”

He name-checks several: First there’s Greta Garbo, who “looks so weak and fragile, that’s why she tried to be so hard.” There’s Rudolph Valentino (who “looks up ladies dresses as they sadly pass him by”), Bela Lugosi, Bette Davis, George Sanders and Mickey Rooney. And, of course, “dearest Marilyn,” the most glaring example of the star system’s lures and failures: “She should have been made of iron or steel/But she was only made of flesh and blood.”

Recorded with the piano of recent recruit John Gosling taking a prominent role, “Celluloid Heroes” was tender and melancholy, both tribute and admonition. It’s not the stars themselves that our narrator identifies with; it’s who they play. He doesn’t want so much to be a Hollywood star himself; he wants his own life to disappear into those of the characters on the screen. “Celluloid heroes never feel any pain, and celluloid heroes never really die,” Ray Davies sings. It’s a gem of a song that was almost lost amidst the indifference to an underrated album. Fortunately, its own star rose and hasn’t faded since.

Often seen as a transitional album pointing the way towards producer-songwriter-frontman Ray Davies’ more theatrical style, Everybody’s in Showbiz took its inspiration from Davies’ life on the road.   The album’s songs were originally intended as the soundtrack to The Colossal Shirt, an unrealized film about The Kinks’ touring life.  The LP showcases the band lineup of Ray Davies, guitarist Dave Davies, bassist John Dalton, keyboardist John Gosling and drummer Mick Avory, joined by brass and woodwind players Mike Cotton, John Beecham and Alan Holmes (all of whom played on Muswell Hillbillies, recently reissued by Legacy.)

The Carnegie Hall tracks on the original LP include Kinks originals such as “Lola” and “Brainwashed” as well as an eclectic variety of cover versions including “Mr. Wonderful” (from the 1956 Sammy Davis Jr.-starring Broadway musical of the same name), the 1926 chart-topper “Baby Face” and “The Banana Boat Song” (best known in its rendition by Harry Belafonte).

The 17-track bonus disc of the new Legacy Edition premieres never-before-heard live versions of “Sunny Afternoon,” “Get Back in Line,” “Muswell Hillbilly,” “Complicated Life” and the rarely-played “Long Tall Shorty” as well as the outtake “History,” alternate mixes of “Supersonic Rocket Ship” and “Unreal Reality” and “Sophisticated Lady,” an embryonic rehearsal version of “Money Talks.”

The remastered Legacy Edition includes new liner notes by journalist David Fricke.  It’s due in stores on CD and vinyl from Legacy Recordings on June 3rd; the vinyl 3-LP edition contains the original album and a selection of nine bonus tracks (noted below).  Both versions can be pre-ordered at the links below!

The Kinks, Everybody’s in Showbiz: Legacy Edition (RCA VPS-6065, 1972 – reissued Legacy Recordings, 2016)

CD 1: The Original Album

  1. Here Comes Yet Another Day
  2. Maximum Consumption
  3. Unreal Reality
  4. Hot Potatoes
  5. Sitting In My Hotel
  6. Motorway
  7. You Don’t Know My Name
  8. Supersonic Rocket Ship
  9. Look A Little On The Sunny Side
  10. Celluloid Heroes
  11. Top Of The Pops (Live)
  12. Brainwashed (Live)
  13. Wonderful (Live)
  14. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues (Live)
  15. Holiday (Live)
  16. Muswell Hillbilly (Live)
  17. Alcohol (Live)
  18. Banana Boat Song (Live)
  19. Skin And Bone (Live)
  20. Baby Face (Live)
  21. Lola (Live)

Tracks 1-10 Recorded March-October 1972 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
Tracks 11-21 Recorded March 3, 1972 at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York

CD 2: Bonus Tracks

  1. ‘Til The End Of The Day (Live) (previously issued) (*)
  2. You’re Looking Fine (Live) (previously unreleased commercially) (*)
  3. Get Back In Line (Live) (*)
  4. Have A Cuppa Tea (Live) (*)
  5. Sunny Afternoon (Live) (*)
  6. Muswell Hillbilly (Live)
  7. Brainwashed (Live)
  8. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues (Live)
  9. Holiday (Live)
  10. Alcohol (Live)
  11. Complicated Life (Live) (*)
  12. She’s Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina (Live) (previously issued)
  13. Long Tall Shorty (Live) (*)
  14. History (studio outtake) (*)
  15. Supersonic Rocket Ship (alternate mix) (*)
  16. Unreal Reality (alternate mix)
  17. Sophisticated Lady (early rehearsal version of “Money Talks”)

All tracks previously unreleased except where noted
(*) denotes bonus track included on vinyl edition

Tracks 1-13 Recorded March 2-3, 1972 at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York
Tracks 14-17 Recorded at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London

The Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies has revealed some details about a 50th Anniversary reissue of the band’s 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One” that’s being prepared for release later this year. Dave tells ABC Audio that his brother, Kinks frontman Ray Davies, finished mixing the collection, which will feature various unreleased bonus tracks, including demos, odd mixes and more. The package includes a matt laminated rigid slipcase featuring the original LP cover reproduced with foil and metallic silver finishes. Three CDs contain: The original album new remaster from original HD master tapes, singles (stereo and mono mixes), B-sides, alternate original mixes, new medleys with Ray and Dave Davies conversations, new Ray Davies remixes and original session out-takes, previously unreleased session and live tape audio, instrumental & acoustic versions, previously unreleased demos and BBC material.

Originally recorded 9th May 1970 at Morgan Studio 1, Willesden, UK for The Kinks classic ‘Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One’ original album sessions. This fresh, new 2020 remaster was done from the original HD master tapes by expert Kinks engineer Andrew Sandoval, overseen by Kinks frontman Ray Davies. ‘Lola’, which reached the #9 in the US, #2 in the UK and Germany, was the Kinks‘ biggest single success since ‘Sunny Afternoon’ in 1966 and marked the start of big comeback Stateside. The track, written by Ray Davies, allegedly details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible trans-gender person whom he meets in a club in Soho, London.

The Kinks continuing the 50th anniversary celebration of their studio albums with various new editions of 1970’s “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Pt 1”. The December 18th release via Sanctuary Records is produced in association with The Kinks, with audio and visual content curated by Ray Davies. The original album, released on November. 27th, 1970, included the worldwide hit single, “Lola,” as well as “Apeman,” a top 5 record in many markets.

On November 25th, the band premiered an animated video of “Lola,” telling the story of a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible trans-gender person whom he meets in a club in Soho, London.

From the new collection’s announcement: The concept album, their eighth studio release, is a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road. This classic album appeared during a transitional period for the Kinks, and was a critical and commercial success.

Dave also reveals that one interesting highlight of the deluxe reissue is a section dubbed “The Kitchen Sink Tapes” that features recently recorded conversations between Ray and him discussing various songs from the album. “It’s stuff we recorded before this weird pandemic thing,” he explains. “We met up at Ray’s house, and we just [had an] impromptu kind of conversation, [talking] about ‘Ape Man’ and what ‘Lola’ meant to us and how it came about, and how the ideas for ‘Strangers’ were born.”

Davies also reports that the Lola Versus Powerman reissue will include some demos of the song “Lola” that Ray recorded at his house, and an unreleased demo of the Dave-penned gem “Strangers.”

“Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One” was released in November 1970. The record featured the enduring hit “Lola,” which peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the U.K. singles chart. A second single, “Apeman,” only reached #45 on the Hot 100, but was a #5 hit in the U.K. The concept album, their eighth studio release, is a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road. This classic album appeared during a transitional period for the Kinks, and was a critical and commercial success.

Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, commonly abbreviated to Lola Versus Powerman, or just Lola, is the eighth studio album by The Kinks, recorded and released in 1970. A concept album ahead of its time, it’s a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road. One of the all-time classic Kinks albums. Although it appeared during a transitional period for The Kinks, Lola Versus Powerman was a success both critically and commercially for the group, charting in the Top 40 in America and helping restore them in the public eye, making it a “comeback” album. It contained two hit singles: ‘Lola’, which reached the #9 US, #2 UK and Germany – becoming the Kinks’ biggest success since ‘Sunny Afternoon’ in 1966 – and ‘Apeman’, which peaked at #5 in the UK and Germany.

Meanwhile, Dave says that he and Ray still haven’t got any concrete plans to release the new music that they’ve worked on together during the past few years. n m,.,m,.mnn m,jhgfduyfdsp-0“We’ve been talking about it,” he reports. “And we’re getting together [soon] with a view to maybe peruse stuff that we got and see if maybe we can and maybe we can’t. And we’ll see.”

The limited deluxe edition is lavishly packaged, with a 50th anniversary deluxe 10” book-pack of that album, containing many previously unreleased tracks and versions.

The December 18th release via Sanctuary Records is produced in association with The Kinks, with audio and visual content curated by Ray Davies. The original album, released on November 27th, 1970,

Lola Versus Powerman’ 50th Anniversary Box Set Available as a Deluxe 10” slipcased book pack (containing 60 page book, 3 x cds, 2 x 7” singles, 4 x colour prints) and on black heavyweight gatefold vinyl, 2CD and 1CD formats.

Kinks the the kink kronikles

The Kink Kronikles is a compilation double album by the Kinks, released on Reprise Records in 1972, after the band had signed with RCA Records the label assembled this compilation without input from the band. Instead, Reprise invited rock journalist and noted Kinks fan John Mendelsohn to compile this package. Five tracks made their U.S. debut in any format here – “Berkeley Mews”, “Willesden Green”, “This Is Where I Belong”, “Did You See His Name?” and “King Kong”. The latter two were original to this compilation, and “King Kong” would be released as Reprise single 1094 two months after the release of this double album.
in 1971. It contains thirteen non-album singles, fourteen tracks taken from five albums released by the band from 1966 to 1971 (including the UK-only Percy), and one track previously unreleased. Designed specifically for the American market, it peaked at No. 94 on the Billboard 200. The single versions and mixes were not necessarily used for each track.

Featuring the original sleeve-notes.”This limited edition, gatefold, red vinyl 2LP is a reproduction of the sought-after, 28 track, 1972 Reprise US LP compilation (1966-1971). Considered an exemplary compilation Contains hits, album tracks, US-only versions, non-album singles and B-sides. Featuring original sleeve-notes.

This limited edition, gatefold, red vinyl 2LP is a reproduction of the sought-after, 28 track, 1972 Reprise US LP compilation (1966-1971).Contains hits, album tracks, US-only versions, non-album singles and B-sides .Featuring original sleeve-notes. “This limited edition, gatefold, red vinyl 2LP is a reproduction of the sought-after, 28 track, 1972 Reprise US LP compilation (1966-1971).Contains hits, album tracks, US-only versions, non-album singles and B-sides. Featuring original sleeve-notes.

Tracklist:

SIDE 1 1 Victoria 2 The Village Green Preservation Society 3 Berkeley Mews 4 Holiday In Waikiki 5 Willesden Green 6 This Is Where I Belong 7 Waterloo Sunset

SIDE 2 1 Lola 2 Mindless Child Of Motherhood 3 Polly 4 Big Black Smoke 5 Susannah’s Still Alive 6 She’s Got Everything 7 Days

SIDE 3 1 David Watts 2 Dead End Street 3 Shangri-La 4 Autumn Almanac 5 Sunny Afternoon 6 Get Back In Line 7 Did You See His Name?

SIDE 4 1 Fancy 2 Wonderboy 3 Apeman 4 King Kong 5 Mr.Pleasant 6 God’s Children 7 Death Of A Clown”

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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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