The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.


    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    Dead End Boulevard?

    Dead End Road?

    Dead End Way?

    Dead End Avenue?

    I’m sorry, I just don’t get it :laugh:
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's savage isn't it...
  3. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Don't know if I'd say national treasure. He's a treasure alright but I wouldn't call him "national" anymore. Maybe he was when Méliès turned his stories into little wondrous magical experiments. But since Karel Zeman (kudos to @palisantrancho for referencing him) or Richard Fleischer, he's become an international star, he belongs to the world, like very few French artists or icons. Brigitte Bardot belongs to the world but retains her "Frenchness". Jules Verne, not so much.

    He's become a little bit boring to read because his actual writing style's rather poor. Long meandering sentences not very inventive. The young don't read him anymore except a little bit in class, with no great success (Stendhal or Flaubert fare much better). But his stories are great, very rich in mythical qualities, famous characters and, first and foremost, great, great character names, one of the absolute keys to massive worldwide success. What would be Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Marvel comics, Astérix, Mark Twain, the brothers Grimm or antique mythologies and religions without spectacular evocative names ? There's a name for the art of naming characters but I don't remember it, even in French. Phileas Fogg, that's high level. In pop, McCartney's great at naming characters. Eleanor Rigby, Rocky Racoon (and the whole Magill/Lil/Nancy genius bit), Michelle (my mother's name born in 1942 like Paul, only it was spelled Michèle). And then Jet, even Sally G.… I mean, Vera, Chuck and Dave !!! I think all of those are fantastic. Ray's not too bad either. Wicked Annabella, Rosemary Rose, Johnny Thunder, Walter, Donna, Polly, Terry and Julie, Arthur, the title character that nobody names in the whole record, Lola… I remember a time when I thought he'd invented some of the Oklahoma USA names. Gordon McRae, I thought that was pure genius!! :nyah:
    But he kind of lost some of this quality along the way. One could argue that the names (very generic) are one of the biggest flaws in the Preservation koncept. Mr Black ? Belle ? That's rather poor. Then, after Norman, he all but stopped naming his characters, didn't he ? I'm sure there are exceptions I don't think of right now… Anyway sorry about that, aren't we Sunday or something ? :angel:
    (edit : while laughing at @DISKOJOE's dead end joke, Dan the fan came back to me. He's ok.)
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I have no idea about their controversies lol

    Thanks for the thoughts though. It's just interesting to me.
    I know in Oz if someone gets international acclaim, we've had a tendency to give them some worship for a year or two, and then shoot them out of the sky.... it's an odd sport, that I don't play.
  5. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    That is the version that I have, but It could Have Been Him is connected with Mongolia and No Surprises to make one almost 10 minute long suite.

    also, I have been listening to this now for about three weeks and I think it’s pretty fantastic.

    Edit: sorry, I saw Mark already noted this. Sorry to be redundant.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers mate.
  7. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    I've thought about this too! Yes, definitely a drop off in quality naming after the Pye period. As noted, there's Dan the fan who's a fan of the band banned between 1965 and 1969, but other than that... ? Mr & Mrs Horrible... how on point! Come Dancing has "my sister", whereas in 1966 "my sister" was "Rosy". Yo-Yo's just asking for some names, but Ray went with "he" and "his wife". We have Bernadette, and I had to look it up on, but in Too Hot we have a nice grouping of Julian, Arthur, and Sara Jane.
  8. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Yes, we saw it in LaJolla and enjoyed it very much. It was obviously expected to make it to Broadway and beyond, following the smash success of Des McAnuff’s version of Tommy. But not everything makes it to Broadway.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers. You know exactly how I was saying it on my head :)
  10. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Not wishing to jump forward to 2010, but the CD lists the songs (which are possibly unofficial titles) as:
    Tired Of Waiting (sung by Ray)
    Come Dancing (sung by Ray)
    My Big Sister (On 'Arthur' Super-deluxe)
    Putting On The Face
    A New Rhythm (This is 'The Future' on 'Arthur')
    Saturday Night
    When The Band Begins To Play
    A Penny For Your Thoughts
    Because I'm Yours
    Stevenage (On 'Arthur')
    I've Got A Knife
    Just An Empty Space ('Space' on 'Arthur')
    Rock 'til I Drop
    Believe In Yourself
    There's Gonna Be More
    The Wedding Quickstep
    Wherever I Go
    I Know This Girl
    Whatever The Cost
    In Heaven
    Let Her Grow (also known as 'A Better Thing') (sung by Ray)
    Rhythm Of The Dance

    I feel slightly less guilty as we're in a musical phase - here's all that has appeared professionally to view. It's a bit theatrical, but worth watching in my opinion. I expect we will cover it if and when we get to 2010 in the thread!
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
  11. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    I don’t think I can take listening to the YouTube audio only of the play, but I’m sure watching it was a wholly different experience.

    BTW, I believe Tommy was much later. My memory of what year I saw things is terrible, but Wikipedia has Tommy on Broadway in 1993. If only Ray had waited, after the success of the Tommy production I wouldn’t be surprised if 80 Days had more of a chance to make it to Broadway. From the review of the play, it sounds like it might have benefited from some editing. Do you agree, or did you think it was fine as presented? I know it’s a long time ago, lol.
  12. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    Thanks to Mark for all the 80 Days research and links. I listened to a few things from it briefly on YouTube and couple of years ago but really didn't pay too much attention, so I look forwarded to finding some time to listen as Ray's Demo's are discussed.

    To learn that parts of this work were re-appropriated for "Americana" is a revelation.

    To bring up La Jolla reminds me of the first time I learned of the place many years ago: it was a magazine interview with Dr. Suess, who lived in a cliff-side house there. They printed a picture of his in-home art studio with the most envious view of the Pacific Ocean. It was one of several things that inspired me to go into art as a profession.
  13. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
  14. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Oops! I’m conflating things. Des had won the Tony for Big River, which had made him hot. Tommy was later. Thanks.

    BTW, La Jolla is indeed lovely.
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    .....and with an extra T to consume.
  16. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    I'm not a very "national" guy, I'm agnostic about all things patriotic, which means I don't despise patriotic sentiment but I don't really feel it - probably a kind of inability to "feel part of". So Avid @Fortuleo is probably right here about Jules Verne being a world treasure rather than a national one, which would also account for the absence of controversy! I haven't read Jules Verne in ages, so I didn't remember about the style. But yes, he was great at naming characters. Captain Nemo, Michel Strogoff, Cyrus Smith... As for Ray, you have Mr Jones, Mr Brown and Mr Smith from next Door Neighbour, but they're not so inspiring, even if I like the song a lot.
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    So yesterday was a lot of backstory and such to try and get a full perspective of what this was all about, but for me, these demos are the main thing I am interested in. I think most folks are going to be pleasantly surprised by this project.

    It really would be nice for it to get done properly and released at some point, but it is probably past happening at this stage.

    For the record the play won the "Best Musical" award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle

    80 Days - Demos.


    Release info:
    Produced by: Ray Davies
    Release date: 1987
    Record label & catalog #:
    Country: UK
    Format: Cassette
    Release type: Bootleg

    1. Let It Be Written stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    2. The Empire Song (Our World) stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    3. A Well-Bred Englishman stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    4. Against The Tide stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    5. Ladies Of The Night stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    6. On The Map stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    7. It Could Have Been Him stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    Mongolia Song/No Surprises stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    8. Welcome To India stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    9. Just Passing Through stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    10. Who Do You Think You Are stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    11. 80 Days stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    12. Members Of The Club stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    13. Conspiracy stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    14. Tell Her, Tell Him stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York
    15. Be Rational stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York

    For me, this is possibly the greatest discovery of the thread so far.... and we know there have been many of those.

    Musically this is Ray Davies firing on all cylinders and delivering something that could well rival his best work of the sixties, for those that have a mind to lean towards the sixties material, and I mean that sincerely.
    There may be a couple of bits here and there that cause contention, but we'll see what happens when we get there, but for the most part, this brings back, in full blossom Ray's adventures in Music Hall, Theater and Broadway style writing, and having a solid subject matter to begin with, it also gives Ray a focus for the plotline and characters.
    He doesn't need to create the characters and the plot, he just needs to write the words and music for an already well established plot, with well defined characters, and to a large degree I think it enhances his writing in many ways here.
    For those that didn't read the information about the Play itself. The play is somewhat different from the movie or book, in that Verne is included as a character, and this was apparently Ray's idea, in order to make the story less of a travelogue. The Play is the original story, but based around the idea of Verne having to come up with a new best seller in eighty days, and without having seen it, and not having had a chance to dissect the lyrics yet, Verne is a character in the play, that is essentially taking place in his head... but we'll see how it all pans out by the end I guess.

    Initially there was just a bootleg cassette available, but during the course of discovering this hidden gem, I found a cd with "cleaned up" versions of these demos. As I haven't heard the cassette, I am not entirely sure what that means, but I assume it is likely just cleaning up the sound quality of the cassette into a higher quality version on cd.

    Now make no mistake, these are demos.
    Sometimes that is quite obvious, and sometimes it is less so. There is nothing here that I find unpleasant to listen to though. Again for the most part these are pretty high quality.

    Over the last few weeks, I have listened to this quite a lot. Partly to get familiar with it, as I have with all the albums, but also partly because I just really like this a lot.
    There are a couple of mild contentions, but we will get to those as we go along, as far as the writing of the songs go, and how much I enjoy listening to this album.... no contentions.... and I certainly hope that some folks will be as pleased as I am with what we have here.

    I haven't deep dived the lyrics yet, and I haven't really deep dived the music. I have just really enjoyed listening to this at this stage, and over the next couple of weeks, we'll dig in this together and see where we end up.

    I would certainly normally ask folks for their historical opinions on this, but I have no idea if, or how many, folks have even heard it....

    So I'll just say at this stage, please add anything to today's conversation that you are able, and tomorrow we'll take off "in our beautiful balloon".... though it is really more planes trains and automobiles.

    There are songs here that use synths as the base, but it seems to me that Ray had an orchestral arrangement in mind for these songs.

    The album opens with a couple of tracks that are scene setters, and also a little more standard. After the first couple of songs, most of the rest of the album is very much in the Music Hall/Broadway/Theater type style that Ray frequented in the late sixties and early seventies... and that is part of why I think that many will enjoy this..... but I just think overall it works really well, and the songs, on early listens, seem like they stand up for themselves...

    Anyway, this should be an interesting journey.

    The MEZ, Wondergirl, Steve62 and 18 others like this.
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The Characters.

    Phileas Fogg - Our main character. A member of the Reform Club, who sets out on the challenge to go around the world in 80 days.

    Jules Verne - The writer of the original book, who is written into the play as the writer who has to write this book in 80 days, which creates an interesting compare and contrast situation. Verne essentially takes the part of Passepartout, as Fogg's travelling companion in the original book.

    Mr Fix - The detective who is in pursuit of Fogg, mistaking him to be a criminal.

    Mrs Fix - Not in the original book, but here the Victorian matron and mother of the detective.

    Aouda - The Indian love interest who refuses to play the part of the damsel in distress and the paramour... In the original Aouda and Fogg fall in love and get married at the end, but I'm not sure how she fits in here yet, but we'll get there.

    The Reform Club - A group of wealthy elites. Fogg is a member, and it is them that the 80 days bet was waged with.

    There are a lot of other incidental characters in the story and play, but I think they are the main characters we have here, looking to get a little context about who is who.
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  20. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Oh no, really? Another illusion shattered, as I thought that was a newly composed song for 2019! I'm beginning to wonder if Ray actually wrote any new songs at all in the 2010s!
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    La Jolla Playhouse.

  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Beholding the amount of work that Ray put into this project again really supports my idea that he should have been advised to rest The Kinks around the mid 80s and concentrate on solo projects for a decade. This is a bit like if in the mid 70s Ray had written and recorded all the songs for Preservation Act 2 for an obscure theatre project, while meanwhile The Kinks were releasing more straightforward rock albums cobbled together from his secondary pool of ideas and a few Dave solo numbers. .. if you look at it that way, it's no wonder the MCA stuff (in mine and many other opinions, I know not everyone agrees!) really suffered.

    The amount of songs here that vanished into obscurity perhaps hasn't been matched since the VGPS/At The 11th Hour/Where Was Spring? period: I wonder if Ray ever considered releasing his own versions of the song as an album: (a bit like he was talked up doing with the exclusive BBC songs circa 1971) perhaps that might have been a consideration had the show been a smash, but, it wasn't, and the world kept going round...
  23. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    I'd never heard of this until a few weeks ago - listening to the first track and finding myself straight back in Preservation Act II land, it didn't take much encouragement to listen to the rest!
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  24. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I listened to this for the first time this morning and enjoyed most of it. It certainly deserves repeat listens. It made me realise that the more theatrical writing side of Ray that many of us really enjoyed in the late 60s and especially the 70s wasn’t gone, it just seemed that he thought he needed to write more conventional ‘rock’ songs for The Kinks, which is a great shame.
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It is a terribly interesting thing to me.

    This album seems to answer a lot of questions in some ways, but what I get from this is that Ray seems like he was much more in tune with the business than I had really considered giving him credit for, and was actually ahead of the curve.

    I think it ties into why prog rock faded into obscurity, and standing back looking from a distance, Ray put the musical theater on a back burner at the same time that he obviously saw prog rock fading.

    We had all those discussions about Clive Davis and his influence, and I now sort of feel like Ray probably leaned towards Davis because Ray knew this was what the band needed to do, rather than Ray being bundled along by Davis, I think Ray logically saw where the band needed to be to survive.

    Musical theater is somewhat hit and miss, and whereas musical theater will get a couple of hundred people interested, rock music gets thousands of people interested, and if we tie that into the fact that the industry was starting to move into a pretty straight business model expecting saleable product from day one, rather than developing acts and allowing artistic exploration, it seems like Ray took the pragmatic path that gave the Kinks the best opportunity to survive.

    Sleepwalker got more of a mixed reaction than I expected, but it is where Ray slims down his ambitions and gives the band a more straight sound, but from Sleepwalker on, I think most of us have noticed that Ray was almost subversively slotting themes into the albums, in spite of the streamlining, but not enough to fall into the musical theater category.

    Then we get little things slotted in that give him a chance to branch out like Return To Waterloo, and now we have this, pretty much full blown return to musical theater, literally, and it almost seems like Ray's patience gave him the opportunity to dive in head first here and go Full Blown theater....

    His writing seems like a shackles off approach, but with the discipline of a seasoned professional.

    And among other reasons, I think that's why it isn't a Kinks project, like Return To Waterloo it is a sideline, and doesn't risk tying the band name to the oh so unfashionable musical theater...

    Anyway, just some thoughts
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022

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