The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    A warm welcome back to you @Luckless Pedestrian.
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    There's a joke somewhere there about Fogg and his Bollywood which may require a wide birth unless I have already told it?
  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member


    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    You mean he got it for nuthin’? Assume away! :laugh:
  6. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    A few more by my reckoning:
    Storyteller (studio) (also a longer version with extra verse on Ray Davies 'Collected' CD) Ray Davies - Collected
    London Song (Live and Studio versions)
    That Old Black Magic (cover version)
    X-Ray (live)
    Art School Babe (live)
    Back In The Front Room (live - part dialogue)
    The Ballad Of Julie Finkle (live) (oft performed in Ray's solo intro to Kinks shows in 1994)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Ladies Of The Night

    The jaunty breakneck pace takes me back to organised square dancing in primary school which was often increasingly sped up as it went as we maddly hand clapped with our partner before the next jig.
    It was like a war of attrition as they (schools) weren't fonda shooting horses were they.

    Some interesting observations;
    I am happy to accept the claim of @markelis that Fogg has deliberately patronaged a brothel.
    After all he has just risked not only all his wealth and reputation (on what seems quite a folly) but possibly his own life in attempting to traverse the world at speed in all manner of transport including balloon and ship amidst likely treacherous seas!

    So it makes absolute sense for this salty dog to visit a bordello though perhaps less so for his chosen lady to lament he will forget her and be far away come tomorrow.
    Though professionally she may betray a ray of kink clearly her name is not Monica despite any shared village green.

    Speaking of the laments, bridges and slowed down sections I find them very emotive and the high points of the song both via their melody and sentiment!

    If Chuck Berry sang of 40 days (Muddy did too) Ray went one better with 80!
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  8. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D You caused me to go into an extended coughing fit!
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Thanks, so did Fogg who was not fit i am told!
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :) (Actually, per the WHO, one covid “after recovery” symptom is a dry cough…for an average of 19 days! And, evidently, 2% of coviders have the cough for a year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I think my wife’s cough has finally ended. Mine, though, continues, exacerbated when I laugh!)
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Just a thought that seemed interesting to me..
    The Kinks have a remarkable catalog, like a smorgasbord of such wide variety, that one could eat/listen for days and not get bored with the food/music being served.
    I haven't been bored this whole thread. I have listened to some palette cleansers over the course of it, but I have never felt like I needed to get away, or thought wow why did I do this. I also don't think that by the end of it I will be burnt out on the Kinks at all, which for a thread that will likely run for two years, seems quite remarkable in itself.... but anyhow....

    The interesting thing about that is I think I am starting understand why there are sometimes some divisions on parts of the catalog, and how they fit together, and personal biases towards different sections of the catalog. Certainly not any kind of criticism, just an observation.

    I guess I am really just a song guy, and I don't think that the style of any given song particularly bothers me one way or another, but how it presents as a whole does, and the parts of it do..... ie does it all fit together musically and lyrically.... does the music have something interesting to offer ... do the lyrics have something interesting to offer... is there a musical or vocal performance on there that has something special to offer... and I think that's where my head is at when I look at songs. With albums it is about flow and feel and such.

    I think that I understand the leaning towards the sixties and for some the Showtune albums a bit better now.
    I don't tend to discriminate too much between styles, though I may find some styles more interesting than others.
    I can find a song interesting/unusual/different and not like it, and I can really like a song and not necessarily find it interesting/unusual/different.... I guess Ideally I find a song really interesting/unusual/different and really like it :) ...

    To some degree I think Something Else through Arthur, the band does some pretty interesting stuff, ie unusual or different... particularly it seems for the era.
    Preservation Act 1 and 2 are also pretty interesting ie unusual or different ... particularly for the era they are in. Rock bands doing plays and showtunes is quite different to prog/hard rock/metal etc and showtune type tracks are quite different to regular concept album type material.

    Now I really enjoy the Arista years a lot.... but the songs were less interesting/unusual/different in the sense of being completely different to the bands around them. They still have Kink Kwirks, but they are more standard in their presentation.... It doesn't make them lesser songs to me.
    The MCA era is a similar scenario to me.

    With 80 Days we have Ray diving headlong into his showtune pants (or footlong perhaps... hang on that sounds dodgy...), and particularly in an eighties context, that instantly makes things quite interesting, because from a contemporary perspective, who was doing that.... Andrew Lloyd Webber?... no disrespect, but I've found most of his stuff to be really dull. Ray brings that rock edge, and that Kink Kwirkiness to the idea of a showtunes/play soundtracks, however we want to look at it, and I think that's why this (non)release is so interesting...

    and the other thing is, to some degree, almost all of that adds up to why this was never recorded properly as an album, Ray solo or the Kinks, because it was just too outside the industries requirements, or whatever, for the era it was in.

    Now if that play had gone on to Broadway and been a hit?..... then I reckon we may have gotten an album in some way, shape or form.

    To some degree that speaks to the flaws of the business model for the music industry. Due to the necessity of everyone having an income and making money, it is more difficult to clear the oddities for release, and so we as the general public get these sort of filtered musical experiences based on what suits think is saleable.... in the majority of cases at least....

    Anyway, just another of my ponderous rambles... maybe someone can make sense of it :)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  12. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Ladies of the Night

    That first piano chord... I realize it's just one note/chord, but it sounds exactly like just the first note of Schooldays (which is one of the many RCA songs that I have been slightly obsessed with ever since I first heard it on the thread). So that is where my mind goes for that split second!

    But then, we go back to the oom-pah 1968 song style, combined with that beautifully emotive slow bridge that could come from the RCA period as well. With that accordion (synth?), that part almost reminds me of Oklahoma USA. The back and forth between those two sections as the song goes on is very entertaining!

    I love that Ray's doing all the voices here, but I have to think that if this were officially recorded as a released 80 Days soundtrack, even if primarily sung by Ray, this song would probably have several different voices. But I like it like this. There is something about the at-home demo-ish recordings that make this really a seamless experience across all these songs -- even when the song styles are pretty varying. It's one of the things I love about listening to the Village Green Preservation Society... While there is pretty high variety of song styles on that album, there is something unifying about how they were recorded... the sound of Mick's drums... the sound of Pete's bass... and here, with these 80 Days recordings, there is something unifying about Ray's raw vocals, the synth/piano/drum machine.... It's a singular sound that really ties it all together -- even in demo form. It's comforting, and who knows what an official recording for pressing would be different, and perhaps less unified.

    On a slightly separate note, to go back to yesterday's song.... Over the past two days, I have been talking to a friend who was telling me how stressed she has been, with losing her mother recently, and several other stressful situations... She's been suffering from insomnia recently because of this stress. So this morning, I briefly explained this thread and how yesterday's song made me think of her facing that adversity, and to provide some encouragement, I sent her a snippet of the lyrics and a link to the YouTube for Against the Tide, and she said: "I love this! I love the happy, upbeat sound to it. I will definitely be humming this to myself all day now." So let it be written that we now have at least one non-Avid who loves one of these 80 Days songs!
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  13. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    Ladies of the Night

    Have been taking this day-by-day due to various demands and obligations, so no idea what's coming next, but this daft wonderful mouthful of a song strikes me as equivalent to the "turn out the light, turn out the light" bit in Soap Opera -- a little bit of hanky-panky as a coda to the intro, before we launch off on our adventure.

    Great analysis above, @mark winstanley -- &, coincidentally, I was thinking along the same lines this morning.

    One reason I've been able to go on this journey beyond my previous Kinks Kutoff point (Misfits) is because I'm so fascinated by Ray as an artist and a human being. I'm interested in his multitude of narrative voices, in how he tells a story, in the bits and pieces of personal experience he includes, in the social context he weaves in, in what makes him angry & what gives him joy.

    In 80 Days, so far, there's a bit less of that. It's someone else's story based on someone else's story -- and though RD apparently brilliantly suggested that the musical center around Verne, it isn't RD's journey, and it's set long ago, in a kind of quasi-fantasy world.

    So I was thinking -- is 80 Days going to wind up with some grand social/personal/RD-specific statement the same way You Make it All Worthwhile kind of sums up Soap Opera and ties the story elements together in a rich emotional summation? And if it doesn't, will it matter?

    Leading me as well to --

    I just love the Kinks. Whatever they throw at me. Womb to tomb, sperm to worm. With very few exceptions, when RD pulls a bunch of words out from the aether and sets them to tune, I'm with him wherever it goes.

    Side note: In the VHS Storyteller clip above, it feels like the "fag" reference in Well Respected Man leads RD to spontaneously sing a bit of Hairy Rag. And the joy on his eyes when he does, and the audience starts to sing along! As Dylan says -- Ray's a song-and-dance man. An entertainer. Arena or music hall, around the piano in the front room or jumping around in his Headmaster's mask, performance is his essence, his passion, his everything.
  14. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Ladies of the Night"

    Another throwback to earlier days of The Kinks. Ray is sure having a ball! This album sounds like the most fun he has had on a record since the mid 70s. It's also the most fun I have had listening to Ray since the mid 70s. Hooray for Sir Davies!
    Yes! It makes me want to do the Groucho dance. "Hooray For Captain Spaulding!"
    Groucho dance at the 2:00 minute mark.
  15. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    Ladies of the Night

    I really love this one. When it first starts, I like the Can Can section well enough, - OK more light entertainment - but then the slow section comes on, and it, alternating with the fast Can Can section, really elevates this song to a top notch Ray song. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t absorbed Americana well enough to realize that Ray re-used the slow section of the song. Thanks @Fortuleo I’ll have to listen to Americana again soon.

    It’s funny that the song brought to mind the Baz Luhrman musical Moulin Rouge. I just did a quick check of the soundtrack, and didn’t really hear anything similar, but there it is - a static photo of the Baz movie right in the YouTube of the song, so it’s not just me. I did not get the idea from the video, though, as I was listening in the car without looking at my phone when I first heard the song.

    I finally made it through the whole album yesterday, playing the last few cuts when I went to pick up my visiting daughter and a friend from the railroad station last night, coincidentally after their having gone to see a musical on Broadway (Hadestown, which they loved by the way). The end of 80 Days perked up their ears enough to ask what it was. I told them Ray Davies, to which my daughter said “the Kinks right?”, but then asked who’s Jules Verne, as I continued my description,lol.
  16. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    Groucho was no slouch when it came to hoofin' it. The ol' soft-show. The ol' buck-and-wing. You can take the man out of vaudeville, but you can't take vaudeville out of the man...

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I loved watching You Bet Your Life reruns along w/Fernwood 2Night on Channel 56 in the late 70s. This is my favorite guest:

  18. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Against the Tide
    What a fun little song. It’s jaunty rhythm, sing-along chorus and positive sentiment make me want to play it again.
    That it’s intended to be sung by Verne and Fogg reminds me of something I read in Joe Rogan’s bio of Ray: apparently Ray had been reluctant to write songs for a theatrical version of the Verne novel until someone had the bright idea of making the story one played out entirely in Verne’s mind. I’d need to dig up the book to check the details, but I think it explains some of the meta aspects in some of the songs.

    Ladies of the Night
    I thought the previous song was jaunty but this one is jaunty on steroids. Ray’s unusual recourse to piano accordion is intended to place us with Fogg in a Parisian house of ill repute. It’s good, light fun - the song, not the brothel!
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    On The Map.

    stereo mix, recorded 16 Mar, 1987 at (possibly) Calliope Studios, New York

    Characters - Reform Club

    I said it was impossible
    But now it's highly probable
    That wretched man's unstoppable
    Be blown, now fancy that

    He's bypassed Scandinavia
    And passing through Romania
    Where on earth is Romania?
    (It's somewhere on the map)

    That man is simply quite beyond belief
    At least he's one of us, that's a relief
    (Blah blah blah blah blablablah
    Blah blah blah blah blablablah
    Blah blah blah blah blablablah
    He's somewhere on the map

    He's on the map (He's on the map)
    He's on the map (He's on the map)
    He's on the map (He's on the map)
    Somewhere on the map

    They thought it inconceivable
    But now it's quite believable
    That man seems quite unbeatable
    He's somewhere on the map

    He's on the map (On the map)
    He's on the map (On the map)
    He's on the map (On the map)
    Somewhere on the map

    They say he's got a crew in tow
    Oh really? Anyone I know?
    Darkies, frogs, well I'll be blown
    If so, I'll eat my hat

    He's on the map (He's on the map)
    He's on the map (He's on the map)
    He's on the map (He's on the map)
    He's somewhere on the map

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music, Ltd.

    Here we have the blokes at the Reform Club, and I suspect the main character that made the bet with Fogg, due to the opening "I" said it was impossible.
    Our main singer here is obviously a little perturbed about the whole scenario, because he obviously thought he was on a winner, and we see an all too common reaction to the idea of losing a bet. That negative portrayal, and attempt to drag the person's name through some kind of mud, associating it with things his audience may find unpalatable...
    "That wretched man's unstoppable"
    We also get the elitist angle, that makes it more bearable for them.
    "At least he's one of us"

    Now this song may be one that upsets? annoys? some folks, but I think it is contextual in its application.
    We get a couple of I suppose what are racial slurs, but as I say the usage is probably contextually correct for what it is trying to portray.
    The arrogance of these toffs in their fancy club, married with the annoyance that Fogg may well succeed and win the bet leads to questions about him having a crew....
    This results in the two racial slurs, common for the day, and common for the types being portrayed in the song.... and almost certainly not meant in any particularly mean spirited way.

    Musically this is sort of on the edge of a show tune type song ... It is an unusual track.
    It has a pulsing sort of feel, as if mapping the steps forward by Fogg, as the Reform Club folks ponder his progress.
    This is probably just about all keys, with the kick drum working to propel the song forward.
    The keys actually work pretty well in their layers, and they present this cartoon-like song, in a cartoon-like way ... and get the impression that this is intentional in portraying these particular toffs as somewhat cartoonish.

    Even the blah blah blah's are somewhat Pythonesque in the way they are used

    Again Ray is in his vocal acting mode, and carries it off well..

    Having said all that, it is probably my least favourite song... and it makes me think of Dora the Explorer, even though I'm not entirely sure who that is, but it's a name I know that ties to maps for some reason, and I think it's a cartoon.

    It fits in well with the story and style, and the whole play idea, but I wouldn't seek it out for a listen out of this album.

  20. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Another light bouncy tune, very much in line with the highly pythonesque flavor of the play. It’s short, yes, but it seems it was featured no less than three times in the actual musical, for comical relief. listening again this morning, I noticed for the first time that the verse is almost the exact same melody as the lullaby break of yesterday’s Ladies of the Night which would lead to Message from the Road years later… Of course, it’s barely noticeable given the heavy march rhythm, the hilarious/ clever lyrics and delivery («Where on Earth is Romania /it’s Somewhere on the Map ») and Ray’s goofy voices.

    The blablabla moment is by far my favorite, absolutely priceless. I’ve just listened to that bit in the context of the play and it’s wonderful, the crowd erupts in laughter, you can hear little children « getting it » and it gets applause mid-song… That’s what I call success!
  21. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "On The Map"

    This one is perhaps more music hall/parody/Python-like than Kinks-like, but Ray again shows his mastery of voices and melody in an enjoyable romp.

    The last verse certainly wouldn't make the cut today, even without any ill intent.
  22. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Ha I assumed those were placeholders for lyrics to be written later!

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    “Somewhere On The Map”: This is one of those songs where the title refrain is what some people call an “ear worm” these days. A nice song expressing the incredulity of the members of the Club that Fogg may actually win the wager. Just like Avid Luckless Pedestrian, I assumed that the “blah, blah, blah…” part were mere placeholders until Ray could find suitable lyrics. The lyrics show that the members of the Reform Club belong to the Drones Club instead.

    Also, Headmaster, Dora the Explorer is a cartoon character designed to teach children geography.

  24. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    About 2 years ago an old friend of mine met my daughter for the first time when aged 7.
    She told me with a good natured chuckle that my girl looked exactly like Dora The Explorer!
  25. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    On the Map: …and the (non) hits keep coming. Another wonderful old school Kinks song we have here. Another one that is just a hoot to sing along with. Best line of the song is of course:

    “(Blah blah blah blah blablablah
    Blah blah blah blah blablablah
    Blah blah blah blah blablablah
    He's somewhere on the map“

    I find this song pretty hysterical, even if it is obviously sort of slight. I can’t help but sing along, especially when he gets the part where he goes “he’s on the map, he’s on the map, he’s on the map”, going slightly deeper each time. I usually jump in on the second one, I’m sure it must naturally fit my singing voice!

    Six songs in and this is a great point (based on the next song) to note we somehow find us back to old school, short 'n' snappy Kinks songs. So far, 2 of 6 under 2 minutes? 2 more average under the 3 minute mark and yet one more still a fair bit under 4 minutes. The one long song so far, The Empire song, hits 5, but has enough going on, and going on in a good way, that it warrants the full 300 seconds it runs. So how 'bout that? I guess the Kinks obit was released a day or two early, because here again is proof positive that Ray can do what he wanted, when he wanted, and still be the unstoppable force he was back when YRGM conquered the charts almost 60 years ago.

    As an aside, regarding:
    My better half had not seen $8 Hours, which to me is quintessential Eddie Murphy. So we fired it up (Instant access through streaming is just one of the many joys of modern technology). She (mind you, she is a millennial) could hardly watch it due to the constant stream of "watermelon" and other racial slurs aimed at Eddie Murphy by Nick Nolte. i even cringed a little. It’s funny what a big difference 40 years can make as far as what’s OK to say and what’s not.

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