The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Face To Face- This album brings greater texture and variety to the performances. More attention to detail. The usual bevy of great Ray Davies songs are here but even 'lesser' material is made to shine. A special mention also to the band at this stage. The sound of their playing really does add an extra element to the sound of The Kinks. It's a satisfying and deep melodic sound. It's showcased well all during the disc. Acoustic guitars, gorgeous little harmony sections, Ray's syrupy voice. Classic music hall piano. The original 14 track 'Face To Face' album itself was the first, but happily not the last time The Kinks were artistically matching the finest long-playing efforts the greatest artists of the sixties produced.
    This album not only marks the Kinks at the beginning of their peak years, but it also marks the beginning of Brit-pop. Ray Davies seizes his control over Kinks. He comes up with all the ideas even though his brother Dave probably still wanted to rock out. Well, despite all that this album wasn't a big seller. Very little the Kinks ever did were commercial successes. It's unfortunate but true, but maybe it allowed them to concentrate on making great albums and that's just what they're gonna do.
    An outstanding effort, and one of the most groundbreaking rock records of 1966.There are so many great tracks on this album, it’s almost impossible not to love it. Even the lesser known cuts are of quality, which makes it The Kinks’s first really cohesive album from start to finish. It flows beautifully. The band had honed their craft and their songs, the album’s quality really shines.
     
  2. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Haven't seen many different album covers for Face to Face. I got the Greek one a couple of years ago. Besides the German one posted a few pages back is that it?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
    mark winstanley likes this.
  3. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    First off, I too got this, though that’s thanks to my Aussie wife, so it’s close enough of a reason!

    But on topic, Face to Face was an album I didn’t quite “get” when I first was diving into The Kinks world at 16. There weren’t enough “exciting” tracks, and nothing truly grabbed me. However, over the years, I actually listened to it properly, and I slowly got to grips with the fascinating lyrical themes, perfect musicianship, and all the little musical treats buried within. A huge turning point last year was making the Mixology episode on this album, breaking down every difference between the mono and stereo mixes. While it hammered home how limited the stereo mix is, it really helped me lift out every instrumental and vocal layer within the album, and really appreciate everything buried within it’s slightly crunchy exterior. I agree the late part of Side 2 is a little bit of a drop off, but at not point is it any less than good. The Mono Collection LP sounds fantastic, and I’m very happy to finally have an original Pye copy (even if it’s in stereo) to add to my Kollection. I’ll look forward to diving deeper as we go along this week.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    "Party Line"

    [​IMG]
    Norwegian single
    Single by The Kinks
    from the album Face to Face
    A-side
    "Dandy"
    Released October 1966 (Europe)
    Recorded 23 October 1965 – 21 June 1966 at Pye Studios, London
    Genre Garage rock[1]
    Length 2:38
    Label Pye 7N 317
    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
    Producer(s) Shel Talmy

    mono mix (2:32), recorded Apr 1966 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    So first up, we have a debate as to whether this is solely a Ray song, or if Dave wrote part or all of the music here.... An early pressing lists this as a Ray and Dave collaboration, and I believe that Dave says he wrote it in his autobiography ... so there is something to ponder already. Essentially Dave says that Ray helped him with the lyrics .... I'm not going to jump in and say that Ray was responsible for the writing credit, because particularly in the sixties, a record company could well have made the decision to have all the songs by Ray for effect, or to leave a particular impression, and again with limited information, we just need to take it that we don't know exactly what went down with the writing of this track.

    Also we have wiki stating that this was recorded over a period of time 23 Oct 65 - 21 June 1966 .... Whereas Kindakinks.net just says April 66, and from what we have learned so far the Pye records are not kept very well, so essentially we just need to accept that it was recorded sometime in a six month period, perhaps a basic track was done early and some changes or overdubs were done.... unfortunately I have no idea, but these are the details we are looking at.

    (Hello, who's that speaking, please?)

    I'm on a party line,
    Wonderin' all the time,
    Who's on the other end?
    Is she big, is she small?
    Is she a she at all?
    Who's on my party line?

    Wish I had a more direct connection.
    This party line was here when I arrived.
    And I'm not voting in the next election,
    If they don't do something about finding out
    the person who is on my party line.

    I'm on a party line.
    I'm on a party line.

    I can't speak without an interception.
    This is private, please get off my line.
    Please tell me when I can have my privacy.
    I'd like to meet the girl who's always talking
    when I'm speaking on my party line.

    Wish I had a more direct connection.
    This party line was here when I arrived.
    And I'm not voting in the next election,
    If they don't do something about finding out
    the person who is on my party line.

    I'm on a party line,
    Wonderin' all the time,
    Who's on the other end?
    Is she big, is she small?
    Is she a she at all?
    Who's on my party line?
    Who's on my party line?
    Who's on my party line?

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray/Carlin Music Corp.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    What is a Party Line?
    A party line (multiparty line, shared service line, party wire) is a local loop telephone circuit that is shared by multiple telephone service subscribers.[1][2][3]

    Party line systems were widely used to provide telephone service, starting with the first commercial switchboards in 1878.[4] A majority of Bell System subscribers in the mid-20th century in the United States and Canada were serviced by party lines, which carried a billing discount over individual service; during wartime shortages, these were often the only available lines.

    British users similarly benefited from the party line discount. Farmers in rural Australia and South Africa used party lines, where a single line spanned miles from the nearest town to one property and on to the next.[5] [6]
    -------------------------------------------------------
    So for anyone not familiar, and to be honest, although I had heard something about this kind of phone line, it is not something I am particularly familiar with.

    So interestingly the Party Line was a cheap rate phone call, and so would have appealed to a lot of folks who were budget minded.

    Anyway....

    The album opens with this track, and we get the telephone ringing, and then a somewhat posh English voice, that sounds a little like a BBC announcer of the day.
    Instantly this suggest that we are in for something a little different with this album.

    When the song starts we get a cool guitar riff, with a rock and roll accent, which is a really sensible way of opening the album. I am sure there were some folks that still wanted the Kinks to just rock out and keep with the style that had made them solid contenders at the time, and the song doesn't disappoint, we get an uptempo kind of rocker doesn't relent from start to finish.

    Lyrically we get this somewhat tongue in cheek look at how this party line works. I guess there is also a slight hint of paranoia, with the idea that we have no idea who is listening in to this conversation or even who we are talking to.... When we move that into the modern era, that seems even more poignant, as with the internet, we never have any idea who we are really talking to.
    I think it is pretty funny that we get the is she big, is she small, is she a she at all ... this is one of those conceptual continuity things that pops up in a few Kinks tracks, and comes to a terribly successful crescendo with the hit single Lola in another four years.
    I also find it funny that we get the line " I'm not voting in the next election ...", and we get that twice.... This is a serious matter for the person making the phone call :)
    To some degree this also relates well with the idea in the modern era that everyone is always being recorded and videoed, and privacy is almost a long lost luxury.

    Musically this track is an uptempo, bouncy and fun track. I love the arrangement and the guitar has some really nice lines. I like the way we move from the weaving arpeggios and into the staccato punch, that then rolls into that really nice riff inbetween the verses.
    I think Dave delivers a really good vocal, and I really like the way the chorus come sin just before the verse vocal finishes completely.

    Essentially for me this track works as a really good intro to the album. We have this somewhat familiar rock and roll that bounces along in a fun and engaging way, with some interesting tongue in cheek lyrics that are very entertaining. the song is quite short, but does everything it needs to do in the time allotted.

     
  5. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I have it on four cd's plus the vinyl which has now been cofined to the loft.

    1. Japanese cd (includes full lyric sheet for all 20 songs)
    2.The Deluxe Sanctuary edition from 2011
    3. The Castle one from 1998
    4. The Kinks PYE album collection 2001

    Number 4 may well be the same cd as number 3. Not sure. Not buying any more.
     
    mark winstanley likes this.
  6. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Party Line"

    A nice rollicking number to open the album, and for the third time in four albums it is Dave who gets the first vocal. Immediately it's apparent that a bit more time and care has been taken with the sound this time. Regardless of who wrote it, Dave is the star here with a great vocal and guitar part.

    Is it any coincidence that The Jam's Setting Sons also opens with the sound of a telephone ringing and a song about a persistent girl (?) at the other end of the dog and bone?
     
  7. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Re: Party Line authorship, there’s little doubt in my mind that this is mainly a Dave song that Ray only contributed minimally to in the lyrics and arrangement. Dave remembers writing it, Rays never claimed it, it’s credited to Dave/Ray on the original LP… but for me the smoking gun is Daves home demo that surfaced in a podcast interview last year. The Dave/Ray credit (similar to ‘Death Of A Clown’ the next year) I suspect represents Ray sticking his oar in to make sure his contribution was recognised, whereas if the song had been composed the other way round (Mainly Ray with help from Dave) you can bet it would have gone out solely credited to Ray and Dave wouldn’t have argued the point.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  8. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    "Hello, who is that speaking, please". That was one of their posh managers.
    What is a party line exactly? A crossed line? A telephone with an extension where someone is listening in? Never understood this bit.

    Edit: sorry, too quick on the draw - just read your explanation!
     
  9. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Party Line sounds like a 66 Beatles song performed by the 64 Beatles, only with harder guitars (obviously). It has a great drive and (once again) quite an unusual structure: it starts with a verse that may very well be the chorus, then goes to the “wish I had a more direct connection” bridge (or is it the actual verse?) which the Stones must've listened to attentively before making their own, er, Connection. But this part unexpectedly shifts midway with its wonderful minor chord change and a quick resolution, back to the guitar/chorus hook. OK, I realize I kinda lost myself in these verse/chorus/bridge/hooks definitions/depictions, but it's precisely the point I'm trying to make: this track is best experienced as an energy rush than as a classically structured piece of songwriting. But it has hooks everywhere, power (pop) all over it, and I see it as a precursor to what Badfinger would be doing just a few years later, Dave’s singing even bearing some similarities to that of Joey Molland.

    Now, to further justify my confusion about the various parts in the song: I don’t know many other tunes where the riff duplicates the vocal melody, which is then repeated multiple times to become the guitar solo. It's the exact same melody for the verse, the riff and the solo ! Superb rocking stuff, perfectly executed, living up to its “party” title and opening things up for this LP with an exhilarating bang.
     
  10. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Party Line is an excellent album opener, especially with the phone call intro. Well sung by Dave, who I suspect wrote most of it.
     
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Rosie Won't You Please Come Home.

    mono mix (2:30), recorded May 1966 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    This song is essentially written for/about Rosy Davies, the guys sister. She moved to Australia with her husband Arthur Anning in 1964, which to a great extent devastated Ray. Ray apparently broke down at the beach after a gig, and in Ray's words "I started screaming. A part of my family had left, possibly forever. ... I collapsed in a heap on the sandy beach and wept like a pathetic child". Dave added "All of a sudden, the fact that they were really leaving finally hit Ray. He ran to the sea screaming and crying." .... of course, this again adds to the conceptual continuity, with the Arthur album in three years time.

    We open with a somewhat mellow descending chord pattern, and I must say, a really nice bass line.

    Rosy won't you please come home?
    Mama don't know where you've been.
    Rosy won't you please come home?
    Your room's clean and no one's in it.

    Oh my Rosy, how I miss you,
    You are all the world to me.
    Take a look and see if you like it,
    If you like it please come back.

    Rosy won't you please come home?
    Since you've joined the upper classes,
    You don't know us anymore.
    Live and let your troubles pass.

    Rosy, Rosy, will you write and tell me,
    If you don't want to come back?
    I would sacrifice all I have
    To have a happy home once more.

    Rosy won't you please come home?
    Two long years have passed away.
    Since you tried to change your life,
    Christmas wasn't quite the same.

    Rosy, Rosy, got any answers?
    You are miles across the sea,
    And I'll bake a cake if you tell me
    You are on the first plane home.

    Rosy won't you please come home?
    Mama don't know where you've been.
    Rosy won't you please come home?
    Your room's clean and no one's in it.

    Oh my Rosy, how I miss you,
    You are all the world to me.
    Take a look and see if you like it,
    If you like it please come back.

    Oh Rosy, will you please come back?

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray/Carlin Music Corp.

    A song like this really strikes home for me.
    With England being such a small island with a pretty large population, and also the somewhat devastating effects on post war Britain, essentially starting the decline of one of the worlds great empires, England seemed to slump into somewhat of a depression, and to some degree I think this is where the working class graveyard humour comes from, and a lot of the things we've seen in the last 50-70 years....
    Anyway there was always a situation where Australia was advertised as somewhat the new promised land for folks in England unhappy with their lot, or struggling to find employment ... whereas Australia was this fairly new place where they needed people for jobs, and it was advertised as a great place for young families to start again. There was always a lot of friction between England and Australia, some quite lighthearted, and some not so lighthearted... there was also a strong competitive streak, in cricket and rugby and such ...
    I was born in Wigan in the north of England, right next to Liverpool, and in 1973 at the tender age of five we moved to Australia to try and find a new life, as the place we were living was somewhat sliding into unemployment, and all those kinds of things.
    It is very strange growing up with most of your family on the other side of the world, and I have no idea what it is really like to have grandparents .... It is a very interesting situation...
    Anyway, this song, and the Arthur album really bring home some interesting things that were directly part of my life, even if at the time I knew nothing of either.

    This is a very deceptive song, because it seem like it is going to be this mellowish kind of ballad, but it really brings a lot to the party, and it is far from being anything like a typical whimsical ballad.

    Lyrically this is quite heartbreaking as the younger brother begs his sister to come home, but even so there are some little humourous lines that keep it from being maudlin, or morose.
    Your Rooms clean and there's no one in it is funny to me, with the idea of the teenage girl with clothes strewn all over the place, but it also accents the loneliness... Sometimes the clean room is just a reminder that there is nobody there any more.
    I also like the idea put forward by "If you like it, please come back" ... with the idea that look, even if you like this distant place, please just come back anyhow.
    It is interesting that Ray also throws in the line "since you've joined the upper classes" .. and the theme of class is very consistent in the Kinks catalog, and hard to avoid in England.
    Look there are a lot of interesting lyrics here, that are very worth looking at a little deeper, but times a wastin'.

    Musically this is sublime. As I say we open with this ballad type track, but the change comes in beautifully, and it has a sort of dirty blues kind of feel to it, that completely changes the feel of the song, yet fits in perfectly.
    The instrumentation is wonderful and the harmonium (i believe) is such a beautiful way to augment the track.
    I love the way the instrumentation in the change follows the vocal melody too.

    This is one of those tracks on here that initially just sailed passed me. I didn't dislike it, it was just there and didn't particularly capture my attention until I really listened to it.
    I am assuming this is going to get comparisons to the Beatles She's leaving home, which is essentially just under a year away. It is very likely that McCartney was inspired by this song, to write that one, but to me they are completely different types of songs. The Beatles track is quite beautiful, and it is a song I really like, but this Kinks song has much more grit to it. It has an earthy quality that for me at least is a little more gripping, and the vocal delivery from Ray isn't about being pretty, it's about being seriously hurt.

    Anyway this is a wonderful track that I think deserves attention from anyone that it may have slipped by...
    A lot to say, but no time left to say it..... but I know you guys will fill in all the blanks.


     
  12. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    Over here in the states, a party line was one that families shared, I guess for a lack of wiring infrastructure? You might pick up the phone to call out and find your neighbor was already on the line engaged in another call. You'd have to wait to make your call. I remember my folks and my granny talking about those days.
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Nice post mate. I didn't even try to decide what's what there lol
     
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  14. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    I just wanted too take a moment to thank everyone for the education on this band. I've thoroughly enjoyed discovering so many great songs. I originally thought that a singles collection or two would cover me on these early years. So many quality deep cuts, I am humbled and amazed.
     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Although well known for the singles, the Kinks are one of the great overlooked bands.
    I love the Beatles, Stones, Who, Yardbirds, Animals etc, but for me, The Kinks were the cream of the English sixties bands...
    Not trying to start a thing folks, just my humble opinion :)
     
  16. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Rosie… Just wonderful to hear your australian sentiment.
    Now, if you’re a 20 years old French guy buying the first CD reissue of Face to Face in 1990, because it’s got Sunny Afternoon on it, it's another (much less compelling) story, but this is still the song that will get you hooked for life with this band ! I tell it like I lived it: I was hoping for more of that delightful blend of blues, pop, music-hall, cabaret, baroque influences and empathy, and this second track was where I first got what I was looking for. There was indeed plenty more of that sensitivity, character, acting/singing and melodic genius where Sunny Afternoon came from!
    All these years later, two things still make the song for me and still get me whenever I listen to the it: the ascending chords and melody set on the descending bass pattern, which creates a pleading openness to the first line that is just as unusual as it is breathtaking ; then the entry of the harpsichord on the second verse just blows my mind every single time. Every. Single. Time. It’s such a great move to use this instrument on what is essentially a blues song… I think it’s the first ever use of a harpsichord on a Kinks track and that in itself makes it a historical recording for me, as I see them (among many other accolades) as the greatest harpsichord band in pop music, as we’ll come to appreciate even more in the days (then weeks) to come. Starting tomorrow!!
     
  17. Fred1

    Fred1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Zurich
    And another great rendition of th
    The best is yet to come. :)
     
  18. Williamson

    Williamson Forum Resident

    I was about to make the same point and no - I think it's a deliberate nod by Weller. They'd already paid tribute to The Kinks on their previous album.
     
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Dave doing ‘Party Line’ live, 90s or 00s I think:

     
  20. Williamson

    Williamson Forum Resident

    I always imagine an over-arching pun in Party Line: the double meaning of the Party Line as explained by Mark above but also the idea of towing the line/towing the party line. I think this is underlined by the excellent lyric about not voting in the next election, which I always smile at. I'm probably completely wrong about this, but that's how I always hear the lyrics.

    Great rocking opener.
     
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Marianne Faithful’s take on ‘Rosie’, from 1967:

     
  22. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Party Line- a real dud to start off the album to me. This a world away from the pop wonderland of their singles of the time. I don't like Dave's vocal or the very one-note bludgeoning tune. The lyrics are good, I like the lyric about going on electoral strike.

    Rosie is much better, though as a bluesy song I dismissed it for a long time. I'm not much of a blues fan (at least the way the Kinks do it) which probably my greatest stumbling block with the band. But it does have that beautiful harpsichord, which make sit sound less bluesy and therefore better, and the lyrics are very touching, what with the personal angle. I'd put somewhere in the middle in how I rate all the tracks on this album.
     
  23. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Party Line - I don’t hear 64-66 Beatles in this. To my ears, I don’t hear either John or Paul writing this repeated riff and melody. There’s another much later on this album that sounds like a song that a particular Beatle wishes he wrote in 65 or 66. That’s all I’ll say for now. It’s a fun rocker/opener, but nothing earth shattering.

    Rosie - this one was certainly grown on me. The “your room’s clean and no one’s in it” as Mark said is just profound. It says so much in just 8 words. I picture it untouched, exactly as it was when she left, like either a memorial or a hope that she’d return and things would just back to exactly the way they were. But Ray knows they won’t happen. He pleads that he’d bake a cake to welcome her, but he knows he doesn’t bake and she won’t come home anyway so she won’t be calling his bluff. But maybe I am reading too much into that. One of my favorites on the album.
     
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  24. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Let's be honest - England back in the 70's was a dreary place in many ways. I cannot remember now who described Britain as the sick man of Europe but, whoever it was, they had a point. Uprooting your family and moving to Australia, whether it was the 1950's or later must have been heart-wrenching for those involved.

    Ray does his usual with this, a tragic story with some very funny lyrics "and I'll bake a cake if you tell me you are on the first plane home". I never listen to this track without listening to the whole album but that doesn't mean to say I think any less of it. I find it a difficult listen, despite the humour and charm, because of the subject matter.

    On first hearing the album, with Party Line you get lulled into thinking we are in for a rollicking good time with Face to Face. But then we get Rosy and perhaps things are not what they seem. A great opening track followed by, for different reasons, another.
     
  25. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Party Line

    This is a jaunty, infectious number and a good choice for the opening cut.
    Incidentally the upper class voice on the telephone you hear is that of co-manager Grenville Collins.
    Someone also mentioned this upthread but I too (on initial listens) immediately picked out Party Line & Sunny Afternoon as immediate stand outs.
    Today i find it a fun, lightweight & propulsive number with engaging guitar licks though not atypical of the album overall.
     

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