The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. dirkster

    dirkster Forum Resident

    McKinney, TX, USA
    yup - my grandma and grandpa in Missouri had a “party line” telephone back in the day. (1970’s) If you picked up the phone to make a call you had to check first and make sure nobody was talking. Totally foreign concept now. Almost as weird as having a phone that always has to be connected to the wall.
  2. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Party Line"

    I must be honest and admit I always thought this was the weak link on the album and a bad choice for opening song. It starts out a bit abrasive and maybe it would have been better with Ray on lead vocal or a better balanced mix of vocals? Last night I listened to the entire album and played this song again several times this morning. I never thought about a Beatles or a Stones "Connection". I can now hear both and I must say this song has finally sunk its hooks in me. @Fortuleo even mentioned Badfinger and I agree that Dave does sound reminiscent of Joey Molland. I have changed my tune on this song. It is no longer a weak link or a song I will skip from now on.

    "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home"

    Maybe I always thought the opening track was weak because I wanted to quickly skip ahead to this song! Now we are talking about a Kinks song that easily sits near the top of the heap. Excellent vocal, lyric, guitar sound, harpsichord, and listen to those drums! Oh how I love this record and music in the grand year of 1966. I was thinking last night while listening to the album that while we can all comment on the greatness of each individual track, each track becomes even greater in the context of the entire album. I will probably be repeating myself a lot in the next couple of months. Every song will be referred to as one of their best! :D
  3. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    An interesting point made by Rogan about the song Rosie is that she was married (to Arthur) before she emigrated to Australia. So, even if she hadn't left the country she still had left the family home. But Arthur seems to have been airbrushed out of the story as Ray wishes Rosy to return to the imaginary empty bedroom in Denmark Terrace, not the marital abode in Highgate.

    Rogan goes on to say "He sounds uncannily like a child whose mother has been taken away, without explanation. That disorientation is echoed in the description of the broken, morose matriarch, seemingly unable to adjust to her daughter's departure, while keeping her old room intact and unaltered, like a shrine"
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    For interest sake.
    Did Mick get to play drums on all of these tracks?
    FJFP and Rockford & Roll like this.
  5. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    England’s dreariness probably began due to the devastating economic impact of WWI although the full effects began to show with the post WWII dissolution of the empire. The devaluation of the pound in 1967 was a major signpost, occurring the year after the release of Face to Face.

    The sick man of Europe sobriquet began to be applied after that devaluation. It’s first use was in reference to the Ottoman Empire and began in the mid nineteenth century and continuing through WWI. Since then the term has been applied to no less than seven countries.
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Just for some insight, perhaps, here is a little documentary (rockumentary, because we need to sound cool) that really does get under the skin of Ray and Dave particularly.
    It does cover a couple of things we haven't got to yet, but I think it is time for a bit of a doco, for folks to get a little more intimate with the band.

    There is at least one more doco that I will be posting, but that is a couple of albums away, and should be a very good lead in to the album, while covering the back history as well.

    This one is in four parts
    Ray ends this one by saying "I'm always wary of doing interviews, because my work is better than I am, I just don't live up to it"

    Part 1

  7. warren

    warren Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    Holy crap. How did I never catch that? Thank you for this. Now I like the song even better. I always liked the "next election" line, but whoa!
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  11. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: Since I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, the voice you hear talking at the beginning belongs to Grenville Collins.

    :kilroy: This track is often compared to The Rolling Stones' "Connection" which came out a month or two later, for an obvious reason. They are both what are known as a "Two-Step." Both groups had previously recorded songs with this type of meter, ("Got My Feet On The Ground" and "Surprise Surprise" respectively), and both tunes are more musically interesting than their predecessors. Interestingly, side 2 of Face To Face also opens with a two-step.
    :kilroy: More than any other cut on the album, this is the one that would've been a greatly improved sonic experience, had there been some way of giving it a wide stereo mix. Beginning with the line "Oh My Rosie, How I Miss You...", there are so many instruments competing in a cramped space, that they slightly drown out Ray's voice. It would be great to hear this with the rhythm guitar shoved way to one side, the harpsichord shoved way to the other, the bass and lead guitar at 10:00 and 2:00 o'clock respectively and the drum kit scattered all over the spectrum, with only Ray's voice remaining in the middle.

    Ray's odd pronunciations can be confusing sometimes. After all these decades, it still sounds to me like he's singing "Since You've Joined The Apple Forces." He might've had some snide things to say about "Revolver," but there's no question that the sequencing of this LP probably was influenced by it, opening with a rocker, followed by the album's most baroque track. While it doesn't have a chorus, I like the way the verses are divided into two sections, the first half being a Zombies like chord progression and the second having no chords, but just Ray's voice singing in tandem with the single notes being plucked out on guitar, bass and possibly one of the lower octaves of a piano. It also makes really good use of the "Walk Don't Run" chord progression as the intro, the ending of each verse, and the fade-out.
  12. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    "Party Line" is a fun catchy rocker to open the album, much like "Milk Cow Blues." It's the least serious of all the tracks lyrically. While it does stick out a bit compared to what comes after, I've always loved it and found it a fun sing-along. "Is she big, is she small, is she a she at all?" The whole "I'm not voting in the next election" kind of reminds me of Chuck Berry in "Thirty Days" where he threatens to take the case of his missing woman to the United Nations. In both cases I doubt the people you will air your problems to will care all that much. They've got bigger problems. Making a song out of a topic like this shows the guys still have their sense of humor.

    "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home" has been one of my favorites since first hearing it. My first copy called it "Rosie" but it seems the original label said "Rosy." Does anybody know the story behind this? I loved how different the arrangement was with just the drums and bass, then that tasty harpsichord and the guitar that enters only for the choruses with a slight indian feel. A highlight of the album, in my opinion. He was really inspired for this one. Sadly, Rosie and another sister Joyce would die 3 weeks apart from each other in 2014.

    My first copy was the 2004 CD on Sanctuary Midline and they used that alt. cover as the back of the booklet, so you could flip it and make it your own if you wish.
  13. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Excellent! Thanks.
  14. jomo48

    jomo48 Forum Resident

    Davis CA, USA
    I wouldn't claim that Face To Face is the Kinks' best album, but it's the one I return to most often. It's like a switch from black and white to color, or pencil sketches to paintings. The arrangements are more varied and developed, with Nicky Hopkins showing himself as rock's premier colorist. Ray's character studies are less snide and more nuanced. Songs range from reflective to atmospheric to rocking. If the first three albums sound as if they were bashed out to get product on the streets, these songs seem to have been allowed to find their own musical personalities. It's the start of a three album peak that stands with anybody's best work.
  15. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    Yes, and continued to do so until Misfits where Nick Trevisik substituted on three tracks and Clem Cattini did some overdubs.
    ajsmith and mark winstanley like this.
  16. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

  17. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    Green Acres starred the 46 year old Eva Gabor (Zsa Zsa’s younger sister) and the 59 year old Eddie Albert.
  18. Jon H.

    Jon H. Forum Resident

    Raleigh, NC USA
    Loving the thread - barely able to keep up.

    It has been stated upthread that Face to Face was indeed hard to find on vinyl in the US in the '70's, and generally fetched high prices (for then!). My first copy was purchased in 1978, and was still sealed, and I believe I paid $35 for it. I loved it immediately and played it often, marveling at its songs, the arrangements, and the colorful cover. My copy was on the tri-tone "steamboat" Reprise label, and I don't believe it was ever reissued in the '70's past its initial release in 1966.

    Years later, I borrowed a friend's US mono copy to record a cassette. I knew of some mono and stereo differences between albums by this time, and was on the hunt for any mono LP to compare. When the "Session Man" track began {I know I'm jumping the gun on the thread here!} I fell out of my chair - there was a harpsichord intro! My stereo copy did not have the harpsichord intro, and began with the line "He never will forget at all...".

    Slowly, it began to dawn on me: I compared the two covers, and the mono cover had bright and vivid colors, and the stereo one looked kind of muted. The mono cover also had one of those "rivets" punched in the cover, and the stereo cover had...a picture of the drill-hole. I knew then that I had a counterfeit copy! A pretty good one though, as the sound was acceptable and in stereo and the steamboat labels looked great. Needless to say I remedied the situation at a record convention and bought a non-counterfeit stereo copy - for $45! The counterfeit was traded in to my local record store.

    Anyone else have a US stereo counterfeit? Check your Session Man intro!
  19. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Party Line
    Starting it off with the hoity "Hello, who's that speaking, please?" simply makes me laugh. Fun song to kick off this album. Dave's vocals are excellent...maybe my favorite so far?!

    It took me awhile to warm up to this one after hearing it some time back. I didn't know the history behind the lyrics and clearly wasn't paying close attention to the words, so figured it may be another long lost girl to the singer. But nope. After reading some biographies in the past 1/2 year, you learn that Ray was very close to to Rosie - she was a de facto mom to Ray. The Davies house was quite chaotic so Ray would run away to her house to stay for periods of time. Dave & Ray often bring up how they weren't raised together in their younger years due to this; that it was the music that really brought them together as brothers. After knowing all this, it made the song so sweet and meaningful that I was hooked. Ray's vocals sound so pathetic and lovely. Lots of subtle humor in it, too, which is endearing.
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I brought out an old I-pod that I haven’t played in over a year and have it on shuffle. What are the odds? Muswell Hillbilly! It’s a sign!
  21. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    Telephone rings. Upper class voice answers.

    When we first got a phone in the sixties I always remember my mother would answer with a very posh accent. She thought this was how you should speak on the new-fangled telephone. So maybe this guy isn't as upper class as he sounds.

    Musically a bit of a knees-up drum wise, but the jangly guitar that develops throughout the song gives it a satisfying mid-sixties edge.

    Lyrically we have something of a conceit. Dave is asking for an improved connection when in fact he wants a direct connection to a female he can hear speaking on his phone. But if he didn't have a party line (which he's supposedly complaining about) he would never even have the opportunity to hear this girl's voice.

    So a humourous song to start things off. Full marks for originality. Somewhat less for the musical impact.


    I think we need to make a distinction between what people know about Ray's personal life and what we hear in the song.

    For example, Australia is never mentioned, right? We can only assume from what we hear that Rosy is far away and left home two years ago for a better life with the upper classes (meaning basically earning more money and probably owning your own house and a nice car) and Rosy has cut her ties with her family (Mama don't know where you've been).

    The emphasis is not on Rosy but on Ray's non-acceptance of the situation. It's almost as if he feels betrayed by this ex-member of his family.

    And I think he secretly knows that a clean room and a cake won't be enough to tempt her back!

    Musically, some nice harpsichord to give the song an, as yet, unusual texture. Again full marks for originality. A middle break with harpsichord or guitar would have been nice to liven up proceedings.
  22. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Take care of business.... I, for one, will look forward to your return when we get to the RCA years. I have no doubt that we'll have plenty of expert discussion over the next few albums, but appreciation for the RCA albums is is both less frequent and less enthusiastic. I also have a deep appreciate for the forgotten gems there and I'm sure a rested @Martyj will be both necessary and welcome at that point.
  23. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    I'm definately old enough to remember party lines. They seem so quaint compared to today's world.
    We had a lady down the street that loved to talk and would control the line hours at a time. Once my
    mother got so pissed off she started screaming at her to relinquish the phone. Nosy people would eavesdrop on personal conversations and gossip about them later. See the world was pretty strange
    back then too.
  24. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Party Line-(Hello, who's that speaking, please?) is hilarious, sounds uppity, the type ray loves to poke fun at. "Party Line" romps home in familiar Kinks fashion yet things get stranger and more wonderful after that. It is definitely an upbeat and poppy track.

    “Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home” is slightly more interesting, as it introduces the subject of how the strict class separations in 1960’s Britain could divide even those in the same family. This is a real classic. It's an extremely tuneful, mid-tempoed rocker/ballad. Even so, it's not the rockers, which are already on the way out, but rather the little pictures of ordinary British life (Please correct me if necessary, I'm not British) that make this album. Ray’s yearning for a return to familiar creature comforts will be a recurring theme for a long while.
  25. HadgeTunes

    HadgeTunes Forum Resident

    New York, NY
    Just popping in to say "Rosie" is a Top 10 Kinks tune for me. It slinks in perfectly after the rave-up of "Party Line" and really declares a new mission statement for the band, planting the seeds that would blossom with "Arthur." Love it.

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