The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    This crass character has so much money that he doesn't care what others think of him.

    Revolutionary Ray is here to avenge the working class - "One of these days I'm gonna knock him off of his throne".

    But one suspects that Ray is secretly jealous of this guy's freedom much in the same way he seems in the end to actually like that Dandy bloke.

    After all, isn't it a good thing not to need sedatives to go to sleep? And we all know Ray likes his sleep.

    And isn't it refreshing to be knowingly wicked when being well-respected just invites criticism for being conformist?

    Musically fun, a bit too repetitive for my taste, but with a fine guitar solo.

    And what's with the "weekend days" Ray? I know you love the word "day" but this is getting silly. Are we now supposed to say "Have a good weekend day." ?


    A "day" with a difference ... so Ray wins a trip to the shiny briny and gets to live like the rich on a fancy vacation.

    And what happens? He realises it's all a sham. PVC grass skirts for this plastic man on holiday.

    And worst of all he ends up feeling very English and out of place as the mocking musical signature indicates.

    Yellow submarine wave sounds complete the picture.

    But it all comes together so well.

    Joyously, even devilishly, true to life.
  2. renderj

    renderj Forum Resident

    Two pleasant Chuck Berry style rockers today. The lyrics are what is most notable. Raymond as social observer (and sometimes critic) - I find it interesting that Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys often equate freedom with material goods (cars for example), straight and simple; in the UK, bands like the Kinks or Stones describe financial success in a much more complex fashion: your house in the country and big sports car may lead to more debt, an empty lonely existence, or your 19th nervous breakdown.
  3. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    My first post on this thread - sorry I missed the earlier albums. Like other artists in the 60s this year was a big transition point for the Kinks, both musically and lyrically. I’ve just reacquainted myself with the 2016 Mono Collection LP, which sounds fantastic.

    A House in the Country
    Ray’s lyrics skewer an unpleasant man who might now be called an upper class twat. It’s not one of Ray’s generic characters though - I wonder if he was someone Ray encountered. I don’t get a hint of jealousy. It’s a fast, rollicking song and it’s hard not to shout ‘oh yeah’ at the appropriate times.

    Holiday in Waikiki
    The first song on Side 2 is another fast-paced rocker. This time the lyrics are funny. Ray bemoans the crass commercialism of a popular tourist destination well before most of us even noticed that sort of thing. An early example of his keen observational skills in action.
  4. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    These are both excellent rockers. @renderj is right that the highlight of the two songs today are the lyrics. Musically they aren't super interesting, but Ray has a story to share. "House in the Country" is more concise than some of his other attacks. He sounds a bit jealous as this guy still has the car he lost in "Sunny Afternoon." Bouncy tune and nice guitar solo. "Holiday in Waikiki" finds Ray delivering the lines rapidly. This song is real cool. Always loved what fun these tracks are. They've got the Hawaii vibe going full-on. "Even when I'm swimming I have to pay." If only you knew where this was headed! Nice tracks.
  5. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Well spotted.

    When we get to Sunny Afternoon on the album this rich guy has got his comeuppance. As predicted, he's fallen from his throne and as we're about to find out, he's had to put his house up for sale.
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I am not completely sure of the timeline, but just before we move on to today's songs, a question for all you experts in the timeline of band events....

    Ray bought a house that Dave thought was more middle class at some point around these years, and to some degree Dave thought Ray was now a toff, in some ways....

    What are the chances that House In The Country is somewhat self mocking, or written from Dave's outside perspective of Ray's situation? ... or in fact some kind of hybrid of both?
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  7. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    According to Hinman's book, Ray's move from the suburbs to a bigger house in Bournemouth didn't happen till July 1968, so two years later. I've never thought about how ironic it was that Ray wrote a song predicting (to an extent) his own change in abode though!
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Most Exclusive Residence For Sale

    mono mix (2:49), recorded Apr 1966 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    It was the biggest house in the neighborhood.
    He went and bought this house when he made good.
    Ten bedrooms and a swimming pool,
    Where he entertained all the people that he knew.
    But he hit the hard times and had to sell out.
    Most exclusive residence for sale.

    He went and spent all the money that he had.
    Because he had a heart and not a head.
    He spent it all on girls and fancy jewelry.
    Then he found himself in front of a judge and jury,
    And the judge said to pay up, our you must sell out.
    Most exclusive residence for sale.

    He had to tell all the servants to go away.
    Couldn't even afford to pay their way.
    He took to the bottle and drunk himself down,
    Then he soaked away all the troubles and let them drown.
    Then he saw a notice on the wall,
    Most exclusive residence for sale.
    Most exclusive residence for sale.

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

    It is really hard not to notice the linking theme, and even the thematic movement between House In The Country, Most Expensive Residence For Sale and Sunny afternoon.
    The rich pratt, who is rude and arrogant, and treats everyone like dirt is flying high in the first. The we have things falling apart for this fellow in Most Exclusive Residence, and then we have the comeuppance, great levelling or whatever coming together with Sunny Afternoon..... One could get quite obtuse and suggest that perhaps this guy is the Session Man, after years of getting paid well to "not think but just play" ... Some of the other songs could be circumstantial songs that effected him during his life, and also some songs about people around him .... I don't know really, there just seem to be some interesting possible links in some of these songs.... It makes me wonder even more about how these songs were going to be linked, and makes me a little more annoyed at Pye for their short sighted censorship..... anyway, sorry about the sidetrack there, just a couple of thoughts I wanted to throw out there. .... also "He spent it all on girls and fancy jewelry" somewhat speaks to Dandy .... anyway

    This to me is another really excellent song.
    The way this song is constructed and delivered is really very interesting, because to some degree it is slightly sympathetic, or at least detached in its delivery. "Because he had a heart and not a head", suggests that this guy isn't some evil capitalist opportunist, but more a guy made good, who wasn't really that clever, and lacked the foresight to acknowledge the realities of success ... If this was truly someone in the Upper Classes, it is unlikely that a series of bad decisions would completely destroy them, old money dies hard, it doesn't generally just disappear. Also we get the set up at the beginning that this guy was a guy that made good, so he had been either working or middle class, and scratched his way into the upper reaches....
    These things seem to make it look like these songs are about social climbers rather than the elite upper class .... and sadly the reality of social climbers, is that often, and perhaps even generally, they step on folks to get into the upper reaches, why most/many are pleased to see them fall back down again....

    This may be way off base, but I also wonder if Ray had been listening to the Frank Zappa and The Mothers debut, or vice versa, released in 1966 ... I don't know the exact framework, and it mainly comes down to the delay in release and if there was any further studio work done in between times ... Freak out was recorded in March 1966 and released in June 1966 for the record..... N ow the thing that makes me ask this question, is the kind of munchkin type backing vocals, which is certainly an ingredient of the Zappa album and appears here, as almost a sarcastic mocking .... That is part of the reason I see it as really interesting the way this song is set up, because the main vocal is almost sympathetic, and at least somewhat detahced, but the backing vocals have almost a nyah nyah nyah kind of sound and feel, that lend themselves towards a mocking tone. Anyway, lots of interesting thiungs about this track.

    Musically this is wonderful. I really like the feel, and we have some really nice riffs and links. I really like some of the chord changes as well, and they lend themselves to this track having a great melody.
    There are also a few riffs and links that sound like they get developed later in the discography to great effect in other songs.

    For me this is another gem of a track, and the deeper I get into this album the better it seems to me.

  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter


    mono mix (2:27), recorded 14 May, 1966 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Fancy, if you believe in what I believe in,
    Then we'll be the same, always.
    Fancy, just look around thee
    If you will fancy all the girls you see, always.

    My love is like a ruby that no one can see,
    Only my fancy, always.
    No one can penetrate me,
    They only see what's in their own fancy, always.

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

    This track is wonderful .... here we have the musical feel and sound of See My Friends taken to the next level.
    We have a very definite eastern vibe about the music and melody, and I think it may even work better.

    We open with a beautiful acoustic guitar arpeggio, and then the bass comes in with a sort of drone like sound and delivery with the slides, and it gives this a really direct eastern feel that comes over really well to me.
    It is almost hypnotic in its delivery and Ray is really in the zone with the vocal, it comes across beautifully to me.

    Again it is extremely interesting that Ray has beaten the Beatles to the punchline, but this is hidden by the Pye failure to get the job done. Love You Too comes out in August, so the chances of Ray having heard it seem very slim, and to me this does a better job of delivering a contemporary pop/rock song, in the form of an eastern vibe .... and interestingly again, it sounds to me like The Kinks didn't need to use eastern instruments to achieve this sound.

    From a chord perspective this is just a I, IV, V, but the way it is presented gives it way more tha a I, IV, V sound.

    After three fairly stomping rockers, this is a nice return to the wonderful diversity of side one.

    They are really interesting lyrics too. The term Fancy seems to be used as a name, but also a description, and it leaves things slightly open to interpretation.
    Parts of this seem to be, possibly directed towards Dave.... and in a way in the first lyric section, it seems like Fancy is being substituted or at least related to Dandy...

    Ray gets very direct, in a way, in the second set of lyrics. He shows a lot of self examination and self awareness ...
    "My love is like a ruby that no one can see" seems from my perspective to suggest, look I am filled with love, but I don't show it very well, because I am damaged. "No one can penetrate me" seems to suggest that he knows that the protective layer he has surrounded himself in is keeping people out, so that the ruby of his love is not visible, and is unlikely to be.

    The percussion track works really well too on this track, and the way the song closes out it beautiful and ominous to some degree ....

    I think this is a wonderful deep cut, and really adds some flavour to the album, lyrically and musically.

  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers mate
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  11. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Funny how things are. Here we were yesterday, discussing Stones, Chuck Berry and/or Beach Boys influences. But this Most Exclusive Residence for Sale is 1000% Kinks and its melodic flair is 1000% Ray Davies.
    The opening vocal line alone is stunning: after the ascending guitar riff, the singer comes in like it’s not even the first but second melodic phrase, and that's what brings us along so nicely, with a lightness of touch that will come to define a lot of Ray's tunes. Everything from there is even more idiosyncratic, the chord changes, the metrics, the slightly theatrical performance, that helps Ray find unconventional structures and ideas. Lyrically, this is not a portrait song but a clever story song, almost working like a social fable, which is a nice development already started in Waikiki. And musically, it is 1000% Kinks in the Village Green sense of the word, something that lives in its own self-contained Kinks world. They’ve had some better songs on this LP and before, but it’s the first tune that would sit perfectly at home on their 1968 whimsical masterpiece.
  12. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    For me, this is the best track on the album - the drone is just hypnotic, and the vocals are perfect.
  13. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Fancy is just a lovely, lovely existential follow up to See My Friends, only a little too short. I think we all wish we’d hear more of Dave’s acoustic guitar commentaries he starts in the end. With the same elements, the Doors would’ve made a 10 minutes epic, whereas the Kinks just make a 2mn cryptic musical haiku, creating a lethargic dreamy state, like listening to smoke swirls and losing yourself in them. And what a wonderful feeling it is!
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Really sharp observation....
    Now you mention it, I can hear the Doors The End being inspired by this.... not saying it was, but they are both in D and they both have that hypnotic dream state flowing through them.

    I certainly wouldn't have complained about this track being longer
  15. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    While House, Exclusive and Sunny certainly form a three selection song cycle - all concerning wealthy men and their luxury houses- they do not constitute a unified story. Not unless you are willing to neglect the clear inconsistencies. The character in House was born into wealth - no session man he - the subject of Exclusive had to create his wealth, and Mr. Sunny could be either character or simply another man of (former) wealth.The songs are like a series of short stories with similar themes rather than chapters in a novel.
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Fair call, but many novels have contradictory information.
    It was just a fleeting thought
  17. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Most Exclusive Residence For Sale"

    By this stage of the album, it's easy to start taking this kind of great song for granted, but it's worth taking the time to appreciate it. Like "House In The Country" the lyric is very descriptive and visual, again it's like a mini screenplay, which Ray delivers with the expressiveness of an actor. No music video is necessary for this one. It's not especially a rocker, but it's still a very solid and gritty performance, with the twangy riff that links the verses being very effective. It's just a great mid-60s-period Kinks song of the kind that no other band would be likely to do, and which would fit on any of three albums.


    And now for something completely different...just a wonderful hypnotic, trancy vibe that's over far too soon. The second verse (or third & fourth verses depending on how you're counting) sound a little Morrissey-esque. I wonder if Croz was listening to this one? - I can hear a bit of this in "Mind Gardens".
  18. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    'Most Exclusive Residence For Sale'; other than 'Sunny Afternoon' (which as a preceding single doesn't totally count in the same way imo) this seriously might be my favourite song on the album. The lyrics combine with the drive of the music in such a cinematic way, I can see every scene in my head as it plays out: in particular the 'and he found himself in front of a judge and jury' has total smash cut energy, to attempt to use some contemporary vernacular.

    The whole story of the decline and fall of this guy is a bit like a Rakes progress series of prints by Hogarth, or more precisely the 20th century update to the series done by the cartoonist Ronald Searle for Punch magazine in the 50s: and that's the spirit I think a song like this should be taken in: it's slightly cartoonish and mocking, but also affectionate, and the level of observational detail raises it above being just a funny joke story: there is empathy through shared recognition there, even if it's viewed through a comedy distance lens.

    Those backing vocal 'ba ba ba bas' are so unexpectedly fun and add to this slightly detached but at the same time warm vibe, like a vaudeville Greek chorus underlining each downward stumble the protagonist's life takes: As with the 'bake a cake' line in Rosie, to me this addition walks the line of camp without falling into the pit of kitsch if that makes sense. I don't think they could have been Zappa influenced, as this was prob recorded April/May 1966, and 'Freak Out' came out June: it's more a shared sense of the ridiculous. Also, your mileage may vary, but I detect a sliver of a bit more warmth in this song that there is in the satire on Zappa's debut magnum opus. If The Kinks have some of the middle england wryness of Punch magazine, Zappa is more like the grotesque commercial bacchanallian of MAD.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Interesting to see the speculation that Fancy could have been extended into an epic in say the hands of The Doors: here's The Kinks fresh back in the US in late 1969 performing a longer slightly Fancy for the benefit of the Woodstock Generation:

  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Most Exclusive....:
    I gather my reaction to this goes against the grain because I absolutely hate this. Ruins a perfectly good, in fact a stellar, song. Just out of nowhere.

    I may accept it if the sounds had been in a form of a a brass instrument (as that’s what it seems to mimic). As is, nope, it makes a mockery of the song.
  21. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Today in Kinks history:

    The brilliant Sunny Afternoon is released on this day back in 1966, making it 55 years since the release of this UK and US hit single
  22. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
    Yeah, I'm getting a little fatigued of the thematic material here. Okay, Ray, we get it... you like to write about rich folk getting their comeuppance. Maybe its because we've already heard and analyzed this before, but of the group of songs in this vein, this one feels rather forced. Even the title comes across as artless. Pass.

    This is another perfect example of a song I failed to properly appreciate when I was 19. I wanted more You Really Got Me and completely overlooked the beauty resident here. The more mature me knows better.
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  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I guess as a huge Zappa fan, I am very used to those kind of oddities.....

    Certainly unusual for the Kinks, but I guess the sarcastic feel it lends works for me.
    I certainly understand that to many it would be the same kind of disconnect as having a farting style tuba lead break in the middle of Stop Your Sobbing :)
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  24. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    I can’t better the other comments on these songs but I’m struck by how innovative they are.
    In Most Exclusive Residence for Sale (in no danger of being confused with a Beatles or Stones song title) Ray identifies with someone who has blown his wealth as fast as he made it. This is a year or more before the big pop stars of the sixties had real wealth to blow on mansions and cars. It’s not just a song: it’s also a warning.
    In contrast, Fancy is enigmatic - musically and lyrically. I see it as an early example of the type of psychedelic flower power music that soon would be all over the charts but which the Kinks wouldn’t dabble in again. Ray wasn’t a dedicated follower of fashion.
  25. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
    A catchy song. Good album track. It can stay.

    For me, this is one of the three great tracks on the album (along with "Dandy" and "Sunny Afternoon") and may be the best of the three. Proof that "See My Friends" was not a creative dead end. As Mark says, this takes the Eastern influence and goes even further, making an even better East-West hybrid. It is exquisite. I feel like I've already used the word "haunting" quite a lot recently (in reference to "Rany Day in June", perhaps, or "This Strange Effect", "I Go To Sleep", "And I Will Love You", maybe "Ring the Bells"... and if I didn't, I could have done) but it's hard to avoid here. I feel like with this song Ray has cleared away the meat and potatoes and served up a delicious curry.

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