The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    They probably had a call from Mary Whitehouse!
     
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  2. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I agree re your comment about the re-mixes and Sandoval. He is to be commended for the job he's done on all of these Kinks' projects and many others. A true archivist hero!!

    I feel fortunate to get to enjoy the alt mixes. I'm even glad they sound different. We learn things from them--they aren't replacing anything, they enhance what we already have by providing an alt perspective. And -- boy do i appreciate the improved sound on the originals.

     
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Great posts abound as usual and there seems little new to write but here goes......

    Dead End Street

    The line "A Sunday Joint Of Bread And Honey" always makes me think of the differing perspectives of the Davies brothers.
    Growing up with little wealth in a large family affected the more serious, introverted elder brother of whom someone up thread said he later felt guilt about owning a home.
    Dave didn't seem to have shame or a chip on his shoulder from his impoverished childhood (and where he lived) only Ray could have written something so bleakly successful as this.
     
  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Big Black Smoke

    Yes it is an exceptionally strong B side.
    Thanks for clarifying the oyez outro as I had no idea that was the town crier!
    I love this part as it seems full of chaos that cannot be harnessed and in fact I always thought it was wedding bells and that the seemingly mocking voice was saying over and over "Oh Ray, Oh Ray!"
    This will sound silly but my mind would think forward to Chrissie Hind suddenly marrying Jim Kerr (hence the mocking) and also the church bells at the end of Good Day, if I remember that title correctly?

    N.b. Disclaimer;
    Whilst I have only 5 of the many great French Kinks E.P's, i must confess to having owning 2 copies of Dead End Street and foolishly relinquishing both!
     
  5. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Catching up -- I enjoy "I'll Remember" just fine. Nice sentiment, good solo, good performance. Wish those drums were louder. So buried. The song has a way of sounding like a finale track. So while it may not fit with much of the rest of the album, it still works well as a closer. Again we have Ray's love of "every thin." Then Dave pipes in at the end with the same pronunciation.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Here's a funny little memory...

    I got way into the 1960's Kinks when I was around 18, in 1985. I knew which albums encompassed this period, and managed to find Kontroversy through VGPS, and maybe Lola, mostly through leaving my suburb and buying Spanish Pye imports in the Big City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. I knew there was this rock opera, Arthur, but I hadn't found it in the record stores.

    A friend had a dubbed cassette of Kronikles, which I borrowed. Hey, this was weird. It had a LOT of extra songs that weren't on the albums I knew. Like, 18. It didn't occur to me that the Kinks might have had singles which weren't on the albums. I concluded that most or all of the songs I didn't know must have been a part of Arthur, which, logically, must have been a double album. I decided that this was a strangely Arthur-heavy comp, and that Arthur must have had the most astoundingly complex storyline to accommodate everything from "Dead End Street" and "Polly" to "King Kong", "Mr. Pleasant, "Autumn Almanac," "Did You See His Name?" and "Days." And yet, it was plausible, as most of them felt one-of-a-piece. I did my best to imagine how the storyline went. I thought the voices at the end of "Big Black Smoke" were screaming "POLL-LAY", trying to get Polly to come home.

    Then my girlfriend got "Arthur." It had two of the songs. It was epic and wonderful, but in an entirely different way. Boy, was I confused. What was this missing album with all the other songs??? I think it took me a couple years to figure it all out. But, I still have in my mind a perfect, epic, plotted Kinks Album That Never Was, even further expanded by all the other great outtakes from that era. At least two LPs worth of strong tracks, not even including the material for Dave's solo album.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  7. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Both sides of Dead End Street/Big Black Smoke are fantastic with the A-side being one of the best Kinks songs ever.
    I remember hearing Dead End Street on the radio on a station from nearby Hamilton, Ontario (quite appropriate as it's known as a working-class town). I'm pretty sure that's the last time I heard the Kinks on the radio until Lola or so.
    My introduction to Big Black Smoke was on the 1970 black compilation album, side 3, which is one of the most perfect album sides ever. The theme of the innocent young woman being seduced by the big bad city is one that Ray Davies would return to numerous times.
     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Several sixties bands confused the life out of me around the same time, around the same age.
    So much so that it took me years to get their albums, because I was trying to track down albums that didn't exist, looking for songs that weren't on them lol

    It's funny now, but it drove me bonkers at the time.
    It is such a blessing to live at a time where we have all these releases that collect these missing mystery songs.
     
  9. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Agreed. We live in a time when we can be assured we have (or have access to, in some way) all that's been released. Back then, you never knew if you were missing the occasional song(s). Unlike what some claim, there was no rule regarding singles on albums. Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren't.
     
  10. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: The part I like about this is the way Ray bends that note at 0:49. That was definitely carefully considered as it occurs in every take. My only complaint about this has always been that the bass is a bit too staccato throughout. When Ray sings, "What Are We Living For," it decays a little too fast. There should've been more of a "Paperback Writer/Rain" creamy texture to that one note. Like "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion," the original single was definitely mixed to maximize the limited potential of a tiny transistor radio speaker, with it's emphasis on the treble. This stereo mix, which moves the trombone, rhythm guitar and backing vocals off to one side is interesting:


    :kilroy: Musically, this borrows a couple of measures from the Sam The Sham hit, "The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin" (click HERE). I will pay this the ultimate compliment by saying it's just plain too short. It doesn't have to reach a happy or sad conclusion, but this song is crying out for a second bridge, followed by a final verse that at least gives us a hint of what the girl's current status is. Late 1966 was certainly an eclectic time for singles by the top British groups. "Stop Stop Stop," "East West" "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James," "Happy Jack" and "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadows?"
     
  11. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    What's not to love about "Dead End Street"? The spooky horn that fades up at the beginning, those little piano licks in the chorus, the lyrics, mood, that video (promo clip). I would have found room for this on Face to Face if it were up to me. Lyrically this one is dark, but Ray makes a sing-along out of it. Top drawer 60s Kinks.

    "Big Black Smoke" - Another bouncy tune. A song about a girl gone bad like a prequel to "Little Miss Queen of Darkness." I prefer the A-side, but this is another great production. This single and F2F really have the Kinks finding their way and separating themselves from the others. Sadly I think this one has fallen off peoples radars due to the greatness surrounding it in this era.

    Both these tracks seem a bit lost to the time.
     
  12. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Mick and Malcolm did the contemporary cover of 'Big Black Smoke;, and... it ain't as good. The backing is not bad, including.. is that a mellotron in there or am I hearing things? It's the vocals that really let this one down, but only cos Ray's delivery is so good there's no comparison.

     
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  13. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Dead End Street"

    These songs leave me nearly speechless, especially after all of the excellent posts already. This is a strong contender for the best Kinks single of all time, but I'm sure there are at least a dozen more times where I can say that. @Fortuleo mentioned "Dead End Street" practically inventing the Muswell Hillbillies style. I completely agree and can hear this song on pretty much any album through Preservation. They have definitely found a path and are clearing it for themselves. If they were not already in a league of their own, this single sealed the deal. Phenomenal song!

    "Big Black Smoke"

    As crazy as it seems, this is almost as good as the A side! This single is perfection. We are in extra prime Kinks territory now. I agree with @mark winstanley that if both these songs were included on Face to Face it would make a strong case as the Kinks best album. The amazing thing is there is no slip in quality for a long time. Just when you think they might have hit a peak, Something Else comes along.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  14. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
  15. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Here's an acoustic cover by an interesting character named Danny McEvoy, where afterwards, he explains the chords he used. "in the big black smoke", he literally sings as "C D E minor".... "C D E minor"... its pretty entertaining!

     
  16. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    This is great. Enjoyed it!
     
  17. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I haven't got the stereo version of Dead End Street. Which album is it on?
     
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  18. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Location:
    Boomerland
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  19. ooan

    ooan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Most definitely !
     
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  20. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
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  21. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Location:
    Boomerland
    Should be. There's only the one stereo version. I believe it was intended for the Sandoval Anthology set and inadvertently left off.
     
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  22. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    The Anthology lists it as stereo but it definitely isn't.
     
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  23. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I don’t have too much to add other than for me this is peak Kinks. Both tracks are absolutely superb from writing to performance to production. One of their all time best singles.
     
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  24. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Dead End Street
    Have known this song forever and have probably always loved it, even if I was young and had no idea what the song meant(or had only a minimal idea of what it was about). The music, especially the gorgeous and perfect use of a trombone, is fantastic. Ray gives a perfect delivery. Everyone before me and after me on this thread will be able to better dissect this song. I love it too much and sometimes picking at something can take away from the joy of the whole and I feel like it will with this stellar tune. Top ten Kinks song for me.

    Big Black Smoke
    The knowledge of this song came much later for me...and to think that it was on the b-side of Dead End Street. Talk about hitting the jackpot if you bought this single!
    When I hear the bells I'm reminded of Princess Di...I remember watching the wedding of Di & Charles when I was teenager...and I'm pretty sure I remember this piece pealing through my TV set over and over as they traveled through the streets of London after the nuptials. Not being British I have no idea if it's a royal thing or just a general church piece that is played for a happy event/weddings. So that immediately comes to mind when the song starts.

    Anyway, love how Ray drags out "And every penny she haaaaad". Also, for the first time I noticed the "clicking" in the background. Assuming that's Mick hitting the drum rim? I like it. One small complaint, and it may be because I have crap headphones, is does it seem Ray's vocals are mixed a little low? I feel like the instruments play over his voice in certain places. No wonder I can't pick up the lyrics without online assistance.

    A tremendous song that has become a big favorite of mine in the past year.
    and as someone mentioned, imagined if these two songs found their way on Face to Face? :love:
     
  25. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Dead End Street

    First heard this in 1966 - a friend was singing it to me one very cold night in the winter of that year. First heard the Kinks version on Golden Hour five or six years later. It's a very political song I think. Twenty years after the end of WW2 London's children are still playing games in bomb sites. A work colleague remembers this period when the bomb-site was the main playground for him and other children in inner London. I would imagine many cities up and down the country were very similar. Not exactly the brave new world promised by successive post-war governments.

    Housing was in a terrible state back then but social deprivation didn't seem to get a look in with the trend setters and swinging Londoner's frequenting the Kings Road and Carnaby Street. Ray has previously said the sixties weren't all that great but that it wasn't fashionable to talk about unemployment back then. This song does a magnificent job at setting matters right and reminding us what it must have been like for those living on the breadline.

    Of the BBC decision to ban the video shot for Top of The Pops Dave says, "You could sing about poverty and inequality, but you couldn't show a funeral on TV!"

    Another masterpiece from the pen of Mr Davies.
     

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