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The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    That's what I thought originally, but had my doubts! LOL (well, didn't know which one of the duo it was, but thought it was one of the managers.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 10:03 AM
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  2. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I enjoy reading these observations on "Two Sisters" & "Village Green" & they are spot on to my impressions of these songs. I do want to say that "Two Sisters" is one of the most beautiful songs that Ray's ever written along w/the song that will close Something Else & there was nothing musically in 1978 that compared to it when I first heard it.
     
  3. donstemple

    donstemple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Two Sisters
    I never really listened to all of "Something Else" until the last couple weeks, so this song is rather new to me. I will say it didn't capture me right away. I love Nicky's work, but to my ears, the harpsichord is a bit heavy handed in the mix, and it distracted me from the lyrics and the story that Ray is telling. It seemed very repetitive without a lot of dynamic changes to me. Listening to it while reading the lyrics, now I understand it better. It's a beautiful sentiment, and something that any person in their late 20s-30s with kids can sympathize with. I know I at times felt jealous of my friends who didn't have kids that could just travel wherever/whenever, and stay out at bars as late as they wanted. I also wonder if the "hmm hmm hmm"s at the end are Ray doubting that Priscilla is actually no longer jealous of her sister.

    Village Green
    Like @Martyj said, it's very difficult for me to separate this song from the rest of VGPS. It is a top-tier album of all time for me, and even then, I had no idea the centerpiece song was written in and recorded in late 1966! and the same day as Two Sisters, to boot! I had always just assumed it was written alongside the other tracks in later '67 or '68. But now it does make sense. As @mark winstanley wrote, this struggle of leaving the simple comforts of home and moving to somewhere busier, newer, better had been an overall theme of Ray's writing throughout 1966. Rosy Won't You Please Come Home, House in the Country, Big Black Smoke and others fit that theme. I guess there was too much of this theme on Ray's mind. But sure enough, right there on Wikipedia (sourced from the Hinman book) is this:

    "The song "Village Green" itself was recorded in sessions for the Kinks' 1967 LP Something Else,[10] but Davies withheld the song and began collecting ideas for a thematic album revolving around the village green concept."

    Oh, how glad are we that Ray withheld that song to focus on an entire album about preserving the Village Green! The world Ray describes here requires more than just one song, for sure.

    This thread had led me to look closer at each song, and this time, I notice the extra guitar plucks in the background on the second chorus of "I miss the Village Green...". It adds another little flourish that is missing from the first chorus. I've always loved the "Gawd, darn it! Isn't it a pretty scene?". Such mockery of the tourists... And the ending, sipping tea and laughing at what the Village Green has become... Just sublime. Perfection.
     
  4. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    That’s Robert Wace, one of the Kinks managers.
     
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  5. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Two Sisters
    How no earth does a 23 year old man pen a song like this!?!
    Really, there's a level of insight, a level of tenderness, a level of empathy that not I, nor any of my peers, could even begin to comprehend at that age. Just astonishing in the most positive way. Musically, what a marvelous match. The harpsichord really makes this thing. That and the impressively emotive chord progression. Just fantastic all the way around.

    Village Green
    As odd as it may be addressing the previous song outside the context of it's album, this one even more so. But regardless of context, this one is just drop dead magnificent. Get me every time. Amazingly, the classic pastoral makes the harpsichord even more appropriate. This flows along beautifully.... Ray's vocal really sells it: the mood, the emotion, the setting.... everything. Musically, everything is peacefully and pleasantly in place, right down to the trumpet calls... everything just fits.

    Two undisputable masterworks today.
     
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Really solid observation... I overlooked that. Certain seeing her children puts everything into perspective, but definitely a defining moment so far as becoming an adult, and putting the childish things behind
     
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  7. Orino

    Orino Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Without jumping the gun too much, "Something Else", and the present song, took quite a long time to register with me. I found it far less instant that the albums either side of it. But it really does grow and blossom quite splendidly, after a while. :)
     
  8. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    Catching up a bit-

    She's Got Everything
    - really enjoyable throwback to a slightly older Kinks style. Extrememly catchy.

    Mr Pleasant- again, really catchy, far too much so to languish in obscurity. The lyric does leave a nasty taste in the mouth, but only slightly- it's not as dark as some songs by Randy Newman. say. It's an age-old theme, really - pay lots of attention to your loved one or you risk losing them - that has been used as a theme probably as long as songs have been written. I choose to focus on that rather than the "that mr. nine-to-five, he's so square" aspect. The playing is brilliant- the revelation of this threa dis realising how important Nicky Hopkins was.

    Where I Belong - a really nice song. So many great songs flying out from under Ray;s pen at this point, perhaps this isn't one of the very greatest, but it's pretty damn good.

    I don't know if any or all of the above were ready to be recorded and released on Face to Face, but if they were I would have included all of them - and that goes for "Dead End Street" and "Big Black Smoke" too.
     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Well spotted... I completely missed wiki this morning. That statement gives sharp focus to how it all went down.
     
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  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    To be sure, Mark will direct us to something else!
     
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  11. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    Two Sisters
    A great little tune, a minor masterpiece of storytelling. No big chorus but it does all it needs to do. It adds another layer of poignancy to realise the subtext: i.e. Ray and Dave's respective lives. One of the great songs on a very great album.

    Village Green
    I think I knew this was older than the rest of VGPS and that it had it been held back because Ray already had it in mind for a concept album. I don't think I knew that it had actually been released, though! (Or that "Mr Pleasant" had been a single in so many countries, for that matter). This is has a classic folky tune that feels like it's been handed down through the generations, you could imagine it being sung in Elizabethan England.

    Both of these songs are classics in my book.
     
  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Such is life.
     
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  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    To be honest, the thread so far, has done what I hoped for and more, for me personally.
    I had a tendency to brush passed these albums to a degree, and I couldn't even tell you why. I mean I liked them, but only ever skimmed the surface..... but focused attention to what these albums and songs contain has blown this catalog wide open for me .... it's on par with anything anyone I know of has done, and so unique in character
     
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  14. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    ‘Two Sisters’ was very rarely played live by The Kinks, but not never: They once busted it out completely out of the blue at a stadium era show in 1983, when it must’ve blindsided most of the audience. It was a more regular fixture of Ray’s solo sets, an example here:
     
  15. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    I'm guessing a recording of this doesn't exist?
     
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  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Not sure The Kinks ever played the vocal version of ‘Village Green’ live, but in early 1973 when they were reviving VGPS material (for the planned restaging of the work which later mutated into the ‘Preservation’ albums), they reworked it in an instrumental version as ‘The Village Green Overture’:
     
  17. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I’m not sure: It’s listed in Hinmans book, and I’d guess it would have to have been bootlegged for him to know. I’ve never heard it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 10:45 AM
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  18. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The vocal version of Village Green was played a lot solo by Ray though. I remember seeing him doing this live the second time I saw him in 2001 and I have to admit kind of cringing when he added an ad-lib about Chinese tourists visiting the Village Green and saying ‘ah so’ :/

     
  19. donstemple

    donstemple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Interesting that he said he wrote it for Face to Face... was it also held back and then placed on, er, something else? :)
     
  20. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Ultimately, all joking aside, I'm really glad our host decided to proceed this way, I think it's proven extremely enlightening. We've all been accustomed to talk about many Kinks songs as "character studies", "social satires", "portraits", "observational sketches". But the last weeks on this thread have reminded us that most Ray songs are stories. Today's pair in particular. In both cases he manages to present a situation, create characters and develop a narrative, with scenes, images, transitions, a rainbow of emotions and a compelling ending. Beyond its otherworldly beauty and craft, the very fact that Village Green was written so early and "held back" (this french EP "mistake" notwithstanding) makes it one of the most important songs Ray's ever done in my opinion, and the most pivotal for him as an artist : it's like he realized at that precise moment that he was in fact a storyteller and that his stories were good and vivid enough to be developed on a much bigger scale than 2 little minutes. When you listen to this extraordinary track on the album, it's a clear highlight, with the nostalgic bridge helping the singer grow up and get perspective on his life. To me, it's probably the best tune on the album, and a great summation of its sentiment, like the whole LP is converging towards it.
    But it's even more extraordinary to think of it the other way around : the whole LP being contained in it and born out of it. Because of this and the many "story albums" he's done ever since, I'll argue this song is the biggest turning point in Ray's career.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 11:23 AM
  21. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    For the EP's, look at "The EP Collection Vol 1 & 2.
     
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  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I gotta declare that I am extremely lucky being able to be schooled in the basic tenets of Kinksian fundamentalist orthodoxy by, what, at least a couple dozen (maybe more!) aficionados. It’s been a delight. (Whether I’d pass the exam or not, I don’t know!)

    When I dipped my toe into Something Else (post-Wilco thread) I didn’t pick up on Two Sisters. Last weekend, though, I was playing the album out on the deck while barbecuing and dropped my spatula to race to the phone to see what the song name was and to insert it onto my preliminary playlist. (I could offer further thoughts on this but I will abide by the rules and keep mum until we discuss it again in a week or ten days.)
     
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Village Green

    Great insights in everyone's posts on these two numbers though I wanted to reply to @Martyj 's thought provoking post explicitly, as societies gender mores meet reality in a true story of the fairer sex leaving her own "village green" to great success!

    In 2009 years ago I befriended a lady 20 years my senior who was a highly successful international lawyer.
    Back in 1964 Australia she was a 17 year old kid living with her parents and extraordinarily decided to fly to London on her own and attempt to start a new life there.
    To say the least this was extremely unusual for the time & eventually highly successful & follows the theme of departing a perceived idyllic home such as in the songs Big Black Smoke & Village Green.
    But how this far more personally links to the Kinks is actually in a direct fashion as she met and befriended & socialized with Mr Dave Davies himself!

    As for the song Village Green it is just gorgeous and as stated the lyrics create a world so visual you can mentally inhabit them, so maybe there is a Daviesland as one of the band's rear liner notes intoned?
     
  24. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Completely agree with you.
     
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  25. donstemple

    donstemple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Completely agree with this... it's amazing what Ray and his contemporaries were writing and recording as such young ages. Being anywhere between 23-25 years old and writing songs like "Two Sisters", "She's Leaving Home", and "Caroline, No" is just mind-boggling.
     

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