Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
Not long ago I watched the film "Juliet, Naked" and was surprised and pleased by this scene:
For anyone wanting to play the song .... note: I have not checked this
Act Nice and Gentle
Birds gotta fly. Fish gotta swim. Ray Davies gotta create. It’s the nature of things. I’m sure there were millions of ideas in the man’s mind circa 1966-67 which were out of his grasp: directing a film; writing a novel; a long-form stage play, etc. His tools of the moment were a guitar band and a recording contract. Of course he would do a country tune.
Seems to have come along just slightly outside that 64-65 era when Larry Page was pitching Ray Davies originals to artists who were perhaps more obviously suited to the material. So…what we wind up with is, ta-da!—a Kinks b-side.
It’s not a bad song or a great song. It is merely a song. I love the sound of it, the way the acoustic is mic’d; the solo break; the occasional dissonant flourishes (very typical of the “Something Else” era.) It’s a very bright sounding recording.
Because of it’s country arrangement I totally get the Kinks fan tendency to think of this as a seedling of “Muswell Hillbillies.” I don’t. I see it more as a stand alone within the cannon. Muswell is Americana via country blues and New Orleans. “Act Nice and Gentle” is Nashville pop. If it’s a cousin to anything else I would finger some of Dave’s roughly concurrent solo works which I’m sure this thread will touch later, especially “Lincoln County.” “Muswell" is lyrically mature and thematically whole. “Act Nice and Gentle” is too slight to fit in there, or even suggest it foretells such a serious work. It has that dashed-off feel—lyrically insignificant (especially considering the a-side it backs)—that feels like Ray yawned, stretched, wrote the lyrics, sipped his coffee, then went back to dreaming about village greens.
as for today’s a-side…
I’m just hearing this one for the first time today, so I’ll need to give it a few more listens….
I won’t clutter things with yet more superlatives. There will be plenty among these pages, for certain. Instead, as an exercise, I’ll search for any possible reason for me to think this less than perfect. Here it is:
For lyrics of such thought, poetry and layered depth, does it strike anyone else that rhyming “busy” with “dizzy” seem just a little…well…a bit too obvious? It strikes me as being beneath the rest of the effort put into song. It’s a slight blight that in no way affects the wonderfulness of the record as the whole, but just knowing its there bugs me. Like a scratch on the Mercedes that can’t be buffed out.
Now, I’ll back slowly out the door, facing the room so I can see the darts coming at me…
You are right about this. Until Hinman and the Castle re-issues pointed out what I didn't know existed, for the longest time--for at least 10 years-- "Act Nice and Gentle" was the only Kinks track I couldn't get my hands on, nor could I find any descriptive information about it in those pre-internet days. It finally popped up on a bootleg (which held ever further surprises of unknown cuts, such as the "Preservation" non-album single.)
Waterloo Sunset: I was just reflecting on the song as my cats slunk in and out of my path while calling for their breakfast. A very pensive song, reflective...and sweet with the dual, “chilly, chilly” lyric. I find it interesting that Ray didn’t bother to try to insert a word that rhymed with chilly but, instead, chose to double it. And it works beautifully.
There's not much I could say about this song that probably hasn't been said a thousand times or more. So I'll shift to personal reflection mode.
I was in no mind to be able to appreciate this song when I picked up Something Else at age 19 (1983) when I went nuts grabbing Kinks back catalog. I should have known better, because I've always been a suckere for those songs that express a deep seated love of place. But this was less boisterous than Sweet Home Alabama or Gator County. And it also sits in the city, where I'm more of a rural, Rocky Mountain High kind of guy.
So years later, after not really listening to Something Else all the way through I left it on all the way through and wasn't really doing anything else when Waterloo Sunset came on and then...... BAM!!! it just hit me all at once.... this may be the most poignant, most beautiful, most evocative song ever written! How was this masterpiece right under my nose all those years without me noticing it!?! It was like waking up one day and for the first time realizing that that picture hanging on you wall wasn't dogs playing poker, but rather Monet's Water Lily Pond! And you spent all those years ignoring it! What a dunce!
A second, more recent recollection. I recall hearing that Ray would perform Waterloo Sunset as bart of the opening ceremony for thr London Olympics. How cool.... nay, how absolutely perfect that this song would be a part of showcasing London to the world! I cleared my calendar, turned on the tube and sat through a lineup of English artist ranging from decent to abysmal, anticipating this most marvelous of all songs getting introduced to a whole new generation of people, and all those in my generation who didn't know of it since it never had the traction in the US that it had in the UK.
And just as the parade gets to Ray, American TV cuts to commercial!?!?!
What the flying F is this ?!?!
The whole purpose of this parade id to share London and the UK with the world and you cut out the most quintessentially English song of them all?!?!
Morons. Absolute, Stark raving, clueless MORONS!
I was embarrassed for America.
Act Nice And Gentle.
Now with this one, there's still nothing for me here. Pass. (I may elaborate more on why when we get to Muswell Hillbillies)
Much thanks. I'll definitely be strumming tiday.
Also, be sure to listen to Lavender Hill today after Waterloo Sunset - as they were both recorded back to back! Check out the glorious bright sound of the acoustic resonating through both.
I’ll have some more to say about this later, but right now just wanted to share my favorite cover of Waterloo Sunset, performed live by Elliott Smith (who was a self described fan of R. Davies). The beauty of this song with his angelic voice gives me shivers on my spine whenever I watch this (even if he does flub a note near the end).
Nicely said. And a good story.
My reaction at the time as well. Then...considering the lack of respect the Kinks seem to get in the US as a whole compared to other classic rock bands...I wasn't really surprised.
OK a few words on recent songs. But I'll keep Waterloo Sunset for tomorrow.
Another jolly knees-up with fun trombone.
Our well-respected man is now married and working hard has made him successful.
But only superficially. Outward riches sure but inner bankrupcty since his wife is having an affair.
Should have been a single in the UK.
THIS IS WHERE I BELONG
Extremely Dylanish. Especially the line: "Tell me now if you want me to stay. It don't matter, 'cause I'd stay here anyway."
And of course musically.
A bit too short!
Musically fine but I'm not too convinced by the story line.
Ray has provided tons of reasons for Priscilla to be unhappy then pretends everything is OK because she likes her children (when they're at the nursery) and feels free dancing around her home in her curlers.
Incidentally, I don't think Sybilla is necessarily younger than Priscilla. My sister is older than me but fits the bill perfectly.
And in fact it makes things even worse if Sybilla is older and yet still hanging out with younger friends and leading a frivolous lifestyle.
The Kinks go to Waikiki then come home and find their typical English village has become a tourist trap.
A lot of tongue-in -cheek here methinks. Ray is spinning us a fairy tale. As when he sings "There's a village green-o", "'twas there" etc. The full olde worlde touch.
Very pleasant though!
ACT NICE AND GENTLE
I like this a lot. Throw away those false eyelashes.
Does anybody else hear The Lovin' Spoonful here?
And, if so, who influenced who?
As for who influenced who...who knows what inspired Ray, but "Act Nice's" sound has the feel of something off the "Hums of Lovin' Spoonful" album, which release predates the recording of the Kinks song by two months.
It is somewhat bewildering to me ... I understand the cultural differences, but I don't understand the seemingly oblivious attitude.
It is particularly strange to me in light of the Beatles worship (and I am not knocking the Beatles here, so Beatles fans please don't take offence here) The Beatles with Martin were wonderful craftsmen of pop/rock music, but the Kinks come across as (generally) more genuine to me, and I find it hard to see how that can't be heard easily.
That ears remain closed to this, I think, is the long-reaching affect of that US touring ban during the height of the 60's British Invasion. In the minds of Americans, the fact that they were essentially invisible here denied them the mega star status accorded Beatles/Stones (and eventually Who and Zepplin) and relegated them to the also-ran levels, e.g. The Hollies, Dave Clark Five, etc. ( The Small Faces are near completely unknown here, too. That's how important visibility during the 60's was as far as imprinting a British band's status in the publics mind.) That the Kinks eventually did endure is a testament to the shear quality of their work elevating them above this limitation, but to the typical American music consumer, the quantity and quality of their work is largely unknown outside of the obvious hits. And, from my experience, more Americans are more comfortable embracing You Really Got Me as an Eddie Van Halen showpiece rather than as a relic of the British Invasion.
Ha ha. Yes! I have missed the last couple days going back to “Mr. Pleasant”! Now I have about 8 or 9 pages to catch up on! I’m about to go the record store now to try and grab Percy for record store day. I will catch up later today! I promise!
and I will look forward to that
A bit about the band
Oct 1963 I'm A Hog For You Baby (first recording)
Dec 1963 Oobadiaboo unreleased?
Feb 1964 Long Tall Sally - live footage
Apr 1964 You Still Want Me - b-side You Do Something To Me
Aug 1964 You Really Got Me - Shindig tv - live footage - beat room - BBC - SNL - live
b-side It's All Right/It's Alright - shindig tv
Oct 1964 The Kinks
Beautiful Delilah - shindig
Just Can't Go To Sleep
Long Tall Shorty - live 65 - shindig - live 72
I Took My Baby Home
I'm A Lover, Not A Fighter - shindig - Beat Club
You Really Got Me - Beat Club
Cadillac - live
Bald Headed Woman
Too Much Monkey Business -Alt fast take
I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain
Stop Your Sobbing
Got Love If You Want It - Live BBC
I Believed You
I Don't Need You Anymore
Everybody's Gonna Be Happy demo
Don't Ever Let Me Go
1964 All Day And All Of The Night - shindig - US tv
I Gotta Move - shindig - live 92?
1964 All Day And All Of The Night EP
Nov 1964 Kinksize Sessions
Louie Louie - live
I Gotta Go Now
I've Got That Feeling - live
Things Are getting Better
The Kinks at the BBC 1964
Meets the Kinks
You Really Got Me
All Day And All Of The Night
I'm A Lover Not A Fighter
Ray on YRGM and USA
I've Got That Feeling
The Kinks educate the US
Dave - Annette and Frankie
Jan 1965 Got Love If You Want It EP
Jan 1965 Kinksize Hits EP
Jan 1965 Tired Of Waiting For You - French tv - Shindig - NME - US echo
/ Come on Now - live - live 82
5 Mar 1965 Kinda Kinks
Look For Me Baby
Got My Feet On The Ground
Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'bout That Girl - live?
I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight - Sweden
Tired Of Waiting For You
Dancing In the Street
Don't Ever Change
Come On Now - alt vocal
You Shouldn't be Sad
Something Better Beginning
I Go To Sleep
Tell Me So I'll Know
A Little Bit Of Sunlight
There's A new World Just Opening up For Me
This I Know
17 March 1965 Kink Size (US lp)
19 Mar 1965 Ev'rybodys' Gonna Be Happy - tv/
Who'll Be the Next In Line - shindig - tv
21 May 1965 Set Me Free - tv - US tv - shindig/
I Need You - Dave - Ray
Mick Avory interview
July 1965 See My Friends - discothec - tv - shindig - live 94/ - alt
Never Met A Girl Like You Before
Sept 1965 Kwyet Kinks
Wait Till The Summer Comes Along
Such A Shame
A Well Respected Man - German tv - Beat Club
Don't You Fret - live in 69
Clay Cole meets the Kinks
BBC - You Shouldn't Be Sad
Tired Of Waiting For You
Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
This Strange Effect
Hide And Seek - live
Swedish Newsreel Sept 65
Nov 1965 Kinkdom
19th Nov 1965 Till The End Of The Day - live 65 - live 93 - live 80
Where Have All The Good Times Gone
26th Nov 1965 Kink Kontroversy
Milk Cow Blues - shindig - live - Beat Club
Ring The Bells
Gotta Get The First Plane Home
When I See that Girl Of Mine
I Am Free - Dave live
Till the End Of The Day - Beat Club
The World Keeps Going Round
I'm On An Island
Where Have All The Good Times Gone
It's Too Late
What's In Store For Me
You Can't Win
Time Will Tell
And I Will Love You
All Night Stand
All I want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth - Ready steady go
She's My Girl/Listen To Me
She's My Girl info - song
Mar 1966 Dedicated Follower Of Fashion - Alt. - studio sessions - video - live 73
Sitting On My Sofa
Live in 65
Live In Germany 65/66 part 1 - part 2
BBC - live at the Playhouse tracks 1965
June 66 Sunny Afternoon - video - TOTP - full video - live 70
I'm Not Like Everybody Else - live 90's - Soprano's - Alternate
Jul 1966 Dedicated Kinks EP
Aug 1966 Greatest Hits
Sept 1966 Well Respected Kinks
Documentary part 1
Oct 1966 Face To Face
Party Line - Dave live 90's
Rosie Won't You Please Come Home
Dandy - live 67 - alt stereo
Too Much On My Mind - live 80's
Rainy Day In June
House In The Country
Holiday In Waikiki
Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
Fancy - live 69 - alt extended
Little Miss Queen Of Darkness - Alternate take - Alt stereo
You're Looking Fine - live - alt stereo
Sunny Afternoon - alt stereo
She's Got Everything - 65 mono mix - Dave - Instr - stereo
Nov 1966 Dead End Street - video - 1st version - alt mono - true stereo - Amy McDonald and Ray Davies
Big Black Smoke
These reference guides alone are worth the price of admission.
Apr 1967 Mr Pleasant - Alt version - Beat Club - live - beat club - instr (whistling)
This Is Where I Belong - Ray live - Ray with Francis Black
May 1967 Mr Pleasant EP
This Is Where I Belong
Two Sisters - Ray live (with chat)
Village Green - Instrumental - Ray
My 1967 Waterloo Sunset - instr. - live 73 - Ray live 78 - live 94 - Ray and Damon Albarn
Art Nice and Gentle
May 1967 Waterloo Sunset EP
I came upon this radio podcast, in which there is an interview with Mick Avory about the re-release of the Lola vs Powerman album and about the Kinks in general.
The interview starts a bit less than halfway through.
Just want to chip and say, what a great way to describe your love for a deep track that, while not widely recognized as one of their best, nonetheless shines bright as one of their best and a prime example of why that particular artist is so great in YOUR eyes. Staying withe kinks by way of example, clearly You Really Got Me or Lola stand very tall as widely considered two of their best known, best loved songs, yet for me, (and yes, I know I am in the minority) nothing will ever top Live Life, Jukebox Music or Superman as supreme examples of their art. Anyway, well expressed sir!
Over the years I've heard loads of media people pronounce it as Davis. I used to work with a girl with the same surname and she would say her name was Davis with an 'e'.
Interesting. You can see, though, in the video, that Ray turns quickly to look at the guy.
Separate names with a comma.