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The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    According to the info I have.... for whatever it may be worth
    Waterloo Sunset April 67
    Lavender Hill August 67

    So let's leave the Lavender out to dry for now, so the aroma is fresh when we open the packet:)
     
  2. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Oh, boy. :D
     
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  3. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Ohhh boy, you beat me to it. I was gonna hold off til "King Kong." Everyone should read this. It's a compelling theory. I might buy it.

     
  4. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: I've always assumed that this was a hint of what was to come on the "Village Green" album. If ever there were anything that was even more of an endangered species than Draught Beer, The George Cross and Billiards, it would be the small "Pablo Fraques Faire" style itinerant circus. This song conjures up images of all the performers gathering up what's left of their belongings after the final performance to a crowd in which less than half the bleachers were filled. Of course, the central image is that of the clown removing his make-up...this time for good.

    :kilroy: Musically, this is fascinating. The song is in G but begins on the subdominant C chord, which might account for why it reminds some people of Bob Dylan (Mr. Tambourine Man does the same). I don't hear it that way though, as during the "La La La" parts, we get unrelated B♭ and E♭ chords thrown in to keep things interesting (which is definitely something that would never happen in any Bod Dylan tune). For anyone interested in learning the right chords, THIS is the only place on the internet that gets them correct (at least that I could find).

    :kilroy: As has been stated, this is extremely common subject matter. The Status Quo would release a song on their 2nd album in 1969 simply titled "Clown," and a couple of years earlier, The Four Seasons had this:



    One Clown Cried
     
  5. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Well I’ll be a ding dong dang, I’ve just checked Anthology and VGPS50, and there it is. Now I just need to work out how on Earth I got that so wrong... apologies to everyone!
     
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  6. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    If you had suffered a debilitating stroke but managed to claw your way back to the point that you could once again do the thing you loved you might do a lot of smiling as well. Dave was leading a very troubled life when he wrote the song, but seems to have substantially conquered his demons, both psychological and physical.
     
  7. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Yes, very much so. I don't think it's a tape drag. My hunch is that they dubbed part of the backing track to a second deck to extend the song, and the decks weren't running at the same speed. The song is suddenly pitched down pretty much a quarter tone, smack dab between two keys.

    First time I heard this corrected was on the two CD "Ultimate Kinks" comp.
     
  8. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Mark wondered about the instrument at 1:30 or so. It's the strings of a piano being strummed along, while the sustain pedal is held down.
     
  9. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I see. Obviously, I don’t know all that background of the live performances.
     
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  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol... yea, I know ... ouch lol
     
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  11. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Wow.... Rasa (seemingly) even responds to that article and agrees!!
     
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  12. donstemple

    donstemple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Yes! No real way to know for sure if it is her... but did you also see this comment: Did A Teenage Girl Make The Kinks Great?

    It says a melody very similar to Waterloo Sunset can be found in this 1928 piece called "Metropolis" (check out about 9:00 - 9:30 in this video):
     
  13. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    Location:
    90220 Compton
    Yep. That same sound occurs earlier in the song too, at around 17 seconds, though it's really only noticeable on the stereo mix.

    And I'm not sure, but I always assumed the opening notes were played by plucking the strings of the piano like on the Beach Boys' "You Still Belive in Me."
     
  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    “Dear Andrew. Your article was so informative and certainly not mischaracterised. Thankyou for the’history’ of my input working with with Ray. As I said previously, that time was magical and joyous.”
     
  15. Jon H.

    Jon H. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Your theory is very plausible! I must say the that the quarter-tone lower in pitch makes me seasick every time.

    The US first CD issue of Something Else on Reprise also contains the pitch variation. I wonder if they found a better stereo master or if it was actually "corrected" for current CD issues.
     
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  16. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Death Of A Clown"

    I never really thought much about the backing vocals, but along with the opening piano sound they add a haunting beauty that elevates the song to new heights. Rasa really never did get her props and going through this thread I never realized all the songs she sang on. It has a bit of an old west saloon sound and the backing vocal sounds like a ghost floating above Dave as he sings about the "Death Of A Clown. The imagery of the lyrics are also fantastic with the trainer of insects looking for runaway fleas. This song puts images of Chaplin films in my head. There is a Chaplin film Limelight where Chaplin plays a washed up drunken clown and a big part of his act is a flea circus. I wonder if this could have partly influenced some of the lyrics? A good song by Dave that I appreciate even more after many listens today and all the great discussion about it.
     
  17. Martyj

    Martyj I come for the regatta, I stay for the arm sweat

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    [QUOTE="donstemple, post: 27103461, member: 128463"
    It says a melody very similar to Waterloo Sunset can be found in this 1928 piece called "Metropolis" (check out about 9:00 - 9:30 in this video): [/QUOTE]

    Thanks for this. It's pretty revealing. It's not implausible for two writers independent of each other to hit upon the same musical idea. What were the chances of Ray knowing this piece?

    Veering off topic, this piece sounds like it wants to be Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, from the subject matter to arrangement, right down to cross-involvement with Paul Whiteman, who recorded the original Rhapsody in Blue.
     
  18. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Veering off topic, this piece sounds like it wants to be Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, from the subject matter to arrangement, right down to cross-involvement with Paul Whiteman, who recorded the original Rhapsody in Blue.[/QUOTE]


    Grofé was the primary arranger for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra from 1920 to 1932. Whiteman had commissioned Gershwin to write an extended work for piano in 1924 and had Grofé write an arrangement of it for his “jazz” orchestra. Grofé also wrote two other arrangements and the one for full orchestra is the one with which we are most familiar. Oh, the name of the piece was Rhapsody in Blue.
     
  19. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    DEATH OF A CLOWN

    “Everything in the sixties had been spontaneous and easy and fun. Now I started to see the cracks. I was buckling under the strain of all this ********. As a boy I used to hate going to the circus, so the song’s also related to that. The main thing was that clowns were frightening – this guy pretending to be happy with a funny face but with something weird going on behind the scenes. The music business is very like a clown’s mask.” - Dave Davies.

    Thanks for that Dave. It saves me having a lot of explaining to do. And it helps to show why the make-up is cracking (not clagging which means sticking which make-up does anyway). This clown's been wearing his make-up too long and it's dried up and cracking. Thus symbolically starting to show the frown beneath the fake smile.

    Lyrically I also hear "Won't someone help me to break up this crowd?" meaning 'Let's get rid of these hangers-on'. I'm probably wrong of course but it sure makes a lot more sense to me.

    I hated the circus when I was young and especially the clowns. So I relate very easily to this song.

    It also helps that it's a great tune performed well musically and with superb vocals from Dave, Ray and Rasa.
     
  20. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Death of a Clown
    I've long known this song, but never much cared for it. I feel like it's heresy for me to say that I didn't care for Dave's voice. It is an acquired taste perhaps. But during my obsessive Kinks phase this past year, I have come to really enjoy Dave's voice. In this song, he sounds particularly vulnerable which is so effective considering the subject matter. I love the folksy/western feel to it. and the lyrics are fantastic. The lyrics:"The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor/Nobody needs fortunes told anymore" hits me as being very sad. I'm not even certain I know why. I'm bad at dissecting lyrics...i just know what I FEEL. And Rasa's vocals make a melancholy song extra haunting.
    A komplete klassic.
     
  21. TeddyB

    TeddyB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywoodland
    “Break up this crown” = help me spend it by drinking with me. A crown was worth five shillings, or 60p through 1955. Incredible song for Dave to have written. Rasa’s la la’s might not have earned Ray a writing credit, but they are gorgeous.
     
  22. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    And I always assumed he was singing "Won't someone help me to break up this ground?" as in, we are about to bury him!

    This is among my favorite Kinks songs...just a great singalong at a drunken wake, with striking lyrical imagery that runs counter to the good-timey feel of the music (other than Rasa's haunting vocal). It does veer a bit close to being overly repetitive, which is the reason Ray gave in "X-Ray" for adding the bridge. He added, "..on the recording session Dave had not bothered to write lyrics to my section and so Rasa had simply la-la'd her way through." The little flourishes in production also keep it engaging.
     
  23. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Ahh! Thanks. That makes sense to me.
     
  24. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well, the post-stroke performance may be displaying his joy to be alive...but, in general, Dave is pretty smiley in general. He's definitely more bubbly than his more often dour brother. Just a part of who he is.

    And in regards as to why Dave may have went off on a small solo career...he was considered "the cute one" back around then so maybe he or the people around him were capitalizing on that. He is more personable and he liked wearing outrageous clothes. the ladies dug him...and I can see why.
     
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
    It's fun digging around in the possible lyrical meanings, and musical meanings and melodies and history, but the thing that got most of us into music in the first place, was how it felt
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021

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