The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I did not read all the comments before I gave my review...but great minds think alike. :D
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  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA

    You needn't hold back...tell us what you really think.
    Love it. :righton:
  3. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Back in the old days when I used to copy albums on to cassette tape you could guarantee that No Return would always find its way onto the end of the tape. That's because if you had a bit of tape left then it would invariably fit the bill on account of its very short two minute run time! I used to make a lot of these tapes so became very familiar with this song and I do like it very much but it's an album track for me and I never listen to it unless I am listening to the album. It's a song you would showcase as an example of how musically diverse Davies was back then.

    Much as I like Face to Face, for me, Something Else is a better album. Every song on SE fits perfectly but not all the songs on FTF are a perfect fit. FTF is a terrific album make no mistake but SE lands a littler higher up the greatness scale.

    I do like the album cover but I'm going to stick my neck out here and say I think the SE cover is more suitable to VGPS. For me VGPS harks back to the Edwardian period so the SE cover with its Edwardian picture frame is more appropriate to that album.
  4. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    You’re right. I was waiting for this to come up a few days ago on the album overview discussion, but when it didn't I thought I'd save it for the VGPS album overview, but since you’ve introduced it:

    Yes, the picture frames on “Something Else” are evocative of an earlier era, one where a person would look backward, which is a theme through out VGPS. The hazy, circular effect on VGPS cover is evocative of a mind-altered perspective common to pop music psychedelia iconography. And the closest the Kinks come to psychedelia is with “Something Else,” with those explorative fade outs and the whole of “Lazy Old Sun” in particular. Quite simply, they got the cover art for the two albums mixed up. I could bloviate on this more if I only had the time tonight!
  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    [QUOTE="mark winstanley,
    What do you reckon...
    More confident writing?
    Natural progression?
    Something Else? :)[/QUOTE]


    Something Else By The Kinks

    Agree with all Mark says above.
    I feel this LP is more consistent in it's writing and there are no really obvious older sounding recordings stylistically or production wise.
    The group exude confidence and it feels they had more freedom plus time on their side to write, arrange and record their follow up to Face To Face.
    I first heard it when I bought the above CD a little over 20 years ago and though I knew the album had a somewhat exalted reputation I had little to be disappointed about.
    A big thumbs up from me!
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  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Very talented lady!
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  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Because their cover sounded more like a Jam?
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  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    David Watts

    Yes i thought it could have been a single also and years ago assumed that it likely was in some foreign locale particularly also as I had heard a lot about the track before actually hearing it!

    In school days Ray may well have had some hate for David Watts but to me I feel there is far more sarcasm at play here from our premier observationist.

    Like others here i also experienced my own David Watts in high school and i can recall the joy i had when i managed to beat him in any even miniscule way.
    Thanks Ray!
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Two Sisters

    A fine song with unusual lyrics from a young male making its nuance/s all the more special.

    Wonderful use of strings to evoke mood as witnessed for example when the young mother looks at and contemplates her offspring and the affirming positives of that in her life.

    For me Nicky is the hero again as iam a sucker for his harpsichord!
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Great post here from yourself and @mark winstanley !
    Aside from the subtle charms of No Return the song order for the first 4 songs is fantastic and was highly appropriate to bring up particularly as from here on in iam not convinced the band chose the optimum running order for the rest of the LP.
  11. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    Two Sisters is one of my very favorite Kinks songs. I love the twist of it turning out the sister who had the children was the one who was better off. Not exactly typical "swinging London" fare!
    Musically the harpsichord opening sets the tone and it is a beautiful song!
  12. renderj

    renderj Forum Resident

    No Return is not a highlight track for me, but as many others have said, it works perfectly in the context of the album. I always enjoy it when it comes around.
  13. Past Masters

    Past Masters Beatles Fanthologist

    Well, I have not read ALL the posts, but I have been making my through and have reached the end of the first album.

    I have developed, slowly over the years, a slight obsession with listening to bands in chronological order, especially when first discovering them. It can be time consuming, and I sometimes “get stuck” if a band’s early albums are not as good as what is to come. However I stick with it because the payoff is worth it, especially for those rare artists that evolve and grow creatively from album to album, and from phase to phase.

    I had purchased the first two Kinks albums on CD many years ago (Castle versions I think) and by the time I made it through I was ready for a break. There was a clear sense that they were going somewhere though, especially in the demo of "I Go to Sleep" which closes the second CD.

    I always meant to come back to them, but somehow never did, and there’s just so much great music to assimilate that they remained on the back burner.

    This thread is a great excuse for me to review the first two records and pick up where I left off, and I’m very excited because I can just tell this is one of those bands with a real progression in their catalog. Plus, I’m not that familiar with their music and I’m sure there are some real gems coming up that I've never heard before.

    Right now, to save time I am only listening to the “officially released” studio tracks. Besides, I need to save some goodies for the future...

    Early singles and Kinks LP:

    While most of this material falls a bit short when compared to the contemporaneous recordings of the Beatles and the Stones (as it inevitably will be), I still think it's worth a good listen and I'm glad to revisit it.

    The Kinks bring some humour, charm, and a certain "brashness" to their interpretations here which makes them unique enough to stand above most of the flood of British invasion bands that must surely have been emerging in the wake of the Beatles, especially in '63 and '64. My favourite cover on this record is the closer "Got Love If You Want It" – love the rhythm on that track.

    As for the originals, Ray is clearly still emerging as a songwriter here, but I would single out "I Just Can't Go to Sleep" and "Stop Your Sobbing" as being my favourites. They have a certain lightness or something that just makes them fun to listen to.

    Kinksize Session EP:

    Wow three originals and just one cover on this EP, and I would say the quality is already a notch up from from the album. The stand out for me has got to be "I've Got That Feeling" with it's somber mood. Love the piano solo on that track.

    Special mention:

    Of course it needs to be said that "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night" (love its b-side too) are the heroes of this era and stand head and shoulders above the rest of the material. So many have already articulated the genius of these songs I think I won't say much, but the guitar tone, rising chord changes and overall impact of these songs still blows me away. They are truly unique.

    Mark I am really enjoying your write-ups, which give some background to the songs and place them in context. They are a great aid to the listening.

    Also it's so cool to see the images of the original album artwork, and some of the videos of the original versions (for the covers) that people are posting. You can discover some cool music that way.

    Now a question, has anyone noticed some EQ effect on the guitar on "Beautiful Delilah" and "I Just Can't Go to Sleep"? It's too early for the wah pedal... is Dave playing with his tone knob? Sorry if someone already mentioned this and I missed it.

    ...and one more thing, Dave's hair is at least 3-4 years ahead of the Beatles in length. That surely must have been talked about in 1964!

    I've rambled on long enough, now on to the next album!
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  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Great stuff, she's bringing it all back home!
  15. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

  16. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    That might help with his astrological readings :D
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Harry Rag.

    stereo mix (2:17), recorded Feb 1967 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Ah, Tom is young and Tom is bold
    Tom is as bold as the knights of old
    But whenever he gets in a bit of a jam
    There's nothing he won't do to get a harry rag

    Harry rag, harry rag
    Do anything just to get a harry rag
    And he curses himself for the life he's led
    And rolls himself a harry rag and puts himself to bed

    Ah, Tom's old ma is a dying lass
    Soon they all reckon she'll be pushing up the grass
    And her bones might ache and her skin might sag
    But still she's got the strength to have a harry rag

    Harry rag, harry rag
    Do anything just to get a harry rag
    And she curses herself for the life she's led
    And rolls herself a harry rag and puts herself to bed

    Ah, bless you tax man, bless you all
    You may take some but you never take it all
    But if I give it all, I won't feel sad
    As long as I got enough to buy a harry rag

    Harry rag, harry rag
    Do anything just to get a harry rag
    And I curse myself for the life I've led
    And roll myself a harry rag and put myself to bed

    Ah, the smart young ladies of the land
    Can't relax without a harry in their hand
    And they light one up and they boast and brag
    So content because they got a harry rag

    Harry rag, harry rag
    Do anything just to get a harry rag
    And they'll light one up and they'll boast and brag
    So content because they got a harry rag

    Harry rag, harry rag
    I'll do anything just to get a harry rag
    And I curse myself for the life I've led
    And roll myself a harry rag and put myself to bed

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Noma Music, Inc./Hi-Count Music, Inc. BMI

    Cockney Rhyming Slang
    Rhyming slang is a form of slang word construction in the English language. It is especially prevalent in the UK, Ireland and Australia. It was first used in the early 19th century in the East End of London; hence its alternative name, Cockney rhyming slang.[1] In the United States, especially the criminal underworld of the West Coast between 1880 and 1920, rhyming slang has sometimes been known as Australian slang.[2][3][4][5]

    The construction of rhyming slang involves replacing a common word with a phrase of two or more words, the last of which rhymes with the original word; then, in almost all cases, omitting, from the end of the phrase, the secondary rhyming word (which is thereafter implied),[6][page needed][7] making the origin and meaning of the phrase elusive to listeners not in the know.

    Slang word Meaning Original phrase
    apples - stairs - apples and pears
    bottle - **** - bottle and glass
    brassic (boracic) - skint (penniless) - boracic lint
    Bristols - titty - Bristol City
    butchers - look - butcher's hook
    china - mate - china plate
    dog - telephone - dog and bone
    frog - road - frog and toad
    Gary[11] - (ecstasy) tablet - Gary Ablett
    Hampsteads - teeth - Hampstead Heath
    khyber - **** - Khyber Pass
    loaf - head - loaf of bread
    mincers - eyes - mince pies
    porkies - lies - Pork pies
    plates - feet - plates of meat
    raspberry - fart - raspberry tart
    septic - Yank - septic tank
    syrup - wig - syrup of figs
    trouble - wife - trouble and strife
    treacle- sweetheart - Treacle Tart
    Turkish- laugh - Turkish bath
    whistle - suit - whistle and flute

    So we see a few examples and I'm also guessing a few of those will be censored on here lol.
    I think in the perspective of the class wars, that the working class had a mindset somewhat towards being crass intentionally to set the toffs on the back foot. Somewhat turning defense into attack.
    I am by no means fully fluent in rhyming slang or the history of it.... it is just around the place, and having been in England and Australia, I have certainly heard, and likely used this odd form of communication.

    Now we get to the song. I assume by this stage most folks know, but for those that don't, the context for the rhyming slang in this song, is that a harry rag is a cigarette. But that doesn't rhyme someone may say, well it is rhyming slang on a slang word, so it is a double blind to the unknowing..... smokes are referred to as fags in England and Australia ... no, there is no slur in there.... I assume that the terminology may have come from a ****** originally being a term used for pieces of wood, I believe specifically used for kindling ... but that is just a guess to be honest ... I am old, but not quite that old.

    So finally to the song.

    The lyrics here, almost seem like an anti smoking song in the context of addiction. Surely if that is the case, it must be one of the first songs of that sort ... I don't know, but it seems a really interesting thing to sing about in 1967.
    The thing that stands out to me is the fact that in spite of everything, even dying, the folks named are just about desperate for a smoke.

    This track musically is excellent .... for me at least .... We have a sort of combination of The Pogues and Zorba The Greek, married into this marching dance.

    This track is almost certainly going to get a broad series of opinions ... it is certainly not everyone's cup of tea. I suppose it may come across as a bit of a novelty song, but I personally don't really hear it that way.

    Like I say, the way this track is framed, it seems like an anti-smoking track, and the way it is sung and phrased, and the marching feel of the music seems to directly speak to addiction side of things.

    We open with the acoustic, and then the bass comes in with its measured two beat kind of delivery. the drums move between a straight beat and a military march and come over really well.
    Ray delivers the vocal beautifully, and I could just picture him in an Irish/English folk band while this plays.

    We have the song accented by handclaps and the occasional "hey" ...

    I suppose I can understand that some folks are just not going to like this, but personally I love it.... now it did take me a few listens. Initially I was somewhat ... "huh?..... really?" ... but subsequent listens have really led me to enjoy the charcater of this song. Also there is a certain boldness in the band doing something so completely removed from the mainframe of the popular music of the day.

    It ends up, that for me, this just continues this flow of different songs .... such a broad variety of sounds, styles and themes, that for me it is a hugely entertaining start to the album.... I mean, we are just over a third of the way through the album, and every song has just been a new adventure... yet, again, for me at least, it all feels like it flows together so beautifully.

    Here is an interesting article that looks at rhyming slang, and the context of the song.... interestingly around this time in history, Harry Rag was also used as slang for a joint .... and throws a whole different tilt on the lyric ....
    It seems like in the context of the song we are talking about a cigarette, but who knows with the Kinks ... The deeper I look at this song, the more interesting it is
    14. The Kinks – Harry Rag (1967)

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
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  18. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I'm rather fond of the song, but hate Harry Rags! It's like a vaudeville comedy number, and provides more colour to the great album.
  19. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Harry Rag

    More diversity from Davies. Two songs in a row where we never hear anything quite like them again. Is this Davies first song about adiction? Obviously Tom turns to the fags to ease the stress and, the taxman may take his cut, but as long as he can still have enough to buy a packet of cigarettes then he doesn't care. I imagine this would have resonated with a lot of working class people back then.

    I'm old enough to remember what it was like when smoking was fashionable for boys and girls. The man who owned the little shop across the street from my school would open a pack of twenty so us kids (we would have been 14 and 15 years old) could buy cigarettes individually. Before decimilisasion they cost three pence each. A quick look at the conversion tables led us to believe the new cost would be 1p, which cheered us up no end. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way but I won't go into that here. Girls smoked because it gave them instant approval amongst the boys. I did know boys who didn't smoke back then but they were considered a bit odd. Less so for girls.

    Here's a question; is this song more appreciated by those of us who smoke, or used to smoke, cigarettes rather than those who never smoked? I still smoke and, just like Tom, I roll my own cigarettes. That line brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

    Could this have been a VGPS song? It is Tom afterall.
  20. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    I always found the topic amusing, thanks to Brian Matthew's introduction on the BBC version:

    But as for the song, it's just fantastic. A real comedy number that only The Kinks could get away with on an album in 1967 (and some might say they didn't). The lyrics still crack me up to this day, and as someone who ain't a fan of the 'rags themselves, it feels all the more rewarding. A real highlight on the LP, and I distinctly remember it standing out to me in a strong way on those early listens.

    The extra studio chatter from Anthology makes a good bumper to the front and back end too, found here and here.
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I used to smoke, and I used to roll my own...
    These days I am still a social leper with my vape lol.... I am a died in the wool nicotine addict.... and that is for everyone else's benefit, it is my adult pacifier :)
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  22. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Harry Rag ! Harry Rag ! We can all picture a UK crowd after three pints, barn dancing and cheering like it’s a Pogues concert. There’s so much humor and wit in every single phrase. The guy’s having fun, the guys are having fun, and so are we. Best handclaps in a Kinks song, at least so far ? As we’ve noticed a few times already, they were not the best handclappers in British pop but here, it works. The BBC version is also excellent but lacks the wonderful high “oooo-ooo-oo” hook that only Rasa Davies could do properly (high and sweet, but without sugar). If this sounds like a celtic folk tune, it’s because Ray absolutely designed it after one (specialists refer to Raggle taggle gypsy, but anyone can hear it’s a traditional template). What I like best is the way Ray’s joking about his own tendency to name songs after characters. If you just take a look at the track listing, you’ll be like “oh, ok, we get two of those on the A side”, but no, you get an affectionate anti-smoking tune instead! You can’t help but smile, while hearing his own audible grin throughout.
  23. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Harry Rag"

    I was born in London in 1965 and lived there until 1977, and I have to say that of all the rhyming slang I may have heard in that time, or on TV shows (e.g. Minder), I can't recall ever having heard the term "harry rag", or having heard a cig referred to as a "harry". Nevertheless, I love this track - it has the air of a boisterous pub singalong, but of course it is uniquely Ray Davies. Some might quibble with rhyming "all" with "all" in the third verse, but given that verses two and four have perfect rhyming, I think we can let him get away with that. It's amusing, it's catchy and it's fun. The cherry on the top for me is the "hoi!" shout on going into the final chorus reprise - which no doubt made an impression on a young Paul Weller.
  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    ‘Harry Rag’ and the next song on this album seemed instantly familiar to me when I first heard them: I immediately suspected that they both had some kind of ancient folk song/nursery rhyme level of lineage, the tunes of both seemed so carved in stone. We’ll get on to the probable direct inspirations for ‘Tin Soldier Man’ tomorrow as alluded to in the liner notes, but could anyone suggest any antecedents for ‘Harry Rag’?

    Live, ‘Harry Rag’ always seemed to appear as a kind an impromptu, off the cuff party piece that The Kinks (and later Ray) would pull out when the mood struck them. Here’s a 1970 version:

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  25. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

    Harry Rag
    A very interesting song that sounds (to me) like it could be a centuries-old singalong. In that respect, it reminds me of Traffic's take on "John Barleycorn"; in that case, a song about an addiction to spirits.

    Oh, and I love the "bingo!" caught at the end of the track :laugh: The Kinks"I saw yer!" moment.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021

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