The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Sunday At the Movies With Mark. You should make this a regular feature.

    This was wonderful. I just watched the entire thing (please include this on index. This is a must see. An absolute must see.)
  2. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Back in 2014, on this forum, Andrew Sandoval said that there are at least two vintage stereo mixes of most of the "Something Else" tracks. He said that the held-back alternate stereo mixes do NOT have the weird phase-reversed channels, which were intentional. He was happy to report that he had been able to use some of the vintage un-phase-reversed mixes for the first time on that Anthology set.

    I have to take his word that notes in the Pye tape boxes indicate that Pye was experimentally trying to come up with a system that would allow stereo mixes to collapse well into mono. Wouldn't they have noticed, by testing the fold-downs, that this was far WORSE than folding down a standard stereo mix? The only explanation that makes sense is that they were instead trying to create spacialized 3-D mixes; but as Andrew indicates, they may not have been thinking clearly. (There was some of that spacialized mixing going on at Columbia records, too, in that time, especially by producer David Rubinson: The Moby Grape debut and the "United States of America" album come to mind. )

    Ah ha! Here is the thread!

    SH Spotlight - Play the Kinks "Waterloo Sunset" in stereo, check and fix or improve your stereo playback with it!

    I may have mentioned this, but the original mixes of "Face-to-Face" tracks on Anthology sound much better than any other I've heard; same with "Dead End Street." I have to assume they found lower-generation master tapes that had gone unused. I don't know if they are the same as on the Deluxe editions.
  3. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    90220 Compton
    Wow I'm very behind on this thread! Normally I wouldn't want to go out of turn, but the stretch of songs from Afternoon Tea to Waterloo Sunset is probably the most meaningful assortment of songs to me that I can think of...

    Afternoon Tea

    Another great song on the album. I think in a way it's 'filller,' but I mean that in the best way possible. It probably isn't anyone's favorite Kinks track, and it doesn't have any of the melodic or sonic acrobatics that, say, Death of a Clown or Lazy Old Sun have, but it perfectly fills out the album. On any lesser band's albums, this would easily be a contender for top track. Super catchy and really just perfect pop. Songs like this are exactly why the band was so incredibly consistent around this time.

    I really love the car-horn guitar part. I assume it's a volume pedal like on The Beatles' I Need You and Wait, but as 1967 was the year of sonic experimentation, anything is possible. There are some regional mixes of the album that have the guitar honks in different parts of the song. Dave's (?) guitar tone on the rest of the song is perfect too. Real snappy. I normally don't obsess over tone much, but I love that sound.

    Funny Face

    A really strong contender for the best Dave Davies song. The juxtaposition between the stop-start verses and the dreamy chorus is brilliant. That ethereal organ swell that just washes over you when the chorus starts is beautiful. It's always been a favorite of mine since I started to seriously listen to the album, but I don't think I ever picked up on the lyrics until a bit more recently.

    I'm sure this has been discussed on the thread already, but the lyrics are about his duaghter and girlfriend that he wasn't really able to see. And it's easy enough to just write that out and sing it, but there's something so elegant about the way he presents it. Even as I type this out I'm a bit hesitant because I may have misinterpreted the lyrics. But that's part of the beauty in these things isn't it? And I love the Nutcracker-march ending guitar riff too.

    End of the Season

    Apparently this was written for Face to Face, but it seems so far ahead of it's time (as paradoxical as that may sound) that I'm not certain. The song expertly imitates Noel Coward and revue/music hall and goes far beyond the lounge-singer and bouncy piano singalongs (not that there' anything wrong with those, of course) that lesser bands recorded. The chord progression on the song is intense too. It's easy to play on piano, but guitar is a real challenge.

    Waterloo Sunset

    Some songs are hard to write about... what more can I say about this? It's the most beautiful song ever composed and without a doubt my favorite piece of music. Ray could retire right after it's release and he still would deserve to be knighted.

    Little Women

    It's always interesting to think what 'could have been' with these instrumental tracks, but I don't think this one would have been anything to write home about. It's not bad of course, (they could do no wrong in this era) but it probably would have been an album track or maybe a B side. Interestingly, this track appears on my edition of Face to Face as well. I'm not sure when it was recorded, but given it's usage of the 'Tron, I would have suspected it be a VGPS-era track.
  4. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Hello everyone, some quick notes as I travel internationally.
    Afternoon Tea-Ray has always loved his tea. The chorus has a way of reeling one in here. A very catchy rock and roll song.
    Funny Face-An unusual song about an unusual woman. The creepy, sad lyrics seems to be that of a dying or sick woman who either refuses to see him or is kept away from him. Another fascinating song from a fascinating album.
    End Of The Season-a beautiful song done in an old cabaret jazzy style yet it's so characteristically Kinks. Ray the crooner, haunted by a woman who left him and the inability to cope with her loss. Great song.
    Waterloo Sunset-What else can be said that hasn't already? A perfect closing track.
  5. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Something Else-In closing the run from Face To Face to Arthur is truly amazing. Whichever I am listening to at any particular time is my favorite. It's hard to deny that there hasn't ever been anything like Something Else. If there has, then I'm really missing something. In addition to even more excellent Ray Davies tunes, we can hear the emergence of Dave Davies as a songwriter, as it includes songs that had recently released as solo singles. Compared to its contemporaries, the music was much more traditional than cutting-edge, and sounds all the better for it. Although in it's own way it is cutting edge. Nobody else sounded like this. This cemented The Kinks as a one-of-a-kind, brilliant all around band.
  6. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Mid Atlantic, USA
    I hear a bit of "Phenominal Cat" in the Mellotron flute sounds...
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Same here
  8. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Re: movie (above) . Every single talking head says “Davis,” not “Davies.” So it must be the British pronunciation.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It sounds weird to me, but yea ....
  10. Ray pronounces it Davis and Dave as Davies as I recall.
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol, that'd be right
  12. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    From little women to fat cats. More social commentary from Ray!
    FJFP and mark winstanley like this.
  13. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter In Memoriam

    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Watching right now, thank you. Utterly sensational. So great to see The Kinks examined in this style of documentary. Long overdue, like everything else with that band
  14. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: I've heard Ray say in an interview that it's actually supposed to be pronounced "Daviz" but he doesn't think it's worth making a fuss about.
  15. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    When I asked you, a few days ago, which album we were discussing next I was thinking of the Sunny Afternoon album. So glad it's not been missed. Afterall, it did sell a lot more than Something Else.
  16. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    That's how it is pronounced according to how I was brought up but I think it's a very contentious subject.
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    "Autumn Almanac"

    Single by the Kinks
    "Mister Pleasant" (UK) "David Watts" (US) & (Europe)
    Released 13 October 1967 (UK) 29 November 1967 (US)
    Recorded September 1967
    Studio Pye (No. 2), London
    Genre Baroque pop
    Length 3:05
    Label Pye (UK, 7N 17400) Reprise (US, 0647)
    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
    Producer(s) Ray Davies

    "Autumn Almanac" is a song written by Ray Davies and recorded by the rock group the Kinks in 1967. "Autumn Almanac" has since been noted for being an "absolute classic",[1] "a finely observed slice of English custom",[2] and a "weird character study",[3] and praised for its "mellow, melodic sound that was to characterize the Kinks' next [musical] phase..."[4] Some have placed this and other Davies compositions in the pastoral-Romantic tradition of the poetry of Wordsworth, among others.[5]

    In his 1995 autobiography X-Ray and in subsequent performances of his VH1 Storytellers effort, Davies described the song as being inspired by a local hunch-backed gardener in his native Muswell Hill neighbourhood of North London.

    "Autumn Almanac" was a non-album single[6] in between 1967's Something Else by the Kinks and 1968's The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. The song was a big success in the UK, reaching #3 on the singles chart, but not in the US, where it failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Like many recordings of the mid-to-late 1960s, "Autumn Almanac" was released in both mono and stereo versions. The mono version was released as single and appears as a bonus track on the 1998 CD reissue of Something Else by The Kinks as well as most compilations. The stereo version, which is ten seconds longer and features more psychedelic audio effects such as a tape loop during the fadeout, appears on the 1972 compilation The Kink Kronikles as well as the deluxe 2-CD reissue of Something Else.

    Dave Davies spoke highly of "Autumn Almanac" in an interview with Yahoo!, saying, "I was playing through 'Autumn Almanac' [recently] and it’s a phenomenal recording. You can understand why it has lasted so long."[7]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wikipedia----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    • This celebration of British suburban life was inspired by a local gardener in Ray Davies' native Muswell Hill neighborhood of North London. Davies explained to Q magazine: "The words were inspired by Charlie, my dad's old drinking mate, who cleaned up my garden for me, sweeping up the leaves. I wrote it in early autumn, yeah, as the leaves were turning color."
    • The baroque tune includes some tape-manipulated feedback and backwards guitar. Davies explained: "I was experimenting a lot with winding tapes backwards, like that 'This is my street' bit is the first part of the song reversed. I was really pleased with that tune, all the little segments."
    • This was released as a non-album single in between 1967's Something Else by the Kinks and 1968's The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. It was a huge success in the UK, reaching #3 on the singles chart, but the song wasn't even released in the US until it was included on The Kink Kronikles compilation set in 1972.
    mono mix (3:10), recorded Sep 1967 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
    When the dawn begins to crack.
    It's all part of my autumn almanac.
    Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow,
    So I sweep them in my sack.
    Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

    Friday evenings, people get together,
    Hiding from the weather.
    Tea and toasted, buttered currant buns
    Can't compensate for lack of sun,
    Because the summer's all gone.

    Oh, my poor rheumatic back
    Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.
    Oh, my autumn almanac
    Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

    I like my football on a Saturday,
    Roast beef on Sundays, all right.
    I go to Blackpool for my holidays,
    Sit in the open sunlight.

    This is my street, and I'm never gonna to leave it,
    And I'm always gonna to stay here
    If I live to be ninety-nine,
    'Cause all the people I meet
    Seem to come from my street
    And I can't get away,
    Because it's calling me, (come on home)
    Hear it calling me, (come on home)

    Oh, my autumn Armagnac
    Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.
    Oh, my autumn almanac
    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

    Bop-bop-bopm-bop-bop, whoa!
    Bop-bop-bopm-bop-bop, whoa!

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music/Carlin Music Corp.

    Lyrics for "Autumn Almanac"

    This is a beautiful piece of poetic observation. I could see this all tying in with the Village Green theme, and it is easy to see how the Village Green album could well have been a pretty sensational double album in a different age than the tail end of the singles era.

    The gardener information in the notes up the top make perfect sense now looking through the lyrics. Its like Ray climbed inside the mind of an ordinary Joe and made a poetic statement about his life.

    An Almanac is an annual calendar containing important dates and statistical information such as astronomical data and tide tables - or a handbook, typically published annually, containing information of general interest or on a sport or pastime.
    Autumn is of course what folks in the US call Fall.... just so everyone is on the same page.... an Almanac seems like an almost ancient idea these days, but I remember when these were quite common.

    This song is such a bouncy and joyous track that it almost makes the technically brilliant chord pattern fall by the wayside. We modulate through several different keys over the course of the song, and it is so smooth, and melodically appealing that it is easy to overlook.

    The opening acoustic guitar sounds terribly rustic, and opens us up in an A, B7 and E or IV,V, I pattern, but as we move into the opening lyrics our A has turned into a minor, and this subtle modulation technique rolls through the whole song.... to the point where it is almost impossible to determine a verse, a chorus, a bridge (or middle eight) ... we have a song that is essentially a whole, there are just too many wonderful parts that flow smoothly into each other to even bother trying to figure out what is what.

    The progressing chord pattern in the opening yes yes yes section is beautiful, and closes out the first section beautifully.
    As we move into the second section, we open in the Em and instantly modulate into the major. We get a short reference to the opening chord pattern, but then we modulate again ... but this modulation moves into another beautiful piece of modulation that takes us back into the opening verse progression, but we have a a la la la vocal and some beautiful horn accents.
    Then we move into another completely different section that doesn't modulate (I Like My Football) but it is using the same key in a different manner. But, just to make things more interesting we just get a straight up key change rolling into a Gm.
    The This Is My Street section is wholly remarkable ... Look, I am not a music theory expert, so this is just layman references by someone who only ever played by ear .... but this section seems to modulate through all the keys we have used prior in this song.

    Look I'm not going to belabour the point, but this is just a magnificent piece of writing.... I'm sure to some degree Ray was showing off his writing chops and how far they had come, but from my perspective this is a sensational piece of writing. It isn't that it is technically wonderful, it is that it is so smooth, and sounds so natural. I like a lot of technical music, but to me the trick to technical music, is to make it sound like it isn't, and this succeeds on all levels.... To such a point that until really paying attention to this song, I had never really noticed what a wonderful piece of writing it is....... Even more so this is a pop song, and even more than that, he managed to make it so beautifully smooth that it managed to get to number three on the UK chart, number 5 in Germany and top twenty in many other countries.

    There observational lyrics are wonderful, but to save this from becoming a novel, I'm going to leave that to you guys......

    So yet again this thread boosts my opinion of the band an awful lot, and this song just about has me in awe of what a wonderful piece of writing this is .... I mean this is just so wonderful, and we haven't touched on what a fantastic vocal this is, how wonderful all the little effects are, and a whole plethora of things about this track that make it something really special ...... and until this morning, although I liked this song, I had no idea what a wonder this song was, which goes even further to show what a wonder it actually is.

  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The stereo version

    All Down The Line and Steve E. like this.
  19. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Autumn Almanac"

    This is, of course, quite wonderful. It starts off with some jaunty strumming which leads into a scene-setting verse of evocative poetic beauty. We then get a song unlike any other, as that opening verse is reused as a la-la-la singalong, to link a series of non-repeated sections, each one more complex than the last. It's like a mini-opera. It shouldn't work, yet it hangs together quite beautifully. Once again the backing vocals are a huge part of the atmosphere. Despite the song's complexity, it's a great singalong, a warm celebration of home. Unlike the character in "End Of The Season", the folk in "Autumn Almanac" do not lose their sense of belonging and purpose once the summer has gone, and can still find things to comfort them through to the time when they can head off for Blackpool again. Another stone-cold klassic single.
  20. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Autumn Almanac:

    To me, this is like the pinnacle of Ray’s ambition as a writer of singles : the audacity of putting such a complex weirdly structured song (about a relatively oblique subject) out as an A side and still managing to get it to number 3 on the UK charts! After this I really think (as he concentrated on VGPS and it’s follow ups) he never really put so much work into the single in it’s own right again. Yes something like ‘Shangri-La’ is at least as complicated a song but it’s conceived as an extract from a larger work. ‘Autumn Almanac’ as a single stands as entirely it’s own self contained entity.

    Huge Beach Boys fan here, (and I know comparisons are odious) but when I was younger it always used to somewhat bug me that ‘Good Vibrations’ (which admittedly is from a whole year earlier) got all the credit for being a ‘pocket symphony’ comparable to classical music when really it’s actual structure as a song (as opposed to the way the record is constructed of course) is pretty straightforward: verse chorus, verse chorus, 2 middle bits, back into the chorus and end.

    By contrast, what the heck is happening in ‘Autumn Almanac’??? verse, verse, Bridge 1, chorus, Bridge 2, Bridge 3, Bridge 4, Chorus? Maybe? It weaves and jolts all over the place through a cavalcade of moods and sections, all different yet all incredibly rendolent of this very specific kind of English working class nostalgia: all these different modules combine like an MS Escher print of post war England observed from several different perspectives at once. I’ve since come to appreciate ‘Good Vibrations’ fully for it’s own distinct achievements, but I still think Ray deserves more recognition for what he achieves on ‘Autumn Almanac’ as a daringly innovational pop architect: yes it wasn’t laboured over in 10 studios over a year like ‘GV’ instead being cobbled together on a budget at Pye like all the Kinks late 60s work, but as a milestone in state of the art late 60s pop, I truly believe it’s right up there with Brian Wilson’s masterpiece, and anyone else you care to mention.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    The only surviving video performance of this song, from 'Top Of The Pops' in 1967 (and considering how little survives of the 60s editions of that show, we're damn lucky to have it!

    Note 'this is a piano' written on Pete Quaife's bass: I've also seen photos of Jim Rodford and Chris White with the same slogan emblazoned on their basses: am I missing some kind of injoke amongst Kinks/Zombies bass players here?

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
  22. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    What an excellent write-up!
  23. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    'Autumn Almanac' despite being a huge hit, was considered too complex to play live regularly, and so AFAIK was omitted from the Kinks live show in the 60s. The only time they are known to have played it live as a full band is at the same 1971 Flushing show that they played 'Mr Pleasant' at (details at this post: The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song) ).. unfortunately, unlike it's B Side, this impromptu version of the A didn't come off so well. I'm still glad they gave it a go though:

  24. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    It's a song with no verse! You start by the chorus (twice). Sure, it can be mistaken for a verse (since the lyrics change) but it is indeed a chorus, as the “lalalala” singalong/refrain will prove later on. And in-between, you get a variety of “bridges”, long, multi-part and sophisticated, with dozens of elaborate chord changes that could haunt Brian Wilson’s and Harry Nilsson's nights. Still somehow, it always effortlessly comes back to the “lalalala” refrain and you’re compelled to sing it at the top of your lungs, in the most exhilarating and cathartic way. What a stunning, stunning track!
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    In the last few years of The Kinks existence before their (still ongoing) hiatus circa the mid 90s, Ray would come on first as the acoustic support to his own band, and started including 'Autumn Almanac' as part of these sets, so it was technically part of The Kinks mid 90s live set even if it was really just played by Ray on his own. He then carried it over into his solo sets. 2009 version here:


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