The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    In its studio form, Muswell Hillbilly has one of the best Kinks riffs and is one of Ray’s best “wrap up” finales, very much in line with the three that preceded it, People Take Picture of Each Other, Arthur and Got to Be Free, all of which sound like hybrids between music-hall and country music singalongs, getting twangier every time. Ray would break this run with his next closing track (the majestic Celluloid one). This is another of Ray’s “almost title tracks”, and I do wish it was plural, I think it would bring out its anthemic nature more effectively. But it’s fine as it is, the defining thematic affirmation of what remains my favorite Kinks record, the one I connect with in the most romantic way because it gives a voice to my own childhood American fantasy and an anchor to my own transatlantic journey from British pop to countrified rock.

    My favorite version, by some margin, is the 2006 live in BBC solo Sold on Song one, sung by Ray in a more mature, more poignant way, as the older man he started to become. Starts at 39'55'' on this video.

  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Low Budget

    I have warmed to this somewhat which is great as initially it kind of dumbfounded me and i was looking for its Kinky nuance and appeal but i can enjoy it now.
    Not in contention though i will get around to picking up its parent album.

    Muswell Hillbilly

    First heard by me on To The Bone CD though the studio album version seems more right and correct with that riff thats so strangely absent elsewhere.
    A jaunty countrified piece and though I will miss the bloodshot alcoholic eyes of Rosie's it was not in contention.

    Looks like i am 4 from 15.
  3. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Also catching up (too much cricket)
    Look Through Any Doorway, like Did Ya, is a good song that should have been included on Phobia - an album that ran for 72 minutes without them. We've discussed CD bloat in the thread and Phobia is a great example. Some people might like Phobia as it is but the lack of discipline of LP record lengths meant that a few songs that should have stayed as studio rarities made the final album. Meanwhile good songs like this and Did Ya were left off. Urk.
    Daylight sets the tone beautifully on Preservation Act 1. I think it works well as a stand-alone song. There's something about the rhythm that I find addictive and the bridge oozes fun. It's one of my favourites.
    Low Budget
    This one is mostly about the lyrics, though Dave's guitar - especially on the live version - adds an important dimension. As @Fortuleo put it, this is a big comedy tune with musical vulgarity. That's a perfect description.
    Muswell Hillbilly
    This isn't one of my favourite songs on what is one of my favourite albums but it is a crucial part of the record because it sums up what was in Ray's mind when he wrote the songs. The fact that Ray continued to play the song live showed the affection he had for it too. So I see it as an important Kinks song as well as fun to listen to.
  4. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I didn’t have ‘Low Budget’ on my list.

    86 Muswell Hillbilly:
    This is my #1 on this second go-round; the first in line leftover from the original Top 40 where I had it ranked at #13. Comfort food for the soul.
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I always liked Dave's tip of the hat to Keith Richards on the One For The Road version of Low Budget
  6. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Midway, KY
    I haven’t kept really good track of my batting average on our second list. I imagine I’ll be well below the Mendoza line at any rate. Speaking of the Mendoza line and the enlightening cricket discussion, pitchers and catchers report tomorrow. It’s a holiday for me! I have a special nostalgic place for the Low Budget album and I had the title track at #39 on my Leftover List. It’s my lowest ranked song from that album but still made the list. It’s a time capsule kind of song and a good bit of blues riffing fun- some great lines from Ray and it has a nice co edit touch to it. My favorite version is from One For The Road as well. Muswell Hillbilly was not on my list but I have grown to really appreciate this record. When my brother pushed it on me, I just didn’t feel that country connection that he thought I’d appreciate. When I look and listen through a different lens and ears, it’s a strong album and this title track makes a personal nod to my family’s hillbilly roots. If we did this poll in a few months I’d have this one much higher.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    Back to the Kinks after a Cricket Weekend. 0 for 2 for me on the latest batch of songs, which are both OK to me but to me lack a sort of emotional resonance compared to the songs that did make my lists.
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    True a great one day innings with physical impairment makes me think of Dean Jones vomiting and urinating at the wicket after batting for over 8 hours in 42 degree heat with a humidity around 80% during his 210 in India in 1986 and being then rushed to hospital and put on a drip following collapsing and his entire body cramping.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  9. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Nice choice The Mez! One of my fave stones songs and one that you seldom see get a shout out. So nice shout out!
  10. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    87 Low Budget
    (unranked on either of my lists)
    The title cut from the last studio album leading into One For the Road is a dandy rocker with classic Davies tongue in cheek sarcastic wit. I didn't run my list past the previously mentioned 55 (40 originals, plus 15 replacements for the 15 that made the first group consensus), but I think this wouldn't have been far behind

    86 Muswell Hillbilly
    (unranked on either of my lists)
    Lyrically quite good, which is of course no surprise at this point.

    Musically kinda catchy but borderline intolerable. This is music that comes from people, as Jeff Foxworth would say, who's "family tree does not fork." This isn't just twang... it's full on Deliverance terror.

    Never could stand Country. It seems the same goes for Kountry.
  11. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    i had "muswell hillbilly" at 9 and "low budget" at 12
  12. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    !! Yeah, right.
  13. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Low Budget:

    This was my #9 on my second Top 40 list and #17 on my first. Compared to many Kinks songs, this one is pretty straightforward musically I suppose, but then I like straight ahead 3 and 4 man bands comprised of drums, bass, guitar(s) and vocals with no other musical adornment, so i am not put off. It leaves a lot of room for Ray's very funny lyrics. Comedy songs often get old, but this one never does for me.

    Even my trousers are giving me pain
    They were reduced in a sale so I shouldn't complain
    They squeeze me so tight so I can't take no more
    They're size 28 but I take 34

    Poor Ray! Maybe this one didn't get old because its not just funny, its a good driving rock song.

    ...and BTW, i have zero use for the album version. One of several instances where they stuck an abbreviated version of what was clearly a longer song on the album and then released the true full version elsewhere. I insist on either the extended studio version (extra lyrics! extra laughs) or equally great, the live version (extra guitar, extra Dave!). The exact same goes for Superman (so. idon't ahve to say it again when it makes the list shortly!).

    As to Fortuleos' question, i am nothing but an observer, i have no industry specific knowledge (as many of our posters here seem to have). That said, I do find it interesting to watch and study career arcs and what causes them (where the band made the right choice, where they made the wrong choice etc), mainly because I like business. i run my own law firm and, as a lawyer, i counsel business owners on how to grow and expand etc. So, yes, I do have an opinion. From my vantage point as a then-15 year old kid in 1979, at least amongst my friends, heavier rock seemed to be on the upswing. I do think Low Budget caught fire because of songs like Low Budget that had a more straightforward hard(ish) rock feel. I also saw the kinks live around this time (well, ok, a few years later on GTPWTW) and that was a hella heavy rock show, with tons of guitars all over the place and only a few slower songs sprinkled in. There were keyboards of course, but no other instruments that i can recall other than drums, bas and guitars. lots of GUITARS! Dave was on fire (just listen to OFTR to hear what he was doing then). I had dragged some friends to go. i wouldn't say they were reluctant, it was a concert after all, but they were mostly going to humor me, not because they were big Kinks fans. They were my Maiden and Def Leppard buddies. I can assure you they were surprised and won over, they liked what they saw and heard, and tehy left fans.

    I am sure this shift in approach probably cost the band some long time fans, we saw it as we left the show tune era behind and several folks dropped out of the thread rather than subject themselves to horror of the Arista era (their loss :tsk:). I do think the shift in style compensated though by adding a lot of new fans that were into the harder side of things.

    As a general statement, I never felt like Ray was "chasing trends" they way many bands do. I have no factual basis to support this view point, its more just that i feel like Ray was too clever for that. i think he was alawys listening to what was out there, what was new, and if he liked it, it just influenced him inherently. I doubt Ray saw the kids gravitating towards hard rock and heavy metal and followed suit. I bet he just was hearing and liking the then current heavier stuff and got inspired to play some himself. its not like it was new to him anyway, hell, he arguably invented it with YRGM and ADAAOTN (and I Need You). Same for another of my favorite Low budget tracks, the much maligned Superman. i just don't see Ray jumping on the disco bandwagon here either. I see him probably hearing that heavy thumping bass and working the sound in because he liked it. Frankly, Superman would get my vote for best disco song by a hard rock band (even better than Miss You and (the also often maligned) Emotional Rescue. ...and yes, even better than I Was Made for Loving You by Kiss (in case you were going to ask!). i think Ray chased whatever music sounded good in his head and that often incorporated the current sounds of the day, but unlike others artists who jumped on the bandwagon for money (versus due to true inspiration), Ray truly felt the music and was able to make valuable contributions in that musical space as a result.

    Muswell Hillbilly: I like it, but not enough that i considered it even for my second top 40. For comparison, Low Budget (the song) landed in the 12th position on my Sleepwalker thru GTPWTW era playlist (out of 51 songs) while poor old Muswell (the song) landed (well, belly flopped really) into the 49th position (out of 74 songs) in my TKATVGPS thru Muswell Hillbillies era playlist. It made my playlist, therefore I like it, but its not in the upper echelons of that era for me. Good tune though, as many have noted, its has a great riff and the riff drives the song. ...and as you might have noticed by now, I like a good riff!

    Edit* PS, i am now 3 for 15! ...and no, my feelings are not hurt!
  14. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Neither of today’s songs were under consideration by me.
  15. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Neither Low Budget nor Muswell Hillbilly made my short or long lists for this exercise. Good songs again but many more I like better. I do prefer the studio versions for each of these.

    @markelis has already mentioned the longer full version of Low Budget only ever released on vinyl that most didn’t even know existed, so I’ll oblige, grab that again and post it here. And it’s the UK Single Mix that I made some months ago and snuck in the thread somewhere. Might have been during the Picture Book discussion where I was lamenting for the hundredth time the fact this long version has never been available on CD and was not included on the 1999 Velvel CD reissue of Low Budget nor the 2008 Picture Book set. One of the two mixes should have been a bonus track on the LB CD reissue at the very least, if not both.

    The shorter album version is an edit of the US 12” Mix available elsewhere on YouTube, but this UK Single Mix (available on both the UK 7” and 12” Superman singles) is different with some of the backing vocals and shouting stuff either mixed out or (my guess) not yet added as is heard on the later released US Mix (and thus the more familiar edited album version) in addition to some other differences in instrument placement. This UK Single Mix is not documented in Doug Hinman's book.

    Low Budget (UK Single Mix)

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  16. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Muswell Hillbilly has an alternate mix too that showed up on the 1976 Celluloid Heroes – The Kinks Greatest RCA comp we talk about from time to time. I’ve mentioned this several times before but just to remind these new mixes including this one that turned up on this vinyl comp were not reissued on the later CD versions of the comp. This 1976 remix is on CD, however. It was issued as a bonus track on the 2013 UK 2 CD Deluxe Edition of Muswell Hillbillies. It was not included on the 2014 US 2 CD Legacy Edition of MH. Go figure.

    Muswell Hillbilly (1976 Remix) – new to the thread apparently.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    “Take me back to those Balaack Hills …that i ain’t ever seen.” Nice.
  18. The MEZ

    The MEZ Forum Resident

    Muswell Hillbillies #52. I really like this polarizing album & this song in partucular.
    Low Budget #76. Another song I really like. Both the album version & The One For The Road. I was unaware of the longer Single mix. This thread is full of neverending goodies!
  19. Brian x

    Brian x the beautiful ones are not yet born

    Los Angeles
    Welcome to the list, Shouty Ray. I had a couple of songs from Low Budget on my list, but not the title track. Damn Dave cooks on the posted live version.

    I love Muswell, but the version I met on Showbiz is my go-to. I realize now, though I have very little of the audiophile in me, that the version of the Muswell LP I got in Japan (god knows what pressing or mix or whatever, it was the Japanese version available circa 1978) was so muddy that it turned me off for years (except 20th Century Man). Anyway, a great tune in my book, and I've always loved the idea of missing a place you've never seen.
  20. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Dear fellow Avids:

    I had kind of a (maybe) fun idea for next freeform Sunday. We have an eclectic group of music fans with widespread taste who are all pulled together by our mutual love of the kinks. I also think that, even though we have different tastes, we have such a good group of friendly people that we all are open and respect each other’s different tastes, and we are all learning from each other.

    I was thinking it might be fun if, on an upcoming Sunday, each person (assuming they want to participate), put forth a band that they feel is undervalued or overlooked for the rest of the group's consideration. It could in some way be loosely tied to the kinks (for example, I think Megadeth would go over it like a lead balloon on this thread, and is about as far removed from the kinks as you could possibly get, so they are probably out. On the other hand, the Jayhawks have played with both Ray and Dave and many in our group may not know their work well so they would be an easy obvious choice). Then again, "loosely" might mean nothing more than they once did a kinks song in concert or their guitarist might have been a little influenced by Dave Davies. it is free form sunday, its only rock and roll and we just spent a week talking about Dylan, so to some extent, anything could and should go!

    Since it’s freeform Sunday, I don’t think there should be super specific rules, but it would make sense for each person to explain why they think their chosen band would be of interest, who it might appeal to (i.e. fans of the stones, fans of broadway show tunes, fans of Megadeth?!?! etc), maybe a little background on the band, and anywhere from one to four or five links to songs by the band that the submitter believes presents the band in its best light.

    It might be a stupid idea, I just thought it might be fun. I have a band in mind that I suspect most people have never heard of, and even though they have been inactive for a while, I’m guessing, since we have a lot of kinks/stones/Dylan fans, some of our Avids might like the style and sound of the band i have in mind. … and maybe this is just too structured an idea, which arguably flies in the face of FREEFORM Sunday.

    FWIW, i did first run this past our headmaster and he seemed to approve. I am nothing if not respectful!

    I can't wait to hear the feedback :hide:
  21. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Not much to say today. Neither song was close to making my lists. “Low Budget” is a song where I do find the lyrics amusing, but it’s a Ray style vocal that I’m not a big fan of. I wish he would have been more delicate with the vocal. I recall that was maybe the case in one of the live versions? It’s not a bad 70s rocker, but there are several other songs on this album I prefer. One of them even made my list.

    “Muswell Hillbilly”- A great album closer and the most country fried song on the album. I love the guitars and the lyrics “I’m gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes.” If this was performed by one of the country stars of the day it could have been a hit. Ray could do it all. Today’s two songs are totally different from each other and even more different than Saturday’s songs! I don’t ever think of this song much on its own, but I love it and sing along every time I hear it.
  22. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Re-today's tracks.
    I’m starting to understand what @mark winstanley hinted at when he said the list was broad in scope and made for a pretty good representation of the band’s output. Today, we got two songs that were unranked by me but would both hold their own in any kanonik Kinks retrospective, for a number of reasons. Both are title songs (one just almost so) and both are showcasing what their parent records are/were all about : @croquetlawns’ own favorite twangy country rock flavor for one, and shouty mockin'heavy Ray for the other. Disclaimers, statements of purposes, you can listen to them both and get what the band was after at the two extremes of the seventies. Even though neither is (in my opinion), the best song on their respective LPs, they are the ones that best examplify what those records are about. Thus their “title track” (or almost so) status. Just as I was typing this, I realized that the Kinks released SEVEN ALBUMS between Muswell Hillbillies and Low Budget, all displaying personality, diversity, purpose, innovation etc. The breadth of styles is nothing short of astonishing. Whatever one may think about the sixties being their golden decade, the seventies was definitely their most diverse.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I can go for that, Avid Markelis
  24. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Fortunately, I bought the single on release so at least I have it.

    If there is to be a third part of the Journey maybe it will appear at long last. Not holding my breath though.

    Just spotted this afternoon there's a new 2023 mix of Father Christmas. Another one of those strange decisions from our friends in Kinkdom.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  25. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    I had nothing from Low Budget on my top 80 lists. There was at least one other album that was the case for.

    Muswell wasnt originally on my top 80 either. But turns out I had included a tune from our original top 40 in my second list. When that was pointed out I decided to put Muswell Hillbilly in its place. I probably should have put it at #40 on that list but it just seemed easier to swap it in, so that it how it came to be 21 on my second list.

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