The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Heresy!
     
  2. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Well, we'll come to the album soon. I'll be interested in finding out which songs are better than "Wonderboy" and why, by general consensus. Seems a pretty high bar!
     
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Great to hear your news and liking of the song Frederick but please don't play him the mono and stereo versions and ask him to dissect them for at least another 12 years or so.
    Best Wishes,
    Michael.
     
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    On the lyrics...

    * The last line is "Life is lonely...". I don't think it's "Life is only." I recently heard an interview with Ray where he agreed with the interviewer that this was a rather dark lyric to end on, for a song such as this.

    *"Life is not real." This brings to mind "Strawberry Fields Forever": "Nothing is Real." It may even be a conscious reference. Was that a factor in Lennon liking it? I was surprised and impressed at Idleracer's finding of the common 7-note melody and rhythm between "Turn your sorrow into won... " and "I was dreaming of the paaah...". You are correct, though the different contexts of the notes in their respective chord sequences makes it less than a cut-and-dry steal.

    *"Wonderboy, some mother's son." Ray, of course, will return to this phrase for the most gut wrenching of his songs on "Arthur." Would he have arrived at that song without this one?
     
  5. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    WONDERBOY

    A beautiful song. Maybe not a single but beautiful nevertheless.

    Ray in extremely positive mood.
     
  6. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman

    I'm glad you said this because I thought I might be crazy. I've been hearing "lonely" as clear as a bell on my headphones but all the written lyrics I've read say he's singing "only" - which is a more enigmatic line. But "lonely" makes sense in that Ray was cuddling a bottle of vodka when he wrote it.
     
  7. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I can't remember where I got my copy but I remember seeing multiple copies of it on the wall at Sam The Record Man as a cutout for $1.90.
     
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    My old Sam's bag from Yonge St has a few Kinks in it!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Samtastic :cry: Is that where you got your propensity for awful puns?
     
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  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Polly

    mono mix (2:49), recorded Mar 1967 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Polly wouldn't listen to her Mama,
    Polly wouldn't listen to her Papa.
    She tried to make the swinging city scene,
    And now there's not a place that Polly hasn't been.

    Polly, pretty pretty Pollyanna,
    Pretty pretty Pollyanna,
    Pretty Polly Garter
    Oh, I think that pretty Polly should have stayed at home.

    Pretty Polly, dressed as jolly as can be,
    She's so darling, all the fellas do agree,
    And half a million people can't be wrong,
    Oh, I think that pretty Polly should have stayed at home.

    Polly wrote a letter to her Mama,
    Polly made confessions to her Papa.
    Mummy's proud 'cause Polly's still in chains
    She's happy now her baby's coming home again.

    Pretty Polly, she learned that life is just a game,
    She is sorry, she just had to break the chains.
    And Mama knows, 'cause Mama was the same
    Oh, she's happy now her baby's coming home again.

    Polly, pretty pretty Pollyanna,
    Pretty pretty pretty pretty Pollyanna,
    Pretty Polly Garter
    Oh, Polly, pretty pretty Pollyanna,
    Pretty pretty pretty pretty Pollyanna,
    Pretty Polly Garter
    I think that pretty Polly should have stayed at home.

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

    This song is often incorrectly referred to as Pretty Polly, obviously due to the very catchy way it is sung in the chorus.

    What a great lyric here .... funnily enough this morning on the Bob Seger thread we looked at Night Moves, and Polly could well be the black haired beauty with big dark eyes.
    The opening verse makes it pretty clear what we are talking about here. The young girl acting out her desires, even if it meant jumping out of her bedroom window to get where she wanted to be.

    Yet another song about someone going to the big smoke to fulfil a dream or desire, and it not turning out quite as they had planned.

    The line "She's So Darling, all the fellas do agree" says so much about promiscuity, and also society's perspective on promiscuous females ... and it is a sad reflection on all of us really. Yet again Ray just nails this one to the wall.
    The line "She is sorry, she just had to break the chains. And Mama knows, 'cause Mama was the same" is straight forward and simple, but at the same time pure genius.
    There is a sort of subtle mockery in Ray's vocal here.... but it is done with a tenderness. This isn't a lethal attack. This is an understanding nod, with the regrets being all too plain.

    This is the beautiful thing about the Kinks that I am learning here. This is a b-side ....this is a fantastic b-side .... This is a lesser known song for me really, because although I have heard it, I have heard it almost in a passing thought way, because it was a tag on song on the cd. It wasn't part of an album. It wasn't the hit single. It's just some song that was on the other side of the single.....
    But that undercooks it a lot.
    Now I have been listening more closely, I can totally hear why some folks say this should have been the a-side. It certainly seems like it could well have been hit single material. It almost gives me the feeling that Ray purposefully put the more likely to be catchy song on the b-side, almost like he was preparing the Kinks audience for what was to come.
    It also seems like it could well have been written with the Village Green material in mind. Mama's happy that her Polly is coming home again, to the Village Green.

    When I hear a song like this from the Kinks, I can hear the influence it had on a band like Madness .... I could actually hear Madness covering this song.

    Musically this is excellent too... for the most part a fairly straight forward chord progression, but the arrangement is quite brilliant.
    I love the way the old timey sounding horns come in on the chorus.
    The bridge works really well too.

    This is just another revealing song, that shows clearly how seemingly overlooked so much of the Kinks music is.
    I'm loving this.




     
  11. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Mark nails it again - I don't mind Wonderboy, but Polly is catchier and was more likely to be a hit IMO.

    In regards to 'Pretty Polly', that's what it was called on some of the 7" picture sleeves - does anyone know what it's title was on the label?
     
  12. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Pye couldn't seem to make up their mind whether this was called "Polly" or "Pretty Polly". Even as late as 1987 on the Well Respected Men compilation it was still the latter. A strange song structure, something like ABCACBB. Perhaps this is "Big Black Smoke" with an alternate ending? I think it maybe stood more chance of being a hit single than the A-side, but probably still not top 20. May have fitted nicely on side 2 of VGPS alongside the likes of "Starstruck" and "Monica", but to me it has much more the feel of a B-side, and there's nothing wrong with that. Musically it makes good use of piano - presumably still Nicky at this stage, and the backing vocals - still Rasa presumably?
     
  13. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    That Polly girl shares a lot with many Ray female characters of 1966/1967. She left home like Rosie, went to the big city like the Big Black Smoke protagonist, she likes to go out in swingin’ clubs like Sybilla or the Little Miss Queen of Darkness, she’s got a toxic possessive mother like the girl in Situation Vacant… But this time around, for some reason, Ray applies some of his humorous vitriol to the unfortunate Polly like he did to most guys in his masculine satirical portraits. The music matches this attitude, a frenetic music-hall rocker, with more than a little something of the Who’s Happy Jack in it, an unstoppable chorus and a typically brilliant melodic bridge, which includes the funniest line (“and half a million people can’t be wrong”). The best aspect of the song for me are the low piano attacks (badam-dam-dam : this is the Madness part, don't you think @mark winstanley ?). This fantastic hook gives a lot of dramatic impact to the verse, before the track really takes flight on the chorus. Top tier Kinks ? Probably not. Top tier fun ? Definitely !
     
  14. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    I think that's probably right. Doug Hinman says Polly, Lincoln County and There is no Life Without Love were likely recorded in the same March sessions as Wonderboy - which had Nicky and Rasa on it.
     
  15. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Polly
    This is another of Ray’s songs about seemingly innocent girls being corrupted by the evils of the big city - though maybe this time it was in her genes or upbringing. Anyway, Polly has a catchy chorus and I always enjoy hearing it, as I do all the obscure Kinks songs that I first heard on Kronikles.
     
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  16. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    I like ARL's comments on the song but disagree that it could have fitted nicely on VGPS - something that Vagabone suggested for Wonderboy. When we get to VGPS we could look at these suggestions again e.g. in the context of the album as a whole or for specific songs.
     
  17. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    It was in the track listing (along with Monica) on the proposed Reprise album "Four More Respected Gentlemen". Four More Respected Gentlemen - Wikipedia
     
  18. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    I used to think Four More Respected Gentlemen was a bootleg but it's closer (in intent anyway) to Capitol's repackaging of the earlier Beatles albums. Under pressure from Reprise for a new album Ray gave them a mixed-bag of singles, outtakes and a few songs that would end up on VGPS. Reprise ended up just waiting for VGPS, which had a substantially different track listing to the abandoned FMRG. Andy Miller (VGPS 33 1/3) argues FMRG had its own theme, with many of the song lyrics reflecting Ray's personal and professional situation - "largely concerned with ways of escape: running away (Polly), booze (Misty Water), cheap music (Mr Songbird), nostalgia (Picture Book), one-night stands (Berkeley Mews), even suicide (Did You See His Name?)."

    FMRG makes for a curious alternative album - I think I'll assemble it in a playlist to see how it holds up.
     
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I’m surprised that Reprise were desperate for new Kinks LP product in mid 1968 given how dismally they’d been doing chart wise in the US for getting on for two years by that point.

    I’ve never listened to that track list as an album; I agree would be interesting to give it a spin though. A vinyl FMWRG is the kind of thing you’d think they’d have done for RSD by now. Got to say though, I find it hard to hear ‘Misty Water’ as a closer.
     
  20. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    I was thinking the same. Or yet another disc in the VGPS SDE, but at 5 CDs and 2 LPs it was probably big enough!
     
  21. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Especially since all of the tracks of FMRG are already spread out over the discs of the VGPS SDE.
     
  22. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Polly -- I see the satire as directed towards the whole family dynamic, certainly not just Polly. Who is the voice saying "I think that Pretty Polly should have stayed at home"? I don't read this as Ray's point of view, but the parents'. What think others on this?

    Nerdy details on "(Pretty) Polly"--

    *The single was released at the time as "Pretty Polly" AND "Polly," hence the ongoing title confusion:

    45cat listing:
    The Kinks - Wonderboy

    *The stereo version of the song, as heard on Kinks Kronikles, is missing a 4-note descending vocal overdub every time Ray sings "Home." Perhaps another case of Ray overdubbing directly into the mono mix... or a detail that was missed by whoever rushed the stereo mix. It's a pretty primitive stereo, if I remember. Mostly centered mono, with the strings coming in on one channel. Could be evidence that the strings and Ray's extra vocal were added to an otherwise completed mono mix/bounce.

    *The Pye Anthology and Dave Emlen's KinkaKinks.net site list this as a March 1967 session. As I mentioned before, I find that unlikely. I can't fathom Ray holding the song back for a year, plus it would make sense that it shared a string session with "Lincoln County", and with whatever cello we are hearing at the end of "Wonderboy." But, possible, if he was holding it back for VGPS.

    *I do believe I've read that an original version of the VGPS concept had it as a musical version of Dylan Thomas' last work, the 1953 radio drama "Under Milk Wood." "Polly Garter" is the name of a character in that play.

    Wikipedia:
    Polly Garter – has affairs with married men of the village, and a young mother, who dreams of her many babies. During the day, she scrubs floors and sings of her lost love.

    Under Milk Wood - Wikipedia

    *"Pretty Polly" was and is the name of a very popular brand of women's nylon stockings, with tendencies towards sexy and sometimes clever ad copy. Somehow I'm remembering that the line "Half a million people can't be wrong" is a reference to a billboard campaign series that Pretty Polly stockings ran around the time of the song. (Can someone confirm or correct this notion?) If so, did Polly run off and become a pair of legs on a billboard, before giving up her modelling career? Seems like a stretch. Here's a 1967 ad for Pretty Polly stockings, no garter required.

    That 45cat.com page posits that this may be the reason for the name change:

    <<teabiscuit. --3rd May 2016 -- 'Pretty Polly' likely the original title, but it's a brand name for women's tights so had to be changed. Had the PP version & the etched matrix codes are 1's, one time they have a use. >>. The Kinks - Wonderboy




    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
  23. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Another possible reference: Noel Coward had written a short story called "Pretty Polly Barlow", which shows up in a book called "Pretty Polly and other stories." It was made into a movie in 1967 called "Pretty Polly," aka "A Matter of Innocence," starring Hayley Mills. Plot, according to Wikipedia:

    Miss Polly Barlow (Hayley Mills) decides to leave England and spend a few months with her wealthy spinster aunt as a traveling companion. While in Singapore, the sudden demise of her aunt (Brenda De Banzie) leaves her alone to pursue her freedom and explore an arms'-length romance with a local Indian Singaporean tour guide, Amaz (Shashi Kapoor).

    Pretty Polly (film) - Wikipedia

    [​IMG]


    You know, there may be something to this.... as Hayley Mills also starred as the title character in Disney's movie "Pollyanna," and of course that name shows up in the song, too.
     
  24. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I just had the thought that if you change the lyrics you can have a song that would be perfect for the Who Sell Out, "Pretty Polly Garters", get it?

    This is the first time I heard about Pretty Polly Hold Ups. I bet Ray had this in mind, as well as the Polly Garter character in Under Milk Wood, when he wrote this song. This was a standout song on the Kink Kronkiles. I was surprised later to find out that it was just a B-side.

    When I found out about the Four More Respected Gentlemen almost album, I cobbled together my own version on cassette from my then vinyl collection. It did hold together OK.
     
  25. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    This album got to the test pressing stage! Most of those copies were destroyed. I just heard an interview with Doug Hinman. He has one of two known copies of the test pressing, which was smuggled from the factory by a woman who worked there, as a gift to her son, in 1968. Hinman considered it to be the last great obscure find for his collection.
     

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