The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Was this the recent (ish) Waterloo Underground interview with Hinman or another?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
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  2. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    That one, yep!
     
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  3. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    Location:
    90220 Compton
    Polly

    I like Polly almost as much as Wonderboy. I think any other band would have put it as the A side, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Kinks had opted to do that instead.

    The lyrical and musical themes are very much in line with their other songs from this period... the baroque pop/freakbeat combo, the message of domesticity triumphing over youthful hedonism ... perhaps nothing too new by early 1968, but all necessary in establishing the Kinks sound imo.

    I've always wondered what that trumpet-like sound in the opening bars is ... I'm pretty certain it's the unique blending of the piano and acoustic guitars.
     
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Yes, I think that's right.

    It sounds like a bowed cello is doubling the bass in the verses, but I'm not sure. Is the bass being bowed or plucked in some atypical way?

    I do not believe there are any horns on this song. No trumpets, no sax-type instruments, either.
     
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  5. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Much as I like "Wonderboy", "Polly" is even better. I cna only imagine that Ray was enjoying such a productive songwriting streak that he thought he could afford to squander a song like this on a b-side because even better work would flow from his pen immediately after. "Polly" is one of my absolute favourites that I never get tired of.

    Musically, it's songs like this that make me feel sure mid-90s Supergrass were listening to the Kinks. It's got that crispness, sharpness, combined with major key tunefulness. Taut verses then release the pressure in the chorus.

    Lyrically, it feels like a slight reworking of "Two Sisters", but the stay-at-home conforminst girl and the wild party girl combined in one person rather than two sisters. Read straight, it's a very conservative song that implies there is no viable escape for women from the straight and narrow path dictated by the socially conservative traditionalists, and if they try they will regret it, and come back with their tail between their legs. "Mama knows 'cause mama was the same"- her mother has learnt this hard lesson too, before her. But I can't, or won't accept this reading of the song. We are given a glittering, attractive picture of the wild life, complemented by the glorious music, and the supposed moral seems like Ray sings it with his fingers crossed behind his back.

    I have seen the film of Under Milk Wood and listened to the record, so the name Polly Garter struck a chord in my memory, but I never made the connection till now.

    I did wonder if "Pollyanna" was a reference to the word that has entered the language from the book of that name, already referred to.

    This is a song I discovered as a bonus track on my CD of Something Else, so it's hard for me to separate it in my mind from that album. The album and song seem to complement each other. Like I said before, it has of a similar flavour to "Afternoon Tea", to my mind.
     
  6. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: Well, Pete Townshend has often credited The Davies Brothers (and not Shel Talmy) with being the primary source of inspiration for the overall sound of the early Who, and here, they return the favor with this "Happy Jack" like character portrait. It should be noted that while The Beatles and The Stones might have released "Back To Our Roots" singles at this time, at least a few of their contemporaries skewed in the opposite direction and went all West End/Lionel Bart on everyone. The two most obvious examples were Manfred Mann's "My Name Is Jack" (HERE) and The Yardbird's "Goodnight Sweet Josephine" (HERE). "Polly" certainly falls into this category.

    The melody has always reminded me a little of the old Children's traditional, "My Hat It Has Three Corners."

     
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    This is the Pretty Polly stereo .... not sure if it is the correct version. It says it is the 2017 Polly stereo remaster.

     
  8. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    yep, that's the one.
     
  9. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Given how affected Ray was by losing his sisters either through death or their leaving home, I’ll have to disagree here.
     
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  10. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    POLLY

    A nice fun song. I don't see it as an A side but a very worthy B side or album track.

    That said, the lyrics seem illogical at times to me.

    Does Polly get to the swinging city scene or does she get lost on the way?

    She's said to realise life is a game whereas morally she should surely discover that life is not a game.

    And Polly's mother is proud that her daughter makes the same mistakes as she did? That's weird.

    And who is the real Polly?

    The mindless parrot who can only repeat what it hears? The innocent Pollyanna who probably couldn't cope with city life? The gullible fashion-conscious girl too influenced by advertising? The one who has to have the latest nylons because "half a million people can't be wrong".

    The most likely to me is Polly Garter who goes with too many men and ends up scrubbing the floor. This would at least explain what Polly probably confessed to her father when she came home.

     
  11. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Polly
    Because memory is not always to be counted on, I cannot recall if I knew this song from way back...or if this just SOUNDS LIKE a song that I should have always known. Anyway, I would categorize this song as relatively new to my ears and certainly I did not know the contents of the lyrics until today.
    As someone pointed out, this feels like a cousin to the Who's "Happy Jack". I mean, like a kissing cousin.
    I love the cacophony of the piano(?) during the "Polly wrote a letter to her Mama, Polly made confessions to her Papa." and then the little vocal echoes after "should have stayed at home (home home)".
    Right now I'm more tilted toward Wonderboy being the single here though. I feel like the Who comparisons would have been too obvious if if Polly was the single. But what do I know?

    and i'm not able to discern what the song's ultimate meaning is. I feel like it's Ray (or the "character" who wrote the song) singing "I think pretty Polly should have stayed at home". Maybe he believes that living the swinging city life may lead her to ruin...get out while you can. there's the lyric after she confesses to her parents: Mummy's proud 'cause Polly's still in chains. That's where the confusion is. I think someone already touched on this...but maybe this is a case where women can't really escape their own ultimate confinement?! That women don't have a lot of choices.
     
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I think the old school mentality shows through in this.
    I guess Polly was in chains, of the parents making, until she ran away to party.
    Then when she returned she was chained by the responsibility of a child.
    As odd as it may seem, this is probably a source of comfort for the mother, because it is a restriction she doesn't have to enforce, generally it happens naturally... and also it likely means that Polly won't be gallivanting all over the city anymore.
    It is odd, but I think that's the gist of it.
     
  13. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    There have been some cracking reviews of this song raising things I’d never considered before. But I have to thank Vagabone for referencing the Kinks legacy in Supergrass. For many years I had just 3 Supergrass albums on CD - one of them a compilation. Then one day last year something clicked and I couldn’t get enough of them - I now have everything they’ve recorded. And it is that Kinks legacy I’m sure that dragged me in - just as it did with Big Star and the early REM records.
     
  14. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    OK...I'm getting it now. I'm bad at reading into lyrics, but yes, it does sound like she got knocked up. Poor poor Polly.
     
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  15. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Polly

    I think they got the A side right with "Wonderboy". I like "Polly" but it doesn't strike me as anything other than a decent B side. We are in the midst of what I believe to be the greatest Kinks era and even though "Polly" is a good song it falls a bit short of being a great Kinks song. The comparisons to The Who song "Happy Jack" are accurate, but it's The Who that sound like The Kinks and not the other way around.
     
  16. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    And yet ... "Pinball Wizard" comes out roughly a year later, and features a two-note lead hook that sounds a bit like "Polly"! Could the influences have been ping-ponging?
     
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  17. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    That happened to me too last year. Did you get that big box set that they put out early last year?
     
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  18. renderj

    renderj Forum Resident

    I’ve always liked this tune, though I’d never really broken down the lyrics before. There’s more to it than I realized, because perhaps it’s content gets obscured by the catchy singalong refrain. More domestic drama from the Kinks. As with its flip side, it’s not a top Kinks track, but a fine bside.
     
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  19. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Yes I did. Huge orange box. All the LPs on picture discs (I’d have preferred plain but they play fine) and many CDs of the albums, demos, extras and live. Great value.
     
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  20. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Polly

    Some excellent posts here already so i don't have too much of a new angle to present but will have a go anyhow.

    There is certainly more to the lyrics than I or some others here imagined interestingly @Wondergirl pointed out Polly may even be pregnant.

    I do love the piano hook (post such lines such as "Polly wouldn't listen to her mama!") which creates tension and is a little ominous and foreboding of what Polly found abroad and then there is a rocking musical release whereby we get to hear of her trials and tribulations.

    I think the nature of the music and melody captures the attention and it is easy to lose focus of where the lyrics fall, nevertheless i am happy it wasn't an A side and am not wholly convinced it should have been given the most exclusive residence of the VGPS LP!

    Verdict: Pretty Good
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
  21. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Yeah, I should have said I was trying to hear what I wanted to hear, rather than what actually might be there.
    Lots of interesting interpretations have come up. The pregnancy idea is intriguing.
     
  22. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    I'd never thought too much about it really. Mainly a girl that left her parent's will for fun and frivolity, and realised her parents were just protecting her the whole time. But certainly the pregnancy angle gives her a reason to have come home that I was missing. The song to me has always been fascinating because the opening snare rolls feel like it's going to be thematic continuation of the A-Side, but then the tracks rips in with that oh so sweet and Kinky dynamic shift, and I could never deny the track from there on in. A Kwintessential Kinks B-Side in my opinion.
     
  23. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    It never occurred to me that Polly was pregnant, but you may be right. Polly Garter was known for her affairs with married men.

    I still don't understand why Polly's mother would be pleased by the situation.

    If the family is upper-class (as suggested by the use of "mama" and "papa") they would send her away to have the baby out of sight or pay for an abortion.

    If the family is working class, they'd tell her in no uncertain terms that she was bringing shame on the family.
     
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The Kinks ‎– The Kinks
    Genre: Rock, Pop
    Year: 1968

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    David Watts
    Two Sisters
    Lazy Old Sun
    Situation Vacant
    -------------------------------------------------------------Discogs-------------------------------------------------
    This is an interesting EP that came out 6 or 7 months after the Something Else album. It is set up to be a mini Something Else EP, and it is interesting the songs they picked to be on it. It sort of captures the variety of the album nicely with four very different songs.
    I find it interesting that it came out so much later than the album though, as it seems 6 or 7 months later folks would already have the album if they were interested.... I guess it may have been to entice those who weren't sure, and I guess it was at a lower price.
    Anyway, an interesting release, that is slightly puzzling to me.
     
  25. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    I associate mater and pater with the English upper class (as in “he hopes to grab his father’s loot when pater passes on”). In America, the upper crustiest on the east coast might have used ma-ma and pa-pa with both syllables given equal emphasis but not the pronunciation in the song that is associated with lower class/immigrant momma and poppa.

    Of course, being a barbaric American, I could be completely wrong.
     
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