The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Orino

    Orino Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    That's almost how I approach this album. I don't really want it to be one specific thing. It's a set of themed ideas. I'm looking forward to reading the complete lyrics as so much of this album is impressionistic to listen to, almost, and I've never worrie about the bits I can't hear clearly. There's no story. Like flicking through a picture book/photo album. You don't need to know the exact "when" and "what it means" of every image.

    It's another reason why I love the title track, it's both heartfelt manifesto and consciously absurd word (or rhyme) association. "Vernacular" and "Dracula", for heaven's sake. The playfulness and sincerity go beautifully hand in hand throughout the album.
     
  2. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    (This is a response not just to our venerable, delightful and brilliant Martyj, whose posts I am consistently LOVING in this thread, but also to an ongoing sub-discussion on the song. I'm too lazy to go back and re-quote each person I'm responding to. This is a scramble.)

    Because it's the right amount of alliteration. We don't need Ray to go all Gerard Manley Hopkins in the song (as much as I love Gerard Manley Hopkins). I think the song uses the sounds of words excellently, and mixes it up just right. I staunchly defend Ray's word play, near rhymes, scramble of British and international references.

    I don't know where this idea that this song is "supposed" to be British comes from, either. The song is the song. It's the stuff Ray wants to preserve, British or not.

    I agree that the reference to virginity might or might not be with a wink. We mustn't take everything Ray says at face value.... or presume he doesn't mean it. "Irony" isn't mere sarcasm. It implies a self-awareness and dual consciousness. Ray may _actually_ want to preserve virginity (I loved the comment that considered he might be talking about a less literal virginity, and more innocence), but even if there's a part of himself that indulges that thought, he's also looking at that conservative impulse in himself and giggling at it a little. Same as in Polly. Maybe he is the voice saying "I think that Pretty Polly should have stayed at home".... but if so, I think he's also Polly, who needs to rebel and break the chains. He's not simple. And... he IS simple. And not.
     
  3. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Before we get too far into the VGPS album timeline wise, I just wanted to use this spare half hour I have today to note that on July 26th 1968, The Kinks appeared on my most wanted edition of missing pop TV ever: Late Night Line Up Presents Colour Me Pop on BBC2. This was (unbelievably imo) the only time the Kinks were given their own TV programme on UK TV during the whole of the 60s! In full colour, they mimed/sung live to special recordings of :

    Dedicated Follower Of Fashion / A Well Respected Man / Death Of A Clown (medley)
    Sunny Afternoon
    Two Sisters
    Sitting By The Riverside
    Lincoln County
    Picture Book
    She's Got Everything (special promo film)
    Days

    I mean, can you even imagine????? While the visuals are sadly missing, there are at least two sources for the audio of the show: an off air recorded by a fan at the time (most of which can be heard on the Kinks At The BBC box) and the special backing tracks prepared by Ray for the show to be sung over (which swap out Riverside and SGE for Monica and Lazy Old Sun) that are included on the VGPS box. Here's the off-air of the opening medley (a brand new live in the studio recording which The Kinks sang over live on the show)

     
  4. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    And here's a special bonus not available on either official release of the CMP material: the off air audio of the 'She's Got Everything' promo film, including host Michael Dean's introduction. This was ommitted from the Kinks At The BBC box presumably because as a poor quality recording of the studio track with a 5 second spoken intro, it's fairly redundant, but you know how nerdy we like to get on this thread:

     
  5. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Interesting that "Sitting By The Riverside" was included in this show. It was not included on the 12-song version of the album, whose track listing had not been finalized, and it had only been recorded in the studio this month (July 1968). Neither this song nor "Picture Book" had been released yet, and the album's title track wasn't recorded until August.

    Interesting as well that they made a special promo for "She's Got Everything." This somehow supports (to me) the theory that the song wasn't really finished until around this time, rather than held back for two years. Ray had finally come up with lyrics and vocals that he liked, and now he was actively supporting the song. (Of course, it could have been more about the decision-makers at Pye.)
     
  6. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    Location:
    90220 Compton
    I really hope this turns up someday! Along with the promo video Pink Floyd did for "Scream Thy Last Scream," this is probably the closest thing to my holy grail of live videos.

    Seems like an odd tracklisting too, not that I doubt it (I know it's been confirmed elsewhere) but Two Sisters and Sitting By the Riverside in particular seem like such odd choices... which of course makes the whole thing more tantalizing.
     
  7. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D (Flashbacks to my poor dad pounding on my bedroom door, “How long am I going to have to listen to that racket?!” as Sunshine of Your Love fills the air with raucous joy (?) (sound?). Osmosis. Yep.
     
  8. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Village Green Preservation Society
    Love this song. Should have been a single. Best song on the album? It's in contention.
    If you think too much about the lyrics, I think you'll go a bit crazy. A few little thoughts about my perspective on some of the lines:
    Donald Duck/vaudeville: American, but not specifically barred on that account. Anything worth preserving is valid. Desperate Dan, though created by British writers, was an American cowboy.
    Donald Duck and Desperate Dan were both created in the thirties, so were only thirty-ish years old at the time and might fall under the category of "new ways". It would be like singing about the internet and cellphones today.
    Speaking of which I took the mention of "protecting the new ways" as a way of not being too conservative. The song is inescapably on the conservative* side but it does imply that all things worth preserving are worth preserving whether old or new.
    As others have said, in Southern England English pronunciation with its silent Rs "Vernacular" and "Dracula" do legitimately rhyme, but it doesn't explain the nonsensical use of the word "vernacular" to mean any kind of a society. Ray just ran out of synonyms for "society".

    *or "preservative"- which reminds me of the Preservatives (parody of the Conservative Party) in the Flook comic strip.
     
  9. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    My God man! I love Flook! So much so that I run a Flook fan Facebook group! There is a Kinks connection to the comic too, in that writer George Melly (a huge fan of The Kinks so it was done with affection) parodied then as ‘The Finks’ in a 1966 storyline…
     
  10. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I wondered if you were that A J Smith! Keep up the great work!
     
  11. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    You are right about this…why the long held perception that this work as a whole (not just the title song) is so emphatically British?

    It seems to have evolved from the shorthanded Kinks’ history narrative that promulgated in the American rock press during the 70’s and 80’s as a way to explain VGPS failure to chart. “American audiences could not relate to Ray’s myopic English focus” went the refrain, an argument often times bolstered by such non VGPS observations as Dedicated Follower’s Carnaby Street, Authur’ British Empire, and a place called Waterloo Station which no American would know about without having visited, and presumably gotten lost, in London.

    While VGPS certainly espouses its share of English institutions from cricket to tudor houses, there is nothing exclusively English about steam powered trains, old photos, farms brimming with animals, china cups, and—in my case, well into my 22 year—virginity. By the way, isn’t Johnny Thunder’s highway American? Wouldn’t it be called a Motorway in England?

    Anyway, the point being, the universality of Kinks music is sometime overlooked by the lazy, long-held conviction that the band’s Pye/Reprise era is too British. For me—as an American—the band’s home country references held an exotic allure, just as the English working class protagonist of “Oklahoma USA” dreamt likewise about a place across the pond.

    By the way, the entirety of Preservation Society lyrics, encompassing appreciation for a variety of life’s little curious niches, resonated with me immediately upon first encountering them (conveniently revealed on the back cover, which I poured over well before actually hearing the song for the first time on “The Kinks Kronikle.”) That was because at the time I encountered them preservation societies were part of my world: my dad was a member of a Civil War Roundtable chapter; my employer was a major benefactor of a society to protect Indiana’s wooden covered bridges; and I was frustratingly in search to find and join a nearby chapter of “The Sons of The Desert,” a Laurel and Hardy appreciation brotherhood.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
  12. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I received my Village Green Super-de-duper Deluxe Box set today. It's lovely! And it is quite hefty as well.
    I love albums...just got to get a good set up at home to play them easily. I think my daughter nabbed our record player!

    From the box set and apropos as to where we are on this thread. :
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Johnny Thunder did not do a lot of riding on motorways, expressways or multi laned divided roadways.

    Let’s look at one of the inspirations for Johnny Thunder, the opening scene of The Wild Ones.
    [​IMG]
    Moreover, highway is not a synonym for motorway or expressway. In English common law it means a roadway that is open to all public traffic. Think of the highwaymen who would stop horse drawn coaches and say “Stand and deliver.” Those highways did not carry motored vehicles.

    In the USA, here’s Dylan’s beloved Highway 61.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    The green Mark, the green! (Laughs)
     
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  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Practicing preservation yourself i can see why you feel so aligned with this album.
     
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  16. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    It was actually, in Denmark and the U.S.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    That tells me everything.
     
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  18. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Should that reference now jockey for 1st position?
     
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  19. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    You know, you could have done the gentlemanly thing and after having written the post and congratulating yourself on your punditry, deleted it and banished it from your mind lest you accidentally let it slip out.
     
  20. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    And also to 12 others so far Mark.
     
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  21. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    More catch up:

    Face to Face: Again, the few songs I knew off this were on Kronikles, which I had 40 years ago and lost along the way, and now in looking back at the track list of Kronikles, I am realizing that I really cherry picked even from that double record set, and that FtF was arguably under represented on that compilation in any event even if I had delved in to it more thoroughly. …so this album comes as a revelation to me. What a leap forward stylistically, musically and lyrically. Some really great songs on here too, most of which I had never heard. In fact, killer songs! …because the diversity and the fact that Ray writes it all and dispenses with the cover versions finally to focus on his own growing compositional skills would be meaningless without the great songs. But the songs are there in a big way. Party Line has been stuck in my head for weeks. As has Dandy, and House in the Country, and You’re Looking Fine. …and needless to say, Sunny Afternoon. The rest are all pretty great too. …and, and, and, She’s Got Everything! …and I'm Not Like Everybody Else! …and Dead End Street! …and Big Black Smoke! …and Mister Pleasant! All of which were released in and around FtF! Wow! That’s a great body of work I missed.

    Something Else: I guess I could just cut and paste from above. Another album which was under represented on Kinks Kronicles. Another album continuing to show the band and Ray demonstrating further exponential growth as creative artists. Another album negating the concern that artistic growth alone is not enough, because it’s got a great batch of killer songs too. Another album surrounded by a solid handful of non album A and B-sides (Act Nice and Gentle (getting to the Bakersfield sound long before the Stones it seems), Autumn Almanac (so ridiculously British, so ridiculously catchy), Susannah's Still Alive (Dave brings the RAWK!), Polly (a throw back to the old style Kinks - from 12 months before) and Lincoln County), that show the output just couldn’t even be contained to an album. Wow again.

    As a guy who fancies himself a BIG Kinks fan from long before this thread was even a thought in Mark W’s mind, this thread is showing me that I missed a lot of great music here. Thanks to you all for opening my eyes, now we are off to visit the village green together for more enlightenment!
     
  22. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I actually pondered it just as you predicted but left it knowing you would be keen to comment.
     
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  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Did you join the brotherhood?
     
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  24. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    The Village Green Preservation Society

    A beautiful song all around with excellent hooks both vocal & instrumental as Ray & band politely & in a Kinksian understated manner state their cause & agenda.
    I have only positives for the lyrics and their rhymes & am always swept along by them in conjunction with the optimism, conviction & sheer quality of the music as i can't help but sing along.
    So many excellent posts already on this track So please forgive my exhausted post holiday ramblings so i will close by saying that this is easily one of if not the very best song on the album & what best represents it's theme & skeletal backbone!
     
  25. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    There is no way I can express my appreciation of your kind consideration.
     
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