The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL USA
    I wasn't there and there isn't much from sessions, but when Dave is in the rhythm mix, it seems Mick is on a whole other level of playing. He's more aggressive and inventive IMO. Maybe it's because him and Dave didn't really get along OR maybe they were in a good period between 67-70. If you think about Dave's songs coming around this time, they're not a standard 2/4 arrangement. They're pretty wild. "Walter" seems to fit in this category. I have reason to believe Dave had a lot to do with how this song flows.
     
  2. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    Location:
    90220 Compton
    Do You Remember Walter?

    We all have a Walter don't we? One of my favorite lyrics. And such mature songwriting, too. As with Day's and a lot of others from the era, Ray was looking back at an age when you're expected to look forward.

    I think Walter is lyrically very similar to Day's (and VGPS as a whole) ... looking fondly on the past, but accepting that times change and you should be glad that they happened and not sad that they've ended ("but memories of people can remain.")

    I love the music too. And while I love the sequencing/flow of VGPS, I think that as long as you start with the title track you could probably permute the song order however you want. That being siad, putting Walter as the second song carries the momentum perfectly.

    The chords in Walter are really clever. Having looked up chords to every VGPS song sountless times, I've noticed that Ray tends to use C and F a lot on VGPS. But instead of going to the usual A minors and Gs, he keeps it interesting by throwing in Ebs and Bbs and things like that. I don't know enough music theory to know what mode/scale this would fall into, but it sounds great. Big Sky, People Take Pictures..., Till Death Us Do Part were some of the other examples I was thinking of, before someone reminds me that C and F are used in a lot of songs :)
     
  3. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Do You Remember Walter?-The character sketch in "Walter” could be any of our childhood accomplices in acts of misbehavior and idealism. We haven’t seen Walter in years, but imagine our old friend through the eyes of the world-weary traveler. For those of us that may have moved away from where we were raised you can almost imagine returning home, with our long-lost friend married and happy, while also yearning to know what happened our long-lost mate. Who other than Ray can turn nostalgia into romanticism. Everyone can relate to this song as you see your old friends change and grow away from you, it has a regretful tone, but it is honest and true. The song realizes you can never really go home again. Places change and dreams fade. People grow up and grow apart, and all you have left are the memories.. This track is so passionate and longing. It sets the mood. The music is straight-ahead, featuring awesome piano chords. Great gutar and drumming also.
     
  4. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Do You Remember Walter?

    Yes people often change, but memories of people can remain.

    Does nostalgia get any more achingly poignant than this?

    We've all lived this. We all have our Walter's. Nobody is immune to the march of time and the changes it brings. And even if we ourselves somehow manage to stay more or less the same, our Walters do not. As a result, we can be prone to freezing people in our memories in a previous time.

    And what a brilliant segue! We go from wanting to hang on to Donald Duck and the village green to wanting to hang on to our friends as we remember them. Not only is Walter a stand in for all the friends we've lost, either through losing touch or one or both of us changing, Walter also stands as a metaphor for anything that we as a society lose touch with over the years. Brilliant I tell you. Just bloody brilliant!

    Oh yeah, and I'll pile on with the praise of that most wonderful chord progression. Mind blowingly perfect; not in your face pushy, but utterly compelling just the same.
     
  5. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    It suddenly occurred to me that The Village Green Preservation Society is the overture to the album and Walter is the first song in the collection.
     
  6. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Do You Remember Walter?

    Everyone has done an excellent job of summing up my feelings on this song. It's freakin' fantastic! The fact that he wrote this song in his early 20s is extraordinary. He is already looking back on youth like a man twice his age. Brilliant lyrics to be reflecting on an old mate who once shared many of the same views and experiences in life as yourself. We all have these friends. In fact this is the majority of my old friends and what I think about them now. The music adds such a unique sound. Once again we have brilliant touches by all involved. It doesn't get much better than this!
     
  7. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Shel Talmy posted a VERY interesting story to his Facebook today re: the story behind ‘All Night Stand’. Worth checking out!

    Shel Talmy
     
  8. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    What a lengthy story, and I’d never seen that photo before!
     
  9. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    I know we’re past it, but just thought I’d drop this here. Colin Hay just posted one of the songs from his forthcoming covers album - Waterloo Sunset. Nothing all that different, but I liked it. Colin, like innumerable others, clearly loves the song.

    Song Premiere: Colin Hay, "Waterloo Sunset"
     
  10. anervousehearse

    anervousehearse Well-Known Member

    Location:
    yr grocers freezer
    Key amnesia in “Do You Remember Walter?”
    thought this was interesting for those more theory inclined. this is probably not my favorite song, but one of my favs on my favorite album, and i thought it was tremendously underrated until reading this thread, which i am enjoying very much
     
  11. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Do You Remember Walter
    Maybe I'm tired and a little emotional, but I started crying BEFORE I even played the song. Just looking at the lyrics=waterworks. What the heck!
    I may have known this song as a kid, but will just say it's been only this year that I sat down and took it in and it instantly became an absolute favorite.
    If I were a songwriter, I completely get why Ray looked to the past for material. our memories have a way of putting Vaseline over the lens and maybe turning colors slightly sepia-toned. Especially being a kid...many things are brand new to you so they may stick with you longer or have more weight. I remember when I was 5 years old I had my first little friend Joanne. But then my parents moved to a different part of the city and I was devastated. For years I'd name my dolls or a character in one of my little stories "Joanne" in memory of this girl. come high school, I found out Joanne was going to be in my homeroom class. I was so excited to re-introduce myself and, I'm sure, had a small hope we'd revive our long lost friendship. When I did say hello to her and told her about our past, she looked at me like I was crazy..or a ghost. She had grown hard ("cool"?)and simply was not interested. I was so saddened.
    Yes people often change, but memories of people can remain.
    So this song stirs up things like my little story. I'm an old softy and a sucker for nostalgia in my own life. My memories are part of who I am and I do treasure them, even when they can let you down.

    Walter, you are just an echo of a world I knew so long ago
    What a beautiful lyric. Conjures up so much about our past and memories. And how our minds may tricks on us. is the past really better than today? And how does a 24 year old come up with this song? It's remarkable.

    Love everything about this song. Now, I must get myself a tissue.
     
  12. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: So much to unpack here. Let me begin with something extremely obvious. In a game of word association, mention "Walter" to any American of a certain age, and the first thing that comes to mind will be "Kronkite." The second thing would probably be "Mondale." For several decades now, there has been absolutely no such thing as a young person named "Walter." Off-hand, the two youngest guys I can think of with that name are the rock group Chicago's saxophone player Walter Parazaider (born in 1945) and Steely Dan's Walter Becker (born in 1950, died in 2017). If this tune had been composed about ten years later, there's no doubt that the protagonist would've been named something like "Joey," "Billy" or "Andy" or whatever.

    Also, the title needs a comma after the word Remember. As it stands, it reads like Ray is asking another person if he remembers a bloke named "Walter." Better yet, it should've been titled "Walter, Do You Remember...?"

    That being said, holy crap, this is downright cinematic. It sounds like a Lionel Bart sequel. It doesn't really have a "chorus" in the traditional sense, as the only lyrics that repeat are the title. It just has verses that are in two parts each. The second half of each verse is essentially a dream sequence. If this were a movie, when he gets to the parts about "playing cricket in the rain" and "sailing away to sea," in my head, there's a sudden switch to slow-motion film footage of Mark Lester and Jack Wild doing just that.

    Another thing that is in my head when the song gets to those parts, is the sudden sweep across harp strings and swelling of a full sized orchestra that would no doubt have been there had George Martin had anything to do with this. Mind you, it's good that that isn't really there, which affords the listener the opportunity to conjure it up in one's head, but just sayin'!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
  13. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    DO YOU REMEMBER WALTER ?

    "Time it was
    And what a time it was, it was
    A time of innocence
    A time of confidences

    Long ago it must be
    I have a photograph
    Preserve your memories
    They're all that's left you"

    - Bookends, Simon and Garfunkel, released April 1968.


    So Ray's memory-preserving nostalgia trip continues. This very ordinary Walter Mitty friend who had big dreams that came to nothing, do you remember him?

    Nostalgia is looking at the past through rose-tinted spectacles. Playing cricket in the rain or hiding to smoke cigarettes is not that much fun, but it's fun to look back on from the comfort of the present.

    And to make nostalgia effective, the present must be seen to be inferior to the past. So Walter is now boring and fat.

    But what if Walter was actually Ray himself? He's certainly married by now and maybe putting on a bit of weight. He used to believe in virginity but got his grilfriend pregnant before marrying her.

    Maybe this album isn't about the past at all, but about facing up to the present.

    Musically robust and varied, this is certainly an interesting track.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
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  14. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Maybe Ray himself would want to change or fix certain things...but far be it from me, some chick on the interwebs, suggesting what a master songwriter should do. It's like suggesting that Van Gogh should change a stroke on one of his paintings. I ain't going there. :p
     
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  15. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL USA
    About the punctuation. Perhaps Ray knew the title would suggest to the listener if THEY remember Walter. As noted by most of us, we do have our own little Walters.
     
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Perhaps our story teller is asking himself "do you remember Walter?". Subconciously reminiscing....
    I think it is quite possible when we look at what the band pull out next
     
  17. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    That’s what I always thought it was!
     
  18. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Only occurred to me this morning, but ‘DYRW’ is kind of reminiscent of the classic instalment of the UK sitcom ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ entitled ‘The Reunion Party’ originally from I think 1960, where Tony Hancock spends the first half of the episode talking up how mental and legendary his old army buddies were, before they arrive for the titular reunion party and prove to be crushingly boring and ordinary.

    It’s brilliant tragicomedy as Hancock slowly realises that the Great Old Days he’d built up in his head over the years were a mirage. This was a hugely popular show in the UK in the fifties and early 60s and it’s likely the Davies family would have seen it when it went out.
     
  19. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    1944 86 1991 2000

    1968 100 1954 50
    I’m not sure what the significance of this is in evaluating a song written from a very English perspective.

    As it turns out, Walter was significantly more popular in America than in England and Wales throughout the 20th century. When Ray was born it was the 86th most popular boy’s name (Raymond was #17) and by the time Dave showed up it had permanently dropped below 100.

    In the USA, Walter was in the top 50 until Elvis broke out, the top 100 until VGPS’s release, and the top 200 until the Kink’s breakup.
     
  20. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    In the UK the first Walter that would come to mind is "Walter the Softy", enemy of Dennis the Menace (not the US one!) in the Beano comic since the early fifties.
    Second would probably be Sir Walter Raleigh. (Sorry if there more prominent UK Walters in the 1960s that I don't know about).
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Picture Book.

    I kind of see Picture Book as central to the theme of the album in many ways.
    As I said for the opening track, it is kind of like an overture to the idea, and if we were going with the full blown concept perspective of the album, we start with the narrator thinking about a kid called Walter from his youth, and poses the question to himself (or we the listeners) "Do You Remember Walter?" .... as the song goes on we discover that we do remember Walter, but things have changed and it sends us on a nostalgia trip ......

    Now I don't know about anyone else, but in the old days, when photos were in a photo album, when these little nostalgia rushes came along, often we would pull out one of the photo albums and persuade the nostalgia to hang around for a while. Looking at photos of people and things we had locked away in the back of our memory banks.
    Again I am not sure about anyone else, but when these photo book sessions occurred, it was often with a few people, and it would lead to conversations about memories of people and places, and often it would lead to pulling photos from a draw full that never made it out of the little packet thing they used to give you the processed photos in..... this would take the nostalgia journey deeper, because these were the photos that didn't make it into the album. They are less remembered and bring out deeper memories .....
    Anyway, that is how I am thinking in terms of this song. The thoughts of Walter have led to the photo album coming out, and a big reflective gaze back upon our lives, and all the people, things and places in it.

    stereo mix (2:34), recorded Apr 1968 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Picture yourself when you're getting old,
    Sat by the fireside a-pondering on
    Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
    Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago.
    Na, na, na, na, na na.
    Na, na, na, na, na na.
    Picture book.
    Picture book.

    A picture of you in your birthday suit,
    You sat in the sun on a hot afternoon.
    Picture book, your mama and your papa, and fat old Uncle Charlie out boozing with their friends.
    Picture book, a holiday in August, outside a bed and breakfast in sunny Southend.
    Picture book, when you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago.
    Na, na, na, na, na na.
    Na, na, na, na, na na.
    Picture book.
    Picture book.
    Picture book.
    Picture book.

    Picture book,
    Na, na, na, na na,
    Na, na, na, na na,
    A-scooby-dooby-doo.
    Picture book,
    Na, na, na, na na,
    Na, na, na, na na,
    A-scooby-dooby-doo.

    Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
    Long time ago,
    Long time ago,
    Long time ago,
    Long time ago,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Noma Music, Inc./Hi-Count Music, Inc. BMI

    In a Rolling Stone interview in 2018 Ray said "There's more value in an old picture than there is now on iPhones, I know a guy. He's homeless and I chat with him sometimes in the street. He's got a picture of his family in his pocket, and he's always got a picture with him, he says, 'For when things get really low'. It's all gotten cheaper because of iPhones."

    Although I don't particularly have a problem with folks taking happy snaps with their mobile phones, I do tend to agree that it has cheapened the photo somewhat, just like streaming has somewhat cheapened .... lessened the value of, music, to some degree.

    During the making of this album, I believe that Ray, Dave and Pete stood around the piano playing around with harmonies to put with the songs. Of this Dave says "Halfway through 'Picture Book,' I was trying to do a bit of jazz improvisation like Jo Stafford, You can almost hear Ray mimicking or singing across it, 'scooby-dooby-doo,' poking fun at what I was saying. That was quite a spontaneous album."

    Ray also said - Sometimes I think about songs as tracks: "I'm going to write a track." The whole magic of that track is that 12-string guitar and the snare drum with the snare off. It's the way Phil Spector used to work—he had his sound and wrote songs to fit that sound. I'd like to go back and do more of that.

    Mick stated "On 'Picture Book' I took the snare off just to get a different sound." I have always referred to what Mick calls the snare as the rattle. Which is a series of thin metal chain type things that run across the base of the snare drum, and give the snare its distinctive sound when struck. There is a latch on the side of the snare that tightens and also releases these strips of thin chain.

    This all gives us a bit insight into how well the band was working as a team on this album. They were just having fun trying things, and Ray's songs are the perfect base to work up from. Ray was inspired by a theme, and the band seemed to catch his enthusiasm, and Ray actually allowed the band to participate in the input that made these songs work so well.

    This is a fantastic song, and it captures the idea of this album so well.
    The opening line sums it all up - "Picture Yourself when your getting old, sat by the fireside a pondering on" .... I relate to this so closely, because I love looking through old pictures .... Ironically I spent most of my life avoiding people with cameras, yet as an older person it is really nice to sit back and look at old photos, even if I'm in them, because it starts off a train of thought about all the things going on at the time of the photo ... sometimes they aren't always great memories, but they are therapeutic, to some degree.

    This track ties into the last track on the album directly, and I don't think that is an accident, but we'll get to that song.
    "Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago."

    The second verse starts off with the A Picture Of You In Your Birthday Suit .... now I don't know about anyone here, but most people I know ..... their parents would have pictures of them nude as little kids, and when the inevitable boyfreind or girlfriend came along years later, great pleasure was taken in pulling out that pic lol ....

    The photos in my parents photo albums, and draws full of photos, have all the type of pictures that are mentioned here, and perhaps that is part of the reason I am so close to this song. It really feels like it is a snapshot out of my life, that Ray saw, and wrote about in some way .... even though I was only twenty two days old when this album was released :)

    The lyrics and delivery here are fun, and light hearted, and work perfectly for me.

    Musically this is great.
    We open with a snare shot, and move into a fantastic rolling riff. This riff is to me the key to the songs success, it occurs as a punctuation through the song, and I love it.

    Again we get some really nice key changes that work really well, and add to the fun and intensity of the song.

    The acoustic guitar and snare drive this song along beautifully, and the harmony vocals colour it in perfectly. Pete's bass is nice and punchy and accents the riff nicely .... also the way he gets the bass to make the verse rhythm work so well is excellent.

    This track was the b-side to the Starstruck single, and really I could see this track as an a-side to be honest.
    To some degree Picture Book sat in the shadows for years, just like this album..... thankfully this album seems to somewhat be coming out of the shadows for many folks, and that does my heart good.... it certainly deserves a ton of kudos, as one of the great albums.

    In 2004 this somewhat obscure track was pulled into the spotlight by Hewlett-Packard Digital Imaging Products and used in a commercial to promote them. It was actually named ad campaign of the year by Adweek .... It must also be one of the rare occasions where a song in an ad was directly related to what the ad was for.

    The main riff also seems to have been somewhat commandeered by Green Day for their song Warning......

    When it comes to this album, I am probably going to say it for every track, but this is another fantastic song, from this fantastic album .... and it is all made so much more poignant, because I can absolutely relate to the song and what it is about ... and it seems the older I get, the more this album and it songs become particularly poignant and special to me .....



     
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    On the big box there is an alternate mix that is not available on youtube, and there is also a demo version, that is just vocals and guitar, that sadly seems also to not be on youtube.

    This is a true stereo version from the 3 cd set

     
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  23. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Another fantastic song! As Ray, and Mark, mention, mobile phones have completely changed the way people take photos. But further, things like a 'picture book' or 'photo album' are no longer a part of most people's lives as digital technology has made them largely redundant. Which is kind of sad :rolleyes: Sure, the family can gather around someones phone/iPad to look at family photos, or even put them up on the big screen TV, but it's not quite the same. So this is a song that really captures the past.
     
  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The original Kinks IN COLOUR singing ‘Picture Book’ live (over the record) on BBC2’s ‘Once More With Felix’ in early 1969! Now it don’t get better than that! Once again, only surviving contemporary performance blah blah, also the only colour footage of Pete Quaife performing with the group! (They also did ‘Last Of The Steam Powered Trains’ on the show: we’ll get to that in a few days).
     
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The slower 1973 (not 1972 as it says here!) live arrangement:

     

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