Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
Ray solo live 2011:
One of my favorite dave songs
Sadly missing from the DVD on the BBC box
Three songs in and it’s one ikonik track after the other!! Picture Book is so fresh, so hooky, it’s pure exhilarating stuff. This is the Kinks at their bouncy best. The song is so catchy, so unbelievably ingrained in one’s brain after just one listen that the riff’s been (unconsciously ?) ripped off countless times, the most obvious being @Mark winstanley’s mentioned Green Day (Warning) but also Stereolab (Walkie Talkie Men), while Mac DeMarco stole the “naa-nananana” bit for Salad Days. But he stopped before “a-scooby-dooby-doo”, thus missing out on the very best part of this superb a-side worthy track!
Firstly, for the uninitiated..."sunny Southend" refers to Southend-on-Sea, a seaside resort on the Thames Estuary, 40 miles east of London. It's a popular day-trip destination by train for Londoners. It's also been my home town for the last 33 years.
It's another terrific song - let's be honest, side one scarcely puts a foot wrong. It has all these adventurous chord changes and ascending/descending lines. Mick delivers the goods again with powerful drumming and a fantastic snare sound, and Pete's with him all the way to nail the rhythm section. The lyrics tap into your wistful nostalgia again and Ray produces another expressive vocal - I particularly like the "scooby-dooby-doo". Overall it's catchy and irresistable.
So annoying! Apparently it was cos the master copy was ‘on loan’ at the time: Seriously, Just rip it from YouTube then! I’d rather have had it on there in lo res than not at all!
I'm hoping one day that we get some kind of video collection.... it seems there is quite a bit of good quality live stuff, that would certainly make me smile if released.
The DVD with the BBC box is excellent.
Other than that (very) annoying omission, the DVD included with the 2012 Kinks at the BBC set is actually very good, mainly for the 4 full length 70s live programmes/shows included. I agree the definitive visual collection has yet to appear, but that’s the best available at the mo.
I think you mean Steriogram, not Stereolab (who were more like 90s moog revivalists). I always kind of liked this song back in the day (and who could forget the video) more for its chorus than the riff; however I never noticed until you pointed it out just how indebted to ‘Picture Book’ the latter was:
I had no idea about the dvd on that....
You guys are costing me a fortune lol
Every track on this album has something about it that makes it stand out -- and, I think each track stands very well on its own, without necessarily needing to be bundled with the others for support. Fifteen potential A-sides for singles, if you will. But rolling them all together around a central theme just increases their musical and artistic strength.
Looked at today, as in this thread, it's difficult to imagine why/how a work of this caliber didn't fare better at the time of its release. The themes of remembrance and nostalgia seemed to have been lost on the young record buying public in 1968 -- perhaps they didn't/couldn't identify with those themes because they hadn't yet lived enough of life for them to become relevant. But those of us who were young then certainly seem to feel the impact of this music now.
Were we that far behind? Or were the Kinks just that far ahead?
The DVD is disc 6. I believe there are some CD-only 5-disc sets around - so if you want the visuals be careful not to get one of those by mistake.
The music to this song has real propulsion and is as catchy as anything. Mark has done another great job of summing up how the lyrics resonate with our own memories. What really gets me (no pun intended) is that Ray hadn't even turned 24 when he wrote those words: 'picture yourself when you're getting old'. I don't know about the rest of you but that's the last thing I wanted to do in my twenties. I could barely picture myself a few months ahead. Even the word 'old' meant something different to me then - I thought people in their forties were old. For a young Ray Davies to look at the world this way took an enormous leap of imagination - as well as faith in his young fans to accept it.
I read somewhere that the song had been inspired by a wedding Ray and Rasa attended where he saw the bride and groom taking photos of each other, hence the line ' Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long time ago.' While some might think that sounds a bit cynical, Dave has said when they were kids no-one on their street could afford a camera. In that kind of environment, the effort to get family photographs would have been as good an indication of affection as any other.
Do you mean Dave's vocal and/or guitar contributions to the song?
I think the song stands out as being very radio-friendly. I think it would have been the most likely candidate for a single and a hit as it's quite catchy and I'm sort of surprised that didn't happen. It sounded familiar to me the first time I heard it! It's not too surprising that Hewlett-Packard used it in a TV commercial.
3 years ago we had our house used for the first season of a TV series, " The Umbrella Academy". When the pre-production people were visiting the house to figure out camera angles and such, one of them, noticing all my Kinks CDs asked , "Who's the Kinks fan?". It turns out he was a fan too and we had a short chat about the Deluxe Editions.
Anyway when the show was finally aired of course we all gathered around the TV. The first scenes dealt with all of the members of the superhero family and pictures of their past exploits. "Picture Book" starts playing and I almost fell out of my seat!
The song and the images suited each other really well, with family pictures being frozen in time, faithful to the lyrics of the song.
Of course that's what I mean ! Thanks for correcting me, but too late for edit…
This is why, to me, Picture Book goes beyond nostalgia. The pictures you take "of each other" are for later, when you’re old. Then, inevitably, some of that love and happiness will be gone for good. And probably some of the others too…
Picture Book is not a flash-back song (like most others on the LP) but a flash-forward one (like the last verse of Village Green). There goes your typical Ray Davies : click! At the very second the picture’s taken, the moment is gone, it’s already in the past and you can feel the happy times you’re trying to preserve are slipping like sand through your fingers. This man was complex, and sad, and neurotic. For him, the present was an elusive notion. It was already the past of his future, already gone, already fading away like a landscape seen through the windows of a train.
But then the irresistible riff kicks back in and it’s back to making believe that everything is charming and fun and carefree again…
I think the Umbrella Academy might get a few new viewers after Adam9’s anecdote
I think he was referring to Lincoln County
another standout track on this album for me. Can they all be standout tracks? Again, I absolutely love and adore this song. It evokes such feeling and emotion, but this time about imagined nostalgia in the future, and imagining yourself looking back at the photographs and memories of your past.
that ascending/descending riff reminds me of Dave’s riff from “Susannah’s Still Alive”, so I wonder how much input Dave had to this song. And yes, Green Day absolutely borrowed this for “Warning”… but I’m ok with because they also did a good cover of “Tired of Waiting for You”, so they pretty clearly are fans of the Kinks).
This song is so catchy, I agree it should have been an A-side single. This is one of the songs that I can hear my wife hum along to whenever I play it in the car. Particularly the “na na na, na na na” parts.
lyrically, I love the use of “picture” in two ways. The first is actually about imagination “picture yourself”, and then the actual picture “a picture of you”.
The first verse is very general, but then Ray gets very specific in the second. There’s fat old uncle Charlie (who’s probably married and usually home in bed by half past eight). There’s a bed and breakfast in Southend. But note that maybe if things aren’t great anymore, you can still look back at those pictures “when you were happy.” The picture books allow you to go back to those times. I go back to this song often, I never get tired of it.
13/10 on my rating scale.
What fun! Line after line, so much tongue in cheek, an occasional touch or sarcasm, but always up beat. Clever riffs, buoyant choruses, all coming together into one of the most unique and entertaining songs in Kinks history
Some lines really resonate.
Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago.
My wife's mother demands we take oodles of pictures at any family gathering. Usually we get a dozen or more just covering different angles around the dinner table. It's positively maddening, all the more so because she is unable or unwilling to connect on a personal level but feels some compulsion to overdocument that we spent time together. Can't we just enjoy each others' company?
A picture of you in your birthday suit,
What is this obsession some people (usually the ladies) have with pictures of naked babies? I guess it transcends nationality and culture!
Today’s “picture book” is one of the songs that gives me the warm fuzzies of remembering summer vacations.
Not for the advertising industry’s lack of trying. It's like a gift from the Gods of Madison Avenue when a recording artist creates a work that aligns--whether by accident or design--with an actual product. No ad man worth their salt is not going to riffle through their directories and databases of licensing availabilities.
Quite famously Glad Plastic Wrap for years aggressively pursued Dave Clark to license “Glad All Over” for an ad campaign. No matter how much they kept upping their offer—they really wanted that tune badly—Clark wouldn’t budge. On the other hand, after 20 years of trying, Kodak eventually wore down Paul Simon in the 1990’s to let them license “Kodochrome” for an ad campaign. I guess they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, or, as Flash and his Spivs once sang: money talks.
I suppose that’s the difference between an artist controlling the licensing integrity of their own work vs. corporation ownership. Who knows if Ray would have agreed to Hewlett-Packard’s usage if he had a say in the matter? I’ve not yet read a comment from the man on whether or not the commercial licensed use of his music bothers him or not. Although knowing what I’ve read about Ray’s legendary tightness with a buck, he probably welcomes whatever percentage of residuals he receives. Encourages it, even.
Oh...as for today's song? Love it.
Really interesting point...
Based on his thoughts about iPhone, I doubt he loved his song being used to promote digital photos lol
I always hear Picture Book's lyrics as tinged with irony, in contrast to the upbeat performance. The first three songs are similar in this respect, which gives them depth.
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