The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    I understand, and that's why I wrote the first paragraph of my post the way I did. There are other things a vocalist can bring that compensate for the lack of technical prowess.

    I have praised Dave's vocal delivery on some other songs on this thread. Today, I pulled out Dave's "Bug" album and listened to it end to end nonstop and enjoyed every word.

    It's just that sometimes a voice is soooo bad in terms of timbre, pitch, intonation, etc, that no matter how good all those intangibles are, they can't overcome the more objective negatives. For me, this song is one of those times. But then I think that about 99% of Dylan and 100% of Neil Young, so my particular musical sensibility is more easily disrupted by these technical weaknesses than yours to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  2. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I know that Bob Dylan and Neil Young get a lot of ridicule for their vocals, but that is also the reason why they are considered two of the best. They present their songs with a very honest and heartfelt approach. They are two singers that you love or you don't. I think they are both excellent singers (most of the time). They know exactly what they are doing. Their voices have also changed many times over the decades of making music.

    I have never listened much to Bug or really any later Dave solo albums. He is hit and miss for me in the vocal department. Ray is almost always great, but there is a period where I may have an unpopular opinion about the music and his vocals.

    I will say that "Are You Ready" does sound like a demo and hasn't been fully worked out, but it gives it a sitting around the campfire vibe.
     
  3. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    When people talk about Dylan and Young being two of the best, it's usually more based on their songwriting than the actual delivery.

    For me, no amount of "honesty" can overcome a truly horrific voice.... especially when there are plenty of vocalists out there who have great voices AND honesty.
     
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Funny.... I've long thought of Dave as having a fantastic voice, and more objectively powerful as an instrument than Ray's. Ray does brilliant things with the voice he has, and may be easier to listen to for several songs in a row... but Dave can rip the paint off the walls with his screams, and I think it's an enviable talent.
     
  5. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY

    I had the pleasure if seeing Colin at The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie a few years back. Absolutely wonderful show. I strongly recommend him to you all if he ever plays your area
     
  6. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    For me his voice is amazing when he's on, but it's really bad when he's not. His backing vocals are wonderful. His voice sounds fantastic on the Lola album. He also sounds really cool on "Wicked Annabella." His voice sounds awful on "Hold My Hand" and it's pretty bad on "Are You Ready?"
     
  7. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    As far as Ray goes, his wannabe calypso pseudo-Caribbean voice is cringe inducing. It makes "Apeman" "Supersonic Rocket Ship" hard to listen to. It's just such an annoying delivery. Questionable politics aside, it just sounds bad to my ears.

    Also, in some songs, his voice gets this sort of nasal twang. A good example of this, off the top of my head, is his backing vocals in "Death of A Clown." I hate how he sings "let's all draaaaynk to the deyyyyuth of a claaawwwn" behind Dave (whose vocals are good on that song.) The "wiki wak wak a boo/and he's got a little tin lady too" in "Tin Soldier Man" is another example of those obnoxious Ray nasal twang vocals.
     
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  8. joejo

    joejo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    toronto
    The first part, yes I can't imagine what is he thinking.

    The second part to me is magical, and fits perfectly in context.
     
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  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The voice thing is interesting. I like both their voices, but would agree that neither are what one would call technically great singers. Ray was great at putting character in the delivery, and I guess that either appeals or doesn't... It's really rare that I get the Caribbean thing that folks talk about.... but that's how it goes I guess.
    With Dave, I think it comes to the fact that he often stays in the high end of his register, and sometimes that leaves you open to sounding a little shrill, even if your pitch is correct.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Creeping Jean.

    mono mix (3:13), recorded late Dec 1968 at Polydor Studios, London

    You're not leaving so discreet,
    Just creeping out on me.
    Your dizzy head, and smoky eyes,
    You'll find some other's bed to sleep.
    So don't look back, it is too late,
    No story to be told.
    This creepin' mess you left for me,
    Promising that you'd be home.

    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.
    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.
    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.
    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.

    Your dirty friends and underwear,
    Keep hanging 'round my room.
    The lonely pictures that you paint
    Are creepin' to their doom.
    So don't look back it is too late,
    No story to be told.
    These creepin' friends you left for me,
    Saying your promise to be home.

    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.
    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.
    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.
    You don't know what I mean,
    Creepin' Jean's a disease.

    Written by: Dave Davies
    Published by: ?

    We open with a nice arpeggio chord progression and drop into a pulsing grind, that has a chord riff thrown on top of it. The swooping bass slides are very effective and give the song a lot of character.

    Lyrically this is the most aggressive lyric I think I have heard from Dave so far. It is essentially a song of infidelity and it pulls no punches. The creeping is used in such a way as to make the subject sound like a slimey rotten mess of a person.... It really works as a strong put down.
    This is really a very solid slap in the face to whoever it was based on. Sneaking out to sleep in someone else's bed, Your dirty friends and underwear, you are a disease ... it doesn't get a lot more harsh than that. the picture painted is pretty straight forward, and it doesn't have anything in the way of positive statements at all.

    Essentially this is a really well put together put down song, and it puts down heavily.

    I really like how the guitars follow the vocal line in the first part of the chorus and then move into that frantic kind of plucking in the second half. I think it really gives the chorus a really strong character.

    This is like some kind of garage punk or something. It is musically coherent, but it has this dirty grungy sound that fits perfectly with the topic. I think to some degree the production or the mixing isn't quite right, because it sounds a little messy, but at the same time that messy, dirty sound kind of suits the lyrics and the delivery.

    The contrast between the verses and chorus works well for me .... it actually lifts this song a little higher than it might.

    This sounds like a really good demo in some ways, and I think it is mainly that mixing or production.... it sounds fine, but not quite right. The song though, I think works really well.

    For me this is another excellent song on this set of songs, and I like this version, but to some degree I think it could have done with a remix or something.....

     
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Stereo mix

    I think this works a little better in some ways. The vocals are a little more clear.
    I still think it could have done with a remix, but I think this is closer.
    I think this is a little different ..... Is there more than one recording of this? This sounds like a slightly different version.

     
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Here is a live version from Dave. The song gets a more modern rock delivery. I'm not sure what year this was recorded. We get a slightly different arrangement too.

     
  13. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    After a few misses (IMO), this is a brilliant track and one of my favourite solo Dave songs. When did this one first appear?
     
  14. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Yeah, Creeping Jean has some great open chord riffing and garage rhythm section, it almost prefigures Neil Young and Crazy Horse in its heavy stubborn meanness. Sonically, it’s the Kinks reimagined as a power trio, with power chords, that glissando bass hook giving the whole thing an unexpected drone quality and Avory’s exceptional drumming. In all 68/69 sessions, he could play maniacal like Keith Moon but was used more like Ringo, holding together the whole arrangement. But of course, the star, here, is the guitar. On the chorus, as noted in @Mark's opening post, Dave harmonizes with himself, voice and guitar, in a most spectacular way, both strident and aggressive in the best sense of the words. As a guitar player, it seems he hadn’t let loose like that in years! I can imagine many here will prefer this to it’s poppier A-side Hold My Hand, but I tend to see it otherwise: not one song against the other but the two of them working together as a pair, another of his thematic concept single, this time about toxic relationships and alienating bed stories, that gives insight into Dave’s bitter outlook and fractured lifestyle at the time.
     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It first appeared as the b-side for Hold My Hand, and was apparently recorded December 1968 .... I'll be interested to know if our experts know more of the recording history, and perhaps if there was more than one session where this was recorded
     
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The Rock Bottom live album was recorded 1997.
     
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Perfect description of Creeping Jean. If I had been sitting in the decision-maker’s chair I think I would have placed it as a “B” side (as happened), even if I personally like this better than the A-side. The (per @Fortuleo ’s words) heavy stubborn meanness of the track makes it more ideal for FM-radio play, not for a bright, cheery morning commute sort of track. Or a radio alarm clock song! “It’s 6 o’clock in a sunny morning and here’s Creeping Jean!” No, it wouldn’t work.
     
  18. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Creeping Jean"

    It's a track that I've owned for a long time, but not listened to much - which is something that I need to remedy! Listening to it now, it's a fabulous freak-out, which I prefer to the A side. Great sound on the lead guitar. Might have more to say about it later.
     
  19. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic, USA
    This might be one of my favorite examples -- Dave hits some truly high notes in a few of the choruses. Then, when you think he's hit his limit, the music modulates up a key and he does it again.
     
  20. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Creeping Jean
    This is more like it. It rocks, it swings and the lyrics are great. If this song gets played live the crowd will be into it. In his book Dave says 'it's a song about a slut-girlfriend-drug addict. Sleazy but great fun. I liked the way Mick played on that record. Really free.' Dave doesn't say that the song is about a particular person and he was married - so it seems unlikely he'd have an unsteady girlfriend at the same time. According to Doug Hinman's book this was one of the four songs recorded on the afternoon of Friday 20th December 1969 in the tiny Pye studio Dave was unhappy with (the others were Hold My Hand, Do You Wish to be a Man, and Crying).
    A fun fact from Dave's book: when Dave was twelve his brother-in-law Mike, who Dave said was 'a really fine guitar player', helped him make a Hawaiian guitar from scratch because they both liked the Hawaiian War Chant. Dave later used that home-made guitar on both Holiday in Waikiki and Creeping Jean.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  21. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Creeping Jean

    Dave at his grungy best. Superb guitar work too. I really enjoyed listening to all three versions provided here; each has its own flavor and reason for being.
     
  22. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Today in Kinks history:
    In 1972 The Kinks are halfway through a 3 date run with the Beach Boys, playing to 10k people at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania.

    [​IMG]

    How 'bout a whopping $3.50 to see two top acts?
     
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  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Are You Ready

    A first time hearing again for me.
    The song and Dave's vocal inparticular has a welcome rustic charm and the harmonizing and backing vocals are a great fit.
    So an improvement over the last 2 songs for me though I can really see what our fearless leader @mark winstanley is talking about with regards to the flow and sequencing of songs potentially turning off listeners before they have heard enough high spots to get fully turned on!
     
  24. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Great call on Ronnie Lane here, I thought there was a similarity too!
     
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm loving these mate.
    Cheers
     

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