The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I remember that.... haven't heard it for years. I don't particularly hear much of a connection really though.
    radiofreedavis, jethrotoe and Zeki like this.
  2. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    My wallet remains firmly closed!
  3. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    United States
    Yeah, I don't either besides the "deeper" voice than Ray is normally known for. But again, he was singing in character. There are some songs on this album where he uses 2-3 different voices, so I guess those were meant to be different characters singing.
    mark winstanley likes this.
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    For anyone that hasn't got it, hopefully that's big enough to read ... it is a bit of a chore lol

    All Down The Line and Zeki like this.
  6. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Here’s a good article about the 50th anniversary from Ultimate Classic Rock:

    The Kinks, 'Arthur: 50th Anniversary Edition': Album Review

    An excerpt:

    “In some respects, Arthur is the Kinks' most ambitious work – maybe not in narrative scope (the later Preservation albums hold that honor, although somewhat dubiously), but in its musical range. It's more musically motivated than many of the band's records from this rich period, including its celebrated predecessor and the LP that followed it, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.

    It's also the tentative starting point of Davies' theatrical period, which he'd toyed with in the years leading up to Arthur.”
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Here we go. From the Kinda Kinks site

    All Songs Written by Ray Davies
    Tracks Arranged by The Kinks
    Brass and Strings Conducted by Lew Warburton
    Engineer: Andrew Hendriksen except Brian Humphries on "Drivin'"
    Recorded at Pye Studios, London
    Artwork: Bob Lawrie
    Art Direction: The Kinks
    Original Story of Arthur Written by Julian Mitchell and
    Ray Davies, Commissioned by Granada Television Ltd., London

    Arthur? Oh, of course--England and knights and round tables, Excalibur, Camelot, "So all day long the noise of battle roll'd among the mountains by the winter sea." Sorry, no. This is Arthur Morgan, who lives in a London suburb in a house called Shangri-La, with a garden and a car and a wife called Rose and a son called Derek who's married to Liz, and they have these two very nice kids, Terry and Manlyn. Derek and Liz and Terry and Marilyn are emigrating to Australia. Arthur did have another son, called Eddie. He was named for Arthurs brother, who was killed in the battle of the Somme. Arthur's Eddie was killed, too--in Korea. His son, Ronnie, is a student and he thinks the world's got to change one hell of a lot before it's going to be good enough for him. Derek thinks it's changed a bloody sight too much--he can't stick England any more, all these bloody bureaucrats everywhere, bloody hell, he's getting out. Ronnie and Derek don't exactly get on.

    Arthur wasn't named for Arthur of Camelot and all that; he was called after Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, 1st Duke of Connaught and Stratheam and Earl of Sussex, because Arthurs parents knew their place, and children ought to be named in honour of Queen Victona's children, and Prince Arthur, you know, he was her third and married...

    Arthur has spent most of his life on his knees, laying carpets. Oh, he had his plans; he was thinking very seriously indeed about setting up on his own, only he hadn't much in the way of savings and there was this Hitler and... it all seemed a bit risky. There were the children to think of, weren't there? Arthur doesn't like risks, never has. He bought a car instead, and took the kids out on Sundays. Things aren't exactly easy now he's retired, but he owns his own house, and most of his car. You've got to be careful. But you don't want to worry too much about the worid, the way Ronnie does, or complain all the tlme like Derek; you're not going to get anywhere like that, you know. You want to take things as they come.

    Things have been coming at Arthur all his life.

    Arthur's life (and the lives of millions of English people like him) is shown through the songs Ray Davies has written. The Granada TV story in which they're set all takes place on Derek and Liz's last day in England. Nothing happens very much--everyone has Sunday dinner together, then Ronnie turns up and the men go to the pub where Ronnie gets all worked up about The System, while Liz and Rose talk about the past, and then Arthur takes them all to the boat, and they have a picnic on the way, and all the time Arthur's remembering his life and... It's a sad day for Arthur, seeing them off. People haven't been nearly as nice to Arthur as he's been to them, and... what's it all about, then? Is this what he's lived for? He's got the house, hasn't he? And the car? It's been a good life, hasn't it? Well, hasn't it?


    In the words of an otherwise very dear friend, I am "almost annoyingly partial to the Kinks..."

    Which all started ages ago when I first heard "You Really Got Me" on my car radio and, feeling almost as if I'd been slugged in the chest (rather powerful stuff that), very nearly went off Sunset Blvd. Later there was "I Need You," which to this day I consider one of Rock-and-Roll's-with-capital-R's genuine masterpieces. Two summers ago there was "Waterloo Sunset," one summer ago "Days," both of which I've played and been almost inappropriately moved by nearly every day since their respective appearances. And since the release of The Village Green Preservation Society I've been blowing my newly-acquired critic's trumpet for the Kinks far less abashedly than at least one friend would prefer. With this Arthur, though, I've become convinced that I'll need a critics sousaphone if I'm to continue blowing as loud as I feel affection for the music of the Kinks. Arthur, as Mr. Mitchell's notes next door explain, is the score for a television drama that he co-authored with the group's leader, Ray Davies. Which is fine by me, but what I'd like to put in two unsolicited cents' worth about is not the album's dramatic inspiration (rest assured that there are many here among us who will soon be making all the necessary favorable comparisons to Hair! and Tommy for us), but about its brilliance as a corpus of rock and roll. Like I'm even more convinced than ever that Davies ranks right up there with Townshend and McCartney and all the usual others as a composer of rock and roll, right up there with Jagger and Dylan as a singer of same.

    "His voice (Ray's) is flat and awkward, quavering along like some pop George Formby. The whole thing is lopsided, crablike, one step from chaos, but somehow it balances out, it makes sense," wrote Nik Cohn. Indeed, perfectly wonderful sense! I just can't get over Ray's exuberant, almost drunken-sounding singing on the beginnings of "Victoria" and "Nothing To Say" and all through "Yes Sir, No Sir" ("I think this life is affecting my brain..."), its quietly intense, quietly enraged quality in "Some Mother's Son," the lovely falsetto sha-la-la's that Dave has always done so artfully all over the place. And I'm utterly delighted with the arrangements, with things like that absurd kazoo on the absurd part of "Princess Marina" and the horns that add so much to the exhilarating power of the "Australia" and "Shangri-la" and "Victoria" choruses.

    And the songs themselves! "He writes about nothing much: streets and houses and pubs, days at the seaside, little bits of love, drabness and things that don't change--stuff like that. Mostly he writes about small lives, small pleasures..." (N. Cohn again.) Yes, the small lives and pleasures are certainly dealt with here in the characteristically brilliant Davies fashion in "Nothing To Say" and "Princess Marina" and 'Shangri-la" ("All the houses in the street have got a name/' Cos all the houses in the street they look the same..."--I love that). But can the subject of "Some Mother's Son," the most potent, the most moving condemnation of the its-your-duty-to-fight morality I've ever heard in a rock and roll song, possibly be considered the "nothing much" that Ray has always chronicled with such wit?

    And finally, to my further delight, there's not a song in the lot, start they with harpsichords or slow military drums, that ends up anything less than great bopping rock.

    Do pardon me. I've gone off a bit long-windedly about things you need only put Arthur on your turntable to discover yourself. But I'm passionate about rock and roll, and this album is pretty nearly as passion-inspiring a rock and roll work as I've ever heard. I'm confident we'll get along magnificently.

  8. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    I bought Arthur in 1972 together with Lola Part One from HMV Oxford Street, London. These were the first proper Kinks albums I bought. I already owned two compilation albums - the Hallmark/Marble Arch Lola and the first Golden Hour comp. The GH compilation had two Arthur tracks so I was familiar with Victoria and Shangrila and I already had the Drivin' single.

    Whilst I had seen the pink Pye records labeI I was glad these albums had the blue label. Looked great with that wonderful pure black vinyl. I was too young - just gone 16 - to understand what the album was all about but I loved every track on that record. By this time the Danset had been replaced with a modern looking portable Denon stereo record player. It looked a bit like a very fat briefcase and the lid comprised of two speakers which lifted off the shiny chrome deck. It had been bought in either Singapore or Hong Kong by my brother who was serving in the Royal Navy at a time when the colur pink was fast disappearing from the world map. I cannot remember which of the two albums I bought were first played on this record player but nowadays I'd like to think it was Arthur because of the album's subject matter, and not forgetting both Hong Kong and Singapore were mentioned on track one.

    The best sounding Kìnks album by a mile. It really does sound as if a lot of money and care went into the production. For me, Arthur is Ray's response to how the post-war socialist promises came to naught. The electorate got rid of Churchill shortly after the war ended and the Labour government was given an opportunity to lead us all to the Promised Land. Except, the opportunity was wasted and the album is the story of one working class man's struggle in his homeland - a homeland crippled by war debts and srtuggling to keep the Empire together.

    The history books tell us that war was won by Russia, US and GB. What they don't tell us is that, for a country on the winning side, GB didn't half lose a lot.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Great summary mate.

    I'm not sure that anyone not from England realises how devastating the war was for the UK
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Had to look it up!
  11. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    That wall is Konk studios in Tottenham Lane. So they went outside, spray-painted the ad board, took a photo, and there's your album cover. El-Cheapo or what?
  12. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    United States
    I didn’t realize that. They are the godfathers of punk afterall. DIY. So I shouldn’t be surprised!
    LX200GPS and mark winstanley like this.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    Well, me & at least these guys would gently beg to differ:

  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Sorry, I'm not getting the context, and I'm not sure who those guys are
    All Down The Line likes this.
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    As something to check out for the weekend.

    I haven't had a chance to watch all of it yet, but it seems to be a documentary about Dave, by Julian Temple, called Kinkdom Come.
    At the very least there are some interesting home movies, and pictures.
    Dave is certainly the focus talking about growing up and his family.

  16. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Saw it a few years back. Definitely worth watching. Dave has some wacky ideas but he's very watchable and I think he's more down to earth than his brother. Thanks for posting this. I will watch it again.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    That's a picture of an reenactment of the 303rd Squadron, the RAF Unit from WWII that was comprised of pilots from Poland & participated in the Battle of Britain
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Very cool.... that's what had me confused.... RAAF uniforms lol
    DISKOJOE likes this.
  19. kw21925

    kw21925 Lieutenant-Corporal; Gazpacho Police

    It was always obvious to me, but somebody got it wrong, as often happens. As I said, I hate to be pedantic, I don't usually pay this much attention to lyrics, but for Ray Davies I make an exception.
  20. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Such a special song. Personally it means a lot to me and always will. Is there such a thing of retiring this song into my top 10 by the Kinks? It shall never move from there. Surely it will hit #1 on many days.

    I think everyone has mentioned all the key points. I find no fault with this song. and my favorite part is when Dave (I'm assuming) starts yelling after "Singapore to Hong Kong" me, its spontaneity and spirit takes this song to a new level. He really brings this song home for me.
  21. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Senior Member

    I happened to have some free time after Mark posted. Just finished watching. Fantastic.
  22. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    United States
    I think they recorded the backing tracks live in the studio, if I understand correctly, and then did overdubs later.

    I wonder if Dave just got really into it. Hence the yelling. Since it was the on a live backing track, it was probably more difficult, if not impossible, to mix out. I think there’s also yelling on “Princess Marina” just before the guitar solo.
  23. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I know Ray's a perfectionist, so if he thought the yelling didn't work, it would have been dumped. it totally does work and he kept it. and i am eternally grateful. Hearing a band get into it and having fun is pretty cool.
  24. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    Having established that we see George V on the mug on the cover, this first track goes even further back to invoke his grandmother Queen Victoria ... which is normal since, unlike Pink Floyd's obsession with the second world war and its consequences, Ray is illustrating from the outset that this album is about the British Empire and its decline, as stated in its title.

    And the Empire had a Queen Empress, so your discussion of royalty is quite appropriate, Mark. Queen Victoria's son and George V's father was a philanderer and a womaniser who waited for a vey long time before becoming King as Edward VII. Comparisons with the present-day Prince Charles and his long-serving mother Elizabeth II are entirely appropriate. This is not a question of the nineteen seventies or eighties, Mark, but a question of what the royalty represents in Britain over the centuries.

    Scandal is not new to royalty and it tends to thrive on it. There's even a folk tradition that the prince destined to be king will probably lead an unruly life before sitting on the throne. Shakespeare describes this very well with the tranformation of the dissolute Prince Hal before he comes to the throne in 1413 and transforms into the exemplary Henry V.

    The French famously chopped off the head of Louis XVI, but this was also an English trait, Fortuleo, since King Charles I had already lost his head well over a hundred years before.

    So British monarchy over the years has had its problems just like any other monarchy, but it's learnt to accept what is possible and what is not possible. In France the return of a King has come to mean the thirst for absolute power, whereas in Britain the monarchy has learnt to relinquish power in order to benefit from its inordinate personal and national wealth.

    Ray's song is a fantastic opener, getting inside the mind of patriotic Brits who still belt out Land of Hope and Glory at the end of the Proms.

    And this feeling is still very much alive today.

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021
  25. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident


    I have little to add to all that has already been posted. An energetic, exuberant, catchy song like this would be the ideal opener to any album, but even more so for this one. It doesn't just introduce us to the theme of the album, setting the scene of Britain in the days of Empire, but also to the sonic signature of the album. Great performances from everyone, impeccably captured and presented in a stereo mix. As good as this track is, I'd still rate some of the songs we're going to cover over the next 11 days above it.

Share This Page