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 don't think the early love for J. Geils is evidence of the Boston market's uniqueness since J. Geils were essentially local. Artists often emerge in their hometowns well before achieving broader success.
     
    DISKOJOE and mark winstanley like this.
  2. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    After three excellent tracks, I've never really warmed to Brainwashed. I like the intro, but the way that Ray's vocals come in clashing with the music is not good IMO. It does get a bit better, but this is a skippable track for me.
     
  3. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Poughkeepsie, NY was another Kinks stronghold and they played here annually until the break up and then Ray continued to with his solo tours. Sadly, radio isn't what it used to be but its rare that I don't feature them on my current weekly show. In the past month we've featured 'Superman', 'Better Things', 'Apeman' and 'Waterloo Sunset' specifically with plenty more to come
     
    Wondergirl, DISKOJOE, Steve62 and 2 others like this.
  4. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    "Some Mother's Son" is not a fun listen, but it's a great work. That bridge is exquisite: "Somewhere someone is crying,
    someone is trying to be so brave, but still the world keeps turning though all the children have gone away." It's a powerful and brutal song and one of Ray's most complete lyrics. It is a topic that goes back to the beginning of time, but it especially hits home this week. I'll leave it at that so the sensitive gorts don't ban me from my favorite thread. The "all dead soldiers look the same" line puzzles me a bit, but I think I know where he's going.

    "Drivin'" seems out of place after two heavy war songs, but it's a wonderfully catchy tune of escapism. So in some ways, it's perfect sequencing. I love the stereo mix of this album and I especially love how this track sounds. You can hear everything so loudly and clearly. The drums have a power I don't hear on ANY of the records of their peers. The bass, guitars, pianos, harmonies. The drums before "Passed Barnet Church" sure don't sound like this is over 50 years ago. This is exciting! I love what the guitar starts doing at "thousands of trees." What a wonderful tune. I love this album. "And all the troubled world around us, seems an eternity away."

    "Brainwashed" - Well here we go again with another amazing song! This thing rocks HARD! As impressive as "Steam Powered Trains" was, but taken up a few notches. The sound of this record is incredible. The horns are a great touch and I keep saying it, but the drums! How does this guy not get more love? How does this BAND not get more love? Growing up I got the impression the Beatles were the only British band and the Kinks did "Tired of Waiting for You" or whatever. But we've had 50 years to learn differently. This is a continuation of the VGPS brilliance. The fact they kept going at such a high quality, despite a bewildering lack of success, is amazing. Great for us, but there should be more of us!
     
  5. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Great observation!
     
    Luckless Pedestrian and DISKOJOE like this.
  6. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    I don’t hear any relationship between the songs. However, the Association’s Along Comes Mary bears a striking resemblance to Why I Cry.
     
  7. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Some Mother’s Son: Courtney says: This is so hauntingly beautiful and tragic. The I’m really upset that I didn’t get into this music earlier in my life. He’s so intelligent too in the way he goes about depicting the battle and speaking about the dead solider by way of his mother is a sure way for every individual to connect with the young man. It’s such an intelligent song and ahead of its time.

    … and Brainwashed Mark says: Brainwashed: Awww yeah!!! Call me a broken record if you like, but I like it when Dave gets let loose on the guitar! I’ll keep this short and sweet, just like the song: Riffs galore! I love the one kicking in at 45 seconds, but then we just head to the stars at the minute and a half mark! Drums and bass just rocking out in overdrive, and Dave’s sardonic lyrics overlaid. …and I am in heaven! Victoria is still my favorite on the album but Brainwashed is a close second (along with one other yet to be up for discussion).
     
    Smiler, Zeki, DISKOJOE and 3 others like this.
  8. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Count me as another WAAFer of sorts. I lived in the Hartford Connecticut area. We had WCCC and WHCN for rock station. As I recall, WHCN was 105.9 and WCCC was 106.9 and WAAF, which we could not always tune in clearly, was just a few clicks away at 107.3(?). When, in order, WHCN then WCCC couldn’t deliver a good song, WAAF (if we could get it) would always get a look next. All three (including WAAF as I recall) played the kinks heavily, looping in stuff from Sleepwalker and Misfits then just killing it with Low Budget and Give the People... Although granny got me into the earlier Kinks, I recall hearing Rock and Roll Fantasy for the first time on WCCC and rushing down to the Manchester Parkade on my bike to buy Misfits.

    Personally, I got no beef with WAAF, but then I did have long hair and was prone to wearing untied @#$& kickers at that age!

    …and yes, I thought J Geils were equally as popular as the Stones too, man did they get some airplay in New England. Love that band. The Cars and Aerosmith were two more great Beantown bands that just dominated our stations at that time. Good times!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I know the score, he also drove into a hotel foyer and slid a car upside down whilst laughing prior to his bodyguard extracting himself when it stopped and resigning!
     
  10. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Minor TV related rarity from the time: a contact sheet of photos from the Kinks missing 'Top Of The Pops' performance of 'Drivin' in 1969

    [​IMG]
     
    Wondergirl, Zeki, DISKOJOE and 6 others like this.
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Brainwashed

    Reminds me of the Kinks circa 1965 and somewhat the stop/starts of "Til the end of the day" though not quite in that same league.

    The brass is a cool addition to the riffing of both the vocal and guitar but i too fancy this as being better suited to a live concert.

    Always great to hear them rocking out but Ray's best raucous work still never seems forced or rushed to me even when it's at speed.

    A minor song on this LP as however enjoyable i do think of it as being especially needed for it's lyrical content bellowed in the pub to poor Arthur!
     
    The MEZ, Zeki, Fortuleo and 3 others like this.
  12. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Are you sure it wasn't from "Bottom of the Pops"?
     
  13. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Usually Top Of The Pops would only have an act on if their single had charted and was rising that week, so I dunno what the deal was here with them being allowed to plug 'Drivin' before it had had the chance to chart (which it ultimately never did of course). Maybe it was to make up for the BBC banning 'Plastic Man' from the show in the week it charted?
     
  14. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Australia
    I hope Mark isn’t offended by me jumping the gun on the next song. I just wanted to let people know that every word of the lyric is true. It’s uncanny. I can even see the smiles through peoples masks while they are catching waves with me. I’m pretty sure the other Aussies on the thread would back me up on this. :laugh:
     
  15. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    I'm hoping that someone posts the single edit which, I presume, cuts off the maddeningly long instrumental jam at the end of the track!
     
  16. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Brainwashed - what a fantastic, flat out dirty rocker. Again, everything has been covered, and there's nothing too personal I wanted to add here, but I have to echo the continued compliments to the sound of this record, especially those beefy drums, and that meaty guitar. Amazing.



    Surely there's gotta be a better way to edit it than this...
     
  17. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Wow, that is a pretty abrupt ending! I still prefer it to the over-long album version though.
     
    DISKOJOE, mark winstanley and Steve62 like this.
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Australia

    [​IMG]
    Single by The Kinks

    from the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

    B-side "She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina" (R. Davies) (Australia)

    Released December 1969

    Recorded May–June 1969 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Genre Rock, psychedelic rock

    Length 6:46 (album version)

    Label Astor AP-1680 (Australia)

    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies

    Producer(s) Ray Davies

    stereo mix (6:44), recorded May-Jun 1969 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Opportunities are available in all walks of life in Australia
    So if you're young and if you're healthy
    Why not get a boat and come to Australia

    Australia, the chance of a lifetime
    Australia, you get what you work for
    Nobody has to be any better than what they want to be
    Australia, no class distinction
    Australia, no drug addiction
    Nobody's got a chip on their shoulder
    We'll surf like they do in the U.S.A.
    We'll fly down to Sydney for our holiday
    On sunny Christmas Day
    Australia, Australia


    No one hesitates at life or beats around the bush in Australia
    So if you're young and if you're healthy
    Why not get a boat and come to Australia
    Australia sha-la-la-la sha-la-la-la
    Australia sha-la-la-la sha-la-la-la
    Everyone walks around with a perpetual smile across their face
    Australia sha-la-la-la sha-la-la-la
    Australia sha-la-la-la sha-la-la-la
    Everyone gets around and nobody can ever get you down
    We'll surf like they do in the U.S.A.
    We'll fly down to Sydney for our holiday
    On sunny Christmas Day
    Australia, Australia

    Written by: Ray Davies

    Published by: Hill & Range Songs BMI


    I believe this was only released as a single in Australia which is really very interesting. The b-side was She’s Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina, and that is also an interesting choice for a b-side.

    Apparently this track is sung by Derek to Arthur, in the form of a big promotional attempt to get Arthur to move to Australia. That in itself is really interesting, and brings me to wonder why Ray chose to have Derek go to Australia, when in real life it was Arthur that moved to Australia. Surely he didn’t think that nobody would make the connection…. or perhaps since Ray was using this as the remarkable document on his view of how the British Empire had fallen, he just wanted his main character to remain in England. Either way, I think it works well, and we get this really intriguing song, that speaks to another big phenomenon of the twentieth century.

    English migrants have been the largest group moving to Australia for a long time. In 1788, New South Wales was set up as a penal colony, and the initial influx of people from England was merely military type guards and essentially convicts.

    This all came about after the revolutionary war in the Americas, which would become the USA. Overcrowding of the British prisons and Hulks (essentially prison ships), led to the British to need somewhere else to store/dump their convicts. Captain James Cook charted and claimed the east coast of Australia in 1770, essentially to prevent the French Empire from expanding into the region.

    In fact many explorers had been to and past Australia, and essentially figured it was just too forbidding a place to live or settle. In 1606, Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon landed on the west side of the Cape York peninsula, in what is now northern Queensland, and charted about 300 km of coastline.

    In 1616 Dirk Hartog came across a series of small uninhabited Islands off the west coast of Australia, just next to what is now known as Shark Bay. The main Island there is now called Dirk Hartog Island. Hartog landed at Shark Bay and left a pewter plate in a post to acknowledge his landing. He sailed north after three days, but essentially found nothing of interest.

    So after Captain Cook’s landing, eventually in 1788 eleven convict ships set sail from Great Britain to set up the penal colony …

    Nutshelling all that history, and for time and space ….. there were protests about the convict system, and in 1868 the last convict ship arrived in Western Australia.

    To some degree there was a certain mentality amongst the Australians that resented the whole convict system, and also a certain stigma, that still gets brought up about Australians being a convict nation…. I have directly been asked about it still… in the twenty first century lol

    Another spike in English immigration happened on the east coast in the 1850’s (where the convict settlements had ceased already), when there was a goldrush that happened there.

    All of that stuff is very interesting to read, and I believe there have been some interesting documentaries and docu-dramas about it all, I did see one which was quite harrowing, but I forgot the name of it… sorry.

    From 1922 the Empire Settlement Act assisted thousands of migrants from England. That is pretty much what brings us to where we are with the album here….

    On another little side note. The Aussies have generally referred to the English immigrants as Pommies. This is also very interesting, and it seems to have come from the initial convict shipments. Prisoners would have a label of some sort that said “POHM” which stood for Prisoner of Her Majesty. To the best of my knowledge, that is where the term Pommie comes from.

    After World War II, even as immigration from other countries expanded dramatically, English citizens had almost unrestricted entry into Australia. Arthur Calwell, Minister for Immigration, wanted nine out of ten new immigrants to be British. The majority of England-born migrants received assisted passages until the scheme was abolished in 1982. So that is almost certainly why my parents decided to move to Australia in 73/74, and I figured there must have been some kind of assistance, because as working class poms that came from a long line of coalminers, I always wondered how on earth we could have afforded to move to Australia.

    Forgive all that. I just figured a bit of back story on how it all came about would be useful for context, for anyone unfamiliar with the whole scenario. It also somewhat explains a little more, some of the issues that a lot of latter day generational Australians had with the English.

    … and so to the song

    We open with Ray singing “Opportunities are available in all walks of life in Australia”. This is just a straight up statement of fact. Australia is a huge island, roughly the same size of USA, if you take Alaska off.
    [​IMG]

    The population was rather small, and in comparison to most countries, the population is still rather small, but there is a lot of land considered uninhabitable, with the centre being essentially a desert.

    I’m from Perth on the left hand side there, and I believe it is the most isolated city in the world, as in it is further away from any other city. In the middle there is very little, that is why the outback can be so problematic if people get lost wandering in the bush … You could essentially get lost wandering in the bush east of Perth and if you are heading in the wrong direction you could walk the distance equivalent of Los Angeles to New York before you see someone.

    For another perspective, here is Great Britain disappearing on a map of Australia
    [​IMG]

    For a lot of English people Australia certainly was the opportunity of a lifetime, and as Ray says, folks really could be whatever they wanted to be.

    Sadly the statement of “no drug addiction” is far from true these days, with the explosion of “recreational drugs” all over the western world, Aussies didn’t miss out. Traditionally though, Australia was more of a hard drinking society, and certainly that can create issues all its own, but crystal meth, ice and heroin are extremely damaging to whatever communities they infiltrate.

    I’m pretty sure the “nobody’s got a chip on their shoulder” is very tongue in cheek, and it’s Ray at his sarcastic best. This would probably explain why the boys laughed so much when they sang that.

    The surfing culture is big in Aus, and so the comparison with Surfing in the USA is very apt. It is a big island with lots of coastline and lots of really excellent conditions for surfing, particularly in the southern regions.

    My wife is still bewildered by the fact that it could well be 110F on Christmas day, with the Northern Hemisphere obviously being in its Winter at the time.

    Then we get Ray singing “No one hesitates at life or beats around the bush in Australia”, and that always used to be the case. You could always rely on someone telling it to you straight. You could always guarantee that folks were living each day for each day. Sadly I believe that things have been changing and that makes me sad really, because straight talking is the only talking of any value (obviously and preferably with a tone of compassion)

    The next bit may be why it didn’t chart in Australia, I’m not sure, and I don’t even know if it got any airplay, as it’s before my time.

    Personally I love this bit, because it is Ray in his big over characterised sarcasm voice

    “Everyone walks around with a perpetual smile across their face”

    I think in context with the story, this is probably somewhat making fun of Derek, and his efforts to sell the big move to Aus. Obviously Aussies don’t perpetually smile, but there was a time that Aussies were known to be among the friendliest people in the world, as a whole, and I certainly hope that’s still true.

    So lyrically here, again we see Ray being informed about his topic. I don’t know if Ray was particularly worldly, or well educated, or if he just grasped the essentials on the Band’s 1965 tour. But Ray pretty much hits the nail on the head here, and when we take into account, again, that this is a character in a play trying to sell the place to Arthur, it is even more well constructed.

    Personally I really like this track musically as well, yes even the big extended jam. It possibly could have been a little shorter, but essentially from my perspective, we have covered about thirty or forty years of British, and world history, up to this point in the album, and it seems a breather to soak it all in is a wise decision. Also, it was sort of incidental music in the play. Anyway, I like it, it works and it is so very unexpected from the Kinks, so all the better for it.

    The thing that makes this song feel like it could and should be a good single is the fact that it has a really catchy melody. I have had this song going through my head for about twenty hours, because I had to write half of it up ahead of time again. Time is short and life is busy.

    We open with the vocals and piano setting the scene.
    Again we soon hear some excellent drumming form Mick, and the bass is really solid from the outset.
    We get some very cool backing vocals that bring to mind several bands, while not particularly being like any of them.
    I think the way the track sort of starts and stops is very effective, and again, we get some beautifully smooth changes of tempo, that are interesting and really keep me interested in the song.

    When we get the really abrupt stop at about 2:05 it is super effective and it rebuilds itself beautifully.
    This is a really extremely well written Ray song.

    So for me this song musically is quite brilliant, we again get all these brilliant subtleties that Ray brings to the table, and it is a musical journey that works incredibly well for me.

    Now to that instrumental section..... I suppose to some degree I understand why some folks aren't really digging this section of the song, but I find it really very interesting, and the closer I listen the better it is.

    It is like a musical collage, and sort of works like a sound map for the journey across... either to Australia, or around it.

    We open with Dave rolling out some nice lead guitar, and the piano holds down that double hit chord for a while, but then it drifts into some tinkling. There are horn lines and stabs coming in here and there. We have backing vocals coming in and out in the background.
    We get a sort of subtle tribute to Ray Charles What'd I Say in there, with the piano playing a motif from that track and then the backing vocals singing, quite low in the mix, the vocal line.
    Then we get some random lines from Ray, that I can't make out.
    While all this stuff is happening we have Dave still noodling away in the background.

    This seems so, kind of, Freeform for the Kinks. We have little horn lines here and there. We have a wobble board in there.

    This crazy little jam has a bit of everything

    So although I can see how some folks wish this wasn't here, and perhaps it does go on a little too long, I essentially like this. Like I say though, it is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the stack of information that Ray has given us on the record up to this point.

    Perhaps this is not the band's greatest track, but it is a really excellent song on so many levels, and I personally like that quirky extended jam. Also as a side closer to the original record, I think it works really well.

    Anyway, again I'll be really interested to read how people feel about this, because I reckon it is another high point, on an album that is such an intense series of high points, that I don't know how I didn't love it from my first hearing.

     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The single

    Essentially the song is pretty much the same, but the slow "surf in the USA" section is removed and edited to the prior quick section, and then faded, a little awkwardly.
    I think they should have just faded slowly on the instrumental, but they may have thought that the slow section wasn't really a good idea for a single.
    Certainly not the best way to present this, and it leaves many questions as to why it would be done this way.... It kind of leaves me feeling Pye got a little opportunistic, and in hope of a patriotic reaction to the song by the Australian market they just quickly knocked it together and hoped....

     
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I've know this song for 25 years, and embarrassingly it was only THIS YEAR that I realised/had it pointed out to me that it's Dave who sings the 'chance of a lifetime' section.

    I like the jamming at the end: many disdain it, and in turn it's often defended by folks who say 'this was probably intended as instrumental background music for the TV programme, you have to see it in that context', but I would go further than that and say it works completely in the context of the album heard as a piece of music: it helps to convey the massiveness and newness of Australia as a country and frontier for British emigrants: I don't think it's just jamming to fill up the side: I think it often gets judged more harshly than it would be when performed by other acts because people expect concise pop songs from The Kinks and this could seem like them attempting something unbecomingly fashionable for 1969 and also maybe beyond their strengths, but I reckon Ray knew exactly what he was aiming for here. Is that a Rolf Harris style wobble board in the mix there? Before his downfall in 2014 after his crimes came to light Harris was of course Britains most beloved and ubiquitous Aus import celebrity so that would make sense.

    The Kinks are known to have soundchecked with this one in the early 70s and even at a private show in 1990 (!) so they definitely toyed with the idea of bringing it into the set but as far as I know it was never in their regular live show.
     
  22. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Australia
    Mark, regarding the bits of your excellent post where you evaluate whether each claim made for Australia in the song is true or not... don't you feel the song is actually more about England than Australia? The narrator picks out everything that depresses him about his homeland, and Australia represents a Utopian escape from it all. He just assumes that all the ills that plague the motherland can't possibly exist in that vast sunny sparsely populated land on the other side of the world... can they? It's a tourist brochure spiel, where selling the dream is more important than strict accuracy.

    This song is a delicious masterpiece, pretty much my equal favourite on the album. Pop perfection. It just bounces along on an endless stream of melodic hooks. I'm just talking about the first few minutes. The rest of it can get in the coral sea. This is one of the few songs I've felt it worthwhile to make my own edit of. It's not that the jam at the end is bad, it's just that I want to hear it so much less than I want to hear the rest of the song. Like I want to hear it once in a blue moon, and I want to hear the "song" part every week. If we were rating these songs it would be 5/5 for an edited version and 3/5 for the full version.
     
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yes it is
     
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Actually I hadn't considered that. I sort of took it on face value, but now you bring it up, it is working twofold in that regard.
    England is the dying empire, it's reached its zenith, and Australia is the brave new world.
    Really solid point mate.
     
  25. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    It's such a great, and amusing, lyric. I also get a kick out of the Beach Boys-style backing vocals on the surfing section.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine