The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Yes and by far most talented!
     
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  2. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    A Long Way from Home

    This song means so much to me. I gravitated toward this song (along with Strangers, This Time Tomorrow and tomorrow's song....) as my early favorites on this album when I first heard it 20 years ago. In fact, before this thread and deeper dive into their earlier albums that I didn't know so well, this was my favorite Kinks song that nobody knows about. Like, a little secret that I kept to myself, but would occasionally play for a close friend, because sometimes you just have to share those secrets that are just so juicy and good. It is still absolutely a top tier (perhaps top 3?) Kinks song for me of all time. Any of those top 3 or 5 can now be interchanged any particular day.

    My *only* gripe is that is although it is not the shortest song on the album, it's over before I am ready for it to be over. It's difficult though, because it is just so perfect as it is. But rather than wish it to be longer, I'll just play it on loop to get those extra verses and choruses that I want to hear.

    The sound.
    There are some songs that you just feel in your soul, and this is one of those songs for me. Like yesterday's song, the SOUND of this song just envelopes me, with the acoustic guitars, John Gosling's gentle rolling piano, John Dalton's bass (which I think is just incredible in this song), those bits of electric guitar in the background, and Mick's almost military snare hits during the first chorus and those fills in the 2nd verse. Then he gets in the groove in the 2nd chorus. John Gosling's tinkling piano in that second chorus. I mean, how is it possible that this beautiful track is so unknown to basically any person who has not listened to this album? This is the ultimate deep cut, the ultimate album track, the ultimate song that would never appear on any "This is the Kinks" playlist, but perfectly displays what is so amazing about this band and perfectly encapsulates their 1970 sound.

    The vocals.
    Ray's singing is earnest, as others have mentioned. There is no vaudeville, no characters. This is so heartfelt. But incredibly, to me, not as heartfelt as Dave's background harmonies. Dave's singing here almost brings me to tears. Here you have Ray, beautifully singing this song that as @mark winstanley stated, is, I would agree, almost definitely written as an ode/warning to his brother. You are growing up. You had those good ways, in those young and innocent days. Now that you have money and you are older, don't forget where you came from. We all still need guidance. We all need to remember our roots. We all need to remember what is important to us -- home, comfort, security. Not the handmade overcoats and fancy cars. So here is Dave, in the recording studio, singing along with the choruses that appear to be about himself. In the first chorus, the way Dave's voice bends a bit on "you're wiser because you're older". The way Dave lingers a little longer on the word "older". I think that single line might be my favorite 5 seconds on this entire album, and perhaps of the Kinks entire career (of all the seconds I have heard so far). And then for Ray, the bit I love most is the way he annunciates the end of "overcoats".

    The lyrics.
    This evokes that lyrical theme that Ray is just so good at. The journey of life, from the way things used to be, to the way things are now. A common thread from Where Have the Good Times Gone to Village Green, from Do You Remember Walter? and Picture Book to Young and Innocent Days. Ray paints the picture of their childhood - runny-nosed, scruffy, playing stickball (or cricket or rugby?) with friends in the field (before the end of the season, that is). Those days when you were happy, a long time ago. But now, you have this money, you have the taste of fame, you think you can do it all alone. But you can't. Or at least, I guess you can, but it will destroy you. You need someone to guide you. I can be that someone still. What's particularly striking about these lyrics is that there are no rhymes. We have "knew", "ways", "smile", "happy", "older", "thing", "you", "home". Then we have "clothes", "me", "for", "overcoats", "stronger", "home". And somehow, it just works.

    The story, the emotion, the vocal delivery, the music. This is just absolutely beautiful. I can't think of another more appropriate word for it. And it's just a single deep track the album that has Lola on it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  3. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    You can also get this as a DVD, which I have & enjoyed.
     
  4. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "A Long Way From Home" is the second great song on Side 2 of Lola. To me, it's a a cousin of "Do You Remember Walter" in the sense that Ray is singing about someone who he remembers in his youth who had many virtues as a person despite being poor & now that he's materially wealthy, he seems to forget what he was. I can see how the other Avids can see this song as Ray talking to Dave & kindly but firmly trying to send him straight. I can also see Ray talking about an old friend who has now "made it" materially but has kinda lost it spiritually, turning into a "Powerman" or a "Rat".

    Speaking about Ray & Dave & their relationship, going through the press stories of the 1960s, it seems that there's nothing about any conflict between them, unlike the Gallagher brothers, which was there from the get go. The stories of conflict between Ray & Dave seem to start later on in the 1970s, when Ray basically took total control of the Kinks.
     
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  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    A Long Way From Home

    Again just how well and poignantly do these guys harmonize!

    On the surface this may not immediately appear to have the beauty and charm of the previous track however to me (learning it's from brother to brother) it has more and is deep with varied emotions that are this time between people.
     
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    An official DVD?
     
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  7. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Well, a bit grey. I could tell you where I got it if it's OK w/the Headmaster
     
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  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    According to Larry Page the brothers just always fought so whether management seemed to submerge it from the press or they just did not pick up the real animosity or perhaps they were for a time distracted from noticing it by Mick Avory's high hat kick pedal that had Dave in stitches i don't know but it's no laughing matter and that was almost a capital crime!
     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I don't mind, but the gorts may not like it.
    It may be best to message him :righton:
     
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  10. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I don't want to be a problem, Mark. I'll just do it via private message.
     
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  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's not my era, but is it possible the sixties news was less gossip oriented?
     
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  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Yes as things were openly known that were off limits to write about like the Beatles shagging fans etc.
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    "Nice boys, don't play rock and roll"
     
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  14. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I loved reading this post!
    Of course, you're spot on, Ray has one big subject : the way things used to be. But a close second would be the dream, the need, the urge to make it (to the city, to success, to the next level, to the big society), no matter what's lost on the way. How many of those has he written since So Long, in 1965 ? Dandy, Big Black Smoke, Two Sisters, Mr Pleasant, Village Green, All of My Friends Were There, Starstruck, The Contenders, etc. etc. the list is endless, with whole concept albums being devoted to it. That's why I've always thought the key Ray Davies line of them all would have to be "I sought fame / so I left the village green". In that pivotal song, there's no judgement at all, it's very matter of fact. "I sought fame", – of course, because that's a natural impulse – "so I left the village green" – 'cause you can't have it both ways, can you ? It makes me think of that great Ringo anecdote, going to his auntie's in Liverpool after the first US tour, and the whole family becoming frantic around him to clean him up after he spilled tea over his pants, like he suddenly was royalty of something.

    Anyway, some of Ray's most profound and poignant songs are when he allows his two favorite themes to converge and become one, like on today's track. Songs in which he ponders what was and what is, and tries to make sense of it all. The contradictions. The ambivalence. It makes me wonder : that guy had the hubris to become a songwriter, a singer, a frontman, a rock star. He had the drive to write hundreds of songs, to come up with hits after hits, shooting for success, willingly drawing comparisons and even rivalry with his peers like the Beatles, showing rancor or envy on occasions when he didn't get enough recognition (not least on some songs included on the very record we're focusing on right now)… I mean, the level of contradiction between what drove him to achieve what he achieved and his philosophical (or even moral) take on it is just insane. Insane !
    So in this song he's talking to Dave, right. But who made the most money between the two ? Didn't Ray buy Bentleys and Rolls Royces for himself ? On the Lola era pictures posted by @Invisible Man a couple of days ago, was he dressed straighter than Dave ? I don't think so ! It could even be argued his outfits were the most eccentric and pricey of them all. My point is : wasn't Ray just as long a way from home as his baby brother ? I think this song is so powerful because it also works in reverse. He's masquerading it as a lesson to his kid brother but in truth, he's also talking to himself. He's just yet to do it with the directness and devastating self-awareness he'll show in many songs to come, especially on the majestic Sitting in My Hotel, a couple of years later.
     
  15. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    In the "Kitchen Sink "conversation about this song on the deluxe set, Ray and Dave talk about it being Ray speaking to Dave, Ray speaking to himself, and their Father speaking to them both, all at the same time. I always thought it was the Mother from Get Back In Line, who said it would never work out lol.
     
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  16. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    A Long Way From Home
    I hadn't heard this in a long time. It has a nice feel to it. Not elite Kinks, but still very good.
     
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Great post.

    We teach best, what we need to learn most.
     
  18. Invisible Man

    Invisible Man Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lemon Grove
    "A Long Way from Home": I'm enjoying Side 2 more than Side 1 so far. This is another song I have no memory of hearing before. Dave Davies' backup vocals make my throat hurt and are a little grating sometimes but otherwise I liked this one a lot. The arrangement felt a little ramshackle and Ray Davies sounded a little drunk on the first verse, but not in a bad way. Maybe it's meant to reflect the disorientation of being a long way from home? 5/5.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  19. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire
    A Long Way From Home
    A beautifully melodic, lyrically lovely song. Quite possibly my favourite on the album. It certainly brought a tear to my eye on hearing it live on Ray's solo tours of 2000s.
     
  20. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Long Way From Home"

    A sweet heartfelt song, but it's not a song I put in the same league as the previous tune. Not that I don't like it, but it's never been one of the stand out songs on the album. Listening to it over and over this morning and now I'm thinking it's better than I ever noticed before. I love the bass and the drums. Once again Mick sounds like he is channeling both Ringo and Keith Moon. He is The Kinks secret weapon. How he isn't more well known and considered one of the great rock n roll drummers baffles me.

    Ray wrote so many great songs that sometimes what initially seems like a lesser song reveals itself over time. This could be one of those songs.

    As always, excellent posts today by everyone!
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I haven't started digging into the later stuff yet, but I can't help feeling the drums became more straight forward later, and that's the period that most seem more familiar with, from my experience. So perhaps they just never visited the pre 76 stuff?
     
  22. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I'm not sure. I say he's right up there with the best of the 60s and early 70s. Many drummers often mentioned as the best are also from the 60s and early 70s, so he should definitely be noticed!
     
  23. Invisible Man

    Invisible Man Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lemon Grove
    Well...my impression is most listeners can't tell who is a great drummer as the great ones serve the songs they play and therefore often go unnoticed. Most folks hear a flashy fill or splashy solo and think "Great drummer!" as a result. And the bad drummers are obvious since they aren't keeping the beat. And then factor in the unschooled* simply repeating names they've read or heard listed as the "best." Also, Mick Avory played with an undeservedly lesser-known band so a lot of listeners aren't even going to know his name or think of him when asked about drummers.

    To me the only real way to compare drummers would be to have them play the same song with the same band, swapping out only who's drumming. Like so: what would John Bonham have contributed to "A Day in the Life"? How would Ringo Starr have played "Honky Tonk Women"? Etc.

    (It works like this for guitarists as well as far as I'm concerned.)

    * I freely acknowledge my own ignorance.
     
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  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    To me, in most instances, guys like Bonham, Charlie, Peart.... these kind of guys, often mentioned in lists, they are undoubtedly great drummers. More importantly, from my perspective, they were an important part of the band's sound..... they all could have played on other band's songs, but they would change the feel of those songs, because their styles are quite distinctive.

    As listeners and players we tend to want to rate things, I don't know why, some weird human foible, but you can't rate those kinds of things....

    Led Zep sounded like Led Zep because of the four guys in the band, and it's the same for any band with a solid line up. Bonham was possibly the most important piece in the Zep puzzle, but all the pieces were needed.

    I think with Mick, we have a scenario of Ray probably (almost certainly) being the most important part of the Kinks puzzle.... which isn't to put down, Dave, Mick or any of the other guys, that's just how it is.
    Mick is giving us some excellent drumming over these last few albums, after finally getting on the albums, but I'm not sure when I hear Mick's drums, I instantly think "that's Mick!"..... when I hear Bonham's drums, I almost always think "that's Bonham"....

    That may sound like I'm suggesting one is better than the other, and perhaps that's the case, but really what I'm trying to say, is they all have their sound and feel, and they all contributed to the overall sound and feel of their bands...

    With what @palisantrancho is saying, I do agree. Ringo and Charlie get a lot of props, and they are due those props, but Mick is every bit as good as them, if not better, and the only thing keeping him out of the conversation, to me, is the fact that the Kinks are criminally underappreciated, which in turn means Mick is too.

    Damn I get long winded on this thread.... sorry.
     
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    One thing (amongst many) that this thread has made me appreciate is how great all The Kinks members were as players. They’re often dismissed as a mediocre group getting by on Ray’s songwriting, and even Ray when reminiscing has often tried to cast them as loveable amateurs in this respect, but if you really study the music you soon find its a fairly bogus fabrication. Particularly in the studio, the group always maintained a definite base standard of talent and musicality (I mean, despite the sheer high level of raw songwriting, check out how basic Ray’s 60s demos are! Not exactly Townshend level!) that was able to bring the music and ideas across always at least competently and often brilliantly.

    I think two things (other that their general underatedness) have allowed this misconception to propagate:1) the deceptively basic sound of their early phase, and it’s association with amateur garage bands and 2) their inconsistency as a live band early on, mainly through unprofessionalism in the 60s, and then intoxicatedness in the early 70s!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021

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