The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    ?
     
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  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    A little anecdote relating to the Kinks 1971 Australian tour was shared by a caller into a Kinks radio show in 2002.

    I believe he saw them in Melbourne but what this fan said was that at several junctures Ray would introduce a song from the stage by saying words (much to this fans incredulity) such as: "Here's another loser song from another loser album!"
    Maybe he was tired or a little dissilusioned at times on this tour, anyone hear any boots of Australian 1971 shows to back up or refute this?
     
  4. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Muswell Hillbillies
    I love this album and have since I first heard it around 1980. I love it so much it was one of the first album reviews I wrote on Amazon in the late 1990s (Nick Drake's Fruit Tree box set was the other). I'm amused the album has been typecast by some as country or Americana because I find it very English: all the songs (bar Skin and Bone) are about the concerns of Ray or someone like him in London in 1971. The juxtaposition between the Englishness of the lyrics and the style of the music or Ray's different voices is to me the genius of this album. This is most obvious on the title track but seeps through enough of the other songs to make it an album with a coherent theme.
    Album cover: I really like it because what's better than a pub to convey the Englishness at the heart of the album!
     
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I have to say that I really like the album cover.... one of their best for me.
     
  6. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Unbelievable. This is upsetting to hear.
     
  7. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    I collected live boots intensively in the early 2000s and never saw any shows from that Kinks 1971 Australian tour - including on trading lists with many Kinks shows. Maybe Australian taping didn't catch on until the Stones tour of 1973 where I have at least five separate shows!
     
  8. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    If you check out that short Australian interview with Ray that was linked a couple of pages ago you'll notice how exhausted he looks - which could have been a factor.
     
  9. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Me too. I like how they chose a photo with a punter in a red jumper staring at the band in what I see as a menacing manner. It was an Irish pub I believe (not that I have anything against the Irish, given that's my paternal side).
     
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    This observation is made in the review I linked to above, too. Good point!
     
  11. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Thanks @Zeki. I'm very glad to hear I'm not peeing into the wind by myself there :D
     
  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah i get it man!
    The local fan (who was also a musician & songwriter) was totally dismayed also and suggested that he would love to have created any of these so called loser songs & albums that Ray had so casually & utterly dismissed!
     
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  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    You wouldn't be alone there!
     
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  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I just turned the fan speed down!
     
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  15. side3

    side3 Younger Than Yesterday

    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Muswell Hillbillies

    When I started following this thread, there were two things I hoped to get out of it, though as I have read through I have gotten so much more. The main two things was to get an appreciation for VGPS and Muswell Hillbillies. Both albums I know many Kinks fan consider to be amongst their best, but I just did not get. Well, after listening intensively to VGPS , I got it. It is now a Top 3 Kinks album for me, whereas before I am not sure it would have made my Top 10. I love it. I have now listened through Muswell Hillbillies a number of times. Though I have gained more of an appreciation for it, it still doesn't grab me. One of the reasons I think is the relative lack of Dave. I'm missing is harmonies compared to the prior albums, his occasional songs, and his upfront ( and frequently rocking) guitar. Still, I am very interested in hearing my more knowledgeable peers chat about the individual songs. There may be details I am missing that will enhance my enjoyment.
     
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I’d always thought there was no question it was their best album cover. It’s really the only one that positions the band as a ineffably cool looking gang in situ imo. Giving Avory and Dalton the front half of the cover is a very neat move that Ray’s ego wouldn’t allow at any other point in their discog. (Compare to how it’s already Ray as the big solo I Am by even the next LP sleeve!): it has that kind of laid back ‘Charlie Watts solo on the cover of Get Yer Ya Yas Out’ energy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D (Spewing coffee everywhere)
     
  18. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Though oftentimes, with music, being (allegedly!) knowledgeable might not mean very much. If it’s not you cuppa tea…that’s just the way it is. But, yeah, this is most certainly the place for an in-depth chat.
     
  19. donl

    donl Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY
    This is one of my top 5 kinks albums. Someone mentioned earlier that it’s like an Americana album. The last time Ray played NY he mentioned from the stage he may come back and do a full album set the next time. Unfortunately he hasn’t toured here since but if he would have done a full album tour I hoped it would be Muswell Hillbillies show, and a good band to use would’ve been the David Bromberg Big Band who I think would work well with the MH material.
     
  20. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Muswell Hillbillies

    So, thanks to the ability to search my previous Amazon orders, I have discovered that I ordered Muswell Hillbillies on April 8, 2007. This is the exact same day that I ordered Face to Face. And that makes sense. I had already known and lived The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) and Lola vs Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One for about 6 or 7 years at that time. Holy cow this band has some loooong album names. Anyway, I knew and loved those albums, and the more I read, the more I learned about the full "Golden Age" of the band, spanning from Face to Face up and through Muswell Hillbillies. For reasons that still escape me, somehow I just skipped over Something Else at the time, and I didn't really know about Percy. So this was my expansion on either end of what I had already known.

    I do love this album. It's in my top 5, but hasn't eclipsed VGPS, Arthur or Lola (whew, shorthand), and probably never will. But, that said, this is still a fine listen and I love the musical changeup they explored here. I agree this is likely their best album cover of all time. It fits the vibe of the whole album. I love the album name. It's not just a combination of "Muswell" and "Hillbillies", it's a combination of "Muswell Hill" and "Hillbillies"! It's such a perfect play on words that marries the Muswell Hill/London/Englishness of the lyrics, with the hard-to-describe Americana/Blues/Southern sound of the musical instruments and arrangements. There is still some Music Hall, still some lovely ballads -- enough variety so it all doesn't sound the same.

    I hope for anyone who this album hasn't reached yet, this song-by-song dive will help it reach you -- as it helped Something Else reach me over the summer.
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Me too. So far it has opened up a ton of new stuff I never realised I love....

    Good point on Muswell Hill too
     
  22. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    My first introduction to Muswell Hillbillies was the live versions of some of the songs on Show Biz. I did get the album itself sometime later. I also remember hearing "20th Century Man" on WBCN a few times & I thought it was as popular as "Won't Get Fooled Again" as an anthem. I also remember seeing plenty of copies in the bargain bins of Strawberries Records.

    I do like the album & the cover is OK, although a bit subdued. The guy in the red sweater, who reminded me of Cliff Claven of Cheers, was actually interviewed in The Kinks at the Rainbow TV special. He said something to the effect that he hoped the album was a success & that it would be displayed at the pub.

    I wonder what would have happened if the Kinks stayed on Reprise, since it was on the verge of being one of the dominant record labels of the 1970s. I also heard that Clive Davis was also interested in the Kinks since 1966, but Ray wanted a bit too much to be on Columbia Records, the other dominant record label of that decade. RCA was the one willing to pony up the dough. All they had back then was Elvis, who was still a money maker & the Jefferson Airplane, who were about to implode. RCA hired someone named Ken Glancy, who was an UK record man & he attempted to make RCA more "relevant" to the times by signing David Bowie, Lou Reed and of course the Kinks. RCA was probably hoping for the "Lola" Kinks, but they got something altogether different, starting with Muswell Hillbillies. My friend Jimmy, who got into the Kinks around this time, has told me that a lot of the original fans of the Kinks got off the bandwagon when the album came out.
     
  23. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I missed yesterday so a few quick thoughts.

    "Helga"

    This is prime soundtrack music. I love the crashing echo of the drums. It recalls some of the Simon and Garfunkel production. I even think the song itself would be a good fit for a few of their albums. I believe this song may have had the most screen time in the film.

    "Willesden Green"

    The Kinks must have had a few pints at the Archway tavern and watched the '68 Elvis Comeback Special. I love it. I am sure Ray did it out of love for 50s music. I think it has more in common with albums like Schoolboy's In Disgrace and Soap Opera than the next album we are discussing. They are clearly having fun and hamming it up. It can come across as a loving tribute or as a comedic mockery of Elvis. A fine American accent by John Dalton and one of the few songs you would never guess was The Kinks.


     
  24. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Muswell Hillbillies.

    The streak of top tier classics continues. I understand this album has always divided fans. Some say it’s the best and some say it’s where they get off the train. I think it may take longer for some to fully appreciate it. It oddly gets an inaccurate description as a country album. I guess the word hillbilly immediately makes you think of an album that may sound like Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers.

    This album is something else completely. It touches on so many aspects of American and British music. There has never really been an album that blends all these styles before. I hear a lot of New Orleans influence and of course we know that Ray eventually made his home there.

    This album is best heard on vinyl to get the complete experience. Aside from a few songs, this album took awhile to sink its hooks in me. Picking up the vinyl made me appreciate the album more than ever. It’s a complete piece and just makes more sense in the album format. I will have much more to say when we break it down, but this is another masterpiece by the almighty Kinks!
     
  25. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Somewhere Else
    I presume you now know the difference between a semi-detached and an end of terrece?? :D
     

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