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

    Apologies for missing the thread guide a couple of times recently. I've been a little busy and a little disheveled
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm a little bet each way with the lyrics.
    Half of it sounds like he is at the beach.... but half of it sounds like he is in a mental health facility..... is that just a clever manifestation of the schizophrenia of the previous song?
    I don't know, but I'm certainly interested in others thoughts on it
  3. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Ah ! Glad you put me on the trail, a little youtube digging got me here :

    This is 1928, but it's certainly possible this clarinet guy Jimmy Noone took it from something even older. I never thought of Peggy Day (which is obvious) because I never thought it was lifted from any specific tune anyway (the melody simply follows the chord progression). Ray's going for a generic style, a little bit like Randy Newman did at the same time, to convoque certain images and an old-tyme feeling. It's supposed to be a kind of eternal/ethereal tune, something that could be played on an old gramophone, from the hotel (or health facility) terrace.
  4. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    “I'm oh so glad they sent me away,
    To have a little holiday today, holiday.”
    The bolded part could go along with the mental health treatment, I agree. But I still think the narrator is at the sea (foul as it may be) with a pier and a bit of a beach.
  5. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Am listening now. Yes, the tempo and meandering style of this song is very similar. I like it!
  6. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    With a slight amendment to the lyrics: "it was the 20th century when I wrote this song, it's the 21st now but it won't be for long..." :D
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
  7. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    A few pages ago I said I now prefer side 2 of this album to side 1 and I've found a rational explanation in Johnny Rogan's bio of Ray. "most of his concerns on the second half of the album were endearingly personal and parochial, centering on events from the lives of his parents' generation. By contrast, the first side, Ray explained, was about trying to 'live in this world'. The dual structure enabled him to combine the serious and the comic in a single package."

    I think Holiday captures the serious and the comic in a single song. He has some serious issues so is grateful "they" (@Zeki) sent him on this holiday - yet the holiday isn't all it's cracked up to be. He can't win. Like the previous couple of songs, I really like this one too and think the live versions are even better than the studio recording.

    I think this dichotomy is intentional. It could be either or it could be both.
    That's what I call impressive research!!
  8. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Yes, I think it's all at once, and willingly so. It is a real vacation song (with some of the lazy charm of Sunny Afternoon, Sitting by the Riverside or the upcoming Sitting in the Midday Sun) but said vacation could be set in a mental health institution or even after a stay in such an institution, or the singer could be in any of these situations and reminiscing/fantasizing about any of the others. At the same time "lovely" and stinking of sewer smell, cloudy but under a burning sun, on a pier and on the sand, it could be about somebody mentally alienated, depressed and/or medicated, in parallel or in succession (which would explain the phrasing evolution throughout the song) with no relatable sense of time and space anymore, mixing memories, fantasies, dreams and sensations, like everything happens to him at the same time. I can see him sedated on a chair under a terrace umbrella, dreaming away while an old time blues romance song's playing on a gramophone, with all those contradictory images and impressions of "being away" coming back to him. Up to that date, it's the one song the Kinks sound the most like the Band could. And of the three "holidays" songs they did in a decade, this is my favorite. 1/ Holiday (1971) 2/ Holiday Romance (1975) 3/ Holiday in Waikiki (1966).
  9. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    I was teasing you over the double negative in your previous post, but my point was an attempt to answer your question about 'schizofreena'.

    If Ray mispronounces a word or uses the double negatives in his song it must be for a reason because he's an articulate guy.

    Double negatives are obviously not exclusivley American but they crop up a lot in American songs.

    For example :

    There ain't no cure for the summertime blues (Eddie Cochrane).

    I ain't got no home.(Woody Guthrie or Frogman Henry, take your pick).

    Ain't no sunshine (Bill Withers).

    There's also a reference to River of No Return, an American cowboy film, which to me again shows Ray has America in mind.
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Many Thanks @Wondergirl I just indulged myself with 65 minutes of Kinky Beat Clubbing I've not experienced before!

  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That seems like a very good assessment mate. I can see that being the picture being drawn
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  12. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I just looked at the songmeanings site and found two comments, one of which , “I remember playing this song at a concert in Wandsworth Jail and caused a riot. Great song but should have done a Johhny Cash number.” made me laugh out loud. The “I,” by the way, is not Ray. It’s some random poster who, theoretically, should have been offering his/her opinion of the meaning of the lyrics.
  13. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident


    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this song follows the last one. He had “Acute Schizophrenia” and now they have sent him on a “Holiday”. This is a brilliant song. It has that old time sound, even in the way Ray sings it. It does recall a song you would play on an old gramophone as @Fortuleo mentioned. My vinyl copy has some crackle and pops and I must say they go along well with this song.

    I was thinking last night that this music recalls something that might be played in a Jacques Tati film. He also happened to have a film called Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday. I’m not really a big fan of Tati, but I do love the music in his films.

    I love everything about this song. Old Ray has done it again!

    Here is a little of Monsieur Hulot's Holiday music.

  14. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Holiday" works for me. As a person of British origin, I can certainly identify. If you're British, you do not tan - you get your "back burned rare". This song fits in with the whole Ray Davies persona - he finally gets a holiday (which they sent him on!) but as much as he is appreciative of the break, things are not that great at the beach anyway. He wishes the person he is addressing in the song but he/she is not. His back's burned, he has got blisters and sand in his hair. Musically, the song mines pre-rock 'n' roll sources. And its pace is slower so it fits perfectly in the middle of side one surrounded by more up tempo songs. Ray's voice sounds different so it fits with the song being sung in character.
  15. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    That sounds like the worst food in the world...
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  16. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I woke up this a.m. with ‘Alcohol’ playing in my head. And, no, I didn’t overindulge last night. Kinks on the brain. :D
    Steve62, GarySteel, DISKOJOE and 2 others like this.
  17. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    I quite enjoy this one. It seems much like many a British holiday in the rain at the end of a pier. And we're planning on making our seas an open sewer again! Ray can remain topical 50 years later!
  18. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    That’s awful. You’re supposed to wake up with a pain in your neck.
  19. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident


    I have to disagree with this. I think you are reading too much into it. Yes, he's been sent there but its perfectly possible he was sent there by his boss. Consider this: He's going through a bad patch, getting a bit paranoid, not sure who to trust, and taking some sedatives and sleeping pills to help him sleep at night. His boss is aware of this and tells him he needs a break - hence the "they sent me away" line.

    He's not taking the sedatives and sleeping pills at the beach because he doesn't need them. The holiday, despite the sea being an open sewer and blisters from sunburn, has calmed him down.

    That's how I have always interpreted this song.
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That's fair.
    I have never had a boss send me on vacation, but I have had bosses interfere with and also call me back from vacation :)
  21. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Great song... and proof the Kinks were still killer in the oft maligned late 70s. I look forward to greater discussion at the appropriate time.
    croquetlawns, ARL, Steve62 and 3 others like this.
  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D Same here. Took it as a personal affront.
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    And i thought it was the Mike Cotton Sound?
    DISKOJOE and mark winstanley like this.
  24. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico

    I usually took this one as being on a real holiday, but maybe at a destination that isn't what the brochures described, or maybe has been ruined in some way.... just the kind of place a 20th Century Man woul end up on vacation.

    Of course, it also makes sense that it may be a totally involuntary "holiday," especially in light of the more immediately preceding song.

    That ambiguity itself I find quite interesting. It fits the situation well.

    Musically, while I've come to appreciate Ray's employment of the music hall vibe over the years, I've never really warmed up to the vocal affect he employs on this one. Between that and the rather dreary subject matter, this ends up being a 50/50 song for me even as I recognize its virtues.
    croquetlawns, ARL, Wondergirl and 9 others like this.
  25. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ

    A nice, slower change up from the first two songs. Ray’s in character voice fits perfectly, and I think that is just one of the charms of the Kinks (and yes, even Paul McCartney, and I think to a lesser extent, Billy Joel) is that they can change their voices to fit certain song styles. But Ray does it better than anybody on the planet (to me).

    I never heard “Peggy Day” before, but yeah, I do not know what to call this style, but it does seem like a pretty standard chord progression (like how a 12 bar blues is a staple) that many artists can use and shape a bit into their own. I also feel that George Harrison either does have (or should have had) a song in this style with his banjo/ukulele/banjolele. Perhaps I am thinking of something like “Rocking Chair in Hawaii” or “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” style George from Brainwashed.

    Anyway, the idea of the Kinks “swinging” has been brought up. I think they swung a lot in the 60s too, but again just shaped with their uniqueness. I am not certain, but I would say that Tin Soldier Man swings, and I mentioned at the time that Dead End Street swings. I mean, just listen to the meter of “There’s a crack up in the ceiling” — swinging 8th notes, no?

    As for Holiday, the feeling is relaxed, and that accordion bridge does remind me of the feeling of Sitting by the Riverside with you, spreading my arms to the open wide. He does seem at peace. And I know that “holiday” has a different meaning in the UK, but this song may have just made it to my Christmas playlist :).

    Thematically, I would also say this is kinda like the mirror image of Sunny Afternoon. In that song, he lists his troubles (tax man, girlfriends run off), wants to run off (help me sail away, give me two good reasons why I oughta stay), but doesn’t and tries to find peace in just lazing. In Holiday, he has escaped his troubles and finds peace away — despite the fact that this pier/beach/air is not ideal. Just the fact that he got away from his paranoias and sleeping pills is enough.

    As I listen to this album closer, I do sense that overall theme of the pressures of the world weighing you down until the breaking point. That theme of the pressures that the world throws on you will continue through the next couple tracks. The theme is more coherent that I have thought over the past 15 years!

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