Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
Yea that does swing... I don't hear it in Tin Soldier Man.... but that's cool.
Me as well. I think their seventies output have been unfairly maligned to (some) degree. A few uneven albums but even the 'worst' (Soap Opera perhaps) contains quite a few gems.
Wish I could say the same
But I also had that song on my brain this morning. Rather fitting...
A popular 1965 British song with a double negative began with: (I Can't Get No)
"Holiday", which is one of my favorite songs on this album, is to me another version of "Sunny Afternoon". Both songs involve the protagonist spending the whole song lying on a deck chair out doors. But instead of the dissolute cad in the former song, we have someone, probably an office worker, middle managment perhaps, who got a bit stressed out in his job & was prescribed some R&R. He probably couldn't afford to run off to the Bahamas or someplace like that, so he has to go to Torquay & get a room in Faulty Towers. And so we see him on an overcast, crappy day, the sea smelling like a sewer from either the algae or the real thing. He's probably by himself in the whole beach & despite the situation, he's happy & grateful that he's away from his life, at least for a little while.
It's rather interesting how the other Avids are pointing out these Dylan comparisons in this song & others. From my reading, it seems that Ray has an ambivalent relationship towards Dylan's work, as if he doesn't want it to be known that Dylan is an influence in his own work. But maybe Dylan is an influence, either subconsciously through shared blues/folk influences or otherwise, but he doesn't want to admit it.
It is interesting to me, that many of these albums I had never considered to be thematic.... and yet diving deeper, they pretty much all are.
To me that just suggests unlike many artists, Ray may have been thinking thematically, but he was still writing songs, not filling thematic holes with, somewhat, filler tracks.
I think that's what makes these albums so strong.
I certainly wouldn't hazard a guess as to whether Ray was Dylan influenced, though it seems hard to imagine he wasn't in one way or another.
Dave on the other hand seems often very Dylan influenced.
The other thing is though, if one is going back to folk and blues traditions for influence, guidance, inspiration, some similarities would occur by pure coincidence.
I find the thing about the pronunciation of schizophrenia (phreena) kind of interesting.....
There are hundreds of artists that use odd pronunciations in songs, and for many reasons..... it has never bothered me that much.
With Ray in that song, it just made me chuckle to myself, because I just thought, typical Ray messing with everyone's head.
No, neither have I to be fair unless being told to take a hike or getting lost qualifies. I can imagine it happening though. Anyway, you may well be right. That's the thing about many of Ray's songs - they can leave themselves open to different interpretations.
So all the characters we have been introduced to so far could all be considered misfits one way or the other. Then there is the next one who has issues with her weight. Then there's the alcoholic and the character who is considering more or less giving up and twiddling his thumbs. I sometimes wonder if any ordinary people inhabit Ray's world. Oh hang about, he touched on them a few albums later.
A fun song that Ray sings well which i am happy to hear once in a while.
I always thought it very derivative and that a much lesser writer perhaps could have put it together in short time.
Some great posts here from the Avids on the possible lyric meanings but I would just add that I think it's likely deliberately lyrically ambiguous, i can't guess the why where and what of his excursion but doubt his Hol-i-day was in Holloway!
I liked Fortuleo's idea on this one.
Ray seems to like dropping in double meanings and twists. So it seems feasible.
To me the first three songs could be three people, or the decline and perhaps semi-rehabilitation of one.
I'm interested in seeing how the tie ins work....
If we are looking at the idea of being removed from houses and redistributed, these could well be like humanizing the inhabitants.... or similar to character development in a movie.
I'm interested to see how it all pans out by the end.
Yes, and specific to this album (from Uncut piece/interview I linked above):
RAY DAVIES Q&A
Did Muswell Hillbillies start from a central idea?
Yeah. After years of being a singles band, I wanted to do something that defined The Kinks. I wanted to celebrate our origins. My parents came from Islington and Holloway in the inner city. They moved to Muswell Hill when there was a lot of urban renewal and their area got knocked down. I wanted to write an album about their culture and the transition they made when they were shipped north a few miles to Muswell Hill.
Beyond the clear album theme there’s a couple of other interesting points here. From this he’s implying this was the first time he employed a theme (which it isn’t!) and the idea that The Kinks were a singles band…surely that ended years before this point?! But it’s an interview so unless the questioner follows up it kinda ends there.
Yeah, this doesn’t bother me at all. But there was a thread in which a forum member was quite upset by a Dylan lyric with the narrator wishing to have been a doctor. Our fellow member was incensed that the lyric implied becoming a medical doctor was easy to do (instead of taking years upon years of dedicated study)…so! Ya never know what will strike a listener as intolerable.
Ray in general seems loathe to admit any direct influence from any of his peers. That said he has mentioned that the songs written during his 1966 breakdown (Sunny Afternoon etc) were influenced by his listening diet of the time of Bach, Sinatra’s greatest hits, and ‘Bringing It All Back Home’.
I can detect many small direct and less direct Dylan influences on Ray throughout his writing. I guess the most self conscious Dylan pastiche he ever did at least lyrically is 1983’s ‘Long Distance’ which is a definite take on Dylan’s 65-66 style with all those mystiquefully named archetypal characters like ‘The Electric Dwarf’. It seems a bit like an stylistic exercise for his own amusement.
In a Rolling Stone interview back in the day, as I recall, he mentions listening mostly to Sinatra and... "Maggie's Farm!"
As discussed upthread, ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone’ practically screams Dylan. (Quoting my months ago language. )
I’m from Chicago where pronunciation isn’t a strong point. Practically everyone mispronounces everything, including the word pronunciation.
I never gave it a thought that Ray wasn’t saying it correctly. I just assumed that was another way some people pronounced the word. Also, like you already stated, many songs have mispronounced words to fit the song.
Being an Aussie, everyone in the US thinks I pronounce everything wrongly
Yes of course.
And the Stones were American blues specialists.
Let me just say that I put this album on first thing this morning and I enjoyed "20th Century Man" a lot more than my review the other day may suggest. And I also want to give some further props to @Fortuleo for his excellent posts in this thread.
"Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues" - I LOVE this song. I'm not as musically articulate as some of you guys, but I just love the groove of this track. It's kinda Stones like but with jazzy music-hall horns going crazy all over the place. Great lyrics, love it when Dave comes in on the backing vocals. I'm in the camp that it's humorous and not serious. The only concerning lyrics being "I'm lost on the river, the river of no return / I can't make decisions, I don't know which way I'm gonna turn." But a real fun song. Wonderful sounding recording too. An album highlight for me, and there are many here.
"Holiday" - I love this one too, I'm just not a fan of the effect he has on his vocals. Sounds like he's singing in a can. And I assume that is on purpose like the old vaudeville gents, but it doesn't sound as good so it comes off as just a weak lo-fi effect. More excellent lyircs.. even though "they" sent him away, he appreciates the break. "I don't need no sedatives to pull me round, I don't need no sleeping pills to help me sleep sound." He's clearing his head and appreciating the change of pace and scenery. He's able to reflect and feel alive again. Sometimes you get more out of life when you're forced to slow down and be less "productive."
That thread is something else. Love it! Why do people think that the narrator is the same person as singer all the time? And that rock should be without humour or rebelious thoughts and notions, even in regard to pronounciations and facts
I don't know why but this made me very happy
Holiday is such a great tune...I find myself singing it all the time. I also love the live versions on Everybody's In Show-Biz (Legacy Edition). Ray playing around & changing his accent is hilarious. Top notch Kinks!
the video above works for me. The song comes alive much more than the album version. to me it's like night and day.
In the album version, Ray does his Rathbone impersonation for the first verse, and then it disappears. It would just be better if he didn't do it at all. I'm all about Ray's unusual and silly voices. Sometimes those voices serve the song and sometimes they don't. In this case, it doesn't (IMO).
I like the music on the album version, but as Mark pointed out, there's definitely a closed in feeling to the song. And I think I get what Ray is going for...this was not a real holiday...and maybe wasn't completely voluntary. Is this person sitting in a padded cell and just dreaming of the seaside, but he doesn't even have control over his fantasies? things ain't going so good for this guy.
3rd song in a row where the live version trumps the album version.
Glad you got to see something new. Isn't that a thrill? I gotta watch it again. I love that they show the in between songs moments...and the re-starting of a song. Good stuff.
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