Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
Probably a shot of rum in the winter
Good point, never thought of it; I Love Lindisfarne and bits of them aye very Kinky~Esque on odd tunes in parts of Fog On The Tyne (1970) IIRC?
not the least the title track, which I feel Ray could of wrote if he was formed from Newcastle.
Looks like a good place to
"Have A Cuppa Tea"!
""The Fog On The Tyne" is a fun sing-along,
just like "Have A Cuppa Tea"... A Nice Pair!
The "too English" criticism, if it is a criticism, that sometimes gets levelled at the Kinks, and others, is a bit unfair as I'm not sure I've ever heard "too American" used - even though there are large areas of US life and culture that are completely incomprehensible to outsiders.
Newcastle not Hull! Unless you mean Alan Hull, the guy who wrote it!
Got to say that it's a bit of a p*sser that the joyous performance of 'Have A Cuppa Tea' that The Kinks did for BBC2's 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' in January 1972 isn't on Youtube anymore. It can be found on the respective DVDs included with the Kinks at the BBC box (2012) and the 2014 CD/DVD set of MH, both of which also include the brilliant July 1972 'Kinks At The Rainbow' TV special, that was produced in part to promote Muswell Hillbillies, and includes relevant scenes like Ray watching buildings getting demolished and an interview with the guy in the red jersey on the album cover, although strangely it only includes one actual song from the album!
Anyway, as a second best substitute, here's the 1972 live in concert audio that's on the expanded Everybodys In Showbiz set. Like 'Complicated Life' this didn't seem to persist long in the live set, which seems kind of strange to me: you'd think it'd have the makings of an anthem on the level of 'Alcohol'. I'm seriously puzzled as to why it didn't catch on to a similar extent.
Love this song. To me, for a long time, Muswell Hillbillies has been essentially 20th Century Man, Holiday and this song. It's yet another one I like to play to myself, just for the pleasure of moving my fingers on a piece of wood (Fortuleo will get the quote), even if I never bothered to learn the words and the bridge (I will do it some day). A nice touch of eternity in the middle of a set of songs written about a precise time and place.
About the time and place : Martin Newell, in his autobiography, paints a picture of London in the late 60s and early 70s that has little to do with the "swinging 60s" glamorous stereotype, which he claims never to have had any experience of. The England he depicts has a lot more in common with Muswell Hillbillies'.
Which reminds me of a review I read of Newell's Greatest Living Englishman, at the time it was first issued (1993 I guess); the journalist said Martin Newell had written the album about Englishness that Paul McCartney never made. He probably didn't know Village Green Preservation Society and Muswell Hillbillies.
Mark already mentioned this in passing, but in case its news to anyone, the bridge is quite heavily based on the 1957 hit 'Sugartime' originally by The McGuire Sisters, (to the extent that it's more of a direct quote than an influence) although it's likely Ray was probably thinking more of the 1961 Johnny Cash version, as he was known to adopt a jokingly Cash-esque persona on stage at the time.
Funnily enough (?), in France, whenever we want to say that something is "too American" for its own good, the standard expression will be "très américain" ("very American"), like "very" is already too much!!
About the song, I'd like to say (yet again !) how much I love and admire whatever John Gosling is doing on the piano on this record. It was sorely missed on yesterday's tune and its come-back here is a quiet triumph. The way it’s played, the way it’s phrased, the way it sounds, the way it’s mixed, everything is absolutely perfect, even the pseudo-Bach licks here and there (he was classically trained, after all). Now, the electric guitar entry (at the 0'21'' mark) is also priceless. How beautiful is this crunchy unadorned sound, and its many tone variations on this track are nothing short of stunning. The song itself is a blast. I was going to say how hard it'd be to argue with @croquetlawns about Ray's comedic intentions this time around, but I'm happy to see the song's charm is not lost on him. The band has so much fun doing this tune they don’t even need horns anymore to sound like a joyous street fanfare. Last (but not least), the tender mid-song bridge ("tea in the morning") is a beautiful little melodic oasis that anchors the whole tune and gives extra power to the second half, solo, verse and ending chorus. Just a fantastic track, through and through.
Have A Cuppa Tea...Hallelujah! One of my favorites, that I always find myself singing...and I don't even like Tea. Great Kinks Tune!
I can't say I'm surprised the French would have a phrase for 'too American'!
Have a Cuppa Tea
This song sounds like an excuse for a sing-along around the piano but it's also a homage to Ray's grandmother, whom he called Big Granny in X-Ray (I can't help thinking of The Goodies when I see that, but I digress). Ray's granny and his mother always seemed to have a pot of tea on hand. I also had the English upbringing and I can attest to the belief in the mystical qualities of tea whether you need perking up or calming down. I just had my evening cuppa so it's fully ingrained. I can't add anything to Mark's excellent overview of the song - I think it's a wonderful burst of joy before we head into the next three songs of imprisonment, longing and bitterness.
My own granny always put "a tot" of whisky in her tea and she lived to 90. I don't know if Ray's granny used additives but she got to 98.
I don't hear any similarity - at least any that would leave me looking for my lawyer's phone number. Nice clip though.
Listening back properly, The Kinks version actually diverges from the source melodically more than I recalled. There's no doubt to me that Ray was doing an intentional nod to this song on the bridge though, with the similar lyric.
To some degree Ray was likely referencing the lyric to usurp the sugar idea, tea being much better for you than sugar.... though ironically I put sugar in my tea lol
Have A Cuppa Tea
is the most accessible and Kinks-like song for me on the album, and my favourite. Despite the Englishness there's still a strong American folk feel, like Stephen Foster perhaps.
Most of the tracks on the album I can hear the appeal of, but I can't muster enthusiasm about. Specially not en masse. Strange, because I love Exile on Main Street and The Basement Tapes so it ought to be right up my alley. I'll try again in another year or two. This song and "Oklahoma USA" are the keepers for me, this time round. "Alcohol" is interesting- is it a tango? It makes me imagine a version in French sung by Piaf or Ferré. Not sure the chorus really works for me though.
Ah! You’re right. I couldn’t quite place it but, yes, this is it.
Ahead of its time. A great lyric.
I thought I’d read something about his parent’s friend in the neighborhood named Rosalie? I guess not.
I gather I don’t have cockney origins because I don’t get this rhyming slang thing at all. I understand shortening words…but it seems that the rhyming slang oftentimes adds extra syllables.
Yes! Good observation.
Pretty sure rhyming slang developed as a sort of private language, a kind of in-crowd jargon. Criminals often develop slang to confuse and mislead outsiders, especially policeman! Not that rhyming slang has criminal origins that I know of! Also it's funny and inventive and people sometimes enjoy having fun with language.
I think Keef got married there too.
Have A Cuppa Tea
To me, this is a song that could have easily been produced a bit differently and fit anything from Something Else through Lola. But the production and instrumentation they chose for it fits it squarely on Muswell Hillbillies.
The verses come from the same music hall stage as the Moneygoround, and I would even say the final little piano riff here reminds me of the intro piano of that earlier song! But the guitar sounds and bluesy solo sections put this on Muswell Hill for me. Maybe we can name this genre Muswell Hall?
Anyway, I was today years old when I learned that it was “Rosie Lea” cockney slang and not a reference to Ray’s sister Rosie. Or perhaps his granny was also named Rosie. “Rose” names are strong in a lot of families. In my own, my grandmother was Rosaria, had a great aunt Rose, have an Aunt Roseann, another Aunt Rosemary (through marriage), and “Rose” is the middle name of my mother, my niece, and my daughter.
Perhaps Ray wanted to include another reference for his sister, and it also doubled as cockney slang.
Ray’s sense of humor comes through again on “you get tea with your afternoon tea”.
That last verse is killer:
Whatever the situation, whatever the race or creed,
Tea knows no segregation, no class nor pedigree
It knows no motivations, no sect or organisation,
It knows no one religion,
Nor political belief.
There are those multi-syllabic rhymes again, and this verse firmly plants this in the theme. Whatever your trouble, however the government sees you, everybody can feel more equal as we all enjoy our tea and forget about our problems. To paraphrase Arthur, if we all had tea, things would be more equal and there’d be plenty for everyone.
I think that's Rosie Rooke, who's namechecked in the closing track.
Ah! Thank you.
Afternoon tea is a a kind of light lunch, not just a cup of tea, which is why he can write about getting tea with your afternoon tea, also it's a funny line. Strictly speaking you could have coffee with your afternoon tea. Tea can also mean your evening meal in some parts of the UK.
My wife finds it hilarious that my family has always referred to dinner as Tea....
I guess it is of English origin?...
Separate names with a comma.