The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    I Love "Oklahoma USA"! Quite possibly my fave Kinks song ever. Certainly one of Ray's most beautiful and hauntingly sad.

    I second Mark's great first post on it, and Fort Uleo and then the many MAnY most great posts of love for this song that followed after, these past few pages--great to see the love for this song of songs. I don't see how anyone could not love it and or fail to be moved by it.

    I listened to it again last night and loved it even more. Funny how sum songs you can love to death, and yet still love them more with each listen; especially after not hearing them for a while, like an old dear friend come to visit.

    Oklahoma, the State, another story. Long, flat, dry, and can be dangerous, not just in the city at night.

    My sole trek thru Oklahoma was in the summer of 2005. We were speeding across it West to East, on a five day (day 3) blazing-fast West to East Coast Run, me, my wife and three kids, aged 9-16, and that day there were tornadoes passing thru too. As we came into Tulsa there was one being tracks running parallel to us about 5 miles north of the freeway, and it stayed due East like us so we never had to stop nor detour nor seek shelter from the storm, but the whole drive thru Tulsa it was pissing down rain, and that was Oklahoma for me: Avoiding a tornado, and long stretches of flat lands, a very rainy city.

    So, no, big lover of the State, but in fact I do hope to go back for a second, better visit, next summer when they open the Bob Dylan Arches (I mean Archives) there.

    But, Oklahoma as a State of mind, as an ideal, and as an illusion airy paradise that is anywhere else not here, stuck in this endless rut~~that Oklahoma I would pine for and sing softly to and try to get there cum hell nor high water Mark!

    Yeah, that "Oklahoma USA" is A OK!


    :tiphat:
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2021
  2. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    Excellent post.
     
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  3. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    This song is just beautiful. Not much more to add. Others have stated it eloquently already.
    Perfection.
     
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  4. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    How brilliant and subversive of Ray to set these distinctly English themes to almost stereotypical American musical styles! Along those lines, I'm a bit surprised he didn't save "Willesden Green" for this album because it would have fit in perfectly (perhaps with a slightly less parody-type vocal).

    I was sitting out discussion of MH since most of it is not to my taste musically, but I will jump in and say "Oklahoma USA" is the undeniable winner of the set for me. One of the things I miss in the post-VGPS albums is the decreased variety in instrumentation (notwithstanding a few horns thrown in occasionally), but here we have a welcome change to piano in a very sensitive, almost tender arrangement without drums. Lyrically, it is the type of vignette of an individual (that he does so well) to make his point (in this case about the drudgery of soul-killing dead-end work for which there is no escape except fantasy). I prefer this approach to the more obvious broad complaints about "bureaucracy" or "suppression of minorities" etc. that he seemed to do more of in the 70s. A fine piece of work.
     
  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Is there anything commemorative of the Kinks on the walls inside?
     
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  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Will we have a Phobia at 1000?
     
  7. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    What a sick child you were! You should have had a crush on Susan Dey.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Inside, I've no idea, it was shut and I haven't been in it since it reopened as the Archway Tavern. Pretty sure there's nothing outside.
     
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  9. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    This post by @CheshireCat made me think of Two Sisters! How many songs bring up the word “drudgery” either in analysis of the emotion of the song, or in the case of Two Sisters, literally the word as a lyric:


     
  10. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    I think of it as Princess Marina without access to hats.
     
  11. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: A bit of off-topic weird trivia: When The Beatles recorded the Decca audition tape on New Years day of 1962, they had no idea of the origins of "Till There Was You," only being familiar with it as a cut off of Peggy Lee's 1960 "Latin Ala Lee" LP. It wasn't until the movie of the play was released later that year (which Brian Epstein encouraged them to see) that they became aware of the fact that it was originally from a 1957 theatrical production. I'm glad that when they finally got around to recording it properly, they continued to use Peggy Lee's version as the template and not Shirley Jones'.

     
  12. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Shirley is freakin' awesome in this one. Stunning set of pipes there.
     
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  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    He was just a naughty boy!
     
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  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    How's about both!
     
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  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I had a crush on Susan Dey.

    Shirley's lovely, but she was presented as a mum... I never really had an oedipal complex lol
     
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  16. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    Who wouldn't have a crush on Susan Day!?!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    :tiphat:
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2021
  17. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Those photos look a bit like a girl in my class in high school - she was very athletic, smart and even prettier than those photos - way above my league. I was always afraid of rejection anyway. Many years later I bumped into her at a party and she asked me why I didn't ask her out when we were at school! I clearly wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed at school :sigh:
     
  18. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Dont fret man it's deja vu here for me too as there were at least 2 or 3 instances here where later on I realised I missed an open invitation or signal to date a young lady I was find of.
    N.b. Likely more that iam still clueless about!
     
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  19. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Yes off-topic but shows again how lyric sites often get things wrong.

    Shirley Jones has very clear diction and definitely sings :

    Then there was music
    And wonderful roses
    They tell me in sweet fragrant meadows
    Of dawn and you.

    ... whereas many sites say "of dawn and dew".

    It's always amused to think that the lyric transcribers in question should find a wet field so romantic.
     
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Uncle Son.

    stereo mix (2:30), recorded Aug-Sep 1971 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London

    He was just a workin' man,
    Simple rules and simple plans,
    Fancy words he didn't understand,
    He loved with his heart,
    He worked with his hands.

    Liberals dream of equal rights,
    Conservatives live in a world gone by,
    Socialists preach of a promised land,
    But old Uncle Son was an ordinary man.

    Bless you Uncle Son,
    They won't forget you when the revolution comes.

    Unionists tell you when to strike,
    Generals tell you when to fight,
    Preachers teach you wrong from right,
    They'll feed you when you're born,
    And use you all your life.

    Bless you Uncle Son,
    They won't forget you when the revolution comes.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    We open with the slide guitar and organ playing a variation on the 1823 track Home Sweet Home, which is more likely closer to the 1914 version, but this is way outside my expertise, if I have any …. Anyway, the “Be It Ever So Humble There’s No Place Like Home” melody, but in another wonderful twist, the use of the opening part of that melody turns into some kind variation of a Bach melody and it creates another excellent piece of Ray Davies magic.

    This is a beautiful reflection on the ordinary man, who is constantly being manipulated by the powers that be, whatever they may label themselves.

    I believe that this is based around one of Ray’s uncles, and it was mentioned on the thread already I believe. Now I have no expertise in this either, so please correct me if I am wrong.
    Some folks ask why is the song called Uncle Son? and to the best of my understanding Ray’s Uncle’s name was Sonny, but they called him Son, and hence we get the name Uncle Son. I tried to get more solid information, but I couldn’t find anything in particular.
    I also believe that Uncle Son was essentially waiting for the revolution to come.
    That’s about the best I have for information on the background, but I am sure some of our Kinky experts can fill in some gaps, correct, or redirect this info.

    Essentially the basic thing here is “He Was Just A Workin’ Man” … no matter what anyone’s politics may be, the working man, and working woman, are the salt of the earth, because they make things happen…. Food finds its way to someone’s table, plumbing works, buildings get made, things get repaired …. All those things that are important, but never get much recognition, because everyone is looking at the top of the pile, but we all know what rises to the surface…..

    The point here seems to be that all of these groups of people essentially just use you to further their agenda, and there is rarely any benefit to the ordinary working man or woman. It is the dangling carrot syndrome, but you spend more time being hit with the stick than getting a bite of the carrot..... also it seems that "They won't forget you when the revolution comes" is thoroughly drenched in sarcasm.

    There is a lot to talk about here, but most of it we can’t, because then we will get into political debates, and they are completely futile.
    There is no system that will ever work under the sun because these systems are all run by people, and no matter how theoretically sound any theory may be, once we bring people into the equation the system is corrupted by greed and self-serving, and history shows us over and over again that that is the only result we can expect.
    Meanwhile at the bottom of the ladder, holding everything up, are the working man and woman.

    This is an excellent, somewhat, country blues. We have this loping tired groove, and that represents the broken back of the working person really well.
    We get some solid drums and bass, a rolling acoustic, and the organ leads the musical charge with that wonderful melodic line that has one foot in country blues, and the occasional foray into some Bach melody.
    Another thing here is we get Dave coming in with quite a bit of backing vocal, and it really works to enhance this track.

    This song works really well for me. The mournful delivery is apt, in light of the unwinnable situation, and again Ray knocks it out of the park.

    11 for 11 for me.

     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Uncle Son alternate version.

    Pitched lower and with the Bach-like section yet to be included, I assume this is an early version. It seems like Ray hadn't quite pitched it right, or that he was trying something that didn't quite work.
    To me an interesting version, because it shows us the building blocks that led to the version we had released.

     
  22. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    And this where I get off the train. I sympathise with the message, but the music sounds too clumsy ans boring to my ear. This is where the album begins to disappear in the sand for me.
     
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  23. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    After the double punch Holloway / Oklahoma and before the finale, this is the one song that generally falls through the cracks whenever I listen to the record. I guess Oklahoma USA is mostly to blame, here. Its power doesn’t dissipate easily… I’m like that female protagonist, still in a daze, and that daze usually lingers on for 2’30’’, which engulfs the whole of Uncle Son… It’s unfair, since on its own (and on this thread, on its own day), it's a beautiful piece of country blues, a duet of sorts from Ray and Dave, whose voice intertwine like Mick and Keith, and whose guitars interlock like Keith and Mick (Taylor). A mix of You Gotta Move and a Basement Tapes Band tune, with some Little Feat dobro on top. Talk about style vs. substance, the excellent alternate take sounds nowhere near the same (no harmonies, no slide, this is what I call “alternate”) but retains the haunting quality of the song. It would not resist the Oklahoma USA daze either, but it's a fascinating listen.
     
  24. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Uncle Son"

    I didn't think much of this one at first, but it has grown on me, especially once I started listening to the lyrics. I like the prominent organ, and it has an almost folk/gospel feel to me. The slow tempo might be a problem if it was longer, but at 2:30 it doesn't outstay its welcome at all.
     
  25. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    In the 70s I tend to prefer the Kinks in reflective mode, so this is another of my favourites on this album. The reference to "the revolution" dates the song pretty accurately to an era when people actually thought they could change the world.
     

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