The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway

    My favorite Kinks song (perhaps, so many to choose from) that isn't "Waterloo Sunset" is on its way. Situated firmly on the first of these so-called 'failures' :)
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol... and not very well too
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  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's been a strange and busy day....
    Here's a palette cleanser that has nothing to do with anything...
    James Mcmurtry Choctaw Bingo

    Davido, side3, markelis and 3 others like this.
  4. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Muswell Hillbilly

    We finally get to the album's closing track and our hero bids farewell to some of the local characters for the last time before moving up the A1 to Muswell Hill. He has lost his fight with the authorities to stay in his home and now all he has left are some photographs and memories of those locals.

    He bids adieu to the memorable Rosie Rook, fat flabby Annie, and the girl, whose life is so dreary, she spends her time daydreaming about being swept off her feet and taken to those beautiful black hills in South Dakota by the handsome Gordon Mac Rae.

    Although the songs tempo is upbeat and is sung in a kind of humorous, pi*s take sort of way, I think this is a very sad song to bring the curtain down on the record. Much more so than Arthur or Got To Be Free did on the previous albums. I hear at least two of the locals singing their parts in this song - the singer of Here Come The People In Grey and the character dreaming about being whisked away to some Rodgers & Hammerstein technicolour wonderland in West Virginia or Oaklahoma U.S.A.

    He's moving in the morning but that's as far as it goes for him. He ain't gonna' conform, ain't gonna' speak with a better accent just because he's moving to the posh suburbs, ain't gonna' live like a zombie, and certainly ain't going along with the town planners ideas of building a computerised community.

    So yes, he has lost his personal battle with these people in grey but the war continues.

    I like the 1976 remix of this song better as it sounds cleaner to me and the vocal sounds more upfront. On the downside it is shorter.
  5. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Accents are very important in the UK, far too important. So someone like Thatcher, who was from Lincolnshire, clearly had elocution lessons to lose whatever regional accent she might have had and end up sounding posher than the Queen.
  6. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    I bought the Muswell Hillbillies album when it was released back in the day.

    After a few listens I realised it wasn't for me and I gave it away to a friend.

    Would I do the same today?

    Listening to it again now, have I found new subtelty and power?

    Songs on the same level as Waterloo Sunset or Dead End Street?

    Songs that rock out like You Really Got Me or All Day And All Of The Night?

    Biting satire like A Dedicated Follower Of Fashion or A Well Respected Man?

    Well, unfortunately, no.

    Sparks of inspiration for sure, but too few. Musically leaning towards jazz and country.

    That's not my cup of tea, Ray.

    So long, cowboy.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I was thinking in Ray's case that having Robert Wace & Grenville Collins as "toff" co-managers, probably led him to speak the way he does, much like when Keith Moon learned the finer things of life & speech from Kit Lambert.
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line The Under Asst East Coast White Label Promo Man

    Was Blakey on board?
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  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line The Under Asst East Coast White Label Promo Man

    I'd avoid driving on Bald Mountain so they Talmy.
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  10. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    So sorry I am always playing catch-up. Jealous of all you guys who can keep at this. I got me some time, let's see what I can do. I've not been able to read other's thoughts, but I'll go through many once I'm done here.

    "Here Come the People in Grey" - I've never been able to enjoy this song. I really don't like his vocal. Way too quiet and relaxed for the backing and the topic at hand. Like "Skin & Bone" I don't find anything all that interesting musically and the passive singing doesn't match the passion in the words. I've listened to a lot of music in my day, though, and I've never come across a line in rock such as: "The borough surveyor's used compulsory purchase to acquire my domain." So that's something!

    "Have a Cuppa Tea" - Oh, I love this. I can listen to this song every day. It's so funny, and clever and catchy. It doesn't contain some of the production issues I struggle with on other tracks of this album. Just love it. That bridge: "Tea in the morning, tea in the evening, tea at supper time, You get tea when it's raining, tea when it's snowing, Tea when the weather's fine." Just tops! Hallelujah!

    "Holloway Jail" - The unconnected H trilogy continues. This track is a real deep cut. Before this thread, I've never heard anyone talk about it. While I enjoy it, it was more of a grower and doesn't reach the highest heights of this album. Musically and vocally they are on! It IS an album highlight. Just one that seems to be forgotten by nearly everyone, including me. I will be sure to pay it more attention in the future.

    "Oklahoma USA" - This is a very sad song. Very short too. Only 2 minutes plus a 30 second instrumental close, which is quite lovely. Due to how quick it goes by, I never really thought much about it. It is very beautiful. Solid Ray composition. There's a really nice vibe to this song.

    "Uncle Son" - This and "Skin and Bone" are easily my 2 least favorite tracks on the album. Just plodding and boring as all get out. I can't think of anything else to say.

    "Muswell Hillbilly" - I love the opening lines that kick off this song. Sounds so good & energetic: "Well I said goodbye to Rosie Rooke this morning, I'm gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes." Reminds me a lot of the closing track on "Arthur," which also has a catchy signature riff like this. I don't think it has as much going for it as "Arthur" and it is a bit long and repetitive, but I find it's a solid closer for the album.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lavender Lane.

    stereo mix (3:48), recorded 20 Sep 1971 at Morgan Studio 1, Willesden, London

    Daisy and Teddy had two Cockney boys
    And two Cockney sisters and they all shared their toys
    With old Rosie Rooke and Peggy O'Day
    They all lived together down in Lavender Lane

    Lavender Lane, oh my Lavender Lane
    The people were poor and the people were plain
    They didn't have much but they shared what they gained
    Contented to drift along Lavender Lane

    Oh Lord, such a pity that the world's gotta change

    All of the houses were old and decayed
    The people were proud who lived in Lavender Lane
    Oh Lord, Lavender Lane
    Oh Lord, Lavender Lane

    Sometimes I wanna get back home and do the things we did before
    And break down the old school tie, and all the la-di-do-dahs

    The knobs and the toffs sent down two la-di-dahs
    To mix with the people and to drink in their bars
    They looked down their noses and they puffed their cigars
    Instead of 'off' they say 'orf', instead of 'yeah' they say 'ya'

    And oh Lord
    And Ted and Daisy said, 'what a shame'

    They'll knock all the houses down for financial gain
    And send all the people to a new town estate
    Oh Lord, they gutted Lavender Lane
    Whoa-oh, they gutted Lavender Lane

    Sometimes I wanna get back home and do the things we did before
    And break down the old school tie, and all the la-di-do-dahs

    In the great London Council a decision was made
    By the bright civil servants and the people in grey
    They sent all their navvies with their buckets and spades
    To knock all the houses down in Lavender Lane

    But worst of all, they've taken all the people away
    Now only memories are all that remain
    Of all of the people down in Lavender Lane
    Oh Lord, they gutted Lavender Lane
    Whoa-oh, they gutted Lavender Lane
    Whoa-oh, they gutted Lavender Lane
    Whoa-oh, they gutted Lavender Lane

    Written by: Raymond Douglas Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    This is a completely new song to me.
    First impression, this is a rewrite of Waterloo Sunset, with a slight country leaning, and a Tuba playing a bassline type role.

    Lyrically this is obviously tied to the relocation themes we got in a couple of the album’s songs.
    This song focuses more on the way the establishment went about it, and the effect on the people. Ray as he often does, takes great pleasure in accenting the class differences, and any song that sings of the “nobs and the toffs” is always going to work for me on some level

    Now the song has rolled passed my ear a couple of times, I can say that I quite like this. Initially the Waterloo Sunset template was distracting me from hearing it.
    After getting passed that I can see some value in the song. The change up helps as it refocuses my attention.

    The first couple of verses set the scene, and it is about community. I remember back when I was a pup, we lived in neighbourhoods and people knew each other… there was a sense of community that I have missed for a lot of years now. It is hard to put my finger on it.
    When I listen to this song it isn’t so much a perspective of the evil government is knocking our crappy houses down, it is more a case of they are tearing apart our community, and it is important to us, despite the houses being crap.
    I think there is also an acknowledgement of reality “it’s such a pit that the world’s gotta change”.

    In the next section we get the infiltration of the “la-di-dah’s” and that makes me chuckle, I haven’t heard that in a long time

    Musically we have a neat bouncy little track that has entertainment in its heart. We get Waterloo Sunset rewritten as a part country-ish, and part semi-music hall styling….. it actually works quite well.
    The instruments are arranged well, and the loping feel works for the style of song we’re going for.

    So we open with a count in, and I can’t tell if it’s the National or the banjo, but we get a nice little rolling arpeggiated chordal riff, and then a sort of country rock guitar.
    Mick is doing some nice fills on the drums, but they are mixed quite low.
    Even the tuba? gets a few nice licks in.
    I think although this is a kind of serious topic, this has a somewhat comedic tilt to the lyrics and delivery.

    The mix here is a little muddy, but it isn’t intolerable or anything, and it is likely because they were still playing around with the song.

    This sounds like it could have been a track on side one, as it has that half serious, half funny type personality and it sort of has the same quirky kind of feel about it.
    Having said that though, I personally probably wouldn’t swap out any of the songs on the album for it.
    In some ways it will be interesting to see what else we have, because this obviously ties into the relocation program and if there are a few more of those, perhaps there would/could be a rethink about how this album might go together.

    I’m going to leave this one here, as I am sure someone else is much more familiar with this track and can do it more justice.
    I like this, but it wouldn’t replace anything on the album for me.

  12. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Despite the obvious debt to Waterloo Sunset, especially the opening, I love this track probably more than anything on the album, so it was a very welcome bonus track and amazing that it stayed locked away for decades.
  13. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    The 'Waterloo Sunset' similarity doesn't bother me: maybe it would had the song been on the album proper, but even then probably not. Many artists have reused and repurposed their own melodic phrases, but it always seems to me Ray gets more stick for it than most when he's no worse of an offender than any of his peers. I dunno, maybe it's because the expectations are higher?

    Back when we discussed it, s @idleracer mentioned how the verse of Neil Sedaka's 1974 soft focus idyll 'Laughter In The Rain' owed quite a bit melodically to the verse of 'Waterloo Sunset', a great observation that I'd never clocked before, but if anything 'Lavender Lane''s verse is even a shade closer to predicting the Sedaka hit, as it has a bit more rolling flow to it like the 1974 song, whereas with 'Waterloo' each line comes to a dead stop if that makes sense? Not that Sedaka is likely to have heard 'Lavender Lane'. He may not have even been familiar with 'Waterloo Sunset' even if he spent a lot of the early 70s in the UK and it could be a case of great songwriting grand masters (yes I'm an unashamed fan of Neil's) thinking alike.

    Anyway, rambling here... this track exudes through the instrumentation and delivery a palpable atmosphere of family and community that of course suits the subject matter to a tee. You can just hear children running around, next door neighbours coming over to gossip, dads coming homing after a long shift, that kind of thing. I think this would have been a welcome addition to the album, and if included would have nudged it a bit closer to being a full concept work, what with Rosie Rooke and the People In Grey poppin' up. Interesting that Peggy O'Day (who I'm presuming was another real life character) is mentioned given 'Holiday' on the albums similarity of 'Peggy Day' by Dylan (and about a million other songs tbf).
  14. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Lavender Lane"

    First time hearing this today. First impressions - if Ray had never written "Waterloo Sunset" then this might be a great song. But he did, and thus the melodic similarity is a big elephant in the room (as opposed to all those small elephants). I think it's also the most Bolan-esque vocal that I've heard from Ray - as well as the warble we have some odd little over-cockney-ised pronunciations at the end of lines.

    Leaving those aside, though, as a track it sounds like a compendium of early 70s Kinks styles. It would have fit on MH, plus the next three albums, and if you took the horns away it might even fit onto Lola sonically. But it's still too similar to WS, so it's no surprise that it remained unreleased.
  15. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Lavender Lane
    I agree with Mark that this is a neat bouncy song that could possibly have slotted on Side 1 alongside the other songs with horns. And I agree with @croquetlawns that this is too good to have been locked away for all these years. My guess is Ray shelved it because he'd dealt with all the themes in these lyrics in the several other songs he'd written for the album. Maybe he also thought the music here was too upbeat for the vibe of this album. In which case, I think he should have dusted this off with new lyrics for Everybody's in Showbiz .
  16. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    The lyric is maybe a bit too self parodic, there's a whiff of the old, "When we were young, you didn't need to lock your doors, everyone was in and out of each others houses" trope, which I'm sure was a cliche even in 1971.
  17. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Mentioned (and posted!) back in the 1967 Waterloo Sunset discussions. You must've been distracted by that Bob Seger thread.o_O
    And despite the brass band and comedic effects, too !! But I hear you, it's a great little song, fantastic tune, very enthusiastic, easy flowing and good natured. The band is just wonderful, lots of little licks everywhere, what a performance, and the "Oh, Lord" chord and melodic change is priceless. This is very much a band song and, I must say, much more up-beat than most of Muswell Hillbillies. That would be my best guess as to why it was not included on the album : it wouldn't quite fit tonally. And tone is everything, on that particular record. One interesting thing (I hope!) is it's the second "Lavender" song Ray wrote, both were very good in their own right but in a way derivative of (and overshadowed by) Waterloo Sunset (the other one was of course Lavender Hill, recorded the same day as WS, with a very similar vocal arrangement) and both were ultimately left in the can.
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It could well have been a cliche, but even when I was growing up it was true
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  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    If a song is posted that we aren't up to, I glide past it
  20. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Lavender Lane

    Perhaps with a different opening it wouldn't have screamed 'Waterloo Sunset rewrite', but even so, it was clearly written for the theme of the album, indeed, setting the scene and introducing a range of characters who would/could come to have appearances later on in the album. For me, it's much better than a couple (at least) of the tracks on side one of Muswell Hillbillies. I'd have placed it as track two, coming after '20th Century Man'.
  21. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I was baffled yesterday when you said that this would be today’s song. And I didn’t pay much attention because I thought we’d already covered it. Turns out I automatically thought of Lavender Hill (not ‘Lane’).

    I’ll have to listen in full. Just heard the opening and thought ‘that’s Waterloo Sunset!’
  22. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Also a big fan of this despite the similarities to Waterloo Sunset. Would have liked to have seen this on the album after it had been cleaned up a little. Of course, that would have meant losing one of the existing tracks as the album running length was already near the limit.
  23. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Lavender Lane

    New to me, but no matter as I feel I wasn't missing much. Sure, that jaunty music is a little, but thematically, we've heard this story better executed already, and as others have already noted the obvious, melodicly, we've definitely heard this, many times.
  24. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Well, that certainly was worth going back and listening in full. Like others, I was initially distracted by the Waterloo Sunset tune with a different set of lyrics…but then it does evolve into its own music. Lyrically, of course, it sums up the saga of Muswell Hill very nicely.
    This is a hilarious verse.

    Defines the people in grey.

    Very nice.
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    When I saw people mentioning it as we went through I was thinking the same thing lol.
    Lavender is very popular in the Davies household.

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