The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Does anyone have any comments on this remix, positive or otherwise?
     
  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Today I was thinking of quotes from the likes of Robert Wace, Pete Quaife, Dave Davies & Larry Page about how the band were stifled by their own work ethic, continual arguments and infighting that your comment about Ray's condition seems to me to be at the epicentre of all this and must have had something to do with why the band didn't achieve more commercial success than they did.
    Incidentally looking at one small time period (but major event in the band's volition) the 1965 US tour ban could be traced to many things.
    Overzealous officials, poor management & broken payment promises sure but one thing I don't really hear mentioned is the bands own immaturity & *bloody mindedness!
    *Ray Davies anyone?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  3. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Sitting in My Hotel
    I love this song because it ticks most of the boxes in what I like about a Ray Davies ballad, including personal lyrics - with a degree of ambiguity - and a soaring chorus. There are elements in the lyrics that hark back to the village green (All of My Friends Were There and his thoughts of the countryside) as well as Sunny Afternoon (sunny days in June). But there's a deeper current because Ray is also "trying to hide the gloom" - perhaps because he has everything money can buy except friends?
    Deeper still, it's possible Ray isn't thinking of his friends at all. He clearly has the self-awareness to know how others must perceive him living the rock star lifestyle in California. So his friends in this song might be no more than a convenient focus point for his self-reflection - or even self-loathing. Just a thought.
    Musically, this is a top-shelf ballad. The majestic entry of the trumpet reminds me of the same effect brought by the cor anglais in Penny Lane.
    This is a beautiful song with possible dark undercurrents sung by Ray in his most fragile and uncertain voice. It's a gem.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Motorway.

    stereo mix (3:29), recorded May-Jun 1972 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London

    Motorway food is the worst in the world,
    You've never eaten food like you've eaten on the motorway.
    Motorway food is the worst in the world,
    The coffee tastes weak and the cakes taste stale
    And gasoline fumes are the worst to inhale,
    Your stomach rolls over and your face turns pale.

    Oh, that motorway livin',
    Ain't it a thrill to be so free, yeh.
    Riding down the motorway,
    Got to charge up my batteries,
    Rest my seat, rest my eyes,
    So tired, tired of livin', tired of livin' this motorway livin'.

    Motorway tea is warm and wet,
    The rain is a pouring and it's four in the morning,
    And it's all I can get.
    You've never seen loos like motorway loos,
    Thousands of people passing through,
    It's enough to put you off of your motorway food.

    Oh that motorway living,
    Ain't it a thrill to be so free, yeh.
    Got to get away from
    Cats eyes, cold meat pies,
    Thousand on raft, cold French fries
    So tired, tired of livin', tired of livin' this motorway livin'.

    Motorway food is invariably fried,
    It keeps me and feeds me and helps me survive.
    Oh that motorway, ain't it a thrill to be so free, yeh,
    Riding down the motorway, cats eyes, cold meat pies
    Thousand on raft, cold French fries,
    So tired, tired of livin', tired of livin' this motorway livin'.

    Motorway food is the worst in the world,
    You'll never eat food like you've eaten on the motorway.
    Motorway food is the worst in the world.

    My stomach's upset and I don't feel well,
    Gotta get my head down, stop for a while in a motorway hotel.
    Mama oh mama, my dear Suzi too,
    This motorway message is sent just for you.
    My headache's improved but my back really hurts,
    I never thought I'd travel so far to work.

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

    Initially what this song brings to mind for me is my old job as a sales rep for a food company. I was with them for ten years, and they were a good company with a good product, and I went from the guy who loads the trucks and sorted out the freezer (a big industrial, drive a forklift into it freezer), to a sales rep. It involved driving around the south west region of Western Australia and looking after the customers, and a lot of them were on the highways…..
    The food industry is an awkward place to work, and when you have to study the ins and outs of the food industry….. you tend to not want to eat anywhere anymore lol … I lost a ton of weight during that time, and although I could do with losing a little now, then, not so much….. and contrary to the probable thoughts about what this means, it is actually the way people handle the food that is the biggest issue, not generally the food itself.
    I would constantly have to explain to people in roadhouses/gas stations, whatever we want to call them, that they can’t reheat these products. They need to keep the food in the fridge before they heat it up. The food needs to be either in the fridge below 5 degrees Celsius or in a warmer/heater above 60 degrees Celsius… Which is about 40f-135f…

    Anyway, driving those highways and needing to eat, and knowing what I knew about the industry and the people in it, not to mention $1 hotdogs, and all the other rubbish food in these places …. The mysterious Baine Marie, with its mystery food of dubious temperature, poor handling and dubious quality in the first place, left “time to eat” as concerning….

    I get the impression that in all the industrialised nations Highway food is the most dubious food one could possibly imagine.

    Ray manages to touch on just about every possible negative thing about Motorway food. Yes, the coffee is atrocious. Yes, cakes taste stale. In fact, most anything in a pastry form is going to be a little substandard lol. Yes, gas fumes aren’t exactly appetite enhancing.

    This is a pretty straight forward lyric, and does a great job of being somewhat of a journal of the issues with highway/motorway roadhouses and their culinary delights

    The odd thing is, when you are on a long drive, you need to stop for gas/petrol, and you need to stop for a pee, or even worse … and Ray gets to that in the second verse.
    I imagine everyone knows a loo is a toilet by now, but yea, most gas/petrol station toilets are an abomination … some aren’t too bad I guess, but the majority make you feel like you need to go and get a shot from the doctor. When you have been in enough of these highway toilets, you have seen enough to put you off using any toilet outside your house forever….. and I am by no means a germaphobe lol

    Lyrically this is caught between being hilarious and being a true to life horror story. Ray does a great job of getting across the story of the Motorway/Highway/Roadhouse/Gas-Petrol Station food.

    Even more so than the lyric itself, Ray’s phrasing and delivery is perfect and is an important part of the music, in my mind at least.

    We open with a couple of loosening strums of the guitar, and then we move into some nice pickin’.
    The music is wonderfully bouncy. Mick and JD do a great job of keeping the backbeat bouncing along, and I assume it is Dave showing us his ability to do a good job of most styles of guitar playing …. Another of the great eye openers over this thread is how broad Dave’s abilities are.
    I always thought he was a good guitarist, but the thread has really opened up my eyes at how versatile he was/is.

    This track opens side two, and I think it is a good choice of song to do that. It is upbeat, quirky and fun. I don’t hear this as a novelty song, though I can understand why someone might. I don’t hear it as a throwaway or filler either.

    The instrumental section opens with a fiddle/violin? .. that’s what it sounds like at least, but I can’t help feeling it is a keyboard imitating a fiddle, but either way, it sounds like an old English folk tune, but I can’t place it…. or perhaps it is an old piece of classical music….. anyway, it isn’t identical, but it really adds a little melodic variety.
    Then we move into a sort of double lead guitar, and that’s a bit of fun. I also like how the lead guitar follows Ray’s vocal in the little bridge section that follows.

    This is another track on here that isn’t one of Ray’s amazing classics, but it is a solid fun track that I wouldn’t change anything about.

     
  5. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    It kinda reminds me a sped up version of the 'riff 'of Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'.. what's weird is that Pete Quaife specifically said his cool little bass improv on 'Wicked Annabella' was also based on this piece, but I've never been able to hear the resemblance, whereas Gosling's tinklings on this track bring it straight to mind for me. See what you think anyway:

     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  6. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Motorway"

    For the first couple of seconds, it sounds like the acoustic guitar at the start of "Powerman", but then we're back to songs about food and toilets. I suppose this is the most country/Americana flavoured track on the album, although the setting seems to be mostly UK motorways, probably the M1 - where you will find the infamous Watford Gap service station as sung about by Roy Harper 5 years later (hint: it's nowhere near the town of Watford). It actually reminds me of the original Top Gear theme (i.e. "Jessica") although it doesn't really sound much like it.

    Lyrically, it's probably spot on for the times, where service stations would have had dubious greasy restaurants serving stodgy, unappetising portions. These days you'll find McDonalds, Burger King, KFC etc in their stead (so what's changed then?!) It sounds like the less-than-glamorous lifestyle of an up-and-coming band going up and down the M1 in a battered Ford Transit van rather than that of a successful band.

    To sum up - it's one of the lesser tracks on the album for me, but OK for what it is.
     
  7. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    As was previously mentioned in this thread by a wiser head that mine (which is my roundabout way of being contrite for not remembering who) in contrast to the opener on side one which brings to mind sunny endless American panoramas on the road, this track sounds palpably like grimy unglamourous small scale British touring.

    Interesting there's a shoutout to 'Suzi' too given Dave's well chronicled in song torments with his first love of that name: surely that can't have been a co incidence?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
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  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, good thought. I love that piece of music. The bouncy somewhat hillbilly variation was throwing me. Nicely spotted mate
     
  9. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Motorway
    This is a wonderful song - not because it breaks any new ground, but because it's so upbeat about an ostensibly downbeat tale. I can't help but smile all the way through. For a start, it is Ray at his most American (for example, there were no "French fries" in England) yet he keeps his vehicle on the British "motorway" throughout. The next reason for smiles is in the lyrics:
    I hope we can all appreciate Ray's use of people "passing through" in the context of toilets :D

    This is such a simple line but one I find very witty. Travelling to work would be daily commuting along the same route for most people.

    And so say all of me :righton:
     
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Motorway:
    A rollicking guitar opening backed by a swirling organ, the vocal is almost a hoedown, “motorway food is the worst in the world” (swing your partner, one two three).

    We’re back into the rock-musician-life-on-the-road thing, and the lyrics are very descriptive:

    “Motorway tea is warm and wet,
    The rain is a pouring and it's four in the morning,
    And it's all I can get.

    You've never seen loos like motorway loos,
    Thousands of people passing through,
    It's enough to put you off of your motorway food.”

    I’m pleased to see “loo” back in use…so a bit of the home country vocabulary coming to the fore. (Of course, motorway, too, is a British term).

    We’ve all had to use roadside latrines that were beyond disgusting making this a readily identifiable lyric.

    To be honest, this isn’t that unique of a song but I like it and have it on my playlist. No horns at all, making the horn-use count 4 out of 6.
     
  11. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    The funniest, and possibly truest, song on the album - what a great way too open side 2.
     
  12. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Sounds like a Muswell Hillbillies reject and, frankly, does the world need a song about motorway food? Not my world anyway. This is just banal barrel scraping, but placing it after "Sitting In My Hotel" has a certain ironic charm.
     
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  13. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    That Motorway title means it’s set in the UK, right? So the Maximum Consumption menu is not an option anymore, if I understand correctly ? That’s karma for you : they shouldn’t’ve mocked the US junk food, now they miss it sorely! The song uses the now well established Muswell Hillbillies twist: it talks about localized British stuff but dresses it up in an American musical language, in order to create something of an echo and trigger the imagination of the listener. Well, that goes for the chorus at least. I was very surprised on my listening session this morning. Whenever I think of this song, I remember it as a pure country-rock affair, a bona fide (and quite satisfying) pastiche, in the style of Younger Than Yesterday Byrds, Dillard & Clark, Manassas or the Flying Burrito Brothers. Ok, I realize that’s an awful lot of bands with Chris Hillman in them, so I’ll add Poco and Eagles to that list to balance things out a bit. And sure enough, the chorus has that soaring, take it easy catchy feel to it, complete with excellent Dave harmonies, like driving with the radio on and the windows open. But the verse is something else all-together, it has that unmissable Moneygoround flavor that my memory seems to have overlooked for some reason, with Ray’s outré vocals and an open-air dancing party vaudeville melody. And in between, you get the fairground swirling organ and a forceful double Dave solo, that sounds like two different takes mixed on two different channels, creating an exciting guitar duel/duet between Dave and himself. Perfectly sequenced as side 2’s opener, this light track is fun, fast, well arranged, well structured, well played and sung, an all-around massively entertaining little tune.
     
  14. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    The sequencing is more problematic on CDs or streaming where there are no breaks between songs. But in the early 1970s, listeners would have had the chance to make a cuppa, go to the loo or light another one before turning the record or cassette over. Side two, track one is like a new start.
     
  15. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Motorway

    English lyrics and a very American musical backdrop works surprisingly well here; there will always similarities to life on the road no matter where you are (@mark winstanley I loved Jimmy Barnes's Driving Wheels the first time I heard it and i had absolutely no idea he was Australian). This is definitely a fluff piece relative to Ray's more substantial earlier work, but it's still a no-need-to-skip, fun piece.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  16. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Nitpicking again : it's a piccolo trumpet. The cor anglais is a kind of large oboe.

    Motorway

    Another song that I never noticed, but pleasant enough. Maximum Consumption established the basic truth that "you gotta eat food", but the narrator enjoyed his meals, even if he did so in a compulsive way, rather than as a gourmet experience. In Hot Potatoes, he declares he doesn't care about fancy food and goes for the potatoes, as long as they're served with love. With Motorway, he hits the bottom. Food is still a necessity, but a painful one. 3 very different songs, actually !

    I really thought there was more of a narrative on this album. In fact you get snippets of artist life, mixed up in no particular order.
     
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's like a scrapbook
     
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Barnesy is an Aussie legend, Cold Chisel possibly even moreso ....
    The documentary type movie Working Class Boy is well worth a watch.
     
  19. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Motorway: Fine, another silly song about food, like we really needed that, and to top it off, Ray either repeats words as rhymes and/or just fails to rhyme an inordinate amount of the time. Gotta say though, if I have to listen to silly songs that don’t rhyme about food, it’s the Kinks all the way! It may not be another Hot Potatoes, but for a throwaway song, its darn catchy and has a great Eagles feel to it, particularly during Dave’s solo, and in the end it makes the grade (or should I say, my playlist).
     
  20. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    No more time for profound thoughts about your life, gotta get up & face that Motorway food! Ray must have plenty of memories going up & down the Sceptered Isle on Kinks tours & meeting up w/fellow musicians while they go round & round themselves, from Georgie Fame to Jimi Hendrix, all attempting to eat that motorway food that Ray so ably describes in the song, which speeds along like a C&W trucking song w/a bit of Bach thrown in. I always thought that "thousands on a raft" means a salad w/Thousand Island dressing. Am I right, my fellow English Avids?

    Peter Cook & Dudley Moore had a sketch in their 60s show Not Only But Also that had Peter Cook as a French food critic going to one of these motorways. Unfortuntely, I can't find it on YouTube.

    Finally, motorways are not the only places where the restrooms are, shall we say, dodgy. I went to one in the library that I work in & the smell was indescrible (during the month of October, which is the height of the tourist season in Salem, MA, the question I most heard at the library was "where are the restrooms located?")
     
  21. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I’ve decided to make one major playlist change. I’m deleting the Showbiz songs from the Pye + Muswell playlist and will include them on The Second Chapter list.
     
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  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    It's at 1 hour 14 and a half minutes into this compilation. Incidentally the whole thing is VERY worth watching for any fans of classic British comedy who aren't already familiar: I'm particularly fond of the sketch that immediately follows that one on this comp 'It's Ludwig Van Beethoven!' where Beethoven presents his own variety show introduced with quips like 'welcome Bach'.

    *I should also note/explain on a technical point that the suspiciously latter day sounding Merseybeat pastiche song that appears on the soundtrack from around 1 hr 17 mins replaces 'I'm A Loser' by The Beatles which was used on the original broadcast but was unavailable for the commerical release of this material for the usual Apple rights reasons.

     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
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  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Pete and Dud were hilarious..... Derek and Clive were something different altogether, I used to find them very funny, and I don't know what to think these days.
     
  24. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    To call Derek & Clive hit and miss would the understatement of the century, they range from excruciatingly unfunny garbage to literally some of the funniest stuff I've ever heard. But that was very much the nature of the beast.
     
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I think their Not Only But Also stuff has aged incredibly well, and it's a shame it's not more widely available today (not helped by the BBC junking more than half the shows they did :( ).. I like Derek and Clive too, but as you say a very different kettle of fish, intentionally as offensive as possible and very misanthropic. Impossible to defend or justify a lot of their stuff on any grounds other than it was an unfiltered conduit to their ids but then it wasn't pretending to be anything more. I have to admit if I'm in a downbeat mood and I want some comedy that kind of thing can hit the spot.
     

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