The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    The Kinks – Golden Hour Of The Kinks Vol. 2 - I bought this as a UK import in 1977 during my Kinks exploration, because many of the songs were not on the Reprise Greatest Hits. Some of the weaker of the early Pye material is here and I doubt I played it more than a handful of times, though some of the songs have risen in my estimation.

    Time Song - Not much to add; short and lovely. And, yes, totally Nilsson-esque!
  2. I don’t think Dave was there to replace Ray’s vision at all but Dave wasn’t allowed to contribute the occasional song. During the RCA Concept album years, Dave was bored with what Ray was doing so I don’t doubt he was shut down. Just because he didn’t have an All Things Must Pass in him doesn’t discount the quality songwriting he did with the band (and with some of his own solo albums) over the years.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    One Of The Survivors/Scrapheap City.


    Produced by: Ray Davies
    Release date: 20 Apr, 1973
    Record label & catalog #: RCA Victor 74-0940
    Country: USA
    Format: 7" vinyl single, 45 RPM
    Release type: Regular release

    So here we have a single that was released in the USA in April of 1973, but it wasn’t released in the UK.
    One Of The Survivors ended up being released as a b-side to Sitting In The Midday Sun in August of 1973 in the UK.

    Both songs were recorded in March 1973, at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London.

    We’ll look at One Of The Survivors when we are going through the Preservation album, but for the record, here we have the same recording but edited for single purposes. Thirty seconds are taken off the song to bring it under four minutes, as was often the want for the singles market. It is interesting how attitudes have changed a fair bit around this principle…. In many, but not all minds. I guess in more recent times it seems like the single has returned to the throne, and modern attention spans prefer less than more…..

    Scrapheap City is the interesting track here though, and thanks to @Michael Streett for bringing it to my attention.

    This version was recorded in March of 1973, with Ray on vocals, and it is a completely different recording than what we would get on the Preservation Act 2 album. There is an odd synchronicity here with the recording too, as the second version ended up being recorded somewhere between Jan and Mar 1974.

    The second version on Preservation Act 2 is a sort of country type tune, with a female vocal opening us up.

    This is a very different affair.
    We open with a dreamlike piano and flute. A semi free-time opening that drifts like a leaf on the ocean. Ray comes in with a dreamlike vocal, and then we move into a slow chugging, kind of, rhythm and blues thing.

    You can hear the basic idea of the song is the same, but the arrangement is quite different.
    I like the call and response style of the vocal when we get the sax responding to the vocal.

    We’ll look at the song, with the lyrics properly when we go through Act 2, but Michael thought, and I agreed, that this is a very interesting little sideline that deserves being looked at, while we are in the time zone that it was recorded and released.

    Anyway, again, I haven’t a whole lot to add to that, but an interesting look into the way this two album project came together.
    It also shows us that there is a good chance that a lot of the songs from Preservation Act 2 were already on the shelf waiting for their moment to come out and play.

  4. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Well, I much prefer the later version of "Scrapheap City". It's a catchy song but this version turns it into a bit of a dirge. Nonetheless has this version ever been released as a bonus track anywhere and, if not, why not, I wonder.
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I am not aware of it being available anywhere to be honest, but I'm sure one of our experts will correct me if I'm wrong.
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  6. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I actually hear a wee echo of the 'time will mend, time will heal' part of the 'Time Song' melody in the 'they're tearing old quality down' bit of 'Scrapheap City' which kinda make sense if they were written around the same time for the proto-Preservation project. That cascading descending back and forth kinda melody, like a ball bearing slowly descending a toy staircase. (You can tell I don't know music theory with daft descriptions like that!)

    Yeah I believe this is one of the very few (pre 1985!) officially issued Kinks tracks that never been reissued or made available digitally. Not sure if that was by accident or design. This fairly notable omission tends to get overlooked as the RCA era is so much less eulogised compared to the Pye years
  7. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I finally listened to the Lola Vs Powerman play on Radio 4: it featured the same old lightly fictionalised retelling of the Kinks story that Ray always seems to come back to of late (of late being since Storyteller 25 years ago) but y'know in a week where we lost a contemporary talent on the level of Mike Nesmith I feel I just got to lower expectations and cynicism and appreciate Ray still being around and putting new (ish) stuff out and take it for what it is.. It all part of this huge jigsaw puzzle of Kinks related output we're poring over here and I'm glad the story is still ongoing. Maybe we'll get to these plays on this thread in 2024 or something.

    I actually preferred it to the Arthur adaptation from 2 years ago as it was a bit less staid and more sprawling and varied and the Lola character (as absolutely stereotypical as she was in her own way) lent a bit more vim to proceedings rather than it just being a bunch of central casting UK working class stereotypes standing around mouthing worthy platitudes. (as Ray always seems to end up being when versions of him are dramatised, rather that the much more interesting reality of the man).

    Some elements like the Faustian bit seemed like attempts to take the story somewhere different although at heart it was still Ray reframing well worn formative tales from his young manhood that most Kinks fans will be familiar with. I do wonder how it sounded to a non fan though, if the lack of familiarity would make it more enjoyable or just more confusing. I enjoyed the small detail of Ray casting 'Tell Me Now So I'll Know' as the only hit by a faded 50s crooner now trapped in some kind of 'Mr Richland's Favourite Song' (to bring it back to Nilsson) post fame purgatory. On the other hand, I found casting the Rasa role as a somewhat basic long suffering cockney wife archetype pretty lame and reductive.
  8. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I rather like this more pastoral version - it is very odd that it's never been released on CD!
  9. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    It’s a great groove, real’ slow and dirty, and the effect is almost immediate, you really get the « scrapheap » idea (I still had to check in a dictionary, but it was just a confirmation of the feel of the music). Weirdly, when the slow boogie chords start, I expect the Beach Boys to start singing « on my way to sunny california / wateeer, wateer, get yourself in the cool, clear water» which dates from the same year and is the polar opposite of this in spirit and mood. Funny how the brain works... But then Ray comes in with his devilish sleazy delivery, and it’s a whole different story. Great Gosling piano ascending licks, superb trombone (you’ve got to love a trombone)… I greatly enjoy Act 2’s version as well, with its saloon atmosphere and that cool sexy vocal, but it’s a very different experience. Really two takes on the same song. This Japan 45´s cover is pretty cool. When Dave’s harmonies come in, you get the feeling the picture could’ve been taken during a performance of this very song!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2021
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Which is the mix on the 2CD set from 2018?
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  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    You won out over the Long Distance!
  12. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Scrapheap City (Ray vocal)

    I love this slow version. In a way, the introduction succeeds where Unreal Reality's failed. Great atmosphere. It's a shame this was never reissued.

    At first I had scrapped (yeah, ok) the album version from my ideal "Preservation 2" single LP (or second LP of my ideal "Preservation" double album), but I grew to appreciate it, partly because of the unusual (by Kinks standards) multi-part harmony vocals. So I reinstated it. But I would rather have this slow one, since I'm trying to de-cabaretize my D-side. Unfortunately, I could not find a clean version, and the difference in mastering between the 1973 single and the recently remastered Preservation album is too wide.
  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Scrapheap City

    I am not familiar with any version of this song.
    I do like the intro which seems to have flute and a cascade of plucked Asian string instruments.
    I also liked Dave's backing vocals however What happens from Ray and the band proper joining in until the end I would need more time to absorb.
  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I haven’t heard the Preservation 2 one yet so can’t compare. But I certainly like this song!

    I don’t think my wife is going to be too happy as I, still in a bit of a sleep fog, read Mark’s intro, put headphones on….and then kept turning the volume up and up. I was even going to comment that the recording was awful! Turns out I didn’t turn my Bluetooth headphones on. :D So I was muffling the sound reaching my ears, and there was no sound from the headphones. I’ll hear about it soon, I’m sure. :D

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I'm familiar w/this version of "Scrapheap City" because it did appear on the bootleg Kollectible Kinks. I do prefer it to the version on Preservation Act 2, especially the bluesy groove & Ray's vocals. It's a shame that this wasn't on the Picture Book box set, which would have been the best place for it. Perhaps it will end up in the Preservation Acts 1 & 2 Super Deluxe box set.
  16. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    At least I didn't run out of time to hear this beautiful song! Love it!
  17. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    Beautifully put!
  18. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    Same here.

    That bootleg, Kollectible Kinks, almost qualified as The Great Lost Kinks Album, part 2. In the days before CD re-issues with bonus tracks of previously unheard or obscure b-side, this back market, unofficial collection was the only place I knew where one could get things like this version of Scraphead City, or Slum Kids, Artificial Light, or those 65-ish publishers demos like A Little Bit of Sunshine, or the I Go to Sleep Demo, etc. It was an absolute must-have at the time. I think it appeared on the market roughly around the time the band broke up in the 90's.
  19. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    A side note on the Japanese graphics: most of the time Japanese use the phonetic writing system called ‘katakana’ when writing foreign words. (‘Most of the time’ because if it looks better in a different form….it’ll be shown that way. Right to left; top to bottom, left to right…it depends on whim (!) or aesthetics.) Anyway, in Mark’s intro post it shows the album cover and at the top right it says サ… and then three more letters and a long bar. I didn’t notice the English name to the left (in small font, especially on my phone) so I was reading ‘sir ha ha.’ ??? What? Then realized that the graphics department had embedded the two little marks that change ‘ha’ to ‘ ba’ into the ハ letter itself. Normally, it looks like バ. And so it becomes ‘survivor’ (as the final bar draws the sound out).

    Anyway, the good news is that my wife did not get woken up to a rousing rendition of Scrapheap. I guess she didn’t hear it at all. Amazing as I kept turning it up!
  20. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Scrapheap City (B-Side)

    Once that bluesy western groove comes in, it reminds me of Completely from Percy! But I also see where @Fortuleo is coming from here:

    It's got that western "doo-dodo-dodo" boogie from the Beach Boys' California Saga (California), which took it from the groove of California Girls! A different kind of "Western" story...

    I'm a bit perplexed why they included this as a B-Side. It's not really catchy, or memorable, but does sound like it'd be a good album track. I'm a bit familiar with the version that ended up Preservation Act 2, as I have been playing that album a few times over the past week. I'm not familiar enough with either to say which one I prefer. This one seems a bit slower to me, and I get a bit those perhaps Japanese or Asian vibes from the pan-flute/piano tickling which seems to almost mimic a harp or a koto (here's a video of a koto being used).

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA

    According to Doug Hinman in You Really Got Me, Kollectible Kinks came out in March 1983. I got my copy in the late 1980s. It certainly filled up a lot of holes in a Kinks collection. It was also pretty good in quality for a bootleg.

    While looking for information in, I came upon the following:

    Headline lands Kinks guitarist Dave Davies' autobiography | The Bookseller

    I think I know what we Avids will be reading this coming summer.
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Waah, so Dave's doing autobiography No.2, like Ray? This one at least has a better title than his first, Kink. The difference is, while not designed as Volume 1 & 2. Ray's two autobiographies really covered two different eras of his life (birth to 1973 in the first one, mid 70s to the 00s in the second) whereas Dave's first covered his whole story up to the present at the time, so I'm guessing this new one will go over much oif the same ground/essentially 'overwriting' the first, at least for the birth to Kinks phase.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2021
  23. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    I've only listened to Preservation Act II about 3 or 4 times since I found a copy a few months ago, and "Scrapheap City" is one of the tracks that hasn't yet been able to fix itself into my brain. This original version seems a bit slow to me on first listen, and it was struggling to hold my attention. I can't really say which of the two I prefer so far.
  24. fdsfd

    fdsfd Forum Resident

    I can't help but hear "God bless Johnny" in the way Ray phrases "scrapheap city". I wasn't familiar with this version of the song but I think I like it more than the album one -though I must admit that I've probably listened to the Act II for about just one time...
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Nice bit of (unintentional?) conceptual continuity then given the A-side of the single...
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