The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Another great track - it makes me think more of a 60s Paul Simon song than McCartney, but either way it shows what an excellent song writer Ray was becoming.
     
  2. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    ‘So Long’ is notable for the first mention of Muswell in a Kinks song, an early personal touch from Ray. It’s also very ironic that while here it’s mentioned in the conventional coming of age idiom of ‘my little old home town that I just had to leave to see the big wide world’ that Ray has ‘no time for’ anymore, with the unusual way The Kinks career developed, Ray would in fact end up having a LOT of time for Muswell town, including writing an entire concept album about it, returning to live in the area, and still naming songs for it as recently as the closing track on his most recent (2018) solo album!
     
  3. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Don't Ever Change"

    A very good song, and I particularly like Ray's staccato delivery of the lyrics. However, as I've already suggested, due to it being from a previous session, there is a marked decrease in sound quality from the previous track (on my copy, at least). Whereas all the instruments were clearly audible in the last few tracks, this one sounds like it was recorded in a toilet and the bass is barely audible. The song is still able to shine through, but maybe it would have been ever better if they'd given it another run-through at the Kinda Kinks sessions.

    "So Long"

    This one deserves all the plaudits it's going to get. A lovely song that really charts Ray's developing songwriting skills. There are echoes in the melody here of tracks like "No Return" from three albums down the line. It's also a great track for those with rudimentary fingerpicking skills to practice on! The accompaniment to the acoustic is just perfect, Ray's vocal is as haunting as it was on "Nothin' In This World....", and the harmonies take it up a notch. A great track.
     
  4. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I always thought it was "got no time for my small town"?
     
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  5. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I can hear your Elvis comparison, even if I'd never thought of it before. Don't Ever Change is good-not-great for me, I see it as a lesser "Stop Your Sobbing", melodic and easy on the ear, touching on greatness with the "No Don't Ever Change from the Way You Were Last Night" bit with that beautiful Ray Davies chord change. I'm not crazy about his phrasing on the verse, though, where the extra syllable gimmick can be annoying. Maybe Elvis would've improved on that!

    I agree that So Long is a marvelous song. The acoustic sound and playing are wonderful, and this time, Ray's phrasing is back to his outstanding standards. He's fragile and open, reflective and musing, young and mature, sad and wise, backwards and forward looking, all at the same time, just as Ray Davies should be. He's starting to use his trick of being slightly off key for the more melodic parts, suggesting more harmonic subtleties and always choosing sensibility over accuracy. Interestingly, the three best songs on the LP so far (probably the three best songs on the LP period) are the slower ones : Tired of Waiting for You, Nothing in the World and So Long.
    Ahah, so true ! Note that he also sings "And there ain't no use me talking 'bout the things we used to do". He'll definitely see the use of doing that soon enough in so many of his (best) songs! In a way, So Long can be seen as a pivotal point in his songwriting : the moment where he first puts his finger on some of his main themes and subject matters.
     
  6. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    ‘Muswell’ and ‘My Small’ are close to being homophones with the way Ray sings them so it’s hard to tell for sure. All the lyrics I’ve ever seen online say ‘Muswell’. Also, if it’s Muswell, it’s an early example of Ray’s lyrics being specific rather than generic, which would become a hallmark of much of his mature writing, and distinguish him favourably from a lot of his peers in terms of lyrics, so I like to think it was definitely Muswell even if the jury’s out.
     
  7. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I don't like "don't ever change" lyrics (there are many). Since change is inevitable, (about as inevitable as things get), the singer is basically telling his beloved he will leave them, or at least fall out of love with them when they change. It's very ominous. Growing together and changing together should be one of the joys of being in a relationship. However, setting that aside, I'm not very keen on "Don't Ever Change", though I do like some elements of it. I like the extra syllables that Fortuleo decries. It's intro sounds momentarily as if it's going to be "I Want To Hold Your Hand". A fair album track but not a highlight.

    "So Long" however I do really like. Blissfully beautiful and a precursor to many similar delicate Kinks classics.
     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Reference guide

    A bit about the band

    Oct 1963 I'm A Hog For You Baby (first recording)

    Dec 1963 Oobadiaboo unreleased?

    Feb 1964 Long Tall Sally - live footage

    Apr 1964 You Still Want Me - b-side You Do Something To Me

    Aug 1964 You Really Got Me - Shindig tv - live footage - beat room - BBC - SNL - live
    b-side It's All Right/It's Alright - shindig tv

    Oct 1964 The Kinks
    Beautiful Delilah - shindig
    So Mystifying
    Just Can't Go To Sleep
    Long Tall Shorty - live 65 - shindig - live 72
    I Took My Baby Home
    I'm A Lover, Not A Fighter - shindig
    You Really Got Me
    Cadillac - live
    Bald Headed Woman
    Revenge
    Too Much Monkey Business -Alt fast take
    I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain
    Stop Your Sobbing
    Got Love If You Want It - Live BBC

    I Believed You
    I Don't Need You Anymore
    Everybody's Gonna Be Happy demo
    Don't Ever Let Me Go

    1964 All Day And All Of The Night - shindig - US tv
    I Gotta Move - shindig - live 92?

    1964 All Day And All Of The Night EP

    Nov 1964 Kinksize Sessions
    Louie Louie - live
    I Gotta Go Now
    I've Got That Feeling - live
    Things Are getting Better

    The Kinks at the BBC 1964
    Meets the Kinks
    You Really Got Me
    interview excerpt
    Cadillac
    All Day And All Of The Night
    Little Queenie
    I'm A Lover Not A Fighter
    Ray on YRGM and USA
    I've Got That Feeling

    Paris 1965
    Hullabaloo 1965
    The Kinks educate the US
    Dave - Annette and Frankie

    Jan 1965 Got Love If You Want It EP

    Jan 1965 Kinksize Hits EP

    Jan 1965 Tired Of Waiting For You - French tv - Shindig - NME - US echo
    / Come on Now - live - live 82

    5 Mar 1965 Kinda Kinks
    Look For Me Baby
    Got My Feet On The Ground
    Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'bout That Girl - live?
    Naggin' Woman
    I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight - Sweden
    Tired Of Waiting For You
    Dancing In the Street
    Don't Ever Change
    Come On Now
    So Long

    17 March 1965 Kink Size (US lp)
     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I completely understand this perspective. I think it speaks to the naivete of young love though, rather than the maturity of someone who has been through the battles a relationship will inevitably endure.
     
  10. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    This reference guide is gonna be HUGE by the end! Thanks again Mark, you’re doing God’s work here. (Quite literally, as as we all know, God Save(s) The Kinks).
     
  11. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    My first thought was a Simon tune. A pleasant folky surprise for me and a terrific song in its own right. Don't Ever Change is a cool nugget as well, the kind of song that would surprise some folks like me, without a deep knowledge of the Kinks.
     
  12. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight
    Can I Get A Witness riff and another high pitch vocal from Dave that I'm not keen on.

    Dancing In The Street
    Motown again and I like the chugging rhythm of this . Another great vocal from Ray.

    Don't Ever Change
    A good regular Kinks R&B song and similar in feel to Just Can't Go To Sleep. Keep 'em comin' Ray!

    So Long
    Another great folky pop song.
     
  13. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    So Long is a lovely tune, but the lyrics are callous and brutal. She is no longer of any use to him therefore "So Long", which means "bye bye".

    And I am almost certain he doesn't say "Muswell town", which doesn't exist anyway (at least not where he is).
     
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  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Don’t Ever Change: it’s playing over and over in my head, a fact that I’m not particularly pleased about! Catchy as hell, that’s for sure, but not my idea of The Kinks. A touch of flamenco at one point, just a touch, which is nice.

    Thanks to Mark’s Elvis reference, I listened again this a.m. as if Elvis was on the vocals. An interesting and fun mind exercise!
     
  15. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    Don't Ever Change -- A pretty song with a Searchers vibe to it. The band's playing is precise -- Mick is especially tight on the drums -- and Ray's vocal brings it home. Lovely track.

    So Long -- One of the most sadly beautiful songs in the Kinks oeuvre. The Kinks didn't go down this spare-acoustic-ballad road very often, but when they did, the results could be stunning, as they are here. Love the way the intensity picks up in the refrain. Wonder if leaving town was the only way he could stop worryin' 'bout that girl...
     
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I took it as a bit of (mild) poetic license that suits the folky troubadour nature of the track. Also, if you go back far enough in time (200 years or so) Muswell Hill was a village seperate from London so it works in that sense too. I’m gonna die on this (Muswell) hill cos I want that lyric to be real!
     
  17. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Don’t Ever Change.

    This successfully recaptures what they found on “Stop Your Sobbing” 6 months earlier in that it’s just dripping that ‘Girl Group’ feel, begging for a cover artist to put this thing through its paces. The Kinks’ arrangement is fine, wisely avoiding Motown and instead channeling the Brill Building a la Goffin/King.

    Mark hears a deep cut from a ‘Fat Elvis’-years movie soundtrack. I never thought of it that way, and I probably need to see more than “Viva Las Vegas” and the last 30 minutes of “Kissin’ Cousins” to have a more informed opinion. Personally, avoiding Elvis films from that era is I talent I acquired and have kept for many years. Maybe I should give the music more of a chance, though. Someone once warned me about “Do the Clam” so I’ve been avoiding it all like an anti-vaxer does with a COVID shot. But, anyway, I digress.

    “Don’t Ever Change” is an okay song…but, really…considering the other things the band is doing on this LP (even including the misses) the band is busting at the seams to move past this kind of sound.

    So Long

    A pleasant soft number. Considering how dialed back Pete’s bass sounds, they probably could have lost it entirely and just done this with a single guitar and that quasi-bosa nova percussion. Is it Mick Avory? Bobby Graham? British Prime Minister Harold Wilson? Does it matter? Whoever it is, they are keeping time, which is all this number requires—if even that. How radical it would have been had this been presented as just Ray solo on guitar? That’s not suggesting it would have improved this—it’s damn good as is—I’m just suggesting it could have worked…but then it wouldn’t have been the Kinks, would it? Nice use of double track on Ray’s voice, too.

    As for the lyric…it kind of sounds like “my small” rather than “Muswell” to my ears, but it works either way. Internet searches to confirm lyrics are notoriously uneven and unofficial. I remember an internet argument over The Band’s reference to Robert E. Lee in “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down.” Are they referencing the man or the steamboat? It all hinged on whether one hears ‘…their goes-a Robert E. Lee…’ vs. ‘…there goes THE Robert E. Lee…’ Googling the lyrics showed it both ways. The civil war almost broke out all over again with that debate. Anyway, again, I digress.
     
  18. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    That's a good point. Much like his reference to his "gap" in "I Gotta Move," this makes it a song specifically about Ray Davies. If so, it is indeed an odd duck at this stage in his songwriting arch.
     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Elvis was overweight for like 2 or 3 years before he died in the seventies. If Elvis was fat in the early sixties we're all f****d
     
  20. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    You are right. I'm simply going with John Lennon's famous characterization of him from that period.
     
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I actually thought a Dave and Ray duo, but much the same thoughts really
     
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Sorry, it's a bone of contention with me, the constant dissing Presley gets in the modern era
     
  23. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    I love 50's Elvis, a few of his post-Army Marie's the Flame, Little Sister, Wooden Heart kinds of things, and his bombastic Live Shows are great. I've just never taken the time to consider his Hal Wallis movie soundtrack stuff. I'm trusting there are some buried gems among them. But, anyway....these are thoughts for a different thread.
     
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    If you're interested, we just finished a two year series of threads on Elvis's career. This is the thread guide. :righton:

    I think the general consensus from all of us is that the movies themselves were what they were. Tied into a contract that when he said he wanted to stop doing movies because of the ridiculous typecasting, his music and movie careers were threatened to be ended completely.
    The other consensus was that there certainly are some pretty average songs on the soundtrack albums, but there are also many absolute gems.

    If you were going to watch any movies ... hmmm ... If you like light hearted comedy I think Follow That Dream is a fun sixties movie. Other than that King Creole and Jailhouse Rock are probably the best movies... I never minded the goofy typecast lighthearted Elvis movies, it works as a nice change from all the murder, blood guts and gore anti-hero movies around the place
     
  25. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Don't Ever Change
    Didn't really care for this back in the day when I bought the album, but I proved to be something of a grower. The various elements thst make it unique give it some staying power.

    So Long
    Another song that I wasn't prepared to appreciate when I first took to the Kinks.... but this one is positively brilliant. The Kinks completely master the soft folks sound! The lyrics could have come from Dylan himself. But this is delivered with such absolute grace! Truly exceptional.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2021

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