The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I reckon that's pretty spot on.
    When I first started my Kinks journey past the Low Budget through to State Of Confusion era I started with, I had never even heard of it before, and I had no idea it had been a hit single
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  2. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I can't help seeing There's a Change in the Weather as a sequel of sorts to Rainy Day in June, with its doomed apocalypse imagery, metaphorical or not. Taken at face value, this is also a disturbing set of lyrics, the whole class system facing an impending – political and/or meteorological – climate menace. Sure, it’s a Biblical fear, universal, as old as mankind, and a classic narrative device in any dystopian story (which Preservation definitely is) but it’s still an unsettling listen from a modern day perspective.
    Musically, a lot of prior Kinks departures from straight pop’n rock music seem to merge into this track. It has some of the Yes Sir, No Sir/ Mr Churchill Says multi-characters/multi-sections structure, it has the vaudeville/music-hall theatrics and exaggerated delivery, it has the comedy leanings, and it has the brass band breaks. We can hear how all those experiments are combined in a multipart musical construction, and how they make the best out of the new 14 people (?) line-up. Ray sings the parts of the three different classes men but hey, this is a Kinks album not a “cast recording”, and anyway, this genius performer can sing whatever he wants as far as I’m concerned. I’ve always adored this track (much more so than a lot of their other attempts in that style). I can see how the comedy and outré singing of the “chorus” (double entendre here) can (or could) turn off some rock audiences but these end up being my favorite parts of the song, especially near the end, when Ray's delivery (already underlined by Headmaster @winstanley) emphasizes the beauty of the chord changes and the melodic power (“I think there's a change in the weather, I hope good weather is here to staaaayyy”, with all the appropriate theatrical panache – now, this is really killer Kinks stuff). The Viennese arrangements are wonderful, especially when they’re played by mariachi sounding trumpets (at the 2'29'' mark). Viennese dance party music played on Mariachi trumpets by a New-Orleans Dixieland ensemble from London… come on!!! Who would do such a thing if not the Kinks?? There’s genius at work here. Inspired, visionary, boundless, uncompromising Ray Davies genius.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
  3. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

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    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    "There's A Change In the Weather" is the point where Act I becomes theatrical w/the vocals & the rapid change & back styles. It may not work as a stand along single, but it does work in context of the story.
  5. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    There’s A Change In The Weather.

    This might be the most ambitious three minutes in music history!

    I definitely didn't appreciate this song back in the day, but after a few decades adapting to Ray's idiosyncrasies, I rather like it.

    And yes, as @Zeki noted, I get an incredibly strong visual with this song. It's musical theatre without the theatre, but I get images every bit as vivid as if I was seated in the hall or watching a musical on the big screen.

    This used to be a skip, but it is now a skip no more.
  6. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks for that - I don't remember seeing this clip:

    Always neat when someone plugs one of our local heroes. There's a Ray Davies show I missed :sigh: when Ron came on to do a song with Ray. Perhaps I'll post a clip when the song in question comes up.
  7. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Hilarious. “I know my place.”
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  8. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I’m so anxious to find out what happens next that I’ve started working my way through Act II.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I am sure we have folks that already have their Sundays planned, particularly with Christmas ahead, and I am also sure that some folks may have a fair bit they want to talk about in regards to Preservation and how there were extra tracks and all that…..
    I am also sure that there are folks that may need to correct me on stuff I put in here lol….
    So in order to give everyone a chance to put their two cents worth in, I have put this together now…. It shouldn’t prevent anyone from commenting on this morning’s wonderful track though …

    Also, I am not sure if this is what I was supposed to do …. But this is what came out lol


    As we know there is a bit of history to the Preservation albums, and it goes back to Nov 1966, where a little track called Village Green appeared on the French, Mister Pleasant EP. The heart behind the theme reaches back further than that though, with songs like Dead End Street, Well Respected Man and Big Black Smoke sort of leading to the ideas that brought us The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society.

    As we saw with our closer look at the Village Green album, Ray had tapped into this idea that the wave of the future is fine, but discarding everything from the past is neither good, nor effective progress.
    Although some of the mind pictures that Ray drew were somewhat idealistic and fanciful, and not necessarily direct representations of reality, the heart of the project and ideas contained within was broad and encapsulating and essentially encouraged the idea of community, even if some in the community may be somewhat non-conformist, or however we want to look at it.

    Although Arthur, Or The Decline and Fall Of The British Empire isn’t directly tied to The Village Green album theme, it is certainly a sister album in its exploration of the transition from the Victorian era Britain through the early part of the Twentieth Century, and some of the things that led to the downfall of Britain as the most powerful and influential Empire on Earth…. In fact we can almost directly see the transition of power at the end of the Second World War, when we move into the era of USA and the USSR wrestling for the control …. But that is another story.

    Through the Lola, Percy, Muswell and Everybody’s In Showbiz run of albums, Ray and the band explored other avenues.
    With Lola and Everybody’s In Showbiz, we have a sort of part 1 and 2 of Ray’s perspective of the business side of being in a band. With Muswell, we have a really interesting hybrid with music and themes that sort of link the UK and USA …. And of course Percy is the famous pen!s soundtrack.

    During the course of those albums, my understanding is that Ray was writing material for the Preservation album/s, and even in those albums there are snippets of ideas that link to Ray’s Preservation/Village Green ideas and mindset.
    The first Preservation material to come out was The One Of The Survivors/Scrapheap City single that appeared in April 1973, but only in the USA.
    In the UK Sitting In The Midday Sun with One Of The Survivors as a b-side came out in June 1973 …. It did come out a s a single in the USA as well, but the b-side was Sweet Lady Genevieve….. anyway……

    That brings us to the release of the Preservation Act 1 album.
    One would generally say that Act 1 suggests we know there will be an Act 2, but having had the Lola Part 1 come out, and no subsequent part 2, although we generally feel that Everybody’s In Showbiz fills that role, it seems there would be no guarantees, and I would be very interested to hear from folks that were around at the time as to whether they thought about this or not? …. and I guess whether the Lola album not receiving a part 2 made them suspicious that Act 1, may have just been a title and not a plan.

    Anyway, over the course of the Preservation recordings, we know other tracks were recorded.
    Initially Ray seems like he was going to expound on the original album, and create something new by using some of the older tracks to tie in with it, but he decided he didn’t want to compromise the original albums integrity, and that was probably a wise decision.

    On the Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society super deluxe box set we get three items that are a remnant of the newer versions and sessions
    The Village Green Preservation Society (Preservation version)
    The Medley – Picture Book/People Take Pictures Of Each Other (Preservation version)
    And the song we’re going to look at here
    Village Green Overture… but before we do that …

    It is also interesting to note that the Preservation Act 1 tracks were recorded between May and July of 1973, except One Of The Survivors, which was recorded in March 1973 …. But also
    Oh Where Oh Where Is Love and Salvation Road were also recorded between May and July of 1973, but appeared on the Act 2 album that we will get to soon. All the other Act 2 tracks were recorded between January and March 1974, except Mirror Of Love which appears to have been recorded in December 1973.

    If the band continue with the Super Deluxe sets, it will be very interesting to see what the band recorded for both albums….. and I would actually like any Deluxe set they may do to incorporate both albums as a complete unit….. If they have the songs recorded I would also like to see other possible configurations of the Preservation album, perhaps that use the original Village Green tracks as part of the idea…. But I guess we’ll see what happens.

    Now these tracks and the two albums aren’t the only thing we need to look at, we also have the tour, concerts that accompanied them …. But we will look at the tour of the USA that had the Preservation albums as the second set of the show after we look at Preservation Act 2.

    The band had been playing songs from both Preservation albums for most of 1974, but the USA tour that started November 23rd 1974 at Colgate University, Hamilton New York, had a setlist that unified the two albums into a long form, but not quite complete version of both albums……


    Village Green Overture.

    This is exactly what it suggests it is. We have a horn driven instrumental version of the song that started it all off.
    This is a slightly up-tempo version of Village Green.
    It’s a nice arrangement, and I can see that it could have worked into a theme, if they had followed the original idea they had.
    Of course, for me, the original version is untouchable, though I don’t think this was supposed to compete with it.

    I don’t really have much more to say about this one.

  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I have no idea how close this arrangement is to the studio version on the SDE, but here is a medley from 1972 live

    Picture Book/People Take Pictures Of Each Other

  11. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    It's a bit too Brighouse & Rastrick for me, I'm afraid.
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  12. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    There’s A Change In The Weather

    Talk about a change-up... This one starts out sounding like it could be an instrumental outtake from the Percy soundtrack. Very different from the opening three tracks. My only gripe about the beginning section is that I wish Dave had sung the middle-class intro to break it up. It's a bit confusing to have Ray introduce that he's 3 different characters.

    When the oompah section comes in, this does seem to foreshadow some of Queen's rock operatic sounds (h/t @Fortuleo). I hear this style as being played in a German beer hall or Oktoberfest. The band is really using the horns in very interesting ways at this point. Sometimes just to accent or add some background, sometimes to lead the melody in several different styles mashing together.

    Thematically, this is just taking the Ray staple of having the weather (Rainy Day in June, Lazy Old Sun, etc etc) act as a metaphor for overall happiness and sadness, and putting it in into overdrive. Anticyclones, tornados, lightning, thunder, storm clouds... the use of holocaust rising over the horizon, instead of the morning sun that was rising over the first two tracks.... those clouds will cover up the sun... That fat tuba sound... Reminds me of how the heavy trombones were used to symbolize the incoming air raids and bombings at 2:00 in Glenn Miller's American Patrol.

    But then back to the oompah section.... these people are still hopeful. Change is a comin', but hopefully it will work out? To brighten up their days in the Village Green...

    There is a lot going on in these 3 minutes, for sure.
  13. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: I don't hear any Rogers & Hammerstein in this, but I sure hear a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan. It's an interesting pastiche, but with a couple of problems. The first part was obviously meant to be sung by three very different characters, and the fact that it's all being sung by only one person using the exact same voice for each character is a bit distracting. My other complaint about it is the general lack of stereo separation, and this is a song that would've genuinely benefited greatly from it. At least that way, working class man could've been in the left ear, upper class in the right and middle class in the, middle.
  14. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "There's A Change In The Weather"

    Excellent opening posts by @mark winstanley and @Fortuleo. I think they pretty much covered it.
    This is certainly an ambitious tune. We have several songs all rolled into one and every part is so uniquely The Kinks. Another brilliant composition by Raymond Douglas Davies.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
  15. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    This is the only Queen album I ever owned. I had it on cassette and recall liking a few songs. I never really got into Queen, but I may have to give this album a closer listen.
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's my favourite Queen album, and I have them all. Some folks think that it is because of Bohemian Rhapsody, but it isn't even my favourite on the album..... that would be The Prophet's Song, followed by Death On Two Legs.
    It really is a classic album, particularly if you like Music Hall tracks injected between the other tracks. It strikes me, as was mentioned at the beginning of the thread, I think, that Queen very likely drew a lot of influence from The Kinks in their own seventies albums.
  17. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    There’s a Change in the Weather – If there was any question this album is more musical/operetta than traditional rock album, this is the confirmation. Re-listening today, I hear that the “evil doin’” section is a restatement of the opening chords/music, but with an ominous tone. I enjoy the visual images some of you have painted!

    @mark winstanley mentioned moving back to the last bouncy chorus “ironically.” I also think it reflects the obliviousness, naivete, or willful head-in-the sand thinking of those who ignore the oncoming threat of fascism or other authoritarianism. In 1973, the most obvious recent historical example was Hitler in the 1930s, and perhaps that’s why we get the German oom-pah feel. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that this album came out a year after the film version of Cabaret, which was set in Germany in the 1930s with the rise of fascism as an undercurrent?

    Like some other songs on the Preservation albums, this song might not be singled out for a playlist but works well within the context of the album. If I have a complaint, it’s that I love the groove and sassy horns of that opening section and wish he had peeled that off for a completely separate song!

    Village Green Overture – An overture is an instrumental introduction to an extended composition that usually contains previews of multiple musical themes to follow. Here, it is basically an instrumental arrangement of the song “Village Green” with horns. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I could certainly hear this being an opening for a Preservation including VGPS songs.

    Picture Book/People Take Pictures of Each Other - In the Feb. 1973 studio version, “Picture Book” is taken at a leisurely tempo with subtle horns in the background; the horns feature prominently in the uptempo “People Take Pictures.” (I have these on the 2018 2-disc VGPS reissue). I like it; it’s a slightly different take on the songs.

    I don't have much to add about these re-recordings, other than they really make me wonder what his original Preservation concept was. I can understand incorporating the VGPS songs into a live Preservation context (with brass), but would Ray have actually included re-recordings of 5-year-old songs in an album version? As Mark said, perhaps more will be revealed if there are Super Deluxe sets of these albums.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
  18. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "There's A Change In The Weather" is a lot of fun if you ask me. I, too, hear parallels with "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey". And it just sounds theatrical with a big theme - a change in the weather and all that such a thing might represent (I believe in Mary Poppins it was a change in the wind).
  19. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    I agree with this. I like the original Kinks version of "Days," but there's a real intimacy and poignancy to the version Ray does with just acoustic guitar on the VGPS deluxe set. I wonder if it just felt too vulnerable at the time to do more stripped-down versions of such personal songs?
  20. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
  21. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    A fantastic write-up Mark!

    These re-arranged brass band versions of VGPS tracks were one of the big surprises of the big box, as I had no idea that they existed or what to expect. Fortunately, I really like them - they will never replace the originals but work well as alternate versions of well-known songs. If they had re-done all of the VGPS tracks in this style I would happily listen to it! Overture would have sounded great as an intro to a Preservation concert, but it's really interesting that these are studio recordings, making us wonder what Ray initially had in mind for Preservation, as others have noted. Perhaps the rest of the band weren't happy re-recording old tracks? Would RCA have even sanctioned the release of re-done tracks from an album that was a commercial failure?

    I think I've said this before, but it's interesting how Ray kept going back to VGPS themes over the years, tinkering and adding new stuff, making it analogous with Pete Townshend and Lifehouse.
  22. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Lovely piano in this!
  23. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I'm now listening to the Preservation versions of the Village Green songs. I'm so glad I picked up this deluxe box set. I haven't even gone through the entire thing yet, but these Village Green songs from the Preservation era are a highlight of the entire box. I never knew they had recorded versions of these songs. "The Village Green Preservation Society" is very similar to this live version from 1973 and it's practically my favorite video concert on You Tube. It's so great to have a nicely recorded version of this on the box set. This was already posted before, but it should be shown again. They close the set with it at the 24 minute mark.

  24. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    This is amazing!

    This would have set the scene perfectly to start the shows.

    I wish we had more of these Preservation style Village Green tunes!
  25. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Sweet Lady Genevieve
    It's only been in the past year that I became aware of this song. I fell in love with it immediately. HOW did this song escape my ears for all these years? This is primo Kinks! It's got everything I would expect of a great Kinks song. Catchy as all get out and a harmonica too. I find no fault with this other than I wish I knew about it sooner. :love:

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