The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zerox

    Zerox Forum Resident

    I'm glad that one of my fellow Brits has clarified the 'currant bun' rhyming slang in 'Sitting In The Midday Sun', as it wasn't until I started catching up with the last couple of days' posts that it occurred to me that there is a bit of the old Cockney jargon in some of the Kinks' lyrics. (That said, I can imagine a few puzzled people around the world even after they 'translated' 'Harry Rag' without realising what its rhyme referred to in the UK!)

    I just wanted to reiterate what I said previously about Act I as a whole; to me, it is quirky, eccentric and, once you allow yourself to enter its world, absorbing and rewarding. It doesn't possess the magic of the 'Village Green' album but then what does?! Without wishing to damn it with relatively faint praise, I must add that I hold it in high regard and that even the initially weaker tracks have redeemed themselves over the years.
  2. Dave’s voice is an acquired taste but I like it. As a harmony singer to Ray he was perfect. Heck, one could argue that Ray’s voice is an acquired taste as well.
  3. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I could just pull multiple quotes from both @mark winstanley and @Fortuleo today. Excellent posts on both today's song and their overall thoughts on the album.


    Nice mix of Ray and Dave with several different Kinks styles going on throughout. Dave's vocal may be slightly mixed too high again just like I felt it was on "Here Comes Flash". Someone mentioned Sly Stone, and it does have a hint of his rock n soul. What a great sound and a fantastic way to end the album. It leaves you hanging and makes you excited to hear what comes next on Act 2! Luckily, back in the 70s you only had to wait 6 months for the follow up. The amount of brilliant music Ray wrote in such a short amount of time is remarkable. By the time you can even fully appreciate this album, another one comes out. It must have been hard to keep up. Maybe that was part of the problem? There is too much going on within these songs to fully grasp it before the next album comes out, and then it gets forgotten about.

    Preservation Act 1

    Wow. What can I say that hasn't already been said? I'm happy this album has been generally very well received on this thread. The song by song analysis made me appreciate it more than ever. Is it their best album of the 70s? For me, I would have to say it's neck and neck with both Lola and Muswell. Each album is so great that I don't know if I could choose. I will say that this may be their most impressive for many reasons already stated by @Fortuleo. There isn't a weak link in the bunch. Now we head into Act 2 which is an album I listened to a lot this fall on headphone walks. I even picked up a pristine vinyl copy that I have played a dozen times in the last few months. The Kinks have many albums that I feel are underrated, but the Preservation albums are definitely the most misunderstood and neglected. Even though I like the 1973-1974 albums of their 60s contemporaries, The Kinks still reign supreme.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
  4. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I don't recall hearing this before. This version works just as well as the studio. I like the Blondie reference that @Fortuleo made about the female vocals. I also hear Dave singing many of the same lines on this version as he does on the album. He definitely has a vocal on here.
  5. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Having bought the LP on release, I made a point, on my honeymoon trip to London a few years later in 1978, to find an actual English currant bun. Needless to say, as an American, I had no clue that the phrase was Cockney rhyming slang, so…this was my literal homage to The Kinks, as was visiting Waterloo Station, and locating Berkeley Mews. I thought the bun was fine, but I’m actually much relieved to know, after all this time, that I can enjoy a sunny afternoon without one!
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Although included on the Act 1 cd, it wasn't actually released until after Act 2
  7. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico

    We got us a little rap here, eh?
    Ray's delivery is spot on.

    And the switch to Dave is soooooo perfect!!!
    It makes me wonder why they didn't do more trading off rather than just lead and backing, especially with all the character oriented storytelling the band did.

    Oh, and what a groove; what a great time for the rhythm section! Soulful. Funky. Momentum to spare!

    So upbeat in how it builds, but of course the lyrics tell us it's not all rosy. I love the infusion of underlying tension into the surface fun. A superficial listen just catches the groove, but active listening unearths the problems to come. So it is so often with life; like in the Lego Movie, we get told everything is awesome when the powers that be want us placated. We have to look deeper and listen for the meaning under the surface to understand what's really going on.

    Yeah, I'd say brilliant song for sure.
    side3, Zack, stewedandkeefed and 14 others like this.
  8. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    Yes, I hope that happens and I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts.

    The way Preservation played out on stage is also instructive if for no other reason than to highlight which songs are essential and which are filler in regard to presenting the actual story Ray wants to tell. The filler songs are cut--for good reason--because they don't fit the "money corrupts" morality tale Ray winds up with (which is different from what he started out with--much of which is present on Part 1.)

    Note: "filler" is often assumed to be a pejorative, but here it's not meant to distinguish good from bad. IMO, some of the non-essential filler songs are the best parts of Acts 1 and 2.
  9. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Preservation Act 1

    As has happened already a couple times in this thread, I've come out of an album with a greater appreciation than I had going in. Usually that's been due to the benefits of hearing with all the ears of all the avids rather than just my own. This one was different though. My newfound appreciation is pretty much my own, this time borne of having come to appreciate all those musical styles that I didn't want in my rock years ago. From traditional jazz infusions to dance hall to musical theater, this album covers a lot of ground and I'm now in a position to truly get the most out of it.

    This album has made by far the biggest appreciation jump so far for me on this thread. I'm still dubious Act II can do the same for a number of reasons, but I still relish the journey.
  10. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Great album closer to an overall splendid record.
    Really love the horns in this song. They make me happy. As does Dave getting some rockin' lead vocals in. Good choice to do that. Catchy song from beginning to end. Hurrah!

    I've been trying to hunt down a video I've seen online where Ray is talking/being interviewed by someone in a London street and suddenly the building behind them collapses(they obviously knew that this building was coming down as there was no surprise factor). I think Ray was a little obsessed with the demolition of the past. Ray don't say?!

    Preservation Act I
    I believe this may be my favorite album since Lola vs Powerman. And as others have said, I've read time and time again how this theatrical period was so awful. I think a lot of people were being too lazy to really try to listen to this one. If you love the 60s Kinks, there's stuff on here that reflects that sound, but there are a lot of other crazy things going on too. Something for everyone. If Ray kept on re-writing Waterloo Sunset and the like, he'd get bored and we'd get bored. There's no come down in quality on this record. Having said that, I AM a little concerned about Part II. GULP.

    Preservation Act I is a winner with a few exceptions, which is cool.
  11. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    That’s in the 1972 Kinks At The Rainbow TV special, which I think should still be viewable online here: (It’s also on the DVD included on the BBC box)

    spoiler alert: I prefer Pres Act 2 to Act 1. And I like Act 1!
  12. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    That’s what we like to hear! A bit of enthusiasm going into an album that gets far too much negativity! I think it’s a fascinating album! I have been looking forward to this discussion for months!
  13. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks! I've been meaning to steal some time to watch this. Let's hope I can do it this time. :)
  14. JTemperance

    JTemperance Forum Resident

    I've been loving this thread - an absolute wonder of Kinks scholarship! It's been so great to read all your posts, even though I've found it difficult to add much of interest (although I was proud to talk about the early drummer John Start/Brix Smith-Start/The Fall connection that even Johnny Rogan missed out on!)

    I was reading Rogan's chapter about the first half of 1973 today, and it's alternately ridiculous, absurd and upsetting as things spin further out of control than usual (including him crashing and ruining a get-together of Rasa's, where he claims he summarized the plot of Deep Throat until an enraged guest smashed a flowerpot over his head.)

    I never really thought about the timing of his major breakdowns before, the early 1966 one and the mid-1973 one, but they certainly bookend a period of astonishing creativity - it's too neat to say it corresponds with the 'classic' period, but what a stretch of writing.

    While the first breakdown was marked by violence against others (Rasa, the man who suggested Ray was wearing flared trousers and was therefore assaulted), his second one was marked with violence against himself. Without dwelling on the trauma of those months, and the month and a half where it seemed like The Kinks were truly done, I'll just say that I, like so many others, am so grateful to still have him here, nearly 50 years later.
  15. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    So I got back home and checked my copy of Rhino's Preservation - a play in 2 acts. Of course, the single Preservation is there, opening Act 1. I had no memory of it at all. When I listened to the song earlier this year, I thought I heard it for the first time. That goes to show how much that song impressed me. At least I could have remembered the Hendrix ripped-off riff which is about all the interest that this song has to me, but no.

    I have a few weeks to change my mind about it, but I'm not sure I will. One thing is certain, "Morning Song/Daylight" were always the obvious start of the album, in my mind. Maybe because Preservation is subtitled "Prologue".
  16. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    I ♭VII IV I. Although it's not as long, you can also throw the fade-out of "I Can See Clearly Now" on to that pile. They are stately chords. "Gloria" and "The Last Time" are pretty much built around them entirely.
  17. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Dave’s more histrionic vocals grate sometimes (“Bernadette”, anyone?), but they work here very effectively.
  18. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    So much for not posting the daily song at 4 or 5 am during your week off, ha ha. I get it, though. I’m on vacation all this week too and even though staying up later, I’m still waking and getting up well before daylight. At 53, old habits you know… no alarm clock needed these days.
  19. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    As usual, @Fortuleo has done a superb summary. Musically, there is so much here that I love. I agree with @Vangro that it brings to mind the rockers on Lola, which to me is a very good thing. It has such a rousing ending, and the ending melody that becomes the recurring theme in Act 2 is so irresistibly catchy that I find myself wishing Ray had used this music for a more universally-themed upbeat single.

    But it's used here, and I love it anyway...all of the things previously mentioned. And the falsetto on "everything we nee-EEED." Ray's delivery of "It hasn't got a garden but it's got a lovely patio" makes me smile every time. The harmonic changes on the main theme near the end of the coda are perfect.

    Lyrically, I find the social commentary on the Preservation albums tends to veer to the unsubtle and heavy-handed. But here I'm conflicted because lines like "I've got to satisfy my greed/It's my faith and my religion" certainly still apply today.

    Preservation Act 1:
    This is why I can't use the "Favorites Playlist" method to evaluate the Preservation albums. I like all the Act 1 songs in the album context except for "Cricket."

    I'm not convinced the album structure is unflawed; I think it would make more sense to introduce the current villain (Flash) before introducing the villain to replace him (Mr. Black). And I know Act 1 can be considered to be primarily an introduction of characters for Act 2, but the album still feels like a mishmash. It feels like Ray decided to use the songs from the original Preservation concept (e.g., "One of the Survivors"), which introduced characters we don't see again. Then once he decided on the new storyline, he added several theatrical songs - including those that introduce his NEW main characters - but didn't have time to restructure the whole thing. And he invented The Tramp character to sing songs unrelated to the plot like "Sweet Lady Genevieve." That's just my take.

    But I don't care. It's a strong album anyway. Its relative lack of popularity probably has more to do with its being as much musical theater as rock album, and without a killer single.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
  20. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Yeah I agree Ray had an idea/concept in mind at the start of 1973 but it had morphed into something else as he developed more songs and material. Mr. Prolific as always, he dropped some songs while adding new ones. I think he was also becoming increasingly unsure how to do this as albums and live performances and maintaining coherence with the two. Home video via VHS, DVD, Blu Ray are science fiction at this point so a band’s connection with an audience is still via radio, records and touring. Let’s be honest here too. He was making this up as he went along and deciding what he thinks will work and what won’t.
    I get the feeling from those who were of the age to hear the albums and witnessed these shows contemporaneously that the live shows had more coherence due to the visual element.

    Playlists based on number of songs and time restrictions are not for me. The playlists are the albums themselves and the attendant single a and b-sides not on the album, alternate versions/mixes that turn up over the years. In other words, everything from the particular sessions/recordings.
  21. Zerox

    Zerox Forum Resident

    I'm really glad you mentioned that, as it's always struck me too. There's a pleasing irony here, given how much Pete Townsend idolises Ray. When I saw Ray on his 'Storyteller' tour in the late '90s, someone yelled out a request for 'Pinball Wizard', to which Ray responded, "I see the retards on in tonight!", before playing the intro to 'Lola' in a way that mimicked the beginning of 'Pinball Wizard'. It was one of the better examples of dealing with a heckler that I've encountered!
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Preservation: Act 2.

    Studio album by
    the Kinks
    8 May 1974
    Recorded January – March 1974
    Studio Konk Studios, London
    Genre Rock
    Length 67:00
    Label RCA (original)
    Rhino (1991 reissue)
    Velvel (1998 reissue)
    Producer Ray Davies

    Additional personnel


    • Roger Beale – engineer
    • Pat Doyle – art direction
    • Bob Searles – design
    • Jerry Preston – illustration

    Side 1
    1. Announcement - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    2. Introduction To Solution - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    3. When A Solution Comes - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    4. Money Talks - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    5. Announcement - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    6. Shepherds Of The Nation - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Side 2
    1. Scum Of The Earth - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    2. Second-Hand Car Spiv - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    3. He's Evil - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    4. Mirror Of Love - stereo mix, Ray Davies' demo, recorded probably Dec 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    5. Announcement - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Side 3
    1. Nobody Gives - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    2. Oh Where Oh Where Is Love? - stereo mix, recorded probably May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    3. Flash's Dream (The Final Elbow) - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    4. Flash's Confession - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Side 4
    1. Nothing Lasts Forever - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    2. Announcement - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    3. Artificial Man - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    4. Scrapheap City - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    5. Announcement - stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    6. Salvation Road - stereo mix, recorded probably May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Cd Bonus tracks
    22. Mirror Of Love - stereo mix, new recording with full band, US single mix (different from UK single mix), recorded 17-18 Jun, 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    23. Slum Kids live - stereo mix, recorded Mar 1979 at (unknown venue)

    The Wiki write up
    Preservation Act 2 is a 1974 concept album by the English rock band the Kinks, and their thirteenth studio album. While it sold poorly, (peaking on the Billboard 200 at No. 114), it received a warm response among some critics. John Swenson, writing for Crawdaddy, counted Preservation Act 2 as one of his favorite albums of 1974. [6] Ken Emerson, in Rolling Stone, also held out the album as an "underrated" one in the Kinks' repertoire. [7] The live performances of the material were much better received, with one critic going so far as to say that the Preservation shows were first successful fusion of rock and roll with theater: "Ray Davies has finally pulled it off-- the Kinks-based theatrical production of Preservation is a great rock concert and a perfectly coordinated musical."[8] Janet Maslin, reviewing the album for the New Times, described Preservation Act 2 as a "profoundly pessimistic" and "apocalyptic" tale, reflecting, "What Preservation does is provide him [Davies] with a chance to let loose through outright fictionalizing, escape the pain of his experience through the black humor of his nightmares."[9]

    So interestingly, the Preservation project was the first project recorded by the band in their private studio, Konk, and both albums seem to generally be met with a wide variance of opinions from everyone.... fans, critics, and general bystanders.
    I don't think Act 1 gets as much flak as Act 2, but either way, a large proportion of people seem to dislike the RCA years.... personally I am yet to see a problem ......

    In fact, I actually like Act 2 as well....

    This is the band's first double album, in an era where double albums always get the same kind of reaction from a lot of people, which seems to be based around the idea that it would have been a better single album.... I guess that's why we end up with a ton of threads on the forum about making so many classic double albums "better", by turning them into single albums.... and I rarely agree with the premise.

    This isn't an album that instantly jumped into my world as a classic Kinks album, and it isn't an album that easily slid into heavy rotation..... In fact in many ways, it is an album that I have wrestled with.
    To the best of my memory....
    Initially when I heard this, I quite liked it. I have always liked artists to stretch out and see what they can come up with, as I have always found that much more interesting than 10-12 songs about relationships, one night stands and all of that.... not that I dislike those kinds of songs/albums, but an idea that can make you think, whether positively or negatively is generally going to appeal to me, even if it isn't totally convincing.
    Over the years I have had it, I have flip flopped between really liking it, and scratching my head....

    Over the last few months I have listened to this a lot, because I knew I would need to.
    To clarify, 99.9% of the time my listens are in the car going to and from work, or the shops or whatever, and that is why, until I get here, I only have the songs settled in mind, lyrics and concepts aren't that easy to fully digest or engage behind the wheel of a car... so all that kind of stuff comes together for me when we do this.

    I get the impression from the thread so far that many folks aren't that keen on the announcements, but they don't bug me at all, in fact I quite like them. I think they work in context with the album.... and it almost adds the element of showing the propaganda attached to most political movements ....
    Anyway, for me the announcements work. Obviously I am not going to put "announcement 2" on a compilation tape/cd/playlist or whatever, but I am an album listener, almost exclusively, so when I listen to this album.... that is what I'm doing, and the announcements are fine by me.

    As suggested by a couple of people, I think.... if I remember rightly? .... this album is probably the closest the Kinks came to a prog/rock album, but I don't really hear it as a prog rock album, and I actually love me some prog, regardless of the broader dislike that the genre seems to get these days :)
    This really ends up being the band's most extreme album of theatre. This probably could have been set up as a Broadway Production.... though I doubt it would have beaten Cats run lol, as it isn't exactly a warm fuzzy album of fun.
    And I think that brings us to the second reason that a lot of people probably don't gel with this album. This is sort of socio-politically heavy, and it isn't very subtle on its face. It is rather in your face, and somewhat opinionated I guess.... but that's fine with me, I sort of like being challenged.

    As we go along the album, we will get more focused on all those kinds of things, but in a general overview, I think it is safe to say that several concepts and themes here, are not really ever going to be easily digested by a lot of people, and no matter what was on this album, with the themes put forward, it was never going to be a top ten album.... I don't think it is designed to be.

    So I have made peace with this album, and I think it has settled into a comfortable place for me. There are a couple of songs that I don't really love, but I don't really hate them either, and there are a few songs that I do really enjoy a lot.
    There are songs that frustrate me to some degree, because broad brushstrokes can somewhat misrepresent ....... but this is a play, so I take it in context as a play, and the specific.... in fact, very specific characters that the play is presenting.

    Anyway, I will likely have more to say at the end than the beginning, because some of this still needs to be fully conceptually revealed to me, as we go through the songs and themes they are presenting.

    This should be a very interesting discussion, and I will try to be as non-controversial as possible, with a potentially very controversial album, with a lot of quite controversial songs.
    Lets try not to get too personalised in the politics here, and we can have a nice discussion :)

    Anyway, please give us your story with this album, today. Your history with it, you know the questions by now. Just let us know where you have stood with this album at any given time during your relationship, or lack thereof with this album.
    Also try as much as possible to keep your mind open to the album as we go through, even if you feel you hate it, and let's see where we end up at the end of it
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2021
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

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