The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. 1. Always loved this album. It has lots of great songs--pointedly not "Money Talks," which, for some reason, the band flogged endlessly, in concert and on TV--and the announcements and such seemed no different from and no sillier than the odd bits and histrionic moments on other concept albums. "There's a doctor I've found can cuuuuure, the boy!..." The Preservation story is both simplistic and incoherent--which isn't an easy combination to pull off--but I don't think about it. I skip "Flash's Confession" and enjoy practically everything else.

    2. I enjoy the female vocals, which are, in a very Kinks-appropriate manner, sometimes endearingly flat. Or sharp. Or something.

    3. The album sounds fantastic. Such bass!

    4. Someone named Ogmios has posted three ASMR Dashcam videos on YouTube, which I highly recommend.

    They are just his commentary on what he sees out his front window as he does "Zen motoring" around Lond0n. Very sweet. In episode 2, at about 6:40, he comes upon some young Purim revelers. I can't help thinking how Mr. Flash they look.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    First off, I was coming home from food shopping this morning when the AM oldies station that I listen to in my car played "Sunny Afternoon". What a glorious moment, the Kinks on AM radio like it was 1966.

    Anyway, Preservation Act 2 was another early purchase from the Record Exchange. When I started getting into the Kinks in 1977-78, I got albums from all 3 periods of their career (Pye/Reprise, RCA & Arista). I liked Act 2 enough back then to make it a subject of a high school English paper, for which I received a grade of 64. I still have my original vinyl, as well as the 1991 Rhino CD set.

    It really took my watching Preservation as done by the Boston Rock Opera in 1998 to finally "get" it, as my friend Jimmy did many years ago when he got to see the Kinks themselves perform it. He has told me many times that it was his favorite Kinks concert. He also said that they were their best opening act (they played a set of their hits before coming back after intermission w/Preservation).

    Speaking of the Boston Rock Opera, as promised, here's a video of their performance of Act 2 from 1993. They did another version in 1998 w/material from Act 1, the one I saw, but it's not on YouTube. Ray did get wind of their performance & their was talk about him financing a tour, but that didn't happen.


    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I kinda agree w/Avid Vangro. I see more of a political than a religious thing going on. Maybe a bit of a Moral Majority thing. Also, it's ironic that John Gosling is the Vicar, considering his nickname of "Baptist" & the fact that he was trained in classical church music.
  4. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Preservation Act 2 - My first exposure to Act 2 was seeing the album in record racks (usually cutout bins) back in the 70s. Other than songs on the Celluloid Heroes compilation, the material was unfamiliar to me until recently, although I’ve long been aware of its dim reputation.

    Preservation Act 2 brought to mind Let ‘Em Eat Cake, a 1933 political satire musical by George and Ira Gershwin, George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind that was a sequel to their 1931 Broadway hit Of Thee I Sing. The sequel was not nearly as successful, partly because it was much darker and more complex, including a storyline about a former Vice President forming “an incipient Fascist movement to take over the government,” to quote Wikipedia.

    Truthfully, I am not intimately familiar with either Gershwin musical, though I have heard the songs and had a look at the lyrics. But reading the Preservation “libretto” reminded me of Let ‘Em Eat Cake because Preservation is also political and dark. It, too, was not particularly successful with the public, perhaps understandably. It is not uplifting* or optimistic, and is actually fairly cynical. Musically, for many of the Act 2 songs, it seems apparent to me that Ray’s narrative and lyrics were the creative drivers, and the accompanying music and melodies came second. I haven’t spent the concentrated time with lyrics that it deserves, but the music has grown on me as I get more familiar with it. I expect I will like it more as we go on.

    As for the cover, it's one of my least favorite Kinks album covers. But as long as the Schoolboys cover exists, I won’t complain too much about this one.
    Yes, it’s worth remembering that the records are basically “original cast albums” (per the 1991 Rhino reissue) for the stage/musical presentation. So things that strike me on the album as overly campy (the over-the-top affected vocal on “Oh Where Oh Where Is Love” quickly comes to mind) were no doubt more entertaining as part of a broadly theatrical presentation. It’s sort of like how original cast albums for Broadway musicals feature very “loud” singing; it’s a broader style than singing in the studio, and it's just the nature of the art form. So the albums, simply taken as recordings only, have that working against them IMO.

    *If I recall correctly, it was Kit Lambert who convinced Pete Townshend to reprise the triumphant "Listening to You" at the end of Tommy, which otherwise would have had a rather dark ending.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2021
  5. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I should probably be more sympathetic but your honesty (and clear recollection) made me laugh out loud.

    When I find the time I’ll watch this. Thanks.
  6. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Y’all have me chuckling non-stop this a.m. :D
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's all totally political. My point wasn't that the album is religious at all.... merely that, from my experiences, many many people switch off completely at the vaguest mention of religion/zealotry.
    GarySteel, CheshireCat, Tim 2 and 4 others like this.
  8. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    I enjoyed going through Act I and it probably gained a few notches in its rep with me and I hope the same happens with Act II. It does contain "Mirror Of Love" which I always enjoyed (that Kinks Kaught Konspiculousy vinyl bootleg is to blame). My memory is that Act II is a bit of a slog but I find reading other opinions and the valuable context provided in this thread helps a lot.
  9. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    One wonders if your low grade on the paper was due to the misuse of words like “ironic”.:)
    DISKOJOE likes this.
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line The Under Asst East Coast White Label Promo Man

    We can agree to disagree, I just feel Ray's writing (& self editing) consistency batting average per song was notably different circa '73-'74 in comparison to say '66-'69.
    This is not saying he was no longer writing any standout material as at times he still was.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2021
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  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line The Under Asst East Coast White Label Promo Man

    If he finds 11 guys that look suitably Flash send them to the SCG next week!
  12. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I place these last Act I and II albums in the Ray-Davies-Musical-Theater camp, meaning I don’t crunch the batting averages in the same manner.
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I don't see a change of quality in writing, merely a change in direction .... and I certainly understand that many may not like that direction.
    CheshireCat, Ex-Fed, DISKOJOE and 2 others like this.
  14. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Preservation Act 2

    I first bought this CD sometime in the early 90s which was probably along with Act 1. In these early days I listened to Act 1 far more. I have always been intrigued by Act 2, but it also seemed like a chore to listen to the entire thing. I didn’t care much about any of the story line. There were a few standout songs that have been in rotation since I first purchased it, but I barely ever listened to the entire album.

    As I already mentioned recently, I bought a vinyl copy a few months ago and started spending more time getting to know the full album. Now I enjoy practically every song, even the announcements, which at one time kind of annoyed me. It helps to follow the plot and the characters, but I still think all good songs can stand on their own. There are some brilliant melodies and performances throughout this record.

    I happen to love the album cover. It has a Ray in the Wizard of Oz feel with the tornado and the emerald green sign. It’s much better than some album covers coming up.

    This is a challenging and very rewarding record. I'm looking forward to going through it with all of you.
    I completely agree! I’ll take it over all of these albums. It does seem odd how the Preservation albums don't get the same level of respect as any of these overblown albums that are all considered masterpieces. There is only one concept/double album from the mid 70s that I would put in the same league as these Kinks records, and it's a bizarre behemoth of an album about a lamb on Broadway.
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line The Under Asst East Coast White Label Promo Man

    I figured that and it is convenient.:)
  16. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    I don't have a clear idea what Ray was trying to do with this project, to be honest, but the darkness and seriousness of the subject matter, allied to the milieu of Flash - the world of gangsterism and cutthroat capitalism - definitely suggests Brecht rather than Broadway. However it falls way short of Brecht, so it's probably wiser to think of it as Broadway, or off- Broadway after all.
  17. Zack

    Zack Senior Member

    Easton, MD
    I have previously posted about my love of Act 1 and my bitter disappointment when I finally landed Act 2 at a record show. I can't get past the first announcement. It starts with the theme music that makes it appear as on Flash's State TV, then reprises in the Mr. Black finale. The bit continues with real bad news reporting: "It has been rumored that this is a definite attempt to overthrow the present government" (I'm a journalist.) Also, the Preservation single says this all takes place in a "far away land" but later there are references to a dystopian United Kingdom. The arrangments pound on my head, the lyric "breasts that are bare and pubic hair" is about the worst thing Ray has ever come up with, the songs all repeat the same conceit over and over again, and the themes are so muddled we don't know who is good, who is bad, what does Ray trying to say here? What does he believe? While some have praised the melodies here, I don't hear one that I want to put on a best-of Kinks mix. Seriously not one. It's all just so grim and sloppily presented. By the next record, Ray's got me back --"You'd better come to bed, darling . . ." (Tee hee!) But I hear no joy, no beauty, no Ray magic across these entire four sides.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2021
  18. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Boomer OK
    I loved this when it came out, from the concept to the songs to the wild artwork. My then-gf, eventually first wife, especially adored “Nothing Lasts Forever,” which was prophetic as our marriage broke up after 15 years! Anyway, not to be tiresome on the subject, but seeing it performed live in concert was a hoot. Serious themes on the album, vivid crazy fun on stage. There’s really never been anything like the Preservation years.
  19. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I “like” your list despite disagreement with the latter portion.
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Well, :D, …there ya go! Gotta stick to my principles.
  21. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Imagine yourself driving down a state highway late at night with only the odd headlight, first on high-beam but switching to normal as you get closer, of an on-coming car to contend with as you listen to this as if it is radio theater. At least I think it would be quite engrossing that way!
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  22. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Not having liked Preservation Act 1 too much, except for one stand-out track, I'm now fearing the worst.

    But I'll give the songs a listen and try to be positive.

    As for the cover ... well, they're all starting to look the same to me.

    Ray Davies looking camp and dominating proceedings. I thought the Kinks were a group, but I'm having more than slight doubts.
  23. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    ... so were the rest of the band.
  24. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    According to the sleeve notes on the CD, Dave says it was a very creative time for the band and he felt much more involved than he had done over the previous few years.
  25. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Very interesting.

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