The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    After @Wondergirl's multiple sun songs (which we've yet to list) and the four "sitting on/in/by" tracks, this is another of Ray's serialized inspiration for songs. The "Where is/are/have" tunes. I count four (by order of personal preference):

    - Oh Where oh where is love ?
    - Where Have All the Good Times Gone
    - Where Are They Now ?
    - Where Did My Spring Go ?

    I like to note these seemingly coincidental and futile things because they inform us on the author's way of thinking. This guy often sees himself "sitting" to laze and reminisce, and he's often drawn to wonder "where" things he used to like in the past could be now, as if they've disappeared somewhere, but could be reclaimed somehow in a fantasy world. Regrets, absence, disappearances, elusiveness… It's a pattern, not a random coincidence, a hint at how his brain works and what engages his emotions – and as a consequence ours, the fans', the people who connect the most with his songs.

    I'm not surprised this track proves (slightly) divisive. It's Ray at his most melodic but I guess the lady duet factor can be confusing, or at least go against some expectations. I remember noting a bit of that baffled reaction towards his recent masterpiece from the Americana record A Place in Your Heart, a worthy candidate for his best solo song in my opinion, except he hardly sings it at all (the Jayhawks' own Karen Grotberg gets most of the lead vocals on that one, and it's a beauty). Agreed with @donstemple about the Brian Wilson's duet with his wife Marylin on Let's Put Our Hearts Together, I thought about that one too.
    I definitely hear that! Great, ahem… dare I say… catch ?
  2. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I think we should have waited for the great song lists until the end! I like to find out every morning what @mark winstanley and @Fortuleo think of a song! Now I know some of their favorites! I only glanced at the list so maybe I will forget when we get there.
  3. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Oh Where Oh Where Is Love

    I think Abba should have covered this on their new album.

    I'm not an Abba fan.
  4. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Nice rundown as usual, Mark. Sometimes you do your best work on these oddball songs that naturally divide opinion.

    In fact, I really love reading all the positive opinions from those avids who take to those songs that the majority malign.

    On paper, I can find plenty of reasons to dismiss this jaunty little bit, but once it jumps in my ear, I can't help but enjoy it despite myself.
  5. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Two years from now? I’ll be 65!
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I know I will lol
  7. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Oh Where Oh Where Is Love"

    This would always be an immediate skip for me only because it doesn't sound like The Kinks when the female vocal comes on. I guess in my rebellious youth I had no patience to even give it a chance. Nice call by @DISKOJOE about the similarities to "Catch The Wind" in the beginning. I also completely agree with @mark winstanley about this song reminding me of The Pogues. This is a lovely melody and song. I like the female vocal mixed with Ray these days. When Ray sings "The world is spinning and turning" it has a carnival feel like we are on a merry-go-round. The female vocals do sound at times very much like Chrissie Hynde. The very ending when they sing " love love love love love" as it fades out, makes me think of the beginning of "Bracelets Of Fingers" by The Pretty Things, which is strikingly similar. Another top notch tune for Act 2!
  8. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    If I'd been on earlier I'd have mentioned 'Catch The Wind'.
  9. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Oh Where Oh Where Is Love
    I like this one, a nice light singalong musically. Not the first time Ray has given us a light bouncy tune over somewhat more sombre lyrics, and where else can you rhyme homicide and suicide with this sort of melody!
    Anyway, in these chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty, where Flash is about to have a breakdown and Black ready for his military coup, it's nice that our friend the Tramp can share this light-hearted tune with us all.
  10. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Oh Where Oh Where Is Love is another unique and interesting composition full of movement that seems appropriate for the Tramp's state of mind at this point. The return of the 3-beat rhythm from Scum Of The Earth is back, which always feels like a side-to-side swaying movement. Meanwhile the melody descends ("And every night I close my eyes ..."), then ascends again ("Where is love and appreciation of storybooks ..."). We swap back and forth between the male and female vocalists. We have lines where the words are complex and full of syllables ("Full of hatefulness and bitterness sincerity don't stand a chance") to lines of monosyllabic words in a a gentle, swinging, iambic flow ("and every night I close my eyes and ask the stars above"). Meanwhile the bass propels everything forward with that repeated, upward slide. I'm pretty sure it took me a while to connect with this one but I enjoy it now. Ray was definitely focused on telling the story in his own way; despite the gentle feel of the song there's no way this could ever be a hit with words like rape, homicide, suicide, hatefulness, bitterness!
  11. Adam9

    Adam9 Русский военный корабль, иди на хуй.

    Toronto, Canada
    "...and every night I close my eyes and ask the stars above" sounds like a nod to Dion And The Belmonts:
  12. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Where Oh Where is Love
    This is a very pleasant song. And I think I may like it a lot. I haven't heard it more than 4 or 5 times, so still not 100% sure.

    I'm digging the woman's voice. So warm and inviting. And the melding of their two voices at different parts works very well. (I don't think she sounds like Chrissie...but the song in general feels more Pogue-ish to me) EDITED TO SAY: it sounds like we're not sure who is dueting with Ray here. Which is pretty annoying. shouldn't this be spelled out. Yet another example of the Kinks (ray?) not giving credit where it's due. That's disappointing.

    The deep bass sound heard is maybe inserted to keep this otherwise light and airy sounding song on the ground. Otherwise it may float off somewhere. LOL

    The lyrics aren't necessarily as light because the characters are wondering where are all the wondrous yet ordinary things that life has to offer? Where have all the good times gone, in other words? Terrible people like Flash and Mr Black have destroyed them. Their money and power can't buy things like love, romance, and hope though.

    When Ray sings: "Oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where is love?" - that bit hooks me in. Lovely.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2022
  13. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: If I may state the obvious, the Costello comparisons are probably due to the fact that he composed tons of tunes in 3/4 time like this. "Oh Where Oh Where Is Love" sounds like it contains elements that would later emerge in "The Other End Of The Telescope," "American Without Tears" and "Peace In Our Time."

    Of course, another guy who has always been very fond of waltzes is Bob Dylan. This tune reminds me a lot of "No Time To Think."

  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    It is similar!
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Flash's Dream (The Final Elbow).

    stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Scene: Mr. Black's army is closing in on Flash & The Spivs.
    After a long day's campaigning Flash, having overindulged
    the alcohol, has fallen asleep in his den.

    Voice: Cooee. Cooee. Flash. Flash

    Flash: Who is this?

    Voice: Wake up Flash. Can you hear me Flash?

    Flash: Who is this? Who dares to wake me from my slumber?

    Voice: Need I announce myself? Am I such a stranger to you?

    Flash: Say your name. Speak!

    Voice: I am your soul.

    Flash: My soul?

    Voice: I have come to show you who you are.

    Flash: Show me who I am? I know who I am you upstart! How
    dare you intrude.

    Voice: You lied and schemed and took over a simple village and
    turned it into a vulgar playground for your own money-
    making ends. Before you came people lived simple lives.
    This was a happy place. Then you ploughed up the fields,
    sold off the land and lined your own pockets with the profits.

    Flash: Lies! Lies! I did it to help the nation

    Voice: You did it for your own preservation!

    Flash: No! No!

    Voice: Prepare yourself Flash, there are many who suffered at your
    hands. They are craving for vengeance. Time is running out.

    Flash: Can this be the end? Can this be the swan song? The final
    elbow? I will not go. The people need me.

    Voice: Men like you will always come and go, but the people will go
    on forever. Take one final look at the past Flash. Enjoy it,
    because you have no future.

    Flash: No! No! No! I can't stand this.

    Trumpets herald the final confrontation between Flash and himself.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    This reminds me a little of A Christmas Carol in the way it is set up, and also the way it is used in the story. Flash's soul/conscience awakes him to give him a good dressing down, and to turn his thoughts to the reality of his behaviour and actions.

    The spoken narrative is pretty straight forward, but we get a few nice little inserts to spice it up a little. We have some nice reverse reverb effects underneath, to give the voice a certain kind of ghostly nature.
    Ray gives Flash a pinched, kind of voice, that wouldn't be out of place on an old school BBC radio play... perhaps not the Goon Show, but that kind of thing.

    After the voice says "This was a Happy Place", we get a nice little insert of Change In The Weather, and it works well as a musical reminder of where we have been, and also a bit of a memory prod for Flash, and us, if we have drifted off at some point.

    We get the voice laying it on thick for Flash, and Flash is suitably disturbed by it all.

    The voice states " Take one final look at the past Flash, because you have no future" and Flash gives us a few dramatic "No, No"'s.
    This leads into a musical revision of the album so far, to some degree.
    We get layered bits and pieces of various tracks with some of that somewhat ghostly reverse reverb on there to decent effect.

    We come in with a marching beat, led by the kick and the bass, with the horns driving it forward. It comes to us as an ever building crescendo. Again some nice drum accents from Mick, and Dave has a couple of nice bits in there too.

    A nice game to play today may be name that tune.
    Perhaps "Here Comes Flash" I can't quite pick that first one.
    Demolition is pretty obvious.
    Perhaps Maney Corruption/ I Am Your Man

    Anyway, some of you are much more familiar with this album than me, so maybe you can drop them in here for us.

    Essentially Ray uses a nice technique of making a collage of vocals and music from songs we have had through the Preservation story, and they build to a crescendo in Flash's conscience, as he sees that the voice had merely told him the truth, and revealed to Flash his culpability in everything that is going on.... and of course that includes opening the way for a shady character like Mr Black to have a platform in the first place.

    We swirl into a sound effect wall that zips into a delay, and that leads us into to tomorrow's song Flash's Confession. I was going to do that today, to tie these together, but I reckon it needs its own space.

    This is essentially a narrative tool, and is one of the few tracks that really doesn't have a home outside the album for me. I still like it and think it is effective though.

  16. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Flash's Dream
    Exhibit A in" The Case Against Preservation Act Two".
    This is unnecessary and ridiculous.
  17. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    It's stupid and Ray's acting is so terrible I can only assume he's taking the p***.

    "... because you have no future" is lifted straight from "A Christmas Carol", I think? I just saw the Alastair Sim version over Christmas so I think it is!
    DISKOJOE, donstemple, Zeki and 7 others like this.
  18. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Oh where oh where is "Oh Where Oh Where Is Love" ?
  19. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Agreed, Ray's acting is the main offender here.
  20. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

  21. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    At least the Announcements are over quickly....this goes on for nearly four minutes. It's amusing to listen to once, but after that it just becomes an obstacle stopping you from getting to "Flash's Confession" quicker.

    Doesn't really help to clear up the contradictions in the story either - are Flash & Black campaigning for an election or at war? Are they in charge of the village or country? And yes, Ray's acting as Flash doesn't help.
  22. The low point of the album for me, unfortunately. Sub-high school writing and acting. I do like the phrase "the final elbow," which strikes me as having some poetic resonance.

    This piece is what Reject buttons on turntables were made for. Thus, I haven't heard the last number on the side, "Flash's Confession," all that many times.
  23. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    The Final Elbow is just a little play on the slang expression, "to give someone the elbow", I don't know if it's a Cockney expression or not but it sounds like it is.
  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    In Johnny Rogan's 1998 'Complete Guide To The Music Of The Kinks' book he says that Ray's acting here is like 'someone who's been listening to too much Vincent Price!' tbh I'm not familar enough with Mr Price's CV to know if that's an accurate comparison but I have always found it an intriguingly specific one.

    I wouldn't drop this one to set the dancefloor alight at my local church rave and I can't say it's good on any objectively measurable metric but I always enjoy it when it's on. I hope when the band Elbow release their farewell album they name it after this track and also cover it on it.
  25. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Still, a case could be made for an edit that would leave the dialogue out and keep the collage crescendo, which is not so badly made.

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