The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    This song is right in Ray's love of music hall wheelhouse and he pulls off a winner. Definitely a Pogues Fairytale of NY feel to the female vocals. It kind of has a holiday season song vibe. I don't hear this as being that far removed from Ray's mid-late 60s work. Dave adds some nice country-ish fills as well.
  2. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I just asked her.... let's see.
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Scrapheap City

    As the song starts I can imagine Ray sing Holiday after the opening bars.
    Whilst not overly familiar with Happy Trails the sedate rhythmic chug that follows has me thinking of one of the mini suites from the Who's A Quick One While He's Away track.
    I like the female vocals here more than the previous track if only that it's a more suitable for & Dave gets in some nice licks & fills.
    Whilst the music is a bit generic I find it nice to have a break from getting another Ray mini epic composition that has near everything bar the kitchen sink thrown in, the cupboards and shelves have been nice but I found the glue between the parts had often been on show!

    Edit: Given all Black is doing i wonder if he aim's to abolish any future democratic elections least he be voted out as otherwise it would only be a matter of time and almost any other candidate would appear attractive!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
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  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    OT but side 4 of Exile is relentlessly good!
  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    I love the fact there are actual....Do-Gooders!
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    It says Ray collaborated on this production, but other than his feedback & encouragement how exactly was this manifest?
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Great point!
    N.b. I am betting that Act II worked better across 4 LP sides than the single CD I once discarded.
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Did you attend in character dress?
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  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    This is turning into a dog day afternoon!
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    If you had someone might have pulled their trilby down over their eyes.
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  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Say Wha?
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  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Has it been posted?
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  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Thanks for posting this it's enormous fun and for me I find the Preservation songs more engaging and entertaining in concert.
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  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Ah yes as just the mention of "The Millard Tape/s" is recalled reverentially in certain circles!

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    What do you mean, Avid All Down the Line? Also, no puppy piccy yet, alas.
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    If a puppy pic is required, here is 12 week old Mavis (Staples) with her big brother Miles (Davis).... yes the Mrs gave her a Christmas bow.

    Damn phones
  17. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Scrapheap City

    This one has grown on me, as I’ve focused on the last 2 sides of this album the last week or so. The way “quality”, “purity” , “they look pretty”, “ain’t it a pity” are sung is very memorable, and has been stuck in my head.

    I like how “they're coming to take me away” calls back to Here Come the People in Gray.

    They say that good manners belong on a heap“ is an interesting line. It seems a lot of the criticism of this album and this era is that Ray is less nuanced, or less subtle, or just much more direct in this lyrics. This line though… it peels back the idea of Scrapheap City to be less about a place to store the piles and piles of destroyed houses and dug up flowers, but it’s a metaphor everything lost from the way the Village Green was. The complete opposite feeling that “Look at all the people, Why they all look the same. They're walking to the factory In their cloth caps and trilbies” brings when compared to the variety of how the early morning risers and worn out housewives and all the busy people and the middle-aged bankers and the lonely spinsters and health fanatics and schools boys all welcomed the Daylight over the Village Green in Act 1. It’s gone. It’s gray. (Or perhaps Black?). It’s all very sad. And Scrapheap City expresses that idea very well. A reluctant acceptance of what has been taken away.
  18. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Looking at the replies this morning I thought some posters had jumped the gun, then I realised I got "Scrapheap City" and "Salvation Road" mixed up again! Two song titles beginning with S with two words of 9 and 4 letters...
  19. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Me too! I kept thinking, surely we aren't finished already?!
  20. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Cool, tbh if you have your intro done for Wed anyway I'll just post my regular civilian thoughts then if it's ok.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2022
  21. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Thanks @Steve E. !
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  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That's your call mate, I don't want to be some sort of Mr Black lol
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Announcement 5.

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

    "A state of emergency was declared by the government at Eight A.M. today. It was
    stated that this step has been taken in the interest of national security. And the
    emergency measures set out in today's announcement will remain in force for an
    indefinite period.

    "Curfew will take effect as from this evening, and will operate between Nine P.M. and
    Six A.M. each day. The curfew will be enforce by patrols from the People's Army,
    and severe penalties are to be imposed on anyone found on the streets during the
    daily curfew period.

    "Food rationing is to be introduced immediately, and shops will only be allowed to
    open for a period of three hours each day. Restrictions on the use of petrol start
    immediately. Restrictions on the use of electricity, gas and water will also be
    announced shortly.

    "All places of public entertainment will be closed until further notice. All
    television channels are now closed down, and radio broadcasts will operate on this
    channel only.

    "And now, here is the People's Choir singing the new nation anthem, which led our
    victorious troops into battle!"

    Our final announcement comes with no fanfare.....
    How smoothly this fits into the story, I'm not really sure, but the text and the subtext here are very interesting.

    So far over these last two sides, we have had the Tramp becoming disillusioned by the nonsensical behaviour of human beings as a whole, which led him to ponder "Where Is Love".
    We have had Flash have an Epiphany that he has been an awful person, and then break into a confession somewhat seeking redemption.
    We have had Belle reject Flash.
    We have had Mr Black's army take control and imprison Flash and his people.
    Then we have a scenario where Mr Black appears to be wanting to perform some kind of genetic engineering, or brainwashing, or reprogramming of some sort on Flash.... as somewhat of a test case I assume for a general reprogramming of all people in society.
    Then we just had Belle and the girls wandering the city in despair as they see that everything has been essentially razed to the ground to be rebuilt in Mr Black's image.

    The level of what appears to be farce just keeps rising .... but the thing is, there is nothing on here that has not been tried by humans before.... but we'll get to that in the album summary .... perhaps.....

    Here we have an announcement taking it all to the next level....

    The first section up there, to me at least, is very poignant.
    State Of Emergency
    National Security
    Indefinite Period of Time

    A state of emergency is a good way of feeding fear to the people.
    How many lies are told, secrets kept, laws created etc etc under this heading of National Security?
    How many things are implemented for an indefinite period of time, and merely become the "new normal" ......
    Whenever I hear any of these terms, I become very cynical, because history .... and frankly current events leave no option for anything but honest cynicism.

    Then we go on to list a series of essentially totalitarian restrictions, curfews, rations, bannings....
    Again, we could suggest these are absurdities, but again, a look through history tells us clearly that these things, have happened, and still to this day happen, driven by the wheel of propaganda ...

    Even the sign out of the announcer is straight from the book of propaganda
    The People's Choir - suggesting that these folks are representative of you all.
    New National Anthem - We have changed our identity.
    Our Victorious Troops ....
    All the terminology suggests that you are with us .... or ..... look what we did to those other folks. It is a false unity, and more of a threat than anything.

  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Salvation Road.

    stereo mix, recorded probably May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Sung by everybody

    Hear me brothers, hear me sisters,
    Citizens and comrades hear my song.
    The old life's dead the order's changing
    It's time for all of us to move along.

    Got no time to live a life
    With old worn-out traditions
    Swallowed my pride,
    Changed my ways,
    And found a new religion.
    There you go.

    Sick and tired of living on loans,
    Driving around in a car that I don't own.
    Tired of looking at wealthy faces
    Flying off to far out places.
    The workers of the world
    Shall give the profits to the people.
    Class will disappear
    And we will live our lives as equals.
    There you go.

    And we'll all walk along
    And we'll all sing a song
    And we'll all mark time as we go.
    Yes, we'll all walk along
    And we'll all sing a song
    As we walk down Salvation Road.

    Goodbye youth, goodbye dreams,
    The good times and the friends I used to know.
    Goodbye freedom, hello fear,
    A brave new world has suddenly appeared.
    Got to be hard,
    Don't look back
    And no more reminiscing.
    Times are rough,
    We've got to be tough,
    And concentrate on living.
    There you go.

    And we'll all join hands,
    And we'll all march along
    And we'll all mark time as we go.
    Yes, we'll all walk along,
    And we'll sing a song,
    As we walk down Salvation Road.

    We'll all walk along
    And we'll all sing a song
    And we'll all mark time as we go.
    Yes, we'll all walk along
    And we'll all sing a song
    As we walk down Salvation Road.

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

    This is such a sarcastic and ironic song...
    It is somewhat hilarious, and somewhat scary ...

    Probably the most unsettling thing about this album is the underlying Hitler/Stalin line of thinking and rule of law, and the execution of it. It comes to a head with the final announcement and the final song. In fact the battles spoken of leading up to this, all speak to Mr Black's fulfillment of the insurrection he had been planning since "I Am Your Man".
    Like Stalin, having murdered the dissenters, Mr Black now paints a Willie Wonker's Wonderland world, under the delusional idea that the workers of the world will give the profits to the people ... hang on... who are "the workers" and who are "the people"? Class will disappear? we will all live as equals? .... Only lobotomized vegetables that have no recollection of history, nor understanding of human nature could possibly believe this line of thinking. Though it does get dressed up nicely in utopian underpants and overalls.

    The use of the term Mark Time in the chorus is some subtle brilliance.
    From a military perspective Marking Time is marching on the spot, without moving forward
    In a more general sense it means to occupy oneself with routine activities until something more favourable or interesting comes along.

    The thing is though Ray beautifully turns the song around on itself.
    Goodbye youth - of course under this new design, youth will cease to be a thing really, because your life will purely be of service to the state. You will be programmed in a school. Then placed in an appropriate job of the state's choice, based on what they think you may be useful for.
    Goodbye dreams - none of the things that people used to be able to do are allowed anymore... so there is nothing really to dream of, except revolution, or death, and one will likely lead to the other anyway.
    Goodbye to the good times and friends .... hard to be friends with anyone, when fear of being reported to a central authority for a wrong thought will lead to death....
    Goodbye Feedom, hello fear .....

    This all ties in with something @Fischman said when discussing Artificial Man ... Did Ray read Brave New World? I reckon that he may well have, or at least checked out the notes based on its fame and notoriety.

    Anyway, looking too deeply at the lyrics here is terribly depressing, but!

    Musically this is a light and airy singalong LOL

    There has been talk of how some of this stuff isn't very Kinks and what have you, and I guess on some level that may be true, but on another level, I can't really think of anyone, except perhaps Zappa, that could approach something like this and present it in the way it is presented.
    Lyrically it is the complete elimination of the individual as an entity in the world.
    It presents pretty straight forward truths about what will happen, as we just looked at.... and it is a horrifying mess, unless being a mindless, lifeless drone of the state appeals to you on some level, but it is presented in this la la la singing as we dance down the line way ...

    This is abominable and delightful, and it kind of sums up the whole of the Preservation thing so well.

    We open with bouncy acoustics ringing beautifully.
    Then we get melodic flute, singing like a bird in the trees beside us.
    The beat comes in, with a joyous dance.
    The keyboards bounce with happiness.
    The music is projecting this great big joyous party, that sounds like it wouldn't be out of place on Sgt Pepper's or Magical Mystery Tour or something.

    The first verse lyrically sort of feels like it could be being sung by Alex Delarge after receiving the Ludovico technique ... it is kind of bright and cheery to the point of needing a special room.
    After the first chorus, we break back down and return to the more sparse opening arrangement, and we build it all back up again.
    I think this song is hugely ironic, and the music adds to that feel.
    This song has a big bright finish for the album.
    I guess in some ways this song is like chocolate cake filled with dog poop, it appears to be so joyous and happy, but on closer inspection, please don't eat it.

  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Preservation Act 2.

    This is quite a remarkable album in so many ways.
    I completely understand why many just find it too hard to digest, but by the same token I think it is really quite an achievement on its own terms.

    To some degree I think that the album is somewhat like a room with too many great and colourful decorations. If you look at the decorations individually they are wonderful, but when all placed in the room together they create a sort of optical overload. Colours careen into each other and tear at your retina's....

    I personally like the album, I can see what Ray was going for, and even if he didn't quite achieve it, I think it works on many levels.

    Is it an album I would revisit a lot? .... hmmmm, probably not, but not due to quality, from my perspective, mainly due to content.
    Although I think this is really well done, and I think it ends up being as coherent as most Rock Operas/Concept albums/Broadway Musicals, the content is just too close to the bone to be something that I would want to revisit frequently.

    Looking back,

    In May 1967 we get an innocuous little EP released in France, titled Mr Pleasant

    A1 Mister Pleasant 3:00
    A2 This Is Where I Belong 2:28
    B1 Two Sisters 2:00
    B2 Village Green 2:08
    The last track there is a track I think we all recognise as a lovely Kinks track.
    Recorded in Nov 1966, Village Green is the Catalyst, of a sort, for the birth of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, which led us to the world of Arthur and then exploded into a three disc set, split up as two acts/albums entitled Preservation.
    The Village Green Preservation Society album sets up this idyllic little place, where people of all sorts can live happily and free.
    The possibilities for what the Village Green represented to Ray are quite broad... Certainly it could just have been Muswell Hill, or London, or in fact the whole of England. It is a little paradise that lives in fear of the encroaching world and its machinations. It isn't perfection, but it is as close as we are likely to get down here on our silly little planet, full of silly little people.
    Arthur (The Decline And Fall Of the British Empire).... it may be seen as somewhat contentious, but I still see this as an outworking of the Village Green theme, but with a focus on particular people and situations. It also helps in looking at the Village Green as being Great Britain, and not just a small town inside it.
    Preservation sets itself up as a continuation of The Village Green idea, and initially we have the joyous dawn of a new day. Similarly to The Preservation Society album, we have character studies, set ups and sketches .... but then we see greed enter the village.
    This triggers a series of cataclysmic reactions that leave the whole place as a desolate wasteland, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.....
    It is almost like watching Ray's dream turn slowly into his worst nightmare as the story continues on .....
    I see elements of Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, 1984 and many other works that describe mankind's ability to mess everything up...
    I see some softening by elements of farce to ease the blow, that come from things as far flung as Rocky Horror, Monty Python and those kinds of things ...
    Most of all, I see a sad reflection of the way the world has looked to my ageing eyes as I have grown old with it.
    It is all too much for me to be able to tie it all up in a neat bow, but then again isn't life.

    This is an album that seems to have been the target of much negativity over the years. I have only really ever heard negative things about it ... but I think it stands up as a really solid piece of work from a master writer in the midst of a personal crisis, that did take his wife and family, but almost took his life as well.
    I reckon it is an excellent piece of work, that deserves more love than it generally gets, but it is also a piece of work that creates a feeling like when you have over-faced yourself at a restaurant ... All the plates are full, and it's all tasty, but all mixed together it may leave you with indigestion, depending on your constitution.
    Personally I still consider this a Klassic Kinks album, specifically because of all the reasons it works, and all the reasons it doesn't.....
    I think perhaps Ray reached too far in some regards, but I have a deep respect for those that reach for something, even if they don't quite grasp it .... and as to whether he did or not.... I think that all comes down to subjective opinion.... on some days I think he grasped it here, and on other days I think he fell just short, but it is certainly an interesting ride .... and what more can I really ask.

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