Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
If you ever saw the backside of Leon Ware's Musical Massage, you'd reconsider that
Love the dogs. Mark. And their names as well
Here at the Batcave we have a couple of cats. They are both på-retty phenominal and the little un thinks she's a dog. She even plays fetch.
Three off topic posts in a row and a few fair-to-good puns thown in for good measure? I am turning into @All Down The Line Jr
Everybody's a Star (Starmaker)
We've commented in the last couple of albums how some songs seem made for the stage and that's the feeling I get with this opener. The music ticks all the rock boxes without breaking any new ground and the chorus is catchy with sweet female backing vocals. This song could have blended into the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a bit of lyric adjustment. As for the lyrics, Ray's just telling us what this album's going to be about. There's no humour yet - that comes later. Listening to this I get worrying visions of Simon Cowell - a self-styled starmaker. If Ray inadvertently created the X Factor and Uzbekistan's Got Talent he has a lot to answer for.
Everybody’s A Star (Starmaker):
Having been prepped to expect the worst at every succeeding album (as we work our way through the discography) I found myself yet again pleasantly surprised upon first listen to this track. Well-constructed, pretty straightforward with a touch of cowbell. My favorite part?
“ I can take any man
I see standing in the road
And put rouge on his cheeks
And put some powder on his nose.
I'll teach him how to act,
I'll remould and reshape him.
I'll put him in a stage suit
And I'll teach him how to pose”
It instantly went into the (preliminary) playlist.
The problem is that I’ve played it a number of times since and determined it to be too unassuming, too ordinary (musically…as it definitely sets the scene lyrically).
And thus the first track had its moment on the playlist but has subsequently been cut.
OK @Fortuleo the game's up - admit you're not really French. I just had to look up pleonasm and English was my best subject at school (ahem, not to mention it's my native tongue). If you're not really a retired English teacher in Cambridge (either side of the Atlantic) I'll be pretty pretty disappointed....
In case anyone wonders, I'm being tongue-in-cheek. I continue to be impressed - and just a bit envious - with the quality of @Fortuleo's writing.
I like "Starmaker" - yes, I hear "I Can't Explain" in the chords but they're great chords! I also love The Clash's "Clash City Rockers" which uses the same chords (and also recalls "The Hard Way"). And it definitely introduces the concept of Soap Opera which is definitely easier to follow than the somewhat convoluted Preservation. Some things continue from the Preservation albums particularly the emphasis on bringing in female voices to help tell the story. I love 1970s rock n roll and this one fits into that category.
That Warren Zanes interview was done at the late, great Johnny D’s and I am proud to say that we hired Barrence Whitfield and the Savages to play our wedding back in the old millennium. I’m so glad we did.
Everybody's A Star (Starmaker)
I think this song is a real duffer of a song. Every melodic line in it is hackneyed and few are memorable. It feels very much a song from a musical, but less adept than the ones on the previous album. Yet another poor choice of single.
Lyrically, like Mark mentioned earlier it gives a misleading impression of what the story is going to be about- it just sounds like the well-worn Henry Higgins/Svengali idea. If the lyrics of the first two songs were condensed into one lyric it would get the story off the ground a lot faster and with a lot less repetition, and introduce the more original side of the concept sooner.
We can slag off Mendelsohn and that other contemporary reviewer Morris Kennedy but, factual errors aside, I think they had a point.
I'm not so harsh on the project as a whole but I do think it gets off to a very shaky start.
The alt version that kicks off the 1976 Celluloid Heroes comp that I think is also the same as the single version:
This track had a bit of that sweet sweet early 21st century Kinks hipster cool thrown it's way in 2008 when Converse used it in an ad spot:
When the words "gonna make you a star" appears it brings to mind the David Essex song - I wonder whether that had come out before Ray wrote this one?
Well, interestingly, Essex's song was apparently released on 27th September 1974.. only 23 days after the 'Starmaker' show was broadcast! So, unless Essex wrote and recorded his song at an 'Instant Karma' rate after being inspired by the Ray play, I'm thinking this was just a case of great minds etc....
Gonna Make You a Star - Wikipedia
Although Carl Wayne's recording of the not entirely dissimilarly themed 'You're A Star' (the theme song to New Faces) predates both by a year:
Vangro beat me to the ELO/Move riff rip. The Move was a year later (at least release date-wise). I guess I got to get up earlier over here in the US!
Starmaker: How could I not love this sing? Finally, Ray lets Dave rip with an actual riff and a solo. The song is catchy and kind of funny and great to sing along to. I find this to be a great start to the album, and it kind of telegraphs nicely that this album will be a little shorter and punchier song and music-wise compared to the last set of songs.
But I doubt I am old enough to be your father Steelwalker!
The Move's "Do Ya" was 1972!
Further thought: this sounds like opening scene song for a movie (both big-screen or made-for-television). Song plays while main actor walks the sidewalks of suburban streets examining house numbers …and then fades as his knuckles are about to knock on the front door.
Barrence is doing well despite a recent bout w/COVID. He was actually appointed to the Beverly (his hometown)Council on Aging recently.
I watched Do It Again last night along w/Soap Opera live. Does your daughter still like lobsters?
"Everybody's A Star (Starmaker)", an appropriate, punchy way to begin Soap Opera, although I'm not sure that it's stand alone enough to act as an effective single. The character seems full of himself as he describes how he can take anyone & make him/her a star, just like Simon Conwell.
Carl Wayne sure did a lot of solo 45s. What's w/the "Charlie" that he used on some of them? His last gig was replacing Alan Clarke as lead singer for the Hollies.
Hey, I'm only 33 and 9/12 so you never know Do enjoy your puns, daddy-o.
Agree with @Zeki on the opening track. It works best within the confines of the concept of the album. But then again that is more often than not the 'problem' with songs written to fit a larger plot or story, IMO. Quadrophenia works better than most, as a lot of the tracks stand up to closer scrutiny as songs but I don't see Tommy or the Acts doing the same except for a few stand outs cuts. Then again, they are supposed to be listened to as a whole.
Having said that, I think that Soap Opera tells a story that is much easier to follow than the last couple of albums and that it is because the subject here is closer to Ray's heart and experiences.
I think a few facets of the character are Ray to be honest lol
An interesting contemporary article on the Starmaker play from The Guardian: The Kinks’ Ray Davies turns playwright: from the archive, 4 September 1974
This is the 1976 stereo remix that appeared on the RCA Celluloid Heroes comp LP. The differences here are you can hear it has more reverb especially on the vocals, the horns are mixed out of the first verse and don't appear until later in this mix, it's edited down in length by almost a minute and it's sped up slightly. This only appears on that 1976 LP and apparently the digital download platforms today, but not on the CD reissue of that 1976 LP. This mix is not the single mix even though another video on YouTube on the Kinks own channel identifies it as such. The actual stereo commercial stock single from 1975 was the regular full length LP version.
The mix mix ups on this stem from the 1975 promotional singles issued at the time. The first US promo single issued listed the song as "Starmaker" on the label and had the stereo LP mix on one side and a mono fold down on the other, both full length and same regular speed.
Those with the Velvel CD remaster of A Soap Opera will notice there is a bonus track of this mono mix on there. Why was this mono fold promo added as a bonus track? None of their previous RCA singles that also had mono folds issued as promos appeared on the other Velvel CD remasters of the other RCA albums.
The answer is a second promo was issued shortly thereafter with the album stereo mix on one side and a new mono remix on the other. This version had the song listed as "Everybody's A Star (Starmaker)" (Newly Remixed). This mix is a little "crisper" for lack of a better word and is slightly sped up similar to the stereo remix on the Celluloid Heroes comp, but is not a fold of that edited 1976 mix. Both sides here again full length tracks. My guess is this mono remix was issued with AM radio in mind and my hunch is this was intended to be the bonus track on the Velvel CD, but as usual with the Kinks, things get Konvoluted and mixed up. I could not find this mono remix on YouTube even though there is a video with an image of the single but it plays the regular speed fold down mono.
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