The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    If Andrea suspected Norman had been drinking I'm convinced that she wouldn't sympathise.

    Like any English wife worth her salt she would automatically reach for the rolling pin and give him a piece of her mind.

    As for the shepherd's pie ... this topic would merit a full Sunday debate.

    Let's just say that shepherds are not always condemned to eat mutton, just as you don't have to live in a cottage to eat cottage pie.

    Incidentally I think this track is great.

    Norman could be Arthur's spirital son. He convinces himself that his crushingly boring job and intolerably humdrum life are the price to pay for a cosy shangri-la home.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2022
  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    You Make It All Worthwhile
    "Darling that would be marvelous!"
    We start this song with Star on the verge of the nervous breakdown and he even snaps over shepherd's pie being on the menu. But quickly catches himself and soon realizes what he has in the life he's made with his wife. That's so not rock n roll. Hahaha! But it is awfully sweet and this song has a lot of heart. and humor. And this is a song that will stick in your head for days, even if you don't want it to. This musical should be updated and run in theaters. I think even today it would be very popular.

    And I have to laugh at myself as I do not like musicals as a genre and here I am plotting to bring it to my local theater. Krazy.

    @ajsmith Yes! this song sounds so much like Behind Closed Doors. I remember that one from way back.
     
  3. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Coincidentally we had shepherd's pie last night. And in a role reversal to the musical, the husband made it while I put my feet up after a long day of sorting out the files:laugh:...also I have a cold and felt yucky yesterday. Thanks, darling. :love:
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2022
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  4. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter In Memoriam

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Ahhhh love The Silver Fox!
     
  5. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Just curious, do you put the garlic that early in the cooking, at "onion" stage ? How do you manage not to burn it ? I realise I always add it at the very end because that's how my wife does it, and she's my cooking authority, but now I'm not so sure anymore that I did it that way before I met her. You instilled doubt in my mind.

    So Shepherd's pie IS hachis parmentier. This raises 2 questions. The first is the meaning of the English word "pie". I thought it was supposed to be some sort of tart, whether sweet or salty. I've had it wrong for so long. The second point is, how can you not like Shepherd's pie ? For the sound of it I thought it was some kind of weird scary English traditional stuff with a whole lot of unnatural ingredients in it. But, hachis parmentier ? You can get bored with it, but "hate" it ? Or maybe I am missing the social comment here.
     
  6. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Pies can be sweet or savoury. Yes, I don't know why he would hate Shepherd's pie, maybe the implication is it's food 'ordinary people' eat?
     
  7. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I guess so.

    Thanks for the word "savoury", that I didn't know.
     
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  8. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    It comes from the Olde French Root word: Savor, which means to Savor--but you didn't know that!

    As opposted to The Savoy, which is a Hotel in London.

    Ore

    The Saviour, who died in Palestine, now Isreal.


    God Save The Kinks!

    :tiphat:
     
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    You Make It All Worthwhile

    With June Ritchie's spoken contributions this is no stand alone or playlist cut for mine though it's better than a first impression may grant.

    Starmaker Ray starts out on his pedestal but then thankfully becomes more Norma(l)m in not only happily accepting his wife's food but more poignantly giving thanks and praise for her companionship and effort.
    Always nice in an ongoing marriage (that can easily take each other for granted), that is way past it's early infatuation and lusts as it's no holiday romance!
     
  10. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Very nicely put!
     
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Mark, iam unsure that you're entirely exhibiting norman behaviour!
     
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  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    As a kid from the mid 70's to early 80's a Shepherds pie was my lunch meal of choice whenever mum took me to this dour restaurant at Westfield Shoppingtown Doncaster in Melbourne.
    As a result i am a little surprised to hear a number of Avids are not so familiar with it.
    N.b. I certainly don't recall it being filled with lamb!
     
  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    By then will we find you at the off-license?
     
  14. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Not to blow my own horn (thanks, Robert Plant) but I'm pretty handy 'round the old pots and pans and have tried different recipies for it over the years. Until I found this one which is close to perfect, IMO.

    I skip on the parm, tho. Because I feel like it:

    Shepherd's Pie
     
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks as i thought i rushed it and it was clunky plus i even misspent Norman! (Laughs)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2022
  16. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Gary,
    I always knew this thread may at times take me back 40+ years, though solely to first hearing the Kinks and not to my childhood fetish for Shepherds Pie!
     
  17. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    I thought anyone whose cuisine includes foods like andouillette (a scary sausage) and epoisses (a scary cheese) wouldn't find any other country's food scary :D
    Back to shepherd's pie (or faux cottage pie as it turns out), I hope you're not forgetting the mashed potato topping. I used sweet potato and pumpkin (softened with butter+creme fraiche), which worked well.
     
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    yes

    In the US a pie seems to generally be a sweet desert ie Apple, Blueberry etc etc but they do have what they call a Chicken Pot Pie ... which seems to be a little like what we would call a Chicken Hot Pot .... In Australia we have dessert pies as well, but the predominant pie is the meat pie ... and I miss them, there seems to be no US equivalent

    @Vangro hit the nail on the head there.... it is common people food, and Starmaker just wouldn't eat that, because he is special, and much better than normal people lol

    I am not a chef, I just like food, so it seemed logical to make sure I could cook food I like to eat... I have no idea whether anything I do is right, but I have never made something I didn't want to eat. Whether I'm making chili, spaghetti, or whatever, if it has onions and garlic, they will be the first things into the pan...... whether that's right or not, I have no idea :)
     
  19. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Talking about shepherd's pie on a music forum - people will think we've gone quackers!
     
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  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    lol I am not very Norman at all.... even when I was in bands I didn't hang out with muso's much ... they are sadly generally very catty and self important lol
     
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I thought that was Cajun lol ... I get those sometimes .... I will refrain from the next sentence as it will contain a form of double entendre
     
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    We're covering all bases with the Kinks lol
     
  23. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Incoming. Time to duck!
     
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Excuse my slight delay this morning there was an inch of sleet on the road, so it was a little slippery

    Ducks On The Wall.

    stereo mix, recorded Aug 1974, additional overdubs done Oct 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    After dinner Norman becomes depressed.

    STAR:
    Norman's office got on my nerves to-day.

    WIFE:
    What do you mean? You are Norman!

    STAR:
    (Shouts) I am a star!

    WIFE:
    You're not a star Norman. You're
    just a plain ordinary little bloke and
    even if you walked down the street in
    a silver suit people still wouldn't
    recognise you. You're dull, ordinary
    and uninteresting! You're a drag!

    Star rises from his chair and smashes
    the dinner plates to the floor.

    STAR:
    I hate this house and I hate you, but
    more than anything else I hate those
    ducks!

    WIFE:
    Don't you touch those ducks Norman!
    They were a present from my mother.
    Look, Norman, I've had enough of you
    and your ridiculous fantasies. First of
    all you wanted to be a painter, then
    you wanted to be an astronaut, then
    a footballer and now you're playing at
    being a rock singer. If you touch those
    ducks I'm leaving!


    Ducks On The Wall

    My baby's got the most deplorable taste,
    But her biggest mistake
    Is hanging over the fireplace.
    She's got ducks, ducks on the wall,
    Ducks, ducks, hanging on the wall.

    My lady's got a sort of strange fascination,
    An obsessive fixation
    For cheap decorations
    She's got ducks, ducks on the wall.
    Ducks, ducks, hanging on the wall.

    Wo-wo-wo I love her so but if she doesn't move the ducks,
    I think my mind is gonna go.
    Ducks ducks on the wall.
    Ducks ducks, hanging on the wall.

    I leave the office and I want to relax.
    Don't want to stare at a wall
    And look at a duck that can't quack.
    I love you baby but I can't fall
    For those ducks on the wall.

    I start to snuggle up and squeeze her so tight.
    Then out of the corner of my eye
    I see those ducks in flight.
    I love you baby but I can't ball
    When I see those ducks on the wall.

    Wo-wo-wo I can sit through your gossip and your soap opera shows,
    But those ducks have got to go.
    I love you baby but I can't ball
    When I see those ducks on the wall.
    And when I went to a cocktail party
    With the bores next door,
    What was the first thing that I saw?
    Ducks, ducks on the wall.
    Ducks, ducks hanging on the wall.

    My baby's got the most deplorable taste,
    But her biggest mistake
    Is hanging over the fireplace.
    She's got ducks, ducks on the wall,
    Ducks, ducks hanging on the wall.

    I'll sit and look at all the soap operas with her
    I'll play all the panel games and watch all the quiz shows,
    But those ducks they've got to go,
    Those ducks are getting up my nose.

    If those ducks can fly, well so can I.
    And if those ducks have got to stay
    Then I'm going to fly away.
    I love you baby but I can't ball
    When I see those ducks on the wall.

    Ducks, ducks, ducks on the wall.
    Ducks, ducks, ducks on the wall.
    Oh those ducks on the wall are beginning to move
    They're talking to me
    I've got to get away from those ducks.

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

    [​IMG]

    Ducks on a wall, as pictured above is (to the best of my knowledge) a sixties or seventies thing, a popular wall decoration, that seemed to transition into meaning that someone had their lives in order.... everything was sweet and going well.
    I'm not sure if it is an international or Australian thing, but the saying "get my ducks in a row" seems to have grown from this, meaning to have taken care of all my responsibilities, and have everything in order.

    Ok, so interestingly, whereas in the previous song Andrea was calling Norman Starmaker, inferring that this is Starmaker taking Norman's place, the album liner notes have a conversation that states pretty clearly that Starmaker is Norman's fantasy.

    We have a scenario where Norman states that Norman's office got on his nerves today. Andrea essentially seems to have had enough of this, and says What do you mean, you are Norman, and Norman has a hissy fit and smashes a plate.

    Andrea tells him he is just Norman, a plain ordinary little bloke, and frankly a bit dull.
    Norman's little hissy expands into him saying he hates this house, Andrea, and most of all those damn Ducks on a Wall.

    Andrea responds by laying down the law for Norman, "Don't you touch those ducks Norman!". She lets him have it, telling him she is tired of his little fantasies and if he doesn't get it together, she's outta there.

    The lyric here is hilarious, and it points out one of the oddities between men and women (generalising there folks) most women I have ever known love to get some kind of decoration for the house, that most men find obtuse and bizarre..... and from a guys perspective sort of meaningless.
    There are spoons from every state in the country, vases with no flowers, and any number of odd little things that apparently need to be displayed on a shelf or cabinet to enhance the ambiance of the house. Like some kind of western Feng Shui, we get all these bits and bobs around the place that enhance our lives? :)

    Anyway, here we have Norman singing about his displeasure at these stupid ducks hanging on the stupid wall, that seem like they control the whole room, and no matter where he looks they sit there, unquacking, and completely pointless, annoying him, and distracting him and serving no purpose but to do so.

    To some degree, this overreaction to the ducks probably speaks to the underlying dissatisfaction with his job and life, that has been exacerbated by Andrea calling him out for his fantasy BS.
    To some degree this song also seems to examine the weird things we do and get to try and make the journey through life more bearable. Norman needs his fantasies, and Andrea needs her ducks, after all, they were a present from her mother.

    Lyrically we start off with Norman expressing that he loves this woman, but she has this fixation with cheap decorations, that he just doesn't understand, but they drive him mad, and make no rational sense to him.

    They distract him when he tries to be intimate, relax and every other thing, and when they go next door to hang out with the neighbours, those bores have those stupid ducks as well.

    There is a certain hyperbole involved here ..... "It's never about the ducks" is what comes to mind here. They end up being a catalyst for Norman's dissatisfaction with his life, and he makes such a big deal about them, that he gets to the point of suggesting that the ducks need to fly away, or he is going to.

    This is an hilarious look at the Ducks On a Wall phenomenon, which in any given decade could translate to many other trinkety things that become fashionable in a region or culture.
    More so though it is a subtle look at the kinds of silly things that can come between a couple in the struggle that life presents us. It is never about the ducks ......

    This is yet another song where the music would suggest that the guys would have had a blast making this song. For all the reports of dissatisfaction with this album, there are a stack of songs here that really seem like the band were having a great time, and it makes me wonder if there was some underlying issues outside the music that caused the poor memories of making this album.

    We open with duck noises, and then move into a bouncing, rolling rock and roll song, whether we call it a pastiche or not, doesn't mean much to me, it either works as a rock and roll song, or it doesn't, and this works well for me.

    We get the banging Jerry Lee, Little Richard piano, and Dave has a nice creamy distortion on the lead guitar he lays down.
    We get this boogie rock rolling along nicely, and the bridge is a nice change up moving from the I, IV, V boogie to a turnaround.

    Musically this is pretty straight, but it does what it needs to do to get the message across.

    The arrangement and the vocals are what make this cool..... obviously and the lyrics.

    Ray and the guys bring a sort of party atmosphere to this song, and Ray's lead vocal is yet another personality plus delivery and it is hard not to appreciate it. We get songman Ray, actor Ray, and we also get shouty Ray..... and I love shouty Ray :)
    We also get the guys in the band in the backing vocals zone, and it all comes together for a fun track that brings some energy and fun into the mix.

    In the context of the album, this is the now definitely a revealed fantasy coming to a head, and leaves us wondering where it will go next. Will Norman and Andrea split up, so Norman can have his fantasies and Andrea can have her ducks?
    Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel .......

     
  25. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Ducks On The Wall"

    This is the track that stuck in my mind the most as being the most awful track from an awful album when I sampled it in the 80s - even to the extent that when I saw a copy of Soap Opera last summer I remembered "quack quack" and passed on it (although to be fair the overinflated price didn't help). I clearly didn't remember the track that well, though, as I didn't recall it being a shuffle.

    Anyway, hearing it now of course I love it. It's another Soap Opera track that is an absolute hoot and leaves a smile on your face. Musically it brings to mind Wizzard, and maybe a bit of "Rubber Bullets" as well. "Don't want to stare at the wall and look at a duck that can't quack" is my favourite line, but the whole thing is full of irresistible hooks. Another early outing for Ray's Arista-period voice as well.

    Norman's clearly cracking up (OK, quacking up) in the lead-up to this one, but there is no reflection of that in the music - only in the lyric sheet. That's the one shortcoming of this part of the album.
     

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