The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I LOVE Chatham. Maybe I'll see you in the store this summer and we can do a duet. :D
    I'm quackin' myself up!

    PS Speaking of deplorable taste, I've always loved rubber ducks. I have two ceramic "rubber ducks" in my bathroom as decoration. The husband knows better than complain about them.
  2. Zack

    Zack Forum Resident

    Easton, MD
    When I was in college, my fraternity house room was decorated with an old painting from my parents' attic (my dad was an outdoor writer who hunted a lot) and just below it a purchase from London's Tate Gallery of Art called Pity. (

    One day my buddy looked over, and began to sing -- to the tune currently under discussion --

    Zack's got the most deplorable taste
    But his biggest mistake is hanging
    Over his William Blake
    He's got ducks . . .
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2022
  3. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Dave’s UFO stories are much more plausible than this.
  4. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    To liven up Norman's dull existence we could offer him these ducks on a tray.

    (Painting by Vernon Ward , the painter mentioned in the Pete and Dud sketch)
  5. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    I always thought Ducks on the Wall was brilliant. It’s funny and it rocks. And the “I love you baby, but I can’t ball” is the punchline. I don’t really hear 10cc or the Bonzos, I hear something more like Huey Smith and the Clowns doing Don’t You Just Know It…. Ah ha ha ha!

    As for bird plates, I worked for years on a television show with a very hard nosed former NYPD detective who collected bird plates. First thing he did when he’d go to visit London is head to Harrods to shop for them. He ran into my mother there once! Go figure.
  6. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Always liked Ducks on the Wall.

    And happy birthday to Dave.
  7. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Well my maternal grandmother was born in Saskatchewan of Ukranian descent and in Peekskill, NY in 1975 most certainly had ducks on her wall. They were metallic and changed from black to green depending on how the light hit them but they were ducks nonetheless. Her husband had been blinded in 1969 so no idea if he was aware of their existence
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  8. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Holiday Romance: I am late to the plate for this one, so many have already mentioned the similarities to a few different Queen songs. While those songs mentioned are definitely similar, I’ll throw another one into the mix for consideration: Brighton Rock from Sheer Heart Attack. While not similar musically, the holiday romance story is there, right down to the lead singer singing in a high pitched voice to approximate the woman in question telling our Romeo to get lost because her hubby will be arriving shortly. I should hate this song (no Dave!), but it’s way to catchy and quirky to not love.

    You Make It All Worthwhile: This is the first song where I found the dialogue too intrusive for me to enjoy the song. It’s a shame because I like the song itself a lot. I’d love it if they unearthed a version sans dialogue on a deluxe version of this album.

    Ducks on the Wall: I was prepared to dislike this one from the get go, what with all the negativity generally associated with it. …but no, Ducks for the instant win! It had me from the first quack. Hilarious!
  9. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui good kitty

    50th State
    Feb.3 ...... I've come here (at the end of the day ♪) to say Happy 75th Birthday to Dave ! :cheers:

    I note that it's been mentioned at least a couple of times. :righton:


    :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2022
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Holy cow Comissioner Winstanley!
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  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    You make it sound Godley!
  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Would that then be marketed in a supermarket as: "Not Shepherds Pie?"
  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    What came first, the Duck or the egg?

    Many pages back we saw this grotesquely designed & titled Japanese Kinks Kwack Komp.

    I am sure I once owned a Kinks EP that on its rear jacket advertised previous Kinks EP's including Kwyet Kinks except what was actually incorrectly printed was the title "Kwack Kinks!"


    Stay tuned Duckies for my next webbed installment to fit the bill!
  14. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Didn't Brian Eno sing 'now we checked out this duck quack, who laid a big egg oh so black' the very same year?
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Assassination Act 1?
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  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    A Face In The Crowd.

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


    Our Star doesn't know who he is any
    more. Is he the starmaker, the image
    maker, looking for material or is he
    just plain boring little Norman after
    all? Perhaps he should accept that he
    is a plain ordinary bloke and not try to
    be something he is not.

    (A) Face In The Crowd

    I've got to stop faking it,
    I've got to start facing it,
    I'm going to take my final bow
    Then I'm going to take my place in the crowd.
    I know I'll get used to it,
    I've got to stop acting like a clown.

    I've gotta start facing up to what I really am.
    I've got to realise l'm just an ordinary man.
    I think that I'll just settle down
    And take my place in the crowd.
    I don't want to lie to myself any more.

    Am I just a face in the crowd, is that all I'll ever be?
    Don't want to be anything that isn't really me.
    Mister, can you tell me who I am?
    Do you think I stand out
    Or am I just a face in the crowd?

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

    So Norman has to take a reality check, and come to terms with the fact that he is not the Starmaker, a Star, or anything other than a normal guy, in a normal job, doing normal things.

    Particularly with the advent of the internet and social media, youtube etc, it has become more and more apparent that many, perhaps even most folks want to feel a bit special, or present as a bit special, and the Idol shows, and x-factor, whatever country has talent, and all this kind of thing points to the idea that everyone wants to be seen to be a bit special. So perhaps Ray was before his time in showing this side of human nature in an expanded context at least.

    Here we have a reckoning of sorts, Norman decides to take off his Superman cape, and rhinestone undies, and allow himself to exist as Norman, the office clerk, married to the longsuffering Andrea ..... and there really isn't anything wrong with Shepherd's Pie after all....

    In some ways this could be seen as a coming of age type scenario. The grown man, in this instance, needs to face up to the fact that he is not special, he is just another guy, living his life as best he can, and the childhood dreams of fame, fortune and stardom, melt away into the reality of life itself ... Most young folks have big dreams and goals, and most don't reach them, because that isn't how life works, participation trophies don't exist in the real adult world, and so we need to come to terms with reality and live our lives as Ordinary People.

    After the joviality of a lot of the tracks, we get the sobering effect Face In The Crowd. It is another of Ray's piano ballads, of a sort, and has that whimsical Ray that generally pokes his head up on Kinks albums.

    I really like the arrangement here, and we have this melancholy song, with a beautiful, and somewhat mournful melody. I think the chord pattern here works really well, and at the end of each verse we get this lovely descending piano riff that enhances the song nicely.

    We get a nice dynamic build, with the strings and full band coming in .... It actually has echoes of If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot) in a couple of spots, but is certainly not a replication of it.

    The plaintive vocal from Ray works really well, particularly on the ending section, which interestingly comes in somewhat like a bridge.

    I think this is a lovely song, and it seems to me to be quite a poignant song, as an acceptance of a reality that isn't necessarily as much fun as the fantasy, but sometimes it is time to put the fantasies away and accept the reality we have, in order to maintain sanity.

  17. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    If I remember correctly, in the Starmaker show, the faking it/facing it prologue to this song is missing. It starts by the “I've gotta start facing up to what I really am” line. I’m ambivalent about this. Musically this prologue's a bit plodding, kinda stalled, but I think it serves the purpose of establishing how the guy’s stuck and needs to talk himself into self-awareness and coming to his senses.

    We’ve talked no end about Norman making the Starmaker up, or the Starmaker becoming Norman, or @donstemple's seductive theory that Norman and Andrea are indulging in some kinky role play etc. I like to think Ray himself changed his mind a few times along the way. It seems to me the TV show was indeed about the Starmaker eventually becoming Norman, but then the LP is almost certainly about Norman’s delusions and/or fantasies, if we're to believe the information dispatched in the lyrics sheets. Thus the change in title, from Starmaker to Soap Opera… But whatever, that’s just another theory, and I think most songs work both ways. Who cares? We’re talking entertainment, and we're getting plenty of it.

    I don’t know why the (A) is in parentheses. What I think, though, is that this song's title seems like a deliberate tribute to what must’ve been one of the main inspirations for this whole Starmaker/Soap Opera venture : Elia Kazan’s 1957 film A Face in the Crowd (no parenthesis) written by famed The Harder they Fall's author Budd Schulberg and starring Andy Griffith in the role of a drifter picked in the street for a radio show and becoming a superstar overnight. You guessed it, instant fame turns him into an egomaniacal monster and it’s a cautionary tale that rings close to almost everything Ray wrote in those middle years, especially this record. The song itself is another beautiful ballad, the likes of which Ray will soon all but stop writing, for whatever mysterious reason Ray sometimes stops doing what he does best. Once the prologue’s over, we get a big harmonic change and the song proper starts. I too hear a touch of If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot (you beat me to it, but that's the privilege of being Headmaster!), but then the melody lifts, the singing becomes more committed, more assured (“or-dinary maan”), as the character regains his lucidity and reaffirms his identity. It’s beautifully crafted, establishing itself midway between the big Show-biz ballad epics Hotel/Heroes and the sparse folk beauty of Oklahoma USA. It doesn’t have the majestic grandeur of the formers, nor the dreamlike depth and haiku simplicity of the latter. But a little bit of both is enough to make it a superb and adequate illustration of the main phrase : do you think I stand out / or am I just a face in the crowd?
  18. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Is fructose corn the equivalent of the US liquid chemical cheese that some Avids identified on this forum?
    P.s. Peas are fine a a Shepherds Pie.
  19. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Surely just as cargo?
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  20. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    (A) Face In The Crowd

    Firstly, I'm amazed to look at the video and find this is only 2:17 - it feels longer when I listen to it. That duration puts it on a par with the average track on Something Else or VGPS, and the sound of it certainly sounds like the same band that did the piano-based ballads on Lola vs Powerman and Percy. So there is no question of this "sounding like The Kinks". It's a very nice ballad - the bass in particular sounds great.

    The problem with this track is: I've listened to this album probably at least ten times, and every track other than this one has lodged itself in my memory. It's great while I'm listening to it, but in an hour I'll have completely forgotten how it goes again. Which isn't a huge problem - it just means that every time I hear it it's like hearing it for the first time. It's also not quite as emotional a finale (or pre-finale) as it could have been, given that we didn't really experience Norman's turning point in the music.
  21. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    That's faintly ducksgusting!
  22. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    The piano in this track is really superb!
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Er don't you mean Duck Sauce?
  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    That dark, doomy descending chord change on 'I know I'll get used to it.. I've gotta stop acting like a clown'.. spine tingler.
  25. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Ray probably made Dave shout!
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