The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    For me, the RCA years are patchy, but there are still some really strong albums, and strong songs even on the disappointing albums (and a disappointing Kinks RCA album is still a top album compared to many other acts). The biggest 'mistake' was probably the half-hearted live album added to Showbiz, which dilutes the effect of the rather good studio album.
     
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  2. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Well, not only No More Looking Back would fit wonderfully on Sleepwalker… it would likely be the best song on it!

    Looking back one last time to Schoolboys in Disgrace, it was my first Kinks LP outside the “classic years” (65-71). As I may’ve said before, I used to have a well-established approach to discover classic rock artists. With most of them, I would start with their 1968 LP and the 1970 one, then I'd filled in the holes if I’d liked what I’d heard (1967, 1969) before expanding: 1966, 1971, then 1965 and back. I almost always proceeded that way. And because I grew up with the Beatles (and solo Beatles…), this is where I usually started to be more cautious about where to go next, as I expected turbulences in the dangerous seventies and eighties zones. So if I was happy with everything I'd heard up to that point, I’d try one album a bit further down the road to tip my toes, usually the first one I came across. Schoolboys in Disgrace was that record for the Kinks. And despite being inferior to all the ones I’d heard before it, it still included a bunch of great tunes and two krowning personal favorites (Schooldays and No More Looking Back), the likes of which are usually enough to transform me into a maniacal completist: whenever I find one such overlooked gem on a neglected (or maligned) LP, I stop listening to anyone’s opinion or advice and start frantically buying everything, because I wouldn’t want to risk missing out on another possible lifelong favorite. And with the Kinks, of course, it proved more than fruitful. I count ten to twelve of those personal cherished nuggets in the records to come, some of them really hidden (a fabulous early nineties power pop b-side called Look Through Any Doorway), scattered ( :)) among many more good to excellent tunes everywhere. A very rewarding treasure hunt.

    The record setting me on that obsessional quest was Schoolboys in Disgrace, so I thank it to this day. As far as concept albums go, I agree with @The late man's brilliant post yesterday that while it's not a consistent narrative, it works fine as an origin story and character study. The LP also has some of the best and most consistent Dave playing, the highest notes ever sung by Ray on record, the longest song in the katalogue and the only guitar riff in the history of rock ’n roll standing in for corporal punishment. All of which should in my (biased) opinion be more than enough to secure its place in any serious (?) pop music history book.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2022
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Forget about the possible band or labels confidence with the material i don't think the cover gave buyers confidence either!
     
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  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    You are far too kind but in the Arista songs analysis will you through caution to the wind and be displaying more steel?
     
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  5. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    The Kinks Greatest - Celluloid Heroes
    I have a different take on this compilation because I think it was the second Kinks album I owned - after the Golden Hour (sixties) compilation. I found this bewildering in the late 70s: it claimed to be their Greatest (hits?) but I didn't recognise a single song. there was zero information on the cover - not even the names of albums the songs came from - and there was no way of finding out anything about the album or the songs in those days long before the internet. So I grew very attached this compilation even though I can see now that it wasn't an ideal representation of the RCA years.
    The RCA Years
    I won't rank the RCA albums as I see them but I believe Muswell Hillbillies is the One Ring to rule them all. Ray's lyrics are impeccable. And I find that the juxtaposition of his very English vignettes against American roots music deepens their emotional impact - for me at least.
    Like @Mark, I've enjoyed getting a more positive appreciation of the other albums by going through them song-by-song. The two Preservations have certainly gone up a notch or two in my estimation. But I can't countenance any RCA Kompilation exceeding 20 songs that omits the genuinely witty Shepherds of the Nation while selecting joke songs such as Ducks on the Wall or Jack the Idiot Dunce. :shake:
     
  6. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Den som lever får se, som vi sier i Norge :D

    I dunno. Perhaps a few of 'em. Missed out on the "Sweet Lady Guiniwhatever" debate because of work but since the popo closed down my workplace recently, I guess that I will have time to write even more BS and perhaps put a coherent thought or two to 'paper'. Perhaps even proofread the darn thing before hitting 'Post reply'.
     
  7. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    While I love pretty much all your posts, this is by far the most outrageous statement in the thread up to and including this one :D:D:D
     
  8. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    More outrageous even than yesterday's Uriah Heep comparison by @Zeki? :winkgrin:
     
  9. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Yup. And that is really saying something :uhhuh:
     
  10. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The Celluloid Heroes compilation album has truly putrid cover art! Looks like a Bay City Rollers LP from the waning days of their stardom. The tracklisting is not much cop either, seems designed to tacitly agree with the 'they lost it after Muswell Hillbillies' received wisdom the way it draws so much from that album.

    It's probably worth posting the tracklising for the CD reissue version, which while I believe it loses the unique mixes and alternates, at least does a better job of representing this era:


    [​IMG]

    The Kinks – Celluloid Heroes
    Label: Sum Records (2) – 224620
    Format:
    CD, Compilation

    Released:
    Genre:
    Rock
    Style: Beat
    Tracklist
    1 20th Century Man 5:56
    2 They Can't Stop The Music 3:14
    3 Sitting In My Hotel 3:23
    4 Here Comes Yet Another Day 3:29
    5 Celluloid Heroes 6:22
    6 Sweet Lady Genevieve 3:28
    7 One Of The Survivors 4:32
    8 Sitting In The Midday Sun 3:46
    9 You Don't Know My Name 2:39
    10 Supersonic Rocket Ship 3:34
    11 The Hard Way 2:37
    12 Schooldays 3:34
    13 Everybody's A Star (Starmaker) 2:59
    14 Mirror Of Love (Remix) 3:31
    15 Muswell Hillbilly 4:58
    16 Maximum Consumption 4:09
    17 Holiday 2:41
    18 No More Looking Back 4:27
     
  11. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
     
  12. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ha, yeah Nick Lowe's BCR tributes are enjoyably daffy. I was thinking more of the cover art of the BCR's 1978 opus 'Strangers In The Wind'.. ok , this monstrosity is actually somehow worse than Celluloid Heroes, but they definitely share a ballpark of 'couldn't care less, where's my paycheck' tacky production line 70s graphic design.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2022
  13. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Wow. That is really something... eh... something! Brutal. Harsh. Hypnotizing. And I say this as a fan of both black and death metal :D

    This is the best of Basher's Roller Trilogy, BTW:

     
  14. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Back in the Bob Seger thread, I had promised Mark that I would join this thread when it hit real time listening for me as a kid in rural Pennsylvania, i.e., Sleepwalker onwards. And I'll mostly stick to that. But the mid-70s was also that time when I first fell in love with The Kinks for more than "Lola." My high-school yearbook (in the early 80s) lists this as my favorite song, and I'll still support that claim. When I got of record-buying age, the first Kinks album I bought was Kronikles, and what a place to start! A wild mix of what must have been standards to many experienced Kinks fans, and more off-the-beaten path material that I later realized wasn't canon for them. That set left a lot of room for discovery, which I would in my mid/late teens and have the pleasure of absorbing so much of their earlier output. It was analogous to the Beatles' Red and Blue hits albums that came out in the 70s and left so much space for discovery.

    For me, the RCA years were the bargain-bin years. Every album, save for Preservation Act 2, was in the bargain bin of my local record store(s) in the mid-70s. I think 2 wasn't there simply because it was a double album. (At my local Listening Booth, there was a lone copy of this album in the Kinks section that I first started seeing circa 1974-75. That same copy was still sitting there by 1980, with torn cellophane. It was never discounted and prohibitively priced for a double album. I wouldn't buy it until the Rhino reissue on double CD many years later.) I wouldn't touch those bargain-bin albums for another year or two. I think I eventually broke down and bought a $1.99 copy of Everybody's in Showbiz on 8 track, and that kicked the door open to Muswell Hillbillies, and so on. Out of all those albums, Schoolboys in Disgrace became my favorite. Even the goofy concept-album tracks sounded good to me. That whole era, those albums are sprinkled with many bedrock Kinks songs, but I can see why they slipped into this strange place for so many American fans, despite the band regularly touring here.

    It was time for a comeback of sorts, and that same comeback would be where I became a real-time fan on Sleepwalker. The Celluloid Heroes record would become another bargain-bin staple! And I never bought it. In the next few years, I would own all those albums (save PA 2) and had no need for a set like that. I'll say this: it became easy to absorb the RCA years when you were never paying more than $1.99 per album to pick them up in those conveniently located bins at the front of the store!
     
  15. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Patchy is a good word to describe the RCA period. I don't think any of the albums are as good as the best albums on Pye but there's certainly lots of great songs.

    I'm not generally much of a fan of concept albums: they either barely have any coherent concept and so labelling them as such just seems pompous to me or else they are too rigidly constrained by the (usually half-baked) concept. The third possibility is that they're somewhere between the two. In my opinions, VGPS, Lola, Muswell Hillbillies, Everybody's in Showbiz are in the first category, Preservation Act 2 and Schoolboys In Disgrace are in the second category and Preservation Act 1 and Soap Opera are somewhere between the two. Arthur is probably the only time Ray managed a coherent concept album, with an interesting concept AND with good music.

    I'd rank the individual album thus:

    1. Muswell Hillbillies - I don't like everything on this album by any means, but there's no out and out stinkers and it's a pretty enjoyable listen all the way through. The concept is also loose enough that it doesn't get in the way.

    2. Preservation Act 1 - This has some very good songs in it, but pretty much all of the good songs have nothing much to do with the Preservation concept.

    3. Everybody's In Showbiz - I don't think this album is that good but it has some great songs on it, the main problem is that a lot of the other songs are pretty throwaway and the live album is a missed opportunity.

    4. Soap Opera - This is kind of a lightweight album too but I like it nonetheless, it's just very easy to listen to, which is a bonus coming after...

    5. Preservation Act 2 - There's more good stuff on here than I remembered but it's still a chore to listen to from start to finish. As for the concept, I've said plenty about that, it's maybe a good window into the confused workings of Ray Davies' brain ca. 1973/74.

    6. Schoolboys In Disgrace - Interestingly, although this never plumbs the depths of the worse songs on Everybody's In Showbiz and PA2, I still prefer both those albums to this. Again I've said all I'm going to say on the concept.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2022
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Interesting. I'm not sure I've seen that before.
    I have the sacd, and I think it's the same as the original LP
     
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Ha! A reference to a bit of a bass line doesn’t qualify as a comparison.
     
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  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    G'day mate.
    Sorry I forget to tag you, it's been a bit hectic.
    Glad you joined us :righton:
     
  19. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Depends entirely on the person reading and what he wants to put into it. You can trust me on this one :D
     
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    You nailed it. Absolutely true.
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol
    I understand folks seem to like it, but Shepherd's doesn't do much for me :)
     
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  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I’ll just play “very ‘eavy, very ‘umble” instead while I ponder The Kinks RCA years and the futility of their art department.
     
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Now there's part of my childhood where there has been no looking back!
     
  24. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Not High and Mighty? he asked innocently ;)
     
  25. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Nick Lowe ain't 'alf bad. But I guess you are talking about the Rollers and their wonderful sleeve art.
     

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