The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I love it when he pulls his tongue at the camera, around the 1'50'' mark !

    Anyway, it never quite jumped at me prior to this morning's more focused listen, but Don’t You Fret is truly amazing. The structure is once again quite unconventional, it seems to be made of three different choruses: the opening hymnal “don’t you fret now I’ll be there”, the middle bit “I can’t wait until the day” and finally the ascending “don’t you fret / don’t you fret/ I’ll come home to you again” chant, after the crashing instrumental break. All three parts are catchy as hell. In this song, I hear some Celtic undertones (probably the Rock of Ages quotation), like a mix between blues and an Irish sea shanty. What’s very clever is the ominous tone of the insisting opening lines. They sound like pounding church bells making a solemn announcement, like a boat is leaving for some unknown destination. The lyrics say “don’t you fret” but the music tells us otherwise: there is danger afoot, maybe war, or simply masculine adventure, and the guy may never return. Great song, great vocals, with Ray & Dave inventing the Kinks' slightly disjointed brother harmonies. Except for maybe Village Green, this song would be at home on any of their sixties LP’s to come, from Kontroversy up to Arthur.
  2. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    ‘Don’t You Fret’ live in 1969:

  3. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    The B side of the EP is much better than the A side for me.

    "A Well Respected Man"

    This song basically invents the Ray Davies that we all know and love, the social commentator and observer of the British class system. A fantastic lyric on top of an attractive and insistent tune. The chord change going nito the chorus is particularly good. This is the entry point into the Kinks' imperial phase.

    "Don't You Fret"

    Perhaps a bit overshadowed by the track that precedes it, but this still has plenty going for it. It's quite raunchy, and the tension rises and falls through the song building up to the big crescendo and the last note with the echo applied. This one probably deserved a spot on an album.
  4. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    A Well Respected Man -- We arrive at the first of the precise character sketches that helped define Ray Davies' legend as a songwriter. And it's a great one. I love Ray's staid and formal delivery as he chisels away at this overprivileged scion, and he expresses his sarcastic disapproval of this pillar of society by reciting the gotcha lines "he hopes to grab his father's loot when pater passes on" and "he's dying to get at her" with the same stoic detachment as the more superficially flattering verses. He commutes to work, he goes sailing, he leers at his neighbor's daughter...all equally typical characteristics of this young patrician. Oh so effective. Musically it's a steady, strong rocker as well, with the band expertly prodding it along, and enriching the choruses with golden harmonies. If "See My Friends" was Ray's great leap forward musically, this one gets him to the upper class lyrically. A watershed Kinks record -- and a US hit as well!

    Don't You Fret -- A respectable folky ballad, featuring some of Ray's most measured diction in his vocals and some elegant guitar strumming and, er, fretting. Not a particularly special Kinks track in the great scheme of things, but the big wall of sound at the end gives it some distinction. I like the spooky little organ as well -- is this the first appearance of an organ in a Kinks recording? It's following a tough act. As martyj pointed out above for "Such A Shame", Ray takes his voice to the precipice and peers over before deciding... naaah.

    BTW, the Spanish translation for "Don't You Fret" in the picture sleeve above ("No Te Enfades") oversells the drama a bit. That would be "Don't You Get Angry". A more accurate title would be "No Te Preocupes" ("Don't You Worry"). That's the closest word to "fret" in Spanish I can think of.
  5. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I had to go back and listen to catch that. But I hear it now.

    Yes, I was going to respond to Mark by suggesting the sea shanty...but you beat me to it. And narrowed it down to an Irish one!
  6. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    When I was boy scout I was on a camping outing and heard somebody play Kinks on a cassette tape recorder outside a tent. I inquired what it was because I liked the sound. The guy told me it is the Kinks and we got talking. I reveiled to him that also like 60`s music (this was in the 80`s) and was a Beatles fan. He kind of sneered at me and told me that the Beatles were crap and the Kinks were the real thing. From that day on I didn`t like the Kinks although I actually liked the songs they did even though (maybe because) I didn`t always know it was them. In the meantime I learned that the Beatles and Kinks were not on the best terms or rather John Lennon had a kind of grumpy encounter with one of them and that also one of them reviewed Rubber Soul in a newspaper and tore it apart. Not much to endear me to them. And as I say "one of them" it shows you how little I knew about them. Yesterday I finally succumbed and watched a arte-Docu of them. Great music, highly interesting, difficult personalities, not your regular pop-group at all and not wanting to be either. The impression I took away was that there was some absolutly brilliant songwriting going on with unusually rich lyrics. That stupid kid who made it sound like the Beatles were phonies and the Kinks the true rockers and bad boys and what-not was quickly forgotten. I actually heard not that much out-and-out rock in them but more very english, very appealing artistry then I expected and while I file the sound clearly with the swinging 60`s London it was interesting to find out that they didn`t really feel they were part of that scene and actually kind of distanced themselves from all that. So thanks for the thread, consider me a newcomer to this band.
  7. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    Well respected man and Don’t You Fret

    Mark knocked it out of the park today with both song write-ups so it’s tough to come up with something new here. These are two remarkable tracks on this side of the EP, and represent another fork in road in the Kinks sound. Who, in 1965, when they dropped the stylus to the vinyl expected either of these sounds to come from a Kinks record? Funny thing is, after Face to Face, Kink’s fan’s expected the unexpected with each new release. This is why, for me, much of what they do after 1979 is such a disappointment, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

    With “Well Respected Man” Ray invents the Top 40 pop music character sketch. Well, maybe that’s giving him too much credit as character sketches certainly existed in music before, but I’m not sure they existed before with this sort of detail combined with social commentary. Of course, social commentary was not new to popular music (e.g., see: folk music) but had it ever been wrapped and presented as a jaunty English Music Hall throwback?

    Fortuleo wondered about the precedent in this (rock? blues? country?). To me it seems like it descended from the English Music Hall tradition. Ray is a deep lover/student of vaudeville, and I can easily picture him strolling across a stage with a bounce to his step, cane over his shoulder, a jaunty cap tilted on his head while he sings this ditty. This kind of approach will come full flower a bit later in Dedicated Follower of Fashion. And he’ll keep going back to it throughout the RCA years.

    The song is the most rudimentary of melodies, where it sounds exactly like the chords used to play it. For this reason I suspect the melody did not originate with Ray; anyone want to try to convince me that in the expanse of human existence from the time the guitar was invented that no one else ever played C, Em, Am in sequence and didn’t think, “hmmmm, I could write a song using that melody?” That’s not a criticism, just an observation.

    For the longest time this was among the most well-known Kinks songs in American. Still is. I, too, was surprised when I found out it was not so celebrated in England compared with their other songs. Yet, somehow, the world keeps spinning.

    As for Don’t you Fret, what sets it apart is what Mark describes as the “Rock of Ages” opening. Again, previously not experienced on a Kinks record. To me it evokes the similar kind of feel to what we will get on “Muswell Hillbillies.” Another notable part is the mid-section, which is of a different character. It recalls a Shel Talmy-esque debut album rave up sound, with an added nice “build-up-to-a-release” gimmick. That build up and release is all over Village Green: “Big Sky” and “Sitting By the Riverside”…even “Steam Powered train,” where the release takes on a different character.

    Overall, two fantastic, forward-looking songs today.
  8. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    I'm always amazed by some people's tendencies to think that to champion one band means one has to vilify the other. As far as Beatles and Kinks go, I can't conceive how someone who likes one would not like the other. They seem so alike to me: stylistically diverse, risk taking, lyrically playful, melodic, great vocals, I could go on... In fact, if I were introducing the Kinks to someone (and I have) I would say: "If you like the Beatles, you'll like the Kinks."
  9. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    I can’t add much to what has already been said about Can’t Wait Until Summer and It’s a Shame. Neither are bad songs but, in my estimation, neither are particularly special songs either. I’d have to pick It’s a Shame as the winner between the two.

    Well Respected Man: Now this is a different story altogether. When I first discovered the Kinks, this one was a skipper in my rush to get to You Really Got Me, ADAAOTN, and the other more riff-based rockers on my Kinks Greatest Hits album. As mitigating factors, (i) I was all of about 12 years old and the concepts inherent in this song were probably too mature and not of interest to the angry young man I was back then, and (ii) I was, remain, and probably always will be a headbanger at heart, and as a result, the song seemed too quaint and British for my hard rockin’ taste. Nowadays, I can appreciate this song much more for its class, taste and skillful writing. Nonetheless, although it will always make my mid to late 60s era Kinks playlist, I respect it too much to exclude it, it inevitably drifts down towards the bottom as I arrange the songs in an order in which I actually want to hear them.

    Don’t You Fret: Catchy enough I suppose. I am sure if they didn’t have so many other songs that are just so much more than just “catchy enough”, it would get some repeat plays from me. That said, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, along with Its a Shame, and play them both a few more times, just to see if they become ear worms I can’t escape. Never wise to underestimate Ray, Dave and the boys, that’s for sure.
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Excellent write up Mark!
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Agreed some really dreadful lyrics in I Need You & I think you were the first to bring them up.
    mark winstanley and Fischman like this.
  12. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    Oh ! I would love to read that ! Please tell me it was Dave who wrote it.
    Can someone post it?
    mark winstanley likes this.
  13. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Yes, I think so, too. (Which dovetails nicely with your post down thread re: Kinks/Beatles).

    Hear, hear. (Though my amazement has changed to severe irritation lately).
    mark winstanley likes this.
  14. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Something else notable about "Don't You Fret" - isn't it the first mention of tea in a Kinks song? Certainly not the last!
  15. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    A little late to the game
    Wait Till The Summer Comes Along
    I really like this one. Sounds like there's some uncertainty as to whether Dave or Ray wrote this. Put me down that this is Dave.
    love this lyric:
    Let the Winter roll along.
    I've got nothing left but song

    Such a Shame
    I like the music but the lyrics are too repetitive to keep my attention.
    CheshireCat, mark winstanley and Zeki like this.
  16. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    A Well Respected Man
    We've had iconic songs like You Really Got Me, but huge as those may be, they are not kwintessentially Kinks. We've had songs that hint at where Ray's songwriting might go, but they were just hints.

    This is the first song which fully sets the Kinks in all their clever glory.

    The relatively simple musical construction not only works well of its own accord, it is perfect to express the repetitive, conservative life of its subject. I love the delivery. Nothing but top marks for this song. You Really Got Me is essential and way more fun, but this is the first true Kinks masterpiece.

    Don't You Fret
    A real plodder. For all its devices, its still a ham fisted, plodding mess. Time to lift the needle.
    The MEZ, FJFP, CheshireCat and 3 others like this.
  17. Ken Wood

    Ken Wood Forum Resident

    It was Ray and I got it wrong: it was about Revolver!

    Side One: "Taxman" (by George)--lead voice, George: "It sounds like a cross between the Who and Batman. It's a bit limited, but the Beatles get over this by the sexy double-tracking. It's surprising how sexy double-tracking makes a voice sound."

    "Eleanor Rigby" (by John and Paul)--lead Paul: "I bought a Haydn LP the other day and this sounds just like it. It's all sort of quartet stuff and it sounds like they're out to please music teachers in primary schools. I can imagine John saying: 'I'm going to write this for my old schoolmistress'. Still it's very commercial."

    "I'm Only Sleeping" (by John and Paul)--lead John: "It's a most beautiful song, much prettier than 'Eleanor Rigby'. A jolly old thing, really, and definitely the best track on the album.

    "Love You Too" (by George)--lead George: "George wrote this--he must have quite a big influence on the group now. This sort of song I was doing two years ago--now I'm doing what the Beatles were doing two years ago. It's not a bad song--it's well performed which is always true of a Beatles track."

    "Here There and Everywhere" (by John and Paul)--lead Paul: "This proves that the Beatles have got good memories, because there are a lot of busy chords in it. It's nice--like one instrument with the voice and guitar merging. Third best track on the album."

    "Yellow Submarine" (by John and Paul)--lead Ringo: "This is a load of rubbish, really. I take the mickey out of myself on the piano and play stuff like this. I think they know it's not that good."

    "She Said She Said" (by John and Paul)--lead John: "This song is in to restore confidence in the old Beatles sound. That's all."

    "Good Day Sunshine" (by John and Paul)--lead Paul: "This'll be a giant. It doesn't force itself on you, but it stands out like 'I'm Only Sleeping'. This is back to the real old Beatles. I just don't think the fans like the newer electronic stuff. The Beatles are supposed to be like the boy next door only better."

    "And Your Bird Can Sing" (by John and Paul)--lead John: "Don't like this. The song's too predictable. It's not a Beatles song at all."

    "For No One" (by John and Paul)--lead Paul: "This will get covered, but it won't be a hit. It's really better than 'Eleanor Rigby' and the French horn is a nice effect."

    "Dr. Robert" (by John and Paul)--lead John: "It's good--there's a 12-bar beat and bits in it that are clever. Not my sort of thing, though."

    "I Want To Tell You" (by George)--lead George: "This helps the LP through. It's not up to the Beatles standard."

    "Got To Get You Into My Life" (by John and Paul)--lead Paul: "Jazz backing--and it just goes to prove that Britain's jazz musicians can't swing. Paul's singing better jazz than the musicians are playing which makes nonsense of people saying jazz and pop are very different. Paul sounds like Little Richard. Really, it's the most vintage Beatles track on the LP."

    "Tomorrow Never Knows" (by John and Paul)--lead John: "Listen to all those crazy sounds! It'll be popular in discotheques. I can imagine they had George Martin tied to a totem pole when they did this!"

    So, after listening to each track three or four times, the Ray Davies verdict: "This is the first Beatles LP I've really listened to in it's entirety but I must say there are better songs on 'Rubber Soul'. Still, 'I'm Only Sleeping' is a standout, 'Good Day Sunshine is second best and I also like 'Here, There and Everywhere.' But I don't want to be harsh about the others. The balance and recording technique are as good as ever."

    Source: Ray Davies reviews the Beatles LP

    Reading it again, I don`t really see him totally slamming it - he has some nice things to say. However the way they put the Rubbish-quote right in the middle in a large font makes him seem much harder on the record:

  18. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    Thanks for posting that so quickly. Enjoyed reading it.
    Ray's comments are cutting and caustic and not too far from the truth of things.
    I don't know if any of The Fabs read this ( I hope they did ) but it must have annoyed them if they had.
    I love ' Revolver ' but it's good to see some air being let out of a sacred cow.
  19. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    The experts say Dave. The money goes to Ray.
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Ray’s just doing the same thing we’re doing here in a song-by-song thread.
  21. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Well Respected Man
    As others have said and will no doubt will continue to say: Ray and the Kinks have arrived! This is it. This is the song. I know I knew this as a kid in the 70s. The lyrics meant nothing to me at the time other than I knew it was sort of a story which attracted me. but the BASS is what really rooted in my head at the time. I've always been a music first, lyrics last kind of the music is what captured me...even the "music" of Ray's voice. Only recently knew all the lyrics(In my defense, I have trouble picking up lyrics esp if they have an accent or are not incredibly clear)(like without the written lyrics, I would never have heard: While his father pulls the maid or When Pater passes on) and, wow, it's brilliant (but you already knew that).

    This song will always be in my top 25 pantheon of Kinks songs. Maybe in the top 10. It's unbelievably fantastic. Wow. Just wow.

    Don't Your Fret
    First time hearing this. I really like it. It feels an Irish tune during the verses, doesn't it? That middle bit, wouldn't really call it a guitar solo, but not sure about it, but maybe it'll grow on me. But it kind of is balanced out by more of the same to end of the song, so it makes sense.
  22. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member

    A Well Respected Man
    One of Ray's best songs. So era-defining too.

    Don't You Fret

    New to me. A bit of a throwaway song I feel.
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That's pretty funny.
    I don't agree with Ray on his assessments but that's cool, he was in the moment.
    It would also be terribly annoying to be such a good writer and all the kudos is going to Liverpool lol
  24. Williamson

    Williamson Forum Resident

    My, my, some sniffy comments there from Ray, but yeah, I guess he was in the moment. I like his dig about Tomorrow Never Knows and George Martin though.
  25. Williamson

    Williamson Forum Resident

    As others have said A Well Respected Man finds Ray right into his stride as a writer, and this is another landmark song like See My Friends. I think he would get better at these character studies, this one is a bit too music hall for my ears and never really takes off, but still I recognise the sharp observation at work.

    Puts me in mind of Mr Clean by The Jam off their album All Mod Cons, a record so steeped in Ray Davies that there's also a version of David Watts on there.

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