The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Same...
    I was told very early on that this era would get backlash, but I still can't figure out why really
     
  2. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    The music hall influence was all over the UK music scene in the mid 60s, so the Kinks weren't really swimming against any sort of tide there. Was the use of brass in the RCA anachronistic? Possibly, but, as I said, I see that as an example of the Kinks ploughing their own idiosyncratic furrow in that it seemed like a they were fusing rock music with elements of trad jazz and New Orleans jazz - but is that really anachronistic? I would agree they didn't chase trends but neither were they completely immune from them. I listened to the first side of "Low Budget" today and, straight from the starters gun, Ray is barking away in an exaggerated Cockney accent while the rest of the band are going like the clappers in the background, don't try and tell me "Attitude" isn't influenced by punk rock!
     
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Perhaps, but surely playing in a style that others actually, somewhat got from you in the first place isn't really chasing a trend. To me it's more stamping your authority.
     
  4. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    That's pretty debatable, Ray never sang like that in 1964!
     
  5. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    It was clear to me you were not badmouthing them, just identifying a similarity. Toto must be one of the hardest bands to admit liking. I get it, a bunch of session musos get together and bang out a debut that goes top ten with, what, three singles that were hits, without ever ever paying their dues. For my part, its not like they are a favorite, but I found it hard not to like Hold the Line, I mean, thats a seriously fine opening riff right there. I was even more taken though with Hydra, the follow up to their debut. Gone was pretty much anything that would have lead to a top 10 single, replaced instead with lengthier jams and a crazy concept that couldn't be followed (hey, wait a minute, this IS more like the kinks then we thought?!?!?). Anyway, i loved that album then and still enjoy hearing the title song and All Us Boys occasionally, and if you want to get a sense of what Toto could do if they wanted to push the envelope, take a listen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2022
  6. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Dan Lampinski seems to be a bootlegging legend.

    And this was recorded just a handful of towns over from me too. Oh to have been an adult in the mid-70s with money to burn!
     
  7. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    You wuz there?!! Lucky duck (on the wall)!
     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's a combination of his cockney accent he used quite frequently in the sixties, and what on the thread has somewhat affectionately? become known as "shouty Ray"
     
  9. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    For many years, my Stones collection stopped at Let It Bleed, as I'm more of a Brian Jones era fan. I have obtained their albums up to Tattoo You the past few years and Some Girls is my favorite, although there's lot of good songs on the other albums.
     
  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm pretty happy with all the Stones albums from Between The Buttons to (dread, horror) Dirty Work.
    It's Only Rock and Roll, and Emotional Rescue dip a little, but not enough to be bothered.
     
  11. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire
    Life On The Road
    A very good opening to the album. I like the slow introduction before getting into the meat of arriving in the big city. And a very Ray lyric, a catalogue of disasters!
    I do like the 'Sleepwalker' album, lots of good to very good songs, but unlike every previous Kinks LP, I don't find any 'great' songs on here. Mind you, it doesn't necessarily have the low points some of the previous LPs had either. A steady album.
     
  12. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I think I may have been the originator of that one!
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    :)
     
    All Down The Line and DISKOJOE like this.
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I like "shouty Ray", as a nickname and vocal delivery style
     
  15. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Location:
    Boomerland
    Tickets were cheap in those days! I was poor and never missed The Kinks if I could help it.
     
  16. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    "Life on the Road"

    Pros:
    A fine arrangement with prominent guitars; I'm not hearing a huge change or watered-down style here
    Nice dynamic variation with quiet and loud sections
    Good lyrics
    Good hooks: "oh yeah, oh yeah," the high "I'm livin' the life that I chose" lines, singable "Life on the road" line, the D set of chord changes that @The late man pointed out
    Good vocal, and backing vocals

    Con:
    Most of the verse melody simply does not stick with me and doesn't invite humming or singing along.* This is my impression for a lot of the post-RCA material (and some of the RCA material as well). I have tried to identify why I get this impression, and I'm no expert on music theory, but here is an attempted musical analysis:

    I hear Ray getting wordier, writing longer lyric lines, and I hear a bunch of eighth notes to sing all the words, but not a lot of variation in note length or vertical variation in pitches. Maybe it's just me. I suppose we can't always expect him to write "Terry meets Julie/Waterloo Station/every Friday night"-type short line phrasing, but boy, is that a memorable melody. I've also previously used "Moneygoround" as an example of a lot of words with a hummable melody. I believe I've read of his 60s era songs that the lyrics often came after the melody. On "Life on the Road," the words must have almost certainly come first.

    There is a lot to like here, but I find myself wanting more to hang on to melodically, to make me want to play it again. But I haven't listened to this album as much as I intended before our discussion, so I won't make any definitive pronouncements, playlist or rating-wise.:)

    * When I do try to sing this in my mind, "Hey are you gay/can you come out to play" reminds me of "I'm sorry honey/If I don't change the pace/I can't face another day" in Elton John's "Love Lies Bleeding." So instead of "Life on the Road," I've been singing "Love Lies Bleeding" in my head all day and marveling anew at what a masterwork "Funeral for a Friend/LLB" is. Which doesn't help my appraisal of today's opener.

    But I don't mean to be a downer, really!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2022
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, by the time I was going to concerts (80's) tickets were $15-$20 (something like that)..... it was money you could scrape together.
    No matter how many times someone tries to say well $250-$300 is the modern equivalent or whatever, it's still big bucks, and not quite as easy to scrape together... then all the fees that come with that lol
     
  18. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Thanks for sharing this! When I made my initial pass through their catalog I didn’t linger too long on Sleepwalker, and only things that had captured my attention from Life On The Road were “Houston”, On the Road, City Women, living my life as I choose, etc … and Hey are you gay (?) - would never have guessed The Old Main Drag was lurking in this song but I guess that line should have clued me in … not to mention we are told twice that the poor guy has been walking all night - doesn’t even have a car! Which is ironic because the performance comes across as a ‘blast from the car radio with the windows down’ type of song. It’s much deeper than this as that acoustic performance makes clear.

    Now I’m curious to find out if there is irony lurking in the other songs as well, since my first impression was that these songs were uncharacteristically straightforward in the lyrics department, and thus not as compelling as what comes before and after.
     
  19. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yeah, I know there are Mendelssohnians who think it's all downhill after Lola v PM, and I know there are folks who think they lost the plot about halfway through their RCA tenure. But I am surprised to find that there's a sizable amount of fans who view Sleepwalker as the dropping-off point. I guess I can see where a fan of the showtune albums would be upset over the dramatic change in direction, but it's not like he's suddenly writing songs different than he ever did before. Life On The Road for example is about as prototypical a Ray Davies song as you can get... a mash-up of two of his favorite themes: the road and the naif in the big city. It's not like he was suddenly writing cliched, tepid love-song lyrics. His unique sensibility (which was anything but typical AOR) is all over the record.
     
  20. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire
    Ticket prices have gone up too much. In 1994 you could see The Kinks in concert around the UK for £8.50-£12.50. And they still didn't sell out the venues!
     
  21. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire
    Thank goodness Ray never sunk to be writing cliched, tepid love-song lyrics. My introduction to The Kinks in real time with 'Aggravation' really hammered home that it thankfully never became the case. It's one of the main reasons I am a Kinks fan.
     
  22. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Yeah, there's nothing wrong with the lyrics or Ray's vocals on this album, that's not where the objections lie.
     
  23. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    So it's something specific about the music. I get the lack of horns and that it sounds somehow more like what other people were doing at the time, but I don't have the musical vocabulary/sensibility to understand exactly what it is that makes Sleepwalker so different musically. Does it have to do with the way the songs are structured and paced, or is it more "sound" as in production technique/effectors/blend of instruments?
     
  24. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    It has a very bland sound but I think it's more the arrangements and playing, which, to me, are pretty anonymous. I know people love Dave but his playing on this album could be any LA studio guy or standard issue US AOR lead guitarist and, you know, that's probably exactly what he was aiming for and what Ray wanted. I think the songwriting on this album is actually pretty strong, though not all of it by any means, and it certainly beats listening to an entire album about schoolboys! I've been listening to the next two albums and I think, overall, this album is more consistent than either of those.
     
  25. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Life On The Road

    Neither as good nor as bad as some are saying.

    Ray's vocal seems very hard to hear at the beginning which is a shame because this is a story song.

    I like the use of the word 'tyke'. Seems pretty British to me in this sense of an inexperienced individual ripe to be taken in by those wise-guy Londoners (and of course also by their wise-gal floozies).

    A pleasant rocking tune once it gets going, belying the actual message of the song.

    Like Dylan still on the road yet tangled-up in blue, Ray is on the road because it's 'the only life' he knows.


    Incidentally, concerning the 'the Abbey Road' debate, it could be worth pointing out that there are nine Abbey Roads in London so saying this is THE Abbey Road is not necessarily a bad thing. It also scans better in the line.
     

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