The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    When Wilco came out with ‘Spiders (Kidsmoke) I was appalled, thinking, “yep, now that Jay’s gone, there goes the neighborhood.” (Of course, I initially had determined that the neighborhood had gone to hell because of Jay. But I’m fickle ( :D ) and I digress). And then one evening on the last segment of my 4-part (2 subways, one train and finally a bus) commute home ‘Spiders..’ burst through my headphones and I was entranced. It was perfect and the neighborhood was restored to order.

    I saw this same initial reaction from a forum member when The Decemberists released their most recent album, ‘I’ll Be Your Girl.’ He was beyond bewildered, despondent over, especially, the single, ‘Severed’ with that hypnotic beat. His beloved Decemberists were gone. My thoughts? Been there, done that. And I placed the album as co-album of the year for 2018.

    Moral? I like Superman!
  2. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    I hear some of a decades in the future Tom Petty song here in the chorus particularly (though I am not sure how he may have heard it). The same Petty song I'm talking about thematically fits with the lead track of the next Kinks album we'll be looking at here and I inagine Tom was a fan of that song at the time.
  3. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Ha they were still playing “Education” on this tour, love it!
  4. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Hidden Quality
    Finally getting to this song. And this is a really good one, even with it being rough and unfinished. I hear the 60s Kinks, but I also hear upcoming 80s music (and beyond). The guitar sound and even Ray's sometimes scratchy vocals remind of the Replacements.

    And how often does Ray sing "I love her" in a song? So that makes it stand out.

    And the "whoa"s are great. And the turn around in the lyrics that the singer ain't no great shakes either, but he too has hidden qualities.
    too bad Ray didn't keep working on this one. I think it would have been a Klassic.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2022
  5. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Er, typo. Shoulda been blooze daddy. But agree on the band name!
  6. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Hidden Qualities: charming little demo. Sounds like a klassic Kinks power pop number from a decade before. Probably would not have taken much to finish it up, but I will be quite content to listen to it as is. Unlike many here, I would not be so quick to replace anything on low budget with this song, but I quite like it. I just think Low Budget is quite the fine album just the way it is, thank you.
  7. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    A Sunday message from Ray:
    Don't you know that you gotta eat food?
    Don't you know that it's good for you?

    Listening to Maximum Consumption right now. What a fun song! and kwirky!
  8. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    "Hidden Quality" - I too wish they had finished this. I prefer this over several of the LB songs, but it probably doesn't fit that album's vibe. Despite the buried vocal and not being finished, I think it has playlist quality. Catchy.
    CheshireCat, DISKOJOE, Zeki and 6 others like this.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  10. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Never heard this mix before but I have now had a chance to listen to it and I have to say it is superior to the album's version by some distance. Agree, that the disco sound is less obvious here which pleases me and the vocal is clearer.

    Isn't it strange the album has two different mixes of two of its more prominent tracks and yet they have never appeared on cd? Let's hope Mr Davies is a little less enthusiastic about calling the Web Sherrif than a certain V Morrison!!!
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter


    stereo mix (3:31), recorded circa 1979 or 1980 at (probably) Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    I've seen you ride through Technicoloured sunsets
    Fight a million battles, and never lost one yet
    Surely you must be the greatest man the world has known
    You fought the war and you did it all on your own

    I've seen you stop so many bad guys with your six gun
    You fought so many duals and never lost one
    Surely you must be the greatest man the world has known
    You always win and you always get the girl

    And you taught me about freedom
    And you taught me about law and order
    And you always win as if by magic
    And you always let the bad guys have it

    Duke, I idolized you as a child
    But we've all grown up and learned a lot since then
    Good guys lose and sometimes bad guys win
    And you've grown old the same as other men
    Duke, we'll never see the likes of you again

    I've seen you ride through Technicoloured sunsets
    Fight a million battles, and you've never lost yet
    Surely you must be the greatest man the world has known
    You fought the war and you won it all on your own

    Why did you always play the good guy?
    Why did you always have a code of honour?
    And you always lick the bad guys
    And justice triumphed over wrong and yet

    I see you now, you look so frail
    You fought your fight and you served us well
    But even heroes have to say farewell
    Goodbye Duke, so long and happy trails
    Duke, we'll never see the likes of you again

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

    This song also has a bit of a sixties throwback feel. One of Ray's vignette type songs...

    This is obviously somewhat of an ode to John Wayne, but it moves on to reveal the reality that the Hollywood heroes are an exaggeration and don't stand up to the reality around us.

    Ray grabs the bull by the horns in the first verse.
    I've seen you riding through technicolour sunsets is a great line.
    He has fought countless battles undefeated, and he fought the war, seemingly on his own. He is surely the greatest man that ever lived.

    The feel goes on like this in the second verse. then we get a sort of bridge, and it goes on to say how the movie actor taught our impressionable youth about freedom and law and order, and the way you always won was like a magic trick.... the magic trick of movies.

    Then we get a change in perspective, as Ray says, well we have all grown up and our experience of the world shows all too clearly that good guys don't always win.... in fact quite often the bad guys win, and it is a sort of disillusionment, a sad, but necessary one.
    I idolised you as a child, but time has shown that you grow old just like normal men, and we may never see another man like you again.

    There is this tenderness and love in these lyrics.... Like a longing for the Village Green, we have a longing for a world where the good guys win.... sadly in this day and age, we are left wondering who the good guys actually are..... if in fact are there any.

    We get some lyrical repeats and then the question is asked, "why did you always play the good guy?" and "why did you always have a code of honour?" ... and it almost seems rhetorical... I think it is somewhat a wish for more good guys, and real codes of honour in the real world.

    The last verse is a tender proclamation of love for this man who entertained us as a child, and it is quite touching.
    "I see you now and you look so frail", a sad reminder of our humanity...
    Again we get this allusion to Celluloid Heroes, because Celluloid Heroes never feel any pain, and Celluloid Heroes never really die.... and it confronts most folks seemingly deepest fears about mortality. Even the ultimate cowboy grows old and dies. You fought your fight and served us well. even heroes have to say farewell.

    This is quite a thoughtful, and quite beautiful song, and I'm sure John Wayne would have appreciated the sentiment here.

    I like the music here too. It is a really nicely constructed melodic and chordal statement that smoothly flows through its changes.
    It is very interesting hearing these demos, and it makes me wonder how much they would have changed in a transition into an album track.

    The melancholy is quite beautiful.
    So another sixties style track here, and I enjoy it a lot, and the Kinks quality leftovers continue to be very high in quality.
    I like this a lot as well.

  12. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Ah, melancholy, whimsical Ray did still exist, he just wasn't putting those tracks on the albums! I really like this as well - it reminds me a bit of the Australian band Sodastream. I'm now starting to think that maybe it is worth getting Picture Book, or better still, a 2CD version on Low Budget with all these outtakes.
  13. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    John Wayne died June 11th 1979: it'd be interesting to know exactly when this song was written as it seems to still address him as a living person with the line 'I see you now, you look so frail' even if it still functions as an elegy.

    Wayne's last major public appearance was probably the Oscars in April 9th that year: I wonder if watching that was what inspired the song?

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2022
  14. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Pretty sure John Wayne would have said, "What's that little English f*g been saying about me?" This song is very definitely old school Kinks but it sort of rambles along uncertainly and doesn't really have any hooks. I can see why this one was left on the shelf.
  15. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Really like this one too. Lovely bass here really stands out. Good enough to have been recorded properly and issued on an album or single B side. Someone at Kinks Towers certainly made some weird decisions over the years.
  16. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Duke" - I had no idea Ray wrote a tribute to actor John Wayne. It makes sense that Ray would look to an icon of a bygone era but I am still a little surprised Ray chose to write about John Wayne. I would concur that it is a song that is undeveloped musically with no real hooks in it. It's a demo so I imagine it was an effort to get something on tape for a song that was in development but it did not get beyond the demo stage. It's interesting to hear it from a historical point of view in the era of CD reissues with bonus tracks but, in its form here, it does not belong on any Kinks album. I suppose it is a companion piece to "Celluloid Heroes" that also examines movie stars in context of faded glory.
    CheshireCat, Brian x, Smiler and 11 others like this.
  17. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Interesting having Ray pay tribute in song to another Americal Icon though this one was a real Celluloid Heroes the other moreso a Jukebox Hero!

    Sweet song and sentiments that is a 60's throwback and the opening guitar lines have me thinking of 1966 and Face To Face (perhaps Most Exclusive Residence For Sale or Little Miss Queen Of Darkness?) though not at all of anything on Low Budget.

    Good to know (many of) our own boyhood hero was conclusively still able and interested to write in such an endearing and melancholic way as he brings his learned childhood observations up to (the current) date and true to (this end of) life reality.
  18. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    The "frail" line could come from Wayne's last public appearance, when he presented his Oscar to Michael Cimino for The Deer Hunter, one of the most touching and symbolic images of the Hollywood history for me. Wayne is presenting his award for best director to the best disenchanted John Ford disciple, a stellar wonder boy who will sadly have his own creative wings burnt very soon after… Devastating, especially since the award was for a Vietnam film that stands tall in seventies cinema, a mere ten years after Wayne himself co-directed the terribly ill-advised propaganda debacle of a movie, the Green Berets. Anyway, you can see it online, the great iconic actor was so thin he insisted on wearing an undercoat to keep his "Duke" stature and composure. But he was wearing his disease on his face, like a death mask. Ray must've watched the ceremony (he was still living in America at the time, I think ?) and was certainly moved by his (and mine) celluloid hero's melancholic demise, something Duke did make a superb use of in some of his last films, namely The Cow-Boys and (especially) The Shootist in 1976. So when he died, I guess all this came back to Ray and informed this endearing little tune. I disagree with the statement that it has no hook. There is one, the recurring line "Surely you must be the greatest man the world has known", and it's beautiful. Ray delivers it both as the child he was and as the man he became, looking back on said child like he still knows exactly what he feels and how he sees the world. I understand how this demo can be underwhelming to some. As a song, it's not there yet, it's tentative, meandering, clumsy and all. But in a way, that's what I love the most about it. It's not a song yet, it's a sentiment in search of a song, and I love it all the more for it.
  19. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident


    I had a quick listen to the song I thought we were going to cover before I left for work this morning - so I was all ready to write about "Nuclear Love"...

    Anyway, again this one sounds like it could have come from The Kinks in any year of the prior decade. I can actually hear it fitting somewhere into Preservation Act I. It would need to be a bit more developed though, as it just meanders through the lyric without much of a hook or anything to remember. It's an interesting twist on "Celluloid Heroes", though, and well worth listening to.
  20. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    And ironic that Cimino would have his wings burnt for a Western whose theme could easily have appealed to Wayne when he was top of his game.
  21. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    1979 saw another "Duke" production, this one with may heroes and created initially for celluloid and with a familiar prancing horse coming out on top all thanks to a High Budget and many plentiful Gallons Of Gas!

  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Sorry mate. I obviously got myself out of order
    All Down The Line, DISKOJOE and ARL like this.
  23. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Duke: first listen just now. I like it but it’s clearly in the early demo stage. The bass is very busy (but at least has an idea) whereas the piano is a huge distraction.

    I do like the lyrics and Rays vocals. Very nice.

    The Drive-by Truckers put out a John Wayne song called ‘The Sands of Iwo Jima.’ Puts John Wayne firmly in the make believe category:
    “And I thought about that movie, asked if it was that way
    He just shook his head and smiled at me in such a loving way
    As he thought about some friends he will never see again
    He said "I never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima"
  24. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Duke: As always with Ray, everything is an earworm (practically) and this one is no different. I agree with the others above that the song is a bit out of time and sounds like something that could’ve come from the prior decade. I like it, although again I certainly wouldn’t replace anything on low budget with it. I’m glad to have it and it will make my playlist for this era.

    I do think there’s a very clear delineation between the fans who discovered the Kinks in the Pye and RCA eras, and the fans (like me) who may have known some of those earlier hits but made the kinks their own beginning with the Arista era. My take on it is that, just as with many bands who change personnel or manage to stick around for a long time, those of us that discovered them in the beginning lose interest as the band evolves or personnel changes occur, while those of us who discover them at a later stage are more open to looking backwards to the earlier eras .

    I only articulate the above to set the stage to relate to you that my fiancé (31 years old, thus born in 91) does seem to prefer the Pye era, but perked up yesterday while this song was playing and for the first time in a while said “I like this one”.
  25. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    The box itself is out of print and fetches big money on the used market, but if nothing else it is available on iTunes, at least here in the US. Not sure about other countries/continents. All the tracks are available for individual purchase so you can pick and choose which ones you want without having to buy the whole download. I posted this a couple pages back, but there are only about a dozen tracks/mixes that are unique to this set across the entirety of the 6 CDs (138 tracks).
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2022

Share This Page