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

  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    National Health.

    live, stereo mix, recorded 4 Mar, 1980 at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York

    This track is also one that isn't on the video.

    Ray gives the crowd a little "Woooo aaaaaahhh" to which they sing along with him. Then says "has anybody here got nervous tension" to a bit of a spike in crowd noise.

    The band comes pulsing in behind the bass, and some chord slides from Dave.
    We have that Running Bear beat, and the song kicks in on "Valium helps me for a while"

    We have the keys holding a pad in the background and we have Jim Rodford playing a fantastic bassline that the song sits on.
    We have the guys giving the song the same kind of beautiful Kwirky sound and feel of the Low Budget album.

    In many ways Jim Rodford's Bass with Ray's vocals are the winners here, and they really give this live version a great feel and flow.
    The crowd singing along with the "wooooo, aaaaaahhhh" is fun too.

    We get Dave throwing in some nice little licks, effects and all the good stuff.
    The song also has this knack of falling in and out of this really cool groove, at the appropriate times.

    This is a great fun change of pace in the album sequencing and in the old days ended side three.

     
  3. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    « Schoo-per-mannnn, schoopermann, ah-a-aaaah» may not be the greatest lyric Ray Davies ever wrote, but it’s damn funny.

    So this is a rock version, quite different (the backing vocals are a nice addition), and as such, a retrospective proof that the studio cut was indeed disco, or disco-fied (there was debate here, if you remember). I prefer it on video, where we can appreciate the almost uncanny merging of all the different music “waves” of the era, be it “new”, punk, metal, rock, disco and almost everything in between. It’s really an extraordinary intersection point.

    Of course, the same can be said about National Health, with its brilliant XTC bass, Nile Rodgers little dinga-ding guitars and stupid (but absolutely great) wo-o-o-o oh chorus. I miss the weird marimba synth sounds of the studio version and I greatly miss not being able to watch Ray acting this one out on video (I don’t own it, I rely on Youtube for this).

    And now I’ll have both choruses battling for supremacy in my head till the end of the day (at least)... Schooperman or wo-o-o-o oh, I wonder which one will prevail…
     
  4. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    My hope that I'd like a couple of tracks on Side 3 has already happened - Superman is a great track, and I do like the live version though not as much as the album or 'disco' versions. And the same for National Health.
     
  5. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "Superman"/"National Health": the Low Budget side ends w/a flourish, w/the Big Hit Song (at least in FM airplay) done in a manner in both audio and video versions that banish any notions of Disco in favor of some good old Rock and Roll, just like in the days of old (notice cheap tatic to curry favor w/our Headmaster by mentioning one of his other fave raves; if I could only work in a Skyhooks reference!). The tendency to play songs live in a more energized and engaging manner also works for "National Health", nice dumb chorus and all.
     
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol
    Kinks and Skyhooks.... hmmm
    Much like the Kinks were very British lyrically and thematically, Skyhooks were very Aussie-centric... the first Aussie band to really sing about Aussie places and themes with any success.... :)
     
  7. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Superman" is rocked up a bit - the Stones did the same thing with "Miss You" on their 1978 tour making its disco roots less obvious. I prefer the live version to the studio version but "Superman" is not an upper tier Kinks song in my book (Gotta say I really like R.E.M.'s song "Superman" which I think is actually a cover version of another song of the same title). Nice chance for Dave to show off his lead guitar chops though.
    "National Health" - another case of a song sounding better to me in a live version than its original studio version. It provides a bit of musical variety to the proceedings to end side three.
     
  8. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    Superman
    Pretty cool when Ray goes into his Mid-Westerner accent and draws a laugh from Jim. There is a different, better dynamic within the Kinks stage act with Jim and Ian in the band. Not that there wouldn’t be the occasional flare-up. The syncopated dancing though, you think Keith and Bill would ever be caught in that cheap of a routine? It’s slightly embarrassing. Maybe I’m starting to like the live album version over the studio, it’s sure getting close.

    National Health
    The Kinks throw in a kwirky kurveball and somehow it works. And yes, @Fortuleo, the bass line would make Colin Moulding smile. Way-O Way-O!
     
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    And.....Siberia!
     
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Superman

    I find the LP Version grittier and more direct and perhaps Dave is a touch freer with the drums also compared to the video version.
    Oh yeah though i now appreciate it the studio cut comes a distant 3rd for me!
     
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    National Health

    I especially like the snapping bass here which is complemented or should i say buttressed by keys, drums and guitar.
    Sly & Robbie may have appreciated this groove and i have nothing particularly against the studio version though admit to not remembering just what stood out about it.
     
  12. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Superman"

    Has to be said I prefer the abridged three-minute album version of this song, and I'm not too keen on this rocked-up interpretation of it. However, Dave's lead break in the middle is superb, and could make this version worth listening to.

    "National Health"

    This is a good version - a very tight groove with fabulous bass guitar, and I like the prominent 80s synth in the left channel. I'm not sure that this would supplant the studio version that I know so well, but it's certainly one of the best live versions I've heard on this album so far.
     
  13. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Superman! Unsurprisingly, I love this. I love the six minute studio disco version, so for me here we get a tie. I actually thought this was a song that BEBEFITTED from the studio gloss on LowBudget, but I am just as happy to trade that for this rocked up, guitar lead version. I know this song came in for a bit of a flogging over the lyrics (specifically, some saw it as revisiting topics that Ray had done repeatedly before), but personally I think these are some of Ray’s funniest lyrics ever.

    National Health: This one was not a favorite back in the day, but my revisits to low budget and now this live offering have elevated it in my standings. Again, the live version is arguably more rocking than the studio version, but I also liked the new-wavey, genre-bending sound of the studio version. I’ll keep both versions and call this one a tie as well.

    The kinks could consistently elevate almost every studio track to new levels by playing them live, couldn’t they?
     
  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I have no idea why Ray mispronounced Superman in this manner and I don’t like it. Other than that, I like the live version.

    Yep.
     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm not really hearing this schhhooperman thing
     
  16. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Superman
    (Wish I could fly like) Shuperman is a cracking version of this song. As a good live performance should do, it has energy and passion substituting for the studio version's polish and precision.
    National Health
    Slowing down the pace again is a good idea and this song gives Ray another chance to ham it up on stage and encourage audience participation. Like @Fortuleo I have both "wish I could fly like Superman" and "we oh we oh Oh oh oh oh ah ah ah ah" stuck in my head - so much so that they are merging into the one song....
     
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    At the very first “superman” part; around 1:14-ish
     
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The first one could be heard that way, but I don't hear it anywhere else. Dragging that "s" carries a bit of sibilance with it too.
     
  19. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    He doesn’t do it for the entire song. Just in that first part. Why? No one knows!
     
  20. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    No, my avatar is...ME, that’s me in the corner...however, if you’re saying I look like a deceased English poet, I thank you.
     
  21. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Oops, sorry about that, Avid Pyrrhicvictory. I thought you were one of the French poets of the 19th Century. You're a very handsome lad anyway.
     
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Coke?
    Notice the gesture he makes when he sings, had another sneeze and I blew my nose....
    I could be coincidence.... just a thought.
     
  23. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    It is hard to fathom. Mr. Rogan was an indefatigable researcher, but he wasn’t infallible and could at times be far from perfect. That being said, I have read and enjoyed his books on Neil Young, Van Morrison, the Smiths, and of course the Kinks. His was the first Kinks book I read back in 1985 and it was a talisman, an oft-read companion, a thousand fingerprints on it and all of them mine. All of his books were labour’s of love; if he felt passionately about an artist he would want to put it in writing, warts and all. Writing was in his DNA. He lived a hermetic existence, no phone, no fax, no television or credit cards. Even publishers often couldn’t locate him. He lived library to library, interview to interview. Like Bob Dylan he was on the never ending tour. He was a true lover of music and his work meant the world to him. For that I have always held him in the highest regard. Think what you will of Johnny Rogan, they don’t make them like that anymore.
     
  24. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Superman"

    Most of the things I like about this song are absent on this live version. It loses all the finesse and the hooks of the original. I like this song, but I'm not thrilled about this rock version with more Dave jamming! I had to fight myself from hitting the stop button.

    "National Health"

    This is my favorite song from Low Budget, so I am glad they thought it was worthy to add to the setlist. I would have loved to see video for this one. It's not better than the studio version, but I'll take it.
     
  25. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Superman
    As good live as it is on the album, I say! As @Fortuleo pointed out, in the video, Ray does the "Shooperman" man bit. Not sure why, but it does crack me up. Ray being Ray. What a goof. We get to hear Dave going to town without being too guitar hero-y.
    "Hey (wonder)girl, we gotta get out of this place!" Just love this song.

    National Health
    "I say, I say..." - god, I just love how Ray says that bit.
    What a fun song. I just love this entry into the Kinks as a New Wave group. They can do it all.

    I love these Low Budget live songs. But then again I enjoyed the album so I guess that makes sense. this album has surprised me. I don't know if I'll be playing it regularly in the future, but I can understand how it would be close to someone's heart if this was their entry to the Kinks. Like I adored Cheap Trick's Budokan live album...that was my intro to the band, pretty much. It just sticks with you and there's no shakin' it. :D
     

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