The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Ring The Bells: Am puzzled by the sequencing here. Thirty seconds in it’s no longer an issue, as the brain has had time to adjust, but initially it’s as if a wrench gets thrown into the spokes of a wheel.

    The song itself is so-so.
     
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I love seeing Dave playing the V. I love the fact that early on here, he smiles in spite of himself... He has that bad boy mean look going, and this little smile comes across his face (about 0:20-0:22)
    Obviously it isn't the studio take, it's way too short.
    It's so funny seeing the dancing girls, so very sixties lol
     
  3. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Quite the bill! (See end credits)
     
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  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    There are a lot of tracks called Milk Cow Blues, and they are all different tracks.
    This is Sleepy John Estes original version of this particular Milk Cow Blues.
    It could be a completely different track, musically and lyrically.

     
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Aerosmith obviously liked the Kinks version

     
  6. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Here’s the wiki link. Evidently there’s a number of different songs with the same title. By Kokomo Arnold and then by Sleepy John Estes (which The Kinks cover) etc.

    Milk Cow Blues - Wikipedia
     
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  7. lothianlad

    lothianlad Forum Resident

    Location:
    scotland
    Milk cow blues reminds me a bit of the white stripes.
     
  8. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: Thanks. That's what happens when I post much too late at night after constructing that visual montage.
     
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  9. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Milk Cow Blues"

    I have no problem with this opening the album - it's the Kinks last cover - and their best. And it's a great way to open, as it introduces both singers. We start with Dave tearing into it, and assume that he's going to carry this one as he has for many of the previous covers, but then for the second verse he steps aside, and in comes Ray like a man on a mission! Everybody's on form on this one, but Pete Quaife has to be the star for his insane bass runs.

    "Ring The Bells"

    When I talked about the disconnect between the lyrics and the music on some Kontroversy tracks, here we have Exhibit A. The lyric is positive, Ray's happy, he's in love...and yet he sounds as miserable as sin. As for the music, we have the attractive acoustic guitar figure, but down in the bottom end the storm clouds seem to be gathering. "Ring out, I feel fine" - do you believe him? Is this intentional, or is it just that the band was in a bad mood when they recorded this? It's a nice track, but makes me feel uneasy.
     
  10. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: For the record, "She Said Yeah" is the only cover on the December's Children compilation that was recorded in the autumn of 1965, along with the six Jagger & Richards originals. The other five recordings are a mishmash of material that never quite made it to the U.S. market over the previous two years. Like "Having A Rave Up," it's pretty much half an album.
     
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  11. Filip1701

    Filip1701 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    What are you talking about? It's the best cover they did in their whole career.
     
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  12. Jon H.

    Jon H. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Don’t forget me my friend!

    Enthusiasm abounds at this point, because I believe that the See My Friends single and this album (Kontroversy) show both the development of Ray’s songwriting and the band’s musical chops and telepathy. In my opinion the Kinks had a pretty cool “sound”, if not approach, in this era. I’m glad that a few have pointed out the Dylan influence in this era. Wonder if Bob was aware of the Kinks at all?

    Milk Cow Blues is a rocking cover - and the band seemed to still like injecting cover tunes into their live sets. The Kelvin Hall live LP from 1967 contains a powerful version of this song.

    And let’s hear some praise for Pete Quaife’s bass playing! He really tears it up on the rave-up middle section of Milk Cow Blues. Though John Entwistle was more of a innovative bass player than Pete there are many reasons he admired Pete’s bass skills.

    I myself love the Kontroversy LP; though it’s ragged and uneven the development forward makes me prefer this LP to the rather rushed (and padded!) Kinda Kinks LP. And the US reverb/rechanneled stereo LP makes the gritty and sludgy-sounding tracks seem more exciting, somehow! The UK cover art is infinitely cooler though...

    Here’s to Pete Quaife and his contributions to the band!
     
  13. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Just spitballing here, so tell me to shut up if I'm way out of line, but do you think it's at all possible that The Chocolate Watchband heard The Kinks version of 'Milk Cow Blues' before 'writing' 'Don't Need Your Lovin', one of their 2 contributions to the soundtrack of exploitation film Riot On Sunset Strip?

     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    No chance. I saw you were on the thread at the time :righton:
     
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  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Not familiar with the song, or the band, or when it came out, but there are several striking similarities
     
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  16. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Anarchy on the Kinks thread ! My whole family organization for the evening goes out the window !
    I maintain that Milk Cow Blues is a curious and misleading way to start this record but it's a superb performance of garage blues, heavy, frantic, really wild, with something of a “The Kinks Live at Leeds” vibe. I love the way the two brothers alternate lead vocals, the manic solo and, as always in those days, Dave’s guitar tone. Many fans hold it in high esteem but I still think the main reason to make it the lead-off track here is to elicit what the LP’s title promises : a debate about the band’s true nature and identity. I suspect we’ll have some of it right now on this very thread!
     
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm already ashamed of myself, no need to rub it in :)
     
  18. Filip1701

    Filip1701 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    Kinda like the Elvis debut album.
     
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  19. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I'm not sure I get the analogy as for me the cover of Elvis Presley conveys its contents pretty well.
    Anyway sort off-topic for me as we're discussing the Kinks.
     
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  20. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Milk Cow Blues and Ring the Bells

    Wait…what? I didn’t know I’d have to think today. Oh well, Sunday I can write a bit more leisurely. Less typos, I suppose.

    Of course with Ray, by now, being prolific enough to fill an entire LP (he already was at the time of Kinda Kinks, but we won’t revisit beating that dead horse), abandoning covers seem like a welcome mercy-kill at this point. At least they saved their best for last. Milk Cow Blues is so good, in fact, I would a) have no problem fitting this somewhere in the 90-99 range on a very-difficult-to-curate 100 greatest Kinks tracks, and b) put it second to “Till The End of the Day” as my favorite cut on Kontroversy.

    It's very original. It’s most closely patterned on Ricky Nelson’s uptempo take on Elvis’s rockabilly interpretation. But the Kinks bring an an entirely new approach with Pete’s throbbing base, pounding the listener in the chest, opening the door to Dave’s guitar string-bending licks. It’s an opening that is especially played up in the live versions of this, posted above and also on Kelvin Hall. A "wailing" sound as it is referenced on the BBC collection. I love, too, the trading of lead vocals between Dave and Ray. I wish they would have done this more often. (A thought: There are enough verses they could have given Pete a turn at the mic, too. That would have been interesting, but I'm sure the band had their reasons for not going that route.)

    Insomuch as “Kink Kontroversy” is an LP that showcases the band’s maturing songwriting, it might not be the obvious song for the lead track, but I’ve got no problem with the sound of this as the opener. And, FWIW, it’s almost as if they’ve rewritten the number to the extent one could consider it an original. It’s revealing that Aerosmith’s version is not so much a cover of a blues standard as it is a cover of a Kinks track.

    While “Milk Cow Blues” serves as the end of the band’s recorded history of covers (I don’t count the in-concert throwaway “Baby Face” as anything more than an indulgence for The Mike Cotton Sound, but we’ll get to that several albums down the road) the Kinks never got doing covers out of their system. Fortunately these were never committed to vinyl properly. (If you ever get a chance to hear a bootleg of them covering “Good Golly Miss Molly,” which they did on and off up until the mid-70’s) you may wish you were listening to “Dancing in the Streets” instead.) So it’s nice that they put a fine punctuation on things with Milk Cow.

    As for Ring the Bells, it’s a fine song with Ray at his most melodic. But I feel like I’m supposed to like this more than I do. I know it’s highly regarded among Kinks fans but to me it’s simply a continuum in the kind of Goffin/King mode of “Something Better Beginning,” It’s fine, but it’s not especially different from what other artists were doing earlier. I suppose the best thing one can say is it stands up well along side the kinds of songs it emulates.
     
  21. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: Research reveals that there have been dozens of releases over the eons with this title. About half give authorship credit to John Estes, and the other half to Kokomo Arnold. I think it's a pretty safe bet that The Kinks learned it off of Rick Nelson's version (below) as the arrangement certainly comes closest. My guess is that the reason they opened the album with it is because it was probably the opening number of their live act at the time, and it just felt natural to them. That was allegedly also the reason that "She Said Yeah" opens both the U.S. "December's Children" and the UK "Out Of Our Heads."



    :kilroy: Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other Kinks track that features a nylon string guitar (much like the one on Dave Berry's version of "This Strange Effect"). What immediately grabs my attention (at 0:21 and elsewhere) is that strange upper C note that under most circumstances, doesn't belong in an Em/B chord. The dissonance is interesting, but the problem is, I think that string might be out of tune, as it also doesn't sound quite right in the C chord that comes before it. It is a bit weird to have a song about bells that doesn't actually feature any sound that resembles them. A year later, "Big Black Smoke" would fade out amidst the clatter of bells.
     
  22. Jon H.

    Jon H. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Has anyone noticed that Ring the Bells’ verse chord progression is the same as Something Better Beginning? Ray seemed to enjoy self-referencing (if not recycling!) his own work.

    I absolutely love this track, especially Ray’s delivery of the bridge: “hear them, hear them, hear them...”. Cool acoustic guitar sound too.
     
  23. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    Milk Cow Blues — the Kinks weren’t a good cover band? Well, here’s the mother of all exceptions. The band just shreds it on this performance (calling it a “song” doesn’t even begin to do it justice). Dave is the star here, with a lacerating guitar tone and his most anarchic vocals yet — and Ray, seemingly understanding who’s in charge here, actually seems to be trying to sound like his brother when he takes the lead vocal turn. Fellas, this is real, real gone for a change. Mic drop.

    Ring The Bells — “Something Better Beginning” Part II, and it sounds like it’s anything but another heartbreaker. Despite the positive message, Ray’s delivery itself is curiously restrained, as if he can’t quite let himself believe this relationship is actually working out. That doesn’t take anything away from the sheer beauty of this track. A great (if somewhat whipsawing) one-two punch to open this fine album.
     
  24. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    And already, the Kontroversy ends : for the most part, the Kinks won’t be the Milk Cow Blues garage blues rocker, they will be the sophisticated experts in human emotions of Ring the Bells, because that’s where Ray Davies’ muse lies. Yes, Ring the Bells starts almost exactly where Something Better Beginning finished. You get the same sort of chordal shimmer, a lot of reverb and this typical ethereal mid-tempo vibe, paving the way to the likes of Too Much on My Mind and Waterloo Sunset. Then again, If you take an even closer look at the Kinks timeline, Ring the Bells can also be seen as the direct follow up to Don’t You Fret, the Kwyet Kinks EP’s closing track. This time the “bells ringing” quality of the melody is not subliminal but claimed upfront in the title, as are the ominous tone of the music and Ray’s fatalistic delivery, at odds with the very positive lyrics, as @Endicott just noted. He’s singing “I’m so happy, ring the bells”, with the attitude of a condemned guy, painting a vivid portrait of a young man approaching his own wedding with ambivalent feelings.
    On a side note, a friend made me realize that the opening melody pre-dates the Ruby Tuesday chorus ! I never noticed, but it's definitely there. Another illuminating proof that the Aftermath/Buttons era Stones were listening very closely to the Muswell Hill guys ?
     
  25. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    That never occurred to me, but it makes sense. You may be right!

    FWIW, I honestly don't know at this stage if much thought or care went into the sequencing. Maybe after they left the studio after cutting the songs they just left that kind of thing to the record company? I don't know at what point the band started making this kind of input.
     

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