The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
    This is the Kinks' most consistent and solid album to this point. This is a transitional album, about half of the songs are set in the old-school rock ways and the other half point to their first classic album, Face to Face, released the following year. The best (and definitely the most interesting) tracks are the ones that are in the proto-classic Kinks vein such as "I'm On an Island" and the ballad "Ring the Bells." Ray Davies has become a great song writer. Really no bad songs on Kontroversy. The Kinks have arrived, and with the next record, showed the world they could stand up to any band.

    Milk Cow Blues-"
    Milk Cow Blues' is as a garage classic. One of Dave's best vocals ever. Top shelf guitar. This chaotic opener was not a harbinger of things to come on this record, quite the opposite. Night and day to what's to come.

    Ring The Bells-
    Love this tune. Ray is really growing as a songwriter with the ballad although even greater ones are yet to come.
    This type of melody will become unique and distinct to this group. The Kinks classic assembly line will start production and manufacture songs of this nature for a long time. How lucky we are to have witnessed it. Just like the Beatles this music is timeless.
     
  2. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Milk Cow Blues
    The band kick the door down and blast through this - this vehicle for gnarly rock vocals, guitar heroics and piano goodness. I certainly can't recall how the tune goes, if there is one, or the words. But the "strange effect" of this glorious barrage remains. Great opener. It had never occured to me that it was their last ever cover version - another good reason to put it first, as a way of drawing a line under the first era.

    Ring the Bells
    Not my favourite song on the album, but it's sweet and slightly mysterious-sounding, like Ray is trying to show a spiritual side. I haven't analysed the tune, but the vocal melody sounds like it doesn't have very many notes and they're all within a limited range. So it verges on monotony but the sweetness of the chords and guitar patterns makes it work. It has a woozy, hypnotic, and - as I said - mysterious feel. You could imagine hearing it around the fireside.

    I agree that a rocker then a ballad is a classic way to start an album.
     
  3. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
  4. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Ooof, so I've got to talk about this album AND the first two tracks today, potentially before jumping on the next two? Easy!

    I absolutely adore this album. I remember being utterly captivated by Milk Cow as the opener, as it chugs in perfectly to announce the album. It wouldn't work anywhere else in the tracklisting IMO, and if you're that concerned about it being a cover, one could see it as a "goodbye" to this era by connecting it as closely as possibly chronologically to the previous LP. Beyond that, it really shows all the facets I'd love about the Quaife era Kinks. It's got the rock and guts, it's got a dash of whimsy at times, and it's got those tracks with that Ray Introspection. To top it off, we've got the real sound melodically that only these guys can offer. This is Kinks to the letter, and in that regard, it's the direct start LP wise of the 'classic' run.

    It's worth noting I fell in love with this album at 16 in that 2004 Sanctuary CD, which I always thought sounded poor, even compared with the others in the run. After this came the 80s PRT, which I was so much happier with. Down the road I got the 2CD, and while one can argue about the limitations of the mastering, it's head and shoulders over the 2004, and it's a shame this isn't on Spotify. Obviously I got The Mono Collection when that came out and I've since sold the PRT and 2004. A perfect sounding record, which to me makes the distortion and occasionally off balance mixing sound exactly how a sixties production should.

    As for Milk Cow Blues, it's all been said really, and I've already mentioned it further up. Just a killer performance, and an essential track in The Kinks canon. I guess they made it work as it wasn't covering such a straight forward R'n'B track, which gave them more room to let loose, a bit like "Got Love...".

    As for Ring The Bells, I was initially confused by this track, but it's a perfect track in a perfect position. Such a sweet sound, with Ray's characteristic downbeat delivery. Is he being sweet, or is he being uncertain? Being from the same period as Milk Cow in recording too, separate from the rest of the album, makes it work here well too, though I do love the Rocker/Ballad 1-2 punch myself.
     
  5. wore to a frazzel

    wore to a frazzel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dala, Sweden
    Yesterday, it became very clear to me that for my sons (9 and 10 yrs old) , YRGM and ADAOTN are very "unproblematic", they are cool catchy songs, while Beatles songs can be more problematic, more like old fart music. Let me also tell you that I'm in the Beatles camp: Please Please Me is perhaps my favorite song of all time, but I can't force it upon them, that will only cause backlashes. (My sons generally don't have "good taste" as defined on the internet, since they are just small kids that hasn't been exposed to all ideas of what you should like to be cool: the love KISS and a lot of nu-metal that would be frowned upon here, but as you probably can read between the lines, it gives me a lot of joy to see them discover new genres and make their stands.)

    I'll make two points of this: first of all, I think that YRGM is the most groundbreaking song that the Kinks ever made, more so than A Well-respected man and even See My Friends. In that way they peaked early.

    Second, Ray's songwriting has something very timeless over it. Maybe it is because he was not that focused on develop a certain style, but his songs could be from any time. Sometimes, that means that they don't even sound groundbreaking (in contrast to Dylan songs whose influence is very obvious when listening to music from that particular period). Ring the Bells is an example of that. Of course it could be a copy of something that came before it, but I can't think of what it would be and haven't read anything here to support such an idea. Still it sounds like it is a copy of something. But I don't think it is. I mean, Something better beginning is obviously a blueprint, and I would argue that Three Bells and Chimes of Freedom were in Ray's head when he wrote it, but that's just genealogy: at its heart, Ring the Bells is something essentially different (Pawnmower described it pretty well I think). It is an "obvious" song in some sense, whether it describes something universal or just is reproduced by later songwriters, but still no one but Ray could have written it, I think.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  6. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Milk Cow Blues
    This sounds like the early San Francisco bands! I'm not usually keen on squeaky UK teens covering old blues numbers but the guitars on this are superb and I like the drive of it. Hats off to them for kicking off the album with a jam number too!

    Ring The Bells
    And then we're into a cool dreamy Ray song. Style.
    The sort of thing The Byrds must have loved.
     
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    First of all, sorry about posting two songs yesterday, it threw a few people out of sync.... A few folks were saying they were itching to get into the songs, and so was I .... So apologies folks, I'll be good from now on.... I promise.

    Gotta Get The First Plane Home

    UK simulated stereo (1:45), recorded 23-30 Oct, 1965 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    I guess it would be easy to dismiss this song as a short filler track, but several listens have revealed this to be a really solid track, to me at least.

    I won't stay around with you my friend
    My life's been empty since I went
    Since I went away from home
    I'm sick and tired of being alone
    There's nothing left for me to do
    So I gotta get the first plane home
    I gotta get the first plane home

    I gotta wing wing fly high over the see
    There's a little girl who's waiting for me
    Love her till my dying day
    And when I die you'll hear me say
    I love that girl for eternity
    But I gotta get the first plane home
    I gotta get the first plane home

    Got to wing wing fly high over the see
    There's a little girl who's waiting for me
    Love her till my dying day
    And when I die you'll hear me say
    I love that girl for eternity
    But I gotta get the first plane home
    I gotta get the first plane home
    I gotta get the first plane home
    I gotta get the first plane home

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray/Carlin Music

    We get a nice staccato delivery of a modified, standard rock and roll guitar riff, and I find it to be quite engaging. Then the drums and bass come in, and the vocals follow fairly quickly.

    This is possibly the first road weary type song from Ray, and I assume it came from the US tour? I'll give Ray credit that he didn't just follow the we've been playing gigs and it has been great but I am ready to be home angle. Here we have a very relatable idea that we have been overseas for no specific reason, we can insert work, vacation or whatever as there is no specific reason given.
    I really like the little spin on the words with the "I gotta wing wing fly high", I guess it may be seen as goofy, but I really like it.

    We get a nice little instrumental break with the harmonics blasting away, and the piano through this is great. I understand it is Nicky Hopkins, and that is never a bad thing, he had a great feel.
    So this isn't a groundbreaking track or anything, but it has a great feel. the groove is excellent, and personally I love the delivery

     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    When I See That Girl Of Mine

    UK simulated stereo (2:08), recorded 23-30 Oct, 1965 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Ok, so breaking this down track by track, I am getting a better picture of what seems to be happening here.
    We open with a screaming blues rock cover, then we get the strange love song with the sad tone, we move into a fun rock and roll song, and then we get this really solid British Beat pop song.
    I'm not sure why I didn't see that prior.... anyway.

    When I see that girl of mine
    Makes me want to sigh
    When I see that girl of mine
    Makes me want to sigh
    I don't care if the sun don't shine
    Long as I can see that girl of mine
    I know everything'll be fine
    When I see that girl of mine
    When I see that girl of mine

    Getting ready and looking my best
    Got to look my best so I'm taking my time
    'Cause I need that girl of mine
    I know that she'll be mine so I'll keep on trying
    I don't care if the sun don't shine
    Long as I can see that girl of mine
    I know everything'll be fine
    When I see that girl of mine
    When I see that girl of mine

    Can't you see she's the only girl for me
    And when people look at me they can see
    They can see, they can see, they can see

    When I see that girl of mine
    Makes me want to sigh
    When I see that girl of mine
    Makes me want to sigh
    I don't care if the sun don't shine
    Long as I can see that girl of mine
    I know everything'll be fine
    When I see that girl of mine
    When I see that girl of mine
    When I see that girl of mine

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray/Carlin Music

    The intro is a bit of a tease, as it suggests we are about to start rocking out. That stabby dirty note, kind of makes me think we're about to hit another hard rock track, and then we bounce into this lighthearted and fun little pop song.
    These subtle little things are one of the things I love about the Kinks.

    Lyrically we have pretty standard I love this girl stuff, and it does what it needs to do, without challenging Shakespeare, or Byron or whatever, but Ray delivers it nicely, and I like the way he holds and bends and bounces the "Sigh".
    We have a fairly standard chord progression and a nice change up in the bridge, but the thing that gets me wiuth this track is the forward movement of the track, it is consistently pushing forward.
    A really solid pop/rock album track for me.


     
  9. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Both of today's songs sound like they could have been kast-offs from Kinda Kinks, but both have reasons to recommend them.

    "Gotta Get The First Plane Home" has a great dirty guitar riff and harmonica. Ray is being eco-conscious again by recycling "wing wing fly high" from "It's All Right". Plenty of energy and doesn't outstay its welcome at all.

    "When I See That Girl Of Mine" is another where Ray's delivery doesn't entirely sell the lyric, especially the "I don't care if the sun don't shine" section - another where the protagonist isn't entirely convinced by his happiness, perhaps? The bridge keeps things interesting, and it's an enjoyable enough couple of minutes.
     
  10. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Yesterday's tracks were the polar opposites to one another. Today’s songs almost work together as a concept single, like See My Friends/Never Met a Girl Like You Before or Till the End of the Day/Where Have All the Good Times Gone, the second track starting with a sonic reminiscence of the former’s riff. The songs themselves are good / not great, both looking in the mirror rather than in the windshield. Gotta Get the First Plane Home would certainly be at home on Kinda Kinks or even the Stones 12x5. Soooo 1964, with its piano romp and bluesy harmonica, while I like to see When I See that Girl of Mine as the Kinks’ lesser equivalent to the Kids are Alright, sweet and melodic, what we’re used to call “beatley”. The best thing on that song is Dave’s staccato distorted rhythm guitar on the second half (after the bridge), which is a fantastic addition to the demo and elevates the whole thing to another level. Maybe that’s what sets Kontroversy apart from the other sixties Kinks albums: the playing is consistently stellar and often better than the songwriting itself.
     
  11. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    (I’m traveling today so wrote this in advance. Apologies for any redundancies of insights from other’s peoples earlier posts)

    Gotta Get the First Plane Home
    and
    When I See That Girl of Mine

    For all the recognition among some that “Kink Kontroversy” is a leap forward, it’s worth noting the first four tracks on the album—a full 1/3 of the disc—emphatically look back to where the group has previously traveled: “Milk Cow Blues” to the R&B cover interpretation-with-requisite-rave-ups a la “Got Love If You Want it”; “Ring the Bells” continuum of “Something Better Beginning’s” Brill-Building-ish pop ballad sensibilities; and then these two.

    Gotta Get the First Plane Home is a repetitive riff-laden rocker that would have have fit easily on anything prior to this album. Ray even re-uses the double phrase “wing, wing” from “It’s Alright,” and the use of the word “Gotta” recalls “I Gotta Move.” There’s the harmonica, too, which was not unexpected on b-sides, EPs and LP up till now. When I See that Girl of Mine sounds like another of those Ray-teaching-himself-his-craft by aping other’s style, such as when he followed the Beatle-esque roadmap for “I Took My Baby Home.” But here the target is Buddy Holly. My, how it’s Buddy Holly; the demo is so evocative of the Texan’s strumming pattern that I wouldn’t be surprised if Norman Petty tried to swoop in and claim co-copyright on it. For the final take on the album version the band wisely plays down the original’s blatant Holly-esque arrangement—the thumping single guitar 1,2,1,2,3,4 intro is very Kinks-ish—but Ray's channeling of Buddy’s phrasing remains in the way he sings “sigh” (“si-i-i-i-igh…”)

    Both songs are good but not great. I place them each in the upper half of my favorites on the album. I find their up-tempo’s effervescent, and their direct, lightweight lyrical simplicity is pleasant in contrast to the labored seriousness of later cuts on the disc, even though Ray can certainly do better than some of the lazy rhyming couplets on “When I See that Girl…” (But if one is paying homage to Buddy Holly, I suppose it’s okay to rhyme “sun don’t shine” with “girl of mine” in emulation of the man who rhymed “Maybe” with “Baby”)

    I might be wrong, but clocking in at 1:50 “Gotta Get the First Plane Home” might be the briefest complete song in the Kink cannon?
     
  12. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Well, he’s got to hurry off and get that plane!
     
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  13. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Gotta Get the First Plane Home
    Love the catchiness, the brevity, the cool! Gotta hit the dancefloor.
    When I See That Girl of Mine
    A really charming and tuneful uncomplicated love song.

    Two of my favourites from the album.

    I think I'm starting to twig why some people don't like this album as much as I do- they are ready already for the full Ray Davies lyrical experience, as already demonstrated on "Well Respected Man". While that would be nice, (and I hasten to add there is lyrical depth to come later on in the album!) I love these kind of simple sixties pop/rock songs so much that I never looked for anything more from them.
     
  14. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    "Rosemary Rose" and "The Moneygoround" look like they might be shorter if my music files data do not lie
     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I reckon that's a solid point.
    There is a lot to like about this album, but the lead up to the album probably promised more...... I think coming back to it requires some recalibration too, I think that's why it took me a few listens to crack it
     
  16. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Yay, (almost) made it for the beginning if an album! :D

    Milk Cow Blues
    I've never heard any version of this song before, so it was nice to hear it. I agree with others above that its a good, lively opener to an album, but having read a bunch of comments before listening i think I was expecting somehing less polite sounding!
    I do like the ups and down, particularly where it is brought down to the basic rhythm section between verses before being building back up again when the lead guitar kicks back in during the next verse. I'm not a particular lover of thrashing guitars, but the honky tonk keyboard bit near the end is a definite highlight. I have no idea what its about and didn't really notice any lyrics, but its one of those songs where they could sing basically anything and it would still work! :laugh:

    Ring the Bells
    Another song that's new to me :)
    The vocal melody is interesting here as it is almost not a tune at all. The lyrics and backing music, including the guitar melody, sound positive, but this is belied by the almost monotonous tune and uncertain vocal delivery which give the opposite impression. Who is Ray trying to convince when he sings that he feels fine..? When he sings 'hear them, hear them, hear them', it sounds as though he really doesn't want to hear them, be they real or metaphorical bells. An interesting one!
     
  17. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Gotta Get the First Plane Home and
    When I See That Girl of Mine
    These are two very pleasant little songs. I'm not really into straight up songs on the boy/girl theme, but these are both enjoyable and bouncy, and neither outstays its welcome or tries to be anything more.
    I may have mentioned this before, but I love that these songs are only around 2 minutes long! Its the perfect length for thus this type of thing. These two songs both take a simple idea, a nice tune (I can't comment on chords/harmonics etc), and just get it done, without trying to draw it out or over complicate it. :D
     
  18. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Love your interpretation here. I also thought it could be about death, but what you say linking it to Waterloo Sunset, that it could be as straight forward as just seeing his friends, is quite lovely and hadn't occurred me (although these two are among my most-loved Kinks songs)!
    I am someone who has a tendency to overthink/analyse things, but perhaps there's not always a need to dig deeper to interpret when the meaning is right there!
     
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  19. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Gotta Get the First Plane Home

    Agreed that this track is a real groover. I love the rhythm of the arrangement, and that intro is just killer.

    When I See That Girl of Mine

    Also a song with a great little intro, this track is tighterly arranged and performed, and is elite beat group material, whichis where both these tracks fall for me. They're not groundbreaking, but the majority of music in late 1965 wasn't. But they're also basically without fault, a top class version of the music that was so common at the time. A continued level of strength that defines most of this album.
     
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D I doubt anyone will complain if you continue your wayward ways

    :D Spewed my coffee all over

    Nicely said.

    Yep!
     
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  21. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    When I See That Girl of Mine is a fantastic track - the best on the album so far.
     
  22. Fred1

    Fred1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Zurich
    I might be wrong, but clocking in at 1:50 “Gotta Get the First Plane Home” might be the briefest complete song in the Kink cannon?

    Running time Rosemary Rose: 1.43
    Running time The Moneygoround: 1,43

    ;)
     
  23. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member

    Location:
    Bretagne
    Gotta Get The First Plane Home
    A great little snappy number. Love it.

    When I See That Girl Of Mine
    This isn't much of a song but it has that magical Kinks/Ray touch.
     
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  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Thee Sixpence (later to be better known to the world as The Strawberry Alarm Clock)'s take on 'First Plane Home'

     
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Teen idol type Bobby Rydell's version of 'When I See That Girl Of Mine’:

     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021

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