The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. bosie

    bosie Forum Resident

    Location:
    L
    The other day was driving to work with the radio on. Wasn’t really paying attention to the music being played. Then a great familiar melody registered in my early morning brain... Dandy!... alright! I perked up, their playing The Kinks!... I turned the volume up and to my horror it wasn’t the kinks but some cheesy cover by some unknown to me British? 60’s band.
    As I listened I started to laugh as it came across as a parody like a Spinal Tap moment. As I got to work the music block was still going and I never found out who did it, and truth be told I really didn’t care!
     
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  2. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Almost certainly the Herman’s Hermits version, since it was a massive US hit.
     
  3. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Gotta Get The First Plane Home-"Gotta Get The First Plane Home" is raw as can be, rough but manages to be very ready thanks to The Kinks way with a simple, addictive guitar riff. A generic rocker but better than the generic rockers in the first two albums.

    When I See That Girl Of Mine-A
    n old-school rocker, but it's very fun. The melody is catchier than anything, and you can tap your feet to it. Some people say Ray doesn’t put any emotion in this track but I think he is dead panning it for effect. Pete’s bass riff moves the song forward.
     
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  4. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    I’ll get on this more in a week or two, but the Herman’s version is just hilarious.
     
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  5. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
  6. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Senior Member

    Location:
    Bretagne
    That is what I like about Ray's vocals - that cool detatchment.
     
  7. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: To us yanks, this is as familiar as any other Herman's Hermits hit. I was going to wait until this thread got as far as "Sunny Afternoon" to go into detail about it. It's essentially the reason there's a six month gap in between "Sunny Afternoon" and "Dead End Street." Ray had originally wanted "Dandy" to be the follow-up to "Sunny Afternoon," but immediately after it was recorded (but long before "Face To Face" was released), Allan Klein somehow managed to procure a copy of it, thought it sounded like a hit, and played the tape for Micky Most, who agreed. When Ray found out about it, he was not amused. It further fueled his paranoia about not being in control of his own destiny. It was a big U.S. hit for the Hermits in the Autumn of 1966, while over in the UK, "No Milk Today" was the latest single. Note that "No Milk Today" would also eventually become a hit in the states in the spring of 1967, when it was released as a double A-side with "There's A Kind Of Hush."

    :kilroy: I like it. It stays pretty faithful to the original, but I rather enjoy John Paul Jones' jaunty string arrangement, and the block harmony in the fade-out:

     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
  8. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    That’s a great example of neutering a work of art.
     
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  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Definitely ... was he the first guy in rock music to use this technique?
    If so, then he inspired a whole generation about 20 or so years later
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
  10. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Inspired to spin Kontroversy again this morning. Just fantastic. Looking forward to giving Dave his due today.
     
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  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    First time I have ever heard that .... I don't think Peter Noone had what it takes to sing the vocal. I don't mind the Hermits, and the song sounds ok, John Paul Jones's strings are interesting and quirky, but the vocal is lacking personality
     
  12. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    I don’t know if Noone was incapable of an emotive performance or if producers just wanted it that way for the target audience of twelve year olds.
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I Am Free

    mono mix (2:26), recorded 25-30 Oct, 1965 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Dave picks up his pen and writes a fantastic little song here. We get a little acoustic guitar riff that leads into the piano chord riff. The guitars support the piano really well and the whole song comes together well and quickly.

    Sailing in-between the land, the air and me
    Confusion never talks
    'Cause frame of mind tells me that I am free
    I am free

    Doors are open wide
    No credits to be seen
    Sail with me my friend
    I need someone, it's dark and it could get lonely
    I am free

    I am free

    I don't care to be
    A symbol of life's machine
    To (wait before the door) ?
    And convalesce when society doesn't need me
    I am free

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

    Lyrically this is much better than I would have expected from Dave. It touches on some really solid things in a gentle, subtle way, and I guess I just had never really paid attention to Dave's lyrics much.
    In the opening verse we have a really great line in "'Cause frame of mind tells me that I am free"... Our frame of mind is so important in determining how we will deal with the world.
    The second verse in total is really good, and the idea that wandering this weird and treacherous world alone certainly can get lonely.
    The third verse is even better I don't care to be a symbol of Life's machine .... that rings totally true for me and then to follow it up with the idea that as we enter our elderly years and society discards us as we sit in the corner falling apart, is so poignant, it seems that this must have been written by an older person.

    To me this is a really impressive song from Dave, and surely Ray noticed, and I have no doubt it spurred Ray on to move his lyric writing forward.

    Musically this feels very Dylan to me. Interestingly though it reminds me of the piano version of All I Really Wanna Do, and I don't know if that had even been released at this stage ... I don't know, maybe I am misplacing that connection, but it really takes me somewhere around there.

    I think everything about this song is classic, and Dave enters the picture as a real contender. To be honest it feels like a Kinks compile without this track would be sadly lacking, even though the band has so many great songs.

     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

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  15. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    At last !
    I've had this saved as "quote this message" for a few days ! It's so true, the waltzing blues vibe makes me want to call it "Heart of Kink" ! Then after the intro, the song starts proper in this Dave Davies typical raged style. Note how the guitar punctuations at the end of the verse's lines already hint at the chorus melody. It's one of those songs where the different parts are organically connected, to the extent that they don't feel like "parts" at all. A real gem of a deep cut, catchy as hell, dully included in that wonderful 1964-1971 Pye Anthology a few years back that was so well curated. In the I'm Free vs. I'm Free vs. I am Free / Stones vs. Who vs. Kinks tournament, this is my favorite. What can I say, I'm a Kinks person…
     
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The World Keeps Going Round

    So at this point in 1965, we flip the record, and we open with another great Ray track.

    mono mix (2:30), recorded 25-30 Oct, 1965 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    You worry 'bout the sun
    What's the use of worrying 'bout the big ol' sun
    You worry 'bout the rain
    The rain keeps falling just the same
    You worry when the one you need has found somebody new

    But the world keeps going round
    The world keeps going round
    You just can't stop it
    The world keeps going round

    You worry 'bout yourself
    What's the use of worrying now you're almost grown
    You worry 'bout your home[?]
    What's the use of worrying 'cause you'll die alone
    Times will be hard, rain will fall
    And you'll feel mighty low

    But the world keeps going round
    The world keeps going round
    You just can't stop it
    The world keeps going round

    Times will be hard, rain will fall
    And you'll feel mighty low

    But the world keeps going round
    The world keeps going round
    The world keeps going round
    The world keeps going round
    You just can't stop it
    The world keeps going round
    The world keeps going round

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

    Ray approaches the idea of how little control we have over anything, and to me, he does it in a very thoughtful way. I learned a long time ago, but much too late, that the only thing we have control over are our actions and reactions, everything else is completely out of our control. To me, this is somewhat what the message is here.
    It is actually quite a dark lyric for a pop band, at the time, or so it seems to me.
    The second verse sounds like either "You worry about your home" or " You worry about your own" ??? I'm not really sure, but it doesn't mess with the context of the song either way really.
    Anyway I think Ray opens up another avenue of writing for himself here, with some harsh reality, that is rarely the focus of pop music.

    Musically the opening really gets the attention. That chord really gets my attention, and the crescendo created by the drums works beautifully, and it recurs through the song as a really nice accent point.
    Ray's delivery of the vocals has his stamp all over it. He sounds again, somewhat disconnected, and that slightly disinterested delivery, accentuates the lyrics here.

    There is so much to like about this song. I think the music and lyrics, the style and delivery really show an advancement in writing .... it just gels and works perfectly for me.
    There isn't a thing I would change about this


     
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    To be honest, I was so caught up in the song, I missed the fact that Dave lays down a really nice lead here that fits the sound and feel of the song beautifully
     
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  18. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Love I Am Free. It reminds me a bit of the Who, but looking at the timeline I see the Who songs I'm thinking of came a couple of years later.

    This is one of my favourite Dave songs, it really holds its own among the Ray material. Makes a nice pair lyrically with "Till the End of the Day".

    The World Keeps Going Round is astounding. Stoic philosophy set to pop. Ray sounds very world-weary beyond his years and it sets this record apart from the usual teen fare.
     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I like all three, but The Kinks track has so much depth, in my opinion.... Dave really outdid himself here
     
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  20. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "I Am Free"

    My copy of the album states R.Davies as the writer on the label, so for all these years I have laboured under the impression that it's a Ray song sung by Dave (or as it states on the sleeve "Dave moans on his own"). To be honest it's always sounded more like the kind of lyric Dave would write. Anyway, to me it's a great improvement on "Wait Til The Summer Comes Along" and shows Dave developing as a writer and singer. The 3/4 beat is also a good variation at this point in the album.

    "The World Keeps Going Round"

    Now we are talking. Apart from the singles this is the standout track on the album for me. A great Ray song that would have fitted just as well on any of the next three albums. Wonderful chord changes during the verse, great drumming (from Clem?) but best of all musically is Pete's beautifully simple bassline during the chorus. This time Ray's vocal matches the fatalistic dread of the lyrics. I think this song also benefits from not having a distracting middle 8 - it actually would have been nice to have a McGuinn style 12-string solo to round things off. But anyway, this is a genuine Klassic deep cut. "What's the use of worrying 'cos you'll die alone". Thanks for that, Ray - just the thought I need during these extraordinary times!
     
  21. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Yes, pop philosophy ! The lyrics say it, very eloquently, Ray delivers it, most beautifully, but it's the music that brings the message across : at the end of each verse, the guitars and rhythm section become anxious, impatient, in a typical Kinks agressive crescendo, like it'd be possible to shake the world… only to be denied by the unflappable chorus, that actually sounds like the world keeping on turning no matter what anyone could say or do.
    So very true. When Of Montreal did their cover of this, they added a brief slide solo. But I think the Kinks' decision to refrain from doing anything of the sort (no bridge, no solo) shows how careful and rigorous they were about the meaning of their songs. This is brilliant stuff, with beautiful low piano notes to hammer the fatalistic message down.
     
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The Lancastrians did the main contemporary cover of 'The World Keeps Going Round':

     
  23. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Dave busting out 'I Am Free' (apparently for the 'first time in 50 years') in 2017:
    Sounds pretty good!

     
  24. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    Just came upon this thread. Thanks so much. I have loved The Kinks since 1964. One of my top bands. Also my avatar if you look closely! All discussion is much welcomed and appreciated. My most beloved period being 1964-1971. Saw them live once in 1974.
     
  25. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    I’m not as besotted with both of today’s numbers as much as today’s commenters are so far. While I like both, each are easy rejects if I were tasked with putting together a Best of Little-Known Kinks Deep-Cuts Collection. But reading how much love they are getting so far (and possibly later) maybe I’ll come to appreciate them more by the end of the day.

    I am Free

    You know that feeling you get when watching a Three Stooges festival and they are all Curly’s, but then—oh, man!—they throw in a Shemp? Dave’s originals are to the Kinks what Shemp is to the Three Stooges; the best a person can hope is they measure to the level of the star attraction. Happily, many times they do. Other times they’re ummm…oooo-kay, but, still, you’d rather be watching Curly.

    This is one of Dave’s ummmm….oooo-kay numbers. There is a disconnect between lyrics of liberation and a plodding, lumbering meter that sounds like a slow ticking timepiece. That juxtaposition either works or doesn’t depending on your tastes. For me, the sentiments of the lyrics can’t disguise the fact that the plodding melody denies this song its excitement. If there is one song on Kink Kontroversy that can lull me to sleep—and I’m not suggesting there is, but if there is one—it would be this. What can I say? I’m a fan of uptempo Kinks during the Pete Quaife era.

    As for the lyrics, I’ll give credit to Dave for his ambition. Mark writes well on how the verses resonate with him. But to me it seems Dave is writing Dylan-wannabe poetry that he thinks say something deep, but his reach exceeds his grasp. Later in life he would develop a seasoned philosophical/spiritual world view. But at age 18, Dave, like most teenagers, doesn’t yet have the depth of authentic experience to coherently pull it off through verse. Is this a song about being liberated from a relationship or taping into the ever-widening ’60’s hippie ethos of personal-freedom-at-all-costs? He appears to be trying to kill both birds with one stone—which is fine—but my takeaway is he is trying too hard. He could take a lesson from his older brother, who in tomorrow’s song, “I’m On An Island” with the use of a single metaphor and basic, direct words says waaaaaaay more about isolation than what Dave is trying to say here about liberation. Thats the difference between Ray’s effortless genius versus Dave’s labored “swing for the fence” approach to lyrics.

    Don’t get me wrong: there are things to admire about “I am Free.” Sequentially, it is the first track on the album we come to that is a new sound for the band. True, it’s not their first foray into folk, but previous dabblings were hybrids with blues or country; this is pure folk-rock evolved from the very-current-of-the-moment Electric-Dylan/Byrds variety. My ears fool me into believing this is an acoustic folk guitar number—it may indeed have been composed that way—but the full band gives it a rich, full sound. And it’s a nice sounding track, for sure. An undeniable ear-worm.

    Years ago my first impression of the guitar break was how unimaginative it was. But over time I came to appreciate it as my favorite detail of this track. Dave has correctly recognized the last thing this very basic melody needs is a show-offy solo. Other than a couple of judiciously placed, dissonant string bends it is straight and too-the-point. Nothing more or less than what it needs to be for the song. It’s very George Harrison-like in that way. So, bravo, Dave! You are using George’s guitar on the cover, so might as well play it like the “Quiet” Beatle as well.

    The World Keeps Going ‘Round

    After writing all that about “I am Free,” I’m out of steam. I’ll just say it’s tough to fault this song too much other than Ray-as-Philosophical-Observer is much more artful and memorable virtually everywhere else in his career. Certainly 2 songs later on side two in “Where Have All the Good Times Gone.” Even as the Tramp character in Preservation Acts 1 and 2, and I’ve read plenty of critical drubbings of those. Maybe I’m turned off by the song’s overall pessimism and gratuitous pun on Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” (“…times will be hard, rain will fall…”) This all seems so heavy-handed. Where is the grace in his lyrics on this one? Village Green’s “Big Sky” this ain't.

    The band is fine, though, as they are on all the tracks on Kontroversy. Clem Cattina had a lot of tricks up his sleeve, but that very British Invasion-y drum pattern styled on a military march is the kind of thing one expects on a Billy J. Kramer track, and makes this 1965 “with-the-times-rock-turning-philosophical-song” sound so 1964-ish. But it does adds a textural variety to the drumming on the album as a whole, so I guess that’s a plus.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021

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