George Starostin's Reviews



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Gustavo Rodriguez <> (14.05.99)

C'mon, George! Give 'em a five. Sure they haven't had a real triumph since Muswell Hillbillies but who cares? They still have a formidable body of work that to this day is not properly appreciated and recognized. For me, the Kinks are more important than the Who (give them a four instead) and rank only behind the Beatles and sometimes the Stones when it comes to my favorite Brit invasion bands.

And also they are Rock's true survivors. Theirs is probably the only major 60's band whose original members are all still alive! The Kinks rule!

<> (25.01.2000)

I think your reviews of these Kinks albums are really misleading. You're obviously are not a fan of them. Just for the record, Ray Davies was one of the best songwriters ever. Not only did he inspire what would soon to be punk rock (re: David Bowie, Marc Bolan, two of punk's innovators, and many more to come...) , his songs are distinct, celebrating a most unique and innovative voice in rock and roll. The Kinks have always been shunned from the respectable eye by the likes of boring, unadventurous critics as yourself. It's critics like you, that have no dynamic tatse for the avante garde and originality, that have dismissed the Kinks all along. The Kinks were brilliant artists trapped in a time when everything else sucked (hippie-movement, make love, not war , 60's bullshit). The Kinks were the only good thing (besides Pink Floyd) to come from the 60's as far as many people everywhere are concerned. (Of course, I'm talking about the Kink's work 1964-1969). But that's all I have to say. After reading your outrageous reviews, it angered me a bit. I felt compelled to write. So please print this, because it's the only pointer to the truth about The Kinks.

[Special author note: Sigh. Cough. Another sigh. Ladies and gentlemen, the defence rests its case.]

<> (15.03.2000)

The Kinks have a great knack at making songs that you like to listen to only after hearing the songs for a little while. There very personal and to the heart. To me there is no such thing as a Kinks greatest hits. The reason being that every album as such continuity that it takes you to a different place that worth repeat listening. I saw Dave Davies on June 22nd 1999 at a bar in Albany NY called Valentines. I was right up front and it was the best!

Lanny <> (30.04.2000)

I started out as a BEATLES fan -- then something happen when I bought the KINK S KONTROVERSY album late in l965 -- the mood of that album, the voice of the lead singer -- to this day I dont know what happen - but thats when I became a DEDICATED KINKS FAN -- as of this moment I cant wait for the new solo cd by RAY DAVIES comes out -- ray, through the years has been like an older brother to me ( I was the oldest of 4 brothers) -- I remember back in the 70's when the radio stations werent playing kink songs -- songs from pres act 1 and 2, soap opera, schoolboys, and even sleepwalker -- at least to me, they werent getting the same respect as the who and stones, etc.... Ray came to San Antonio in l998 and saw the show and he sings better now than he did in the 60's -- anyway I got his autograph and shook his hand -- ticket stub is framed with an original yrgm album and a cd of vgps (hanging on my wall) -- awesome!!!!! -- I have a couple of beefs that have been bugging me for a long time -- first -- recently ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE listed the kinks as one of the greatest rock bands in the 20th century -- THATS COOL -- but then , why , in my mind, werent the kinks (as a group) EVER on the cover of rolling stone????? I realize that ray was on a cover , I believe in l974 ---- just doesnt make any sense to me at all --- and finally, why werent 'TO THE BONE' and 'ONLY A DREAM' radio hits?????? Again, to me they are both MODERN DAY KINK KLASSICS !!!!!! ---THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME --- Lanny

<> (12.06.2000)

Ray changed my life. Literally. His song 'NATIONAL HEALTH' and 'SKIN AND BONE' forced me to look at my life and change it. Every day now I excercise to work out the tension, and drop 90 pounds (six and a half stone to you English blokes) Kept it off for two years. This poet speaks to the human condition better than any songwriter before or since. Frank Zappa said 'Wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not love, love is not music, music is the best!' and the best music is by the boys from north London. I had the unique chance to see Ray in Cleveland do his one-man show that ultimately became his STORYTELLER CD. I have read his book. Unique and well written. From the early stuff to the latest releases, it only gets better. Bravo, Mr. Davies! Next time in Cleveland I would love to buy you a beer and ask you about a thousand questions.

Richard Hall <> (09.07.2000)

Well you've certainly put a lot of effort into reviewing all the albums, so well done for that, you're wrong nearly all the time, of course, but without people too venomously disagree with life would be plain dull, wouldn't it? I think some of your problems stem from the fact that you don't understand what some of the songs are actually about, not your fault, you're not English, but it does give you a somewhat inaccurate take in certain situations. I'll address the main ones when I send you individual comments for all of the albums. However, as a short thing 'Harry Rag' is about Cigarettes, not pot, Harry Rag is cockney rhyming slang for Fag, which, in turn, is British slang for cigarettes.

Personally I think you approach most of the 70's stuff from completely the wrong angle, you seem to want a certain type of Rock-and Roll and when you don't get it you just call things crap. Fair enough, it's your taste, and so, in your opinion, correct, however, you do seem to have a tendency of putting it forward as fact, which is a bit misleading. As I said I disagree with you on most things, where I don't though is your general opinions on VGPS and Arthur, though you seem to have got the plot somewhat confused on the later. They are definitely both my top two albums and do, in general, give a lot.

If you, or anyone, wanted to actually understand some of the songs more I would recommend getting X-Ray by Ray Davies, it does help to give a better perspective and lets you enjoy songs that much more. Richard Hall.

<> (30.07.2000)

I have always enjoyed the Kinks' music immensely. I lost out on the group somewhat when their music failed to crack the AM radio stations. I heard "Dead End Street" and "Waterloo Sunset" just a couple of times on the radio, which was quite frustrating. Then, I heard '20th Century Man." What a great record. I bought Muswell Hillbillies immediately. Unfortunately, no tunes with the high intensity of '20th Century,' but still a great album. Most of their albums, while musically frustrating at times, are still fun. Most of them take several listens, but then really grab me. (I'm still surprised at the weak Misfits-- 3 or 4 great songs (such as 'Get Up'), but nothing more). Even, Kinda Kinks, which our reviewer dismissed, is a great album. And I even like all those juvenile songs, such as 'Wonder Where My Baby is Tonight.' I loved the selection of 'Nothin' in The World Can Stop Me Worryin' Bout that Girl' for the Rushmore soundtrack. Finally, a word on Phobia. Am I the only person in the world who loved this album? Every song is rocking and fun. I played this record over and over. 'Over the Edge' immediately caught my attention and 'Surviving' is a great song. Oh, well, I guess if I actually love the Kinks' music, then my musical taste is somewhat suspect anyway.

<> (09.08.2000)

I guess I was looking for something a bit more in depth when I purchased my first Kinks LP.I had traveled the discography road of my beloved Fab Four four at least a decade.My attraction to the Kinks sees to come from the almost urban songwriting style of Ray Davies.It seemed much more plausable that I could sit at a bar and have a cold beer with Ray Davies,than with Paul McCartney.Although some of the early work was a bit weak,I enjoyed songs like"People Taking Pictures Of Each Other",I Remember Walter,and my favorite " The Last Of The Steam Powered Trains". Only after listening to the Kinks did I have a bigger appreaciation of the Fabs.The Kinks also opened my ears to The Who and other Brit bands for my enjoyment.God Save Ray Davies!!.......I still want to have that beer if he's interested!

Warren Gray <> (05.09.2000)

ray davies could be called the best songwriter ever. i dont understand why the kinks were never as famous as the beatles! i am only 17 years old and i try to learn more about this stuff so often. i have had the privlidge of seeing ray davies live 2 times (the first and second storyteller tours) my dad is a pretty big kinks fan. unfortunatly this was before i had even heard of the village green or aurthur. now i do remember him mentioning something about their album not being released in america, or maybe that they couldnt tour in america. and how popular were they in the UK in the 60's and 70's?

here's what i own- village green preservation society, arthur (both on cds), muxwell hillbillies and preservation act 1 (on record). what should i get next? i like village green more than aurthur. every song is amazing to me.

VSDFV Klaipedos skyrius <> (15.09.2000)

yeah, five for ray, no doubts. and you know what, george? i think ray deserves to be named a genius. that's why. he never repeat the same mood in his songs. i'm not talking about the same instrumental line or the same melody line. it's the mood. so. i'm living in lithuania (not far from you, George) and it's a shame that no one knows about ray in my basketball country.

Thomas M. Silvestri <> (23.09.2000)

I bought the singles of "Dead End Street," "Mr. Pleasant," and "Waterloo Sunset" back to back to back in late '66 and early '66 and summer '66, all of which bombed in America. At the time I couldn't understand it, being just a 12-year-old kid who loved all kinds of rock 'n' roll. In retrospect, the other thing that was happening at the time -- Hendrix and Cream -- simply made it hard for many other people to hear anything other than Sgt. Pepper. And of all the bands who suffered most obviously in commercial terms from the increase in sheer bass, treble, volume, and in many cases (most obviously Hendrix) brilliance, none suffered more than the Kinks. It wasn't until '72 or so when, yes, thanks very much to British progressive rock, English quirkiness became big business again in the U.S. and stuff like Muswell Hillbilly could not only get on the radio but also attract people at concert halls (even if the Kinks didn't entirely stop throwing away shows until a few years later).

P.S. [Waterloo Sunset]: The U.S. release date on this 45 was, of course, around June of '67, not 66 as I previously said.

Eric Peltoniemi <> (01.11.2000)

The Kinks are one of the few bands that began in the 60s that I still enjoy. Like many others, I started that decade in the folk revival, a fan of the Kingston Trio & Pete Seeger, and gradually "hippified" myself and ended up a Dylan fan. I also loved the Beatles and Stones and thought they were the pinnacle. I bought the first Kinks album when it was first came out and loved it, but when Kontroversy came out a bell went off in my head...probably during "Till the End of the Day." Since then I haven't been the same. Over the ensuing 36+ years, I have had less and less patience with purposely obscure lyrics and their pseudo-communication (goodbye Bob & scores of navel-gazing singer/songwriters)...and less and less attraction to the Beatles (smarmy, shallow, arrogant) and the Stones (perverse and in it for the money). The Kinks were and are the best. Human and clear. Great melodies, words, concepts and ideas. Their eye on the common man.

Ray may have not always polished a song to total perfection (although he frequently did), but give me that repertoire anytime. At 51 I am still listening to it...all of it. My chestnuts may be hey-day albums like Village Green or Something Else, but "Lost and Found," "Heart of Gold," and songs from the later albums are wondeful as well. I have enjoyed Ray's book and his one man show. I just plain love the Kinks. I love Ray's writing. My only suggestion to him at this stage of life is to record a complete album of his favorite 20th Century pop classics...the kind he and his dad used to sing in the front room. He just knocked me out with his rendition of "Old Black Magic." Did anyone else notice how great that track was?

rmpi <> (17.11.2000)

That does it. Not only do you tear down the walls of the Kinkdom. You also fill the web with factless facts!

'Session man' dedicated to N. Hopkins? Whatever gave you that idea? [The fact that Nicky Hopkins played as a session man on that particular album. Eh? - G. S.]

Where did you get the information on Jimmy Page playing on the songs on Kinks? [From the credits list - G. S.]. Dave was better all the way and cheaper to use in the studio, which was crucial at the time. He lacked some studioexperience at the beginning but he sounded great. The early Kinks sound an awful lot better than the yardbirds featuring Page ever did! Anyway, there's your real sessionman!

'Mr. Pleasant' for your information didn't badly flop, as you put it. The single was directed towards the continent, where it was a hit more than a few countries.

First do your research, then write!

kind regards


Thomas M. Silvestri <> (03.12.2000)

While it's always good to see passion for great rock 'n' roll -- in this case "rm" re the Kinks -- I have to step in to defend George's responsible monitoring of this site. I've read more than a few articles over the years in which Ray himself says that Nicky Hopkins indeed inspired the song "Session Man," the most recent being a column Ray wrote for, if memory serves, The New York Times Sunday Magazine shortly after Hopkins' death. As for the would-be correction on the commercial success of "Mr. Pleasant," I do recall it was something of a minor hit "on the continent," as rm puts it. But the key phrase in my comments was "in America," where all three of the singles I mentioned most certainly bombed. My brother used to bring home Billboard magazine every week in those days and I read it voraciously. I don't think "Mr. Pleasant" even made the mag's "Bubbling Under the Top 100" chart back in Spring '67. ("Dead End Street," I believe, stalled out in America somewhere around 60.) Those whose curiosity extends further on such things can always check Joel Whitburn's books, which compile the Billboard charts of those years. But there would seem to be no denying the failure of the three singles that I cited (and many more for years afterward) in America, even in Ray's mind: at a show in the U.S. just last year, when people called out for "Big Black Smoke" and "Harry Rag" (U.S. B-sides of "Dead End Street" and "Mr. Pleasant" respectively), Ray shot back, "You people are INSANE! You're calling out for B-SIDES of SINGLES THAT FAILED!"

Thomas McKeown <> (11.12.2000)

Just thought I'd give my opinions on the effect of the Kinks on modern British music. Essentially, the Kinks are the most influential British band, ever. Oh, I know the Beatles should claim that title, but, just as you consider Hendrix appart from other guitarists, so it is with the Beatles; their prescence looms so large, we can put them to one side in a class of their own. The Kinks, however, created, as you say, a unique style no-one else at the time could do, and, as you also point out, this style had its roots in the very fact of being British, and thus made the Kinks the most British band ever. What this did was to show British musicians that they didn't have to be ashamed of being British (or rather I should say, English), and that rock music was not compatable with traditional British values. This legacy has been found cropping up throughout all pop movements since, and has made Bitain one of the few countries in the world (Germany is the other one) who've created avision of rock that differs substantially from the American ground plan. Because that this style is more about atitude and stance than musical technique, and because there hardly ever seems to be more than one band practising it at any one time, this style has been far from exhausted, and bands such as The Jam and Blur, with there own take on the Kinks formular, are just as fresh and original as the Kinks were in there heyday.

<> (06.05.2001)

These guys are probably my favorite band, next to the Stones. I think I like them even more than the Beatles. I've always had a soft spot for the folksy, dance hall style that Ray prefers. These guys aren't the best of musicians, although I do think they were pretty good. I think I'd rank them behind only Dylan, the Beatles and the Stones on a list of the greatest acts of Rock and Roll. I'm putting them ahead of the Who because, frankly, I think Ray Davies was a better songwriter than Pete Townshend. Nothing against Pete, his genius is not indispute but I do believe on the whole the Kinks had a superior catalog to the Who. I think the Kinks easily the most underrated band in Rock and Roll history. Their classic period of 66 to 71 is one of the greatest runs ever and there is a lot of great material from the 70s and even into the 80s.(Word Of Mouth from 84 is their best album since Muswell Hillbillies.) Overall, I think they deserve a 5.

Guilherme Nettesheim <> (10.02.2004)

Oh, come on now George. We know that deep down inside you want to see the Kinks get a 5. I mean, I understand why you'd wanna cut them down for adequacy and resonance because of the late seventies stuff, but come on, you can up originality up a point can't ya? Or how about upping resonance? Even with their crap albums their releasing now, I don't think it's fair to penalize them for it. Specially when you have albums ike Arthur, Muswell Hillbillies, Village Green, etc.

"Waterloo Sunset", probably the most beatiful song I have ever heard, "Some Mother's Son" the most touching and melancholy song ever made, Village Green with all of it's small town looks and simple melodies, hell I could go on for ever. Don't you shed a tear upon hearing "Death of a Clown"? Or what about "20th Century Man", the best conservative anthem ever created? Man, if one band is resonant, then it's the Kinks, despise the shitty '70's albums. So please, reconsider the rating for The Kinks, either on Originality or Resonance. You kncoked Dylan up, you can do the same for Mr. Davies now can't you?

Sergey Zhilkin <> (24.03.2004)

Ok, so it's an anniversary today - 3 years ago I bought a 2CD Kinks EP collection. Since then I've been introduced to a great ammount of bands with genres ranging from shameless pop to industrial to electronica to grunge to whatever. But you know, looking back I realise that the most of catchy as hell songs I've heard during these years were written by Kinks. I remember that I used to get tired of Kinks, then, few months later, I again started listening to Arthur, Village green and Muswell hillbillies. Dunno, I think the Kinks is the band for me. And I admit - I have a strange passion for Kinks, call me fanatic if you want. I think I'm gonna buy new Ray Davies album (if it's gonna be released in this century) even at the price of $40. There're a lot of bands which have a lot of interesting things to offer, but the Kinks have something dear to my heart unlike the rest. This might sound stupid but even after hearing all of their 80s albums and Phobia I have to say that I still put Kinks at the second spot in my list of best bands ever. After the solo Dave Davies, of course!! Nah, The Beatles, I mean. (I'm not a big fan of 'best-of' lists, though, so you don't get any runner-ups.) Oh, these Kinks. London squares, fancy clothes, dedicated followers of fashion, yes sir, no sir, 20-th century men, schoolboys in disgrace, nostalgia, afternoon tea, music hall - this is my cup of tea, yes sir. Ray Davies could pull out witty lyrics without getting angry (a thing I hate about most young bands that spit on goverment). Also he wasn't a protest singer by any means. I mean, until the late 70s - early 80s when he started to act very straightforward, that's it ("Sold out" lyrics for sale! Anybody?).

Even though all of 70s albums do have filler, I wouldn't rate any of them less than 10 or maybe 11, because man - I dig the image Ray created for himself (he's must be a total asshole in life, though). So yes, I'm happy to gobble down "Soap opera" and "Preservation", even realising that both have a lot of musical flaws.

Fortunately, the Kinks are not too overshadowed as you claim them to be. Damon Albarn from Blur must adore them. No, no, I meant Kinks, not Them! Suede and Elastica members probably like them, too, and hide singles collection underneath pillows. No, no, I meant Kinks again, forget about Them. Heck, even Van Morrison has a crush on them! And it's good to see quite a lot of people still remember Davies brothers (just look at this comments page!).

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

The Kinks have always been special to me. There is something about Ray Davies that is very humble and attractive. And warm. I absolutely adore his image: a simple, intelligent guy. A cute guy. Once a good friend of mine suggested that Mr. Davies must be a perfect bandleader. Yeah, I also feel that way. He is so damn charming! Besides that, he’s a genius. I don’t know if he was actually better than Lennon and McCartney rolled into one, but at some point he probably was. After all, we don’t know what kind of an album McCartney would make alone in, say, 1966 or 1967. Probably an amazing one, but we can only guess. What we know is that from 1966 till 1971 Ray could not fail. Unforgettable melodies, wise lyrics, cozy and charming English voice. How can that fail? No way. He, together with Bob Dylan, was one of those rare artists who were always very close to you. Before I turn to the minor (sorry, guys, but that’s a fact) members of the band, I would like to note that I consider Raymous Douglas Davies (very pompous, but I like how it sounds) the third greatest songwriter that music has been able to produce, after Pete Townshend and John Lennon.

As for the other guys, I would obviously mention Ray’s younger brother, Dave. I’ve never heard his solo realeases, but his contributions to the Kinks’ catalogue were, for the most part, worthwhile. “Death Of A Clown”, “Lincoln County”, “Susannah’s Still Alive”, “Strangers”. These songs are among the band’s best. Also, he was a good guitarist (I love his Arthur solos) and clumsy (not a minus in this very case) singer.

Both Pete Quaife and John Dalton were quite decent bassists, but Mick Avory was a solid drummer (“Wicked Annabella”, “Situation Vacant”, etc.).

I decided to cover their huge catalogue by getting almost all of their 60s output, a couple of the RCA releases (still have only one, though; nice to realize that I’m looking for some Kinks’ records) and their late compilation Come Dancing With The Kinks (it is a must buy if you’re not going to get any of their mid-to-late 70s and early 80s albums). That’s probably the best way of getting acquainted with their massive catalogue, but then again, maybe not. If you’re new to the Kinks, I would suggest starting with one of their 60s' singles compilations.

Needless to say, they get the highest rating overall. They have to be given a 5 for resonance! God, I love this band!

<> (24.05.2006)

I can't really put into words how much I love music in general. I play guitar, write songs, and know a few things on the bass and piano. Ever since I moved for the first time back in 2001 when I was about 12, music has become my right arm. Tapes of "Who's Greatest Hits" and "Get Yer Ya Ya's Out" were my only companions. Thus, I absolutely love music that I can identify with on a personal level, and bands that focus all their energy on the wholeness and quality of the song itself, and also in Ray Davies' case, whole spectacular albums as well.

So the Kinks have earned a special place in my heart for almost everything about them. They really believed, they focused on the merit of songs/albums rather than virtuosity (which I do like, but don't demand), and they were themselves.

As you said, many don't like them either because they never jumped on anyone's bandwagon, and that their songs can almost be insipid in their simplicity and childishness. But to me, this allows them to brave all manners of musical disaster, including the worst offender of all: time.

Finally, although I could probably write a doctoral thesis on the many things they do well and have done for me especially, I just completely identify/agree with how ol' Ray sees the world. Like me, he is anti-conflict, he is peaceful, he is conservative to himself but doesn't really care what other people do in the privacy of their own home, he values simplicity and general face-to-face interaction, and adores life. But at the same time, and this is a big clicker, he finds huge personal and societal problems with what can be seen here in America as the 20th and 21st American dream: dollar-driven, materialist, rush-rush, busy-as-a-bee bullshit that exhausts and ultimately ruins the simple pleasures in life. This is something that can only be classified as genius in the way he outlines and portrays it. I don't even think, while still being a true blue American (and kind of a Southerner at that, though not really), that his view is too English to translate into any country's predicament. He supports the "stiff-upper-lip" general badassness of British working class tradition, and values those who really work, even though he thinks they should take breaks once in a while. But damn, what a truly expansive musical palette Ray (and Dave, I love Dave too, its just that I'd have to do yet another long-winded aria in his tribute and I'm tired) has! He really knows his shit in A.) All forms of traditional American music and B.) His own native Britain's traditional humor. And shit, the music needs only to be given a good, solid 5 headphone listens at the most for their best period albums (in my humble opinion, '66-'72) to realize his poignancy, effectiveness, and brilliance in what we know in umbrella terms as rock music.

But really, as I've rambled on and on about, the very fact that they were unafraid to be who they were in all the music they put out and in all the ways that music was performed (even the silly stuff had its own self-effacing humor), defines them point-blank in the best way possible. Warts-and-all, they were the Kinks. And with all that that entails, what they did as the Kinks defined their approach, their music, and themselves to the bitter end for this humble minstrel. (I could show you some of my songs if you want, actually).

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (03.08.2006)

There have been few artists that kept on going for as many years as the Kinks that remained both relevant, vibrant and creatively stimulating and to be honest, I'm not sure it's ever really happened much {U2, Bruce Cockburn and Larry Norman spring to my mind and even they had troughs}. Even in a genre like jazz which by it's very nature is constantly recreating itself, expanding and supposedly never standing still, the truth is that it's artists get stuck in a groove and get as safe and repetitive as anyone else, though maybe they take longer to get that way. Most artists have a classic phase where they were really on a roll for which they will probably always be revered, quite a few have more than one. Personally, I'm often torn between an artists classic phase and their desire to carry on {which artistically, I applaud} even though they be past their best. I think the Beatles made a tragic error reforming for that brief spell in the mid 90s coz their story was perfect up to that point. On the other hand, the Police did the right thing in splitting when they did. It's arguable whether some artists just go on too long, an argument that may or may not apply to the Kinks. The discovery of them and the heralding of their influence reminds me of the biblical story of ancient Israel's rediscovery of God's law; someone found a copy of it in the palace basement and when it was read, the people said "Oh my, what have we done, ignoring all this for so many years !". It is an amusing parallel. For what seemed like a long time, the Kinks were the great forgotten act of British rock, yet they were as fundamental to the changes that swept through the 60s as the Who, the Stones, Dylan or the Beatles, albeit in a different way....I think the years '64 to '70 were their truly classic phase, which shouldn't diminish what came thereafter, it's just that the world that they had been observing was such a different place after 1970 and new acts and moves were in the vanguard and they weren't a high level influence. Some could say that they weren't in the 60s either but I'd disagree vehemently. Because singles were the main highway on which to parade one's musical creativity until that shift which began about '66 saw the album become the main medium, one has to look at the singles that bands were putting out and the Kinks even pushed the Beatles in that department. I don't think the Kinks were a strong album band then, not really through any fault of their own because even the Who, Small Faces and Stones had their blips and unlike the Beatles' producer and record company, their "employers" {as they saw it} still flexed muscle. Neither were the Kinks particularly innovative in terms of studio technique but in my opinion, when it comes to brilliant, well written singles, then in the 60s, the Kinks pound for pound are the equals of the Beatles, the Stones and better overall than the Who. Lots of artists put out great singles in that decade {It's not nostalgic rose tinted bias when I say that more great singles came out in that decade~it was a singles market for most of it and singles weren't just a ploy to get you to maybe check out the album the way it later headed. They were an end and entity in themselves and it wasn't at all unusual for the singles not to be found on albums which is why compilations are actually so useful. Without them, unless you have access to 2nd hand shops, you're stuffed !} and while there were flops and dreck, I would say the general quality was pleasingly high. But equally, comparatively few artists put out high numbers of great singles and in my opinion, the Kinks put out at least 18, regardless of chart placing {only one of that number didn't chart} and there were some great album tracks and stuff on EPs {a medium that like the minidisc never really took off}. But the Kinks gave rock two wonderful gifts, one was that guitar sound that came through on their third single, YOU REALLY GOT ME. With TOBACCO ROAD by the Nashville Teens and I WANNA BE YOUR MAN by the Stones and Jimmy Page's use of fuzz boxes, you have the start of the evolution of what went on to be the heavy rock sound. The reason I wouldn't say the Kinks invented that genre is coz they basically never pursued and developed it; they were more expansive than that and what they did develop, their second great gift, was vocal Englishness which is not as cooky as it sounds. A number of groups started actually sounding vocally English after they did and I wonder if Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Wishbone Ash, the Small Faces and even the big three {Beats, Stones, Who} and others would have carried on in sub American accents had it not been for Ray Davies and songs like A WELL RESPECTED MAN, DEDICATED FOLLOWER OF FASHION and SUNNY AFTERNOON. It's revealing listening to Syd Barrett on LUCY LEAVE at the start of '66 and his singing on THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN and Floyd's early singles~in the space of a year it's completely changed to an English accent and suddenly Englishness isn't just cool to write about, but to sing that way too. MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPER, PICTURES OF LILY, POLYTHENE PAM, LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, and scores of others....I think you can credit the Kinks {and to a lesser extent George Harrison} for that wave and of course it later reached a point where sounding anything but was just passe {think punk, new wave and the British rock and pop of the 80s}. Of course they could be derivative too, taking in Dylan {WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD TIMES GONE ?}, Beatlesque harmonies and backing vocals {I think their underated harmonies are gorgeous}, Who wildness {even though they were around before} and song structures {the way they ape the Beatles' "Ticket to ride" ending on "'til the end of the day" is priceless !}. Also pretty unique for such an important group from such a tumultuous decade of change is the fact that psychedelia passed them by. It's just as well it did pass the Davies brothers by; Ray had already had a breakdown, long before even Syd Barrett and Brian Epstein; and when Dave did take acid many years later, he began a relationship with aliens from another planet......But they were an influence at the time on English psychedelia, which, in part thanks to them, was majorly concerned with looking backwards to the past and trying to get back to the innocence of the child's eye view. You can hear it in the instruments they used {mellotrons, trumpets} and words like 'almanac' and the pictures they painted of dead end streets, waterloo sunsets and memories of endless days.....if someone told me these were pastoral acid ditties a la Strawberry Fields and I didn't know different, I'd say 'yeah....'. No surprize then, that they're so beloved of Punks, Britpoppers and a whole international host in between.


<> (28.12.2000)

I guess I'm alone on this one but I kinda like this album. The bad parts are really bad but a handful of bright spots make the album worth a few listens. First there's 'You Really Got Me' and "Stop Your Sobbin'". "I Took My Baby Home" is a funny little tune, 'Just Can't Go To Sleep' is catchy and 'Revenge' is an OK Instrumental. But out of the original 14 nothing else is very fantastic, in fact anything Dave sings pretty much sucks and I won't even talk about Shel's songs. The bonus tracks make the album better thanks to 'All Day' ... and the others. The only bonus track that is really bad is 'Louie, Louie' because you understand the lyrics.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

This album is mediocre at best, with few standout tracks. The biggie, of course, is "You Really Got Me," which has been praised and analyzed into the ground. I agree with all the praise, and am tired of the analyses, so I'll just say that, after all these years, it's still an ass-kicker. Each of the remaining songs can fit into one of three basic styles: rockers, ballads and r &b. The only style the Kinks had really mastered at this point (not surprisingly) was rock 'n' roll. Listening to "Beautiful Delilah" and "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter," I'm convinced that the Kinks played rock 'n' roll better than most of their British Invasion contemporaries. They were the masters of the rave-up, exemplified by the instrumental breaks in both of these songs. The other rockers are not quite as strong: "I Took My Baby Home" is harmless fun; "Revenge" is ultra-simple but energetic; "Too Much Monkey Business" suffers from a badly double-tracked vocal; "So Mystifying" is one-dimensional; and "Cadillac" is energetic and a bit odd. The ballad material is mostly '50s-oriented, indicating that Ray Davies hadn't really developed yet as a songwriter. "Stop Your Sobbing" is pleasantly catchy and so is "Just Can't Go To Sleep," but both were rendered outdated by A Hard Day's Night (a month before they were even recorded). The r&b material is mostly below average. "Got Love If You Want It" is redeemed by some interesting percussion and a midsection rave-up; "Long Tall Shorty" is slightly amusing with its 17-year-old grizzled blues singer; "Bald Headed Woman" is somewhat dull with a badly double-tracked vocal; and "I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain" is virtually nondescript. Not a classic LP by any means.

To get the maximum number of bonus tracks (12), you'll need to get the Essential Records CD of this album (although, perhaps it's the Rhino CD in Russia? - the US Rhino CD has only three bonus tracks). "All Day And All Of The Night" is patterned directly after "You Really Got Me" and (miraculously) it's every bit as good. "It's Alright" (the B-side of "You Really Got Me") sports a jazzy verse with an absolutely frenetic instrumental break, and is one of my favorite early Kinks tracks. "I Gotta Move" (the B-side of "All Day And All Of The Night") has a good, driving rhythm. The first A-side, "Long Tall Sally" is energetic but lame, while the second A-side, "You Still Want Me" is Beatlesque and lame. "You Do Something To Me" (the B-side of "You Still Want Me") is also Beatlesque, but a little more interesting. The tracks from the Kinksize Session EP are mostly weak: "I've Got That Feeling" is a nice piano-based ballad; "I Gotta Go Now" is kind of cute, I guess, but a bit mundane; "Things Are Getting Better" is basically an upbeat throwaway; "Louie Louie" is amazingly lifeless. There's also two previously unreleased tracks: "I Don't Need You Any More" is an unexceptional pop tune, while the ultra-fast version of "Too Much Monkey Business" is downright exhilarating. Overall, the bonus tracks don't improve the picture much.

mike noto <> (21.09.2006)

Dave used a hollowbody guitar, a Harmony Meteor, on "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night." The way he achieved that beautiful, scuzzy, and totally '60's distorted guitar tone on those songs was through buying a small and cheap Elpico amp, which was bright green, and plugging it into his Vox AC30, using it like a primitive preamp. Then he intentionally slashed the cone of the Elpico amp with a razor blade.

Actually, fuck it. I'll let Dave himself tell the story:

"I bought this in a radio spares shop in Muswell Hill in 1962. I couldn't afford a Watkins Dominator or a bigger posher amp! I went home and plugged the Elpico loudspeaker's output leads into the input of the AC 30, in effect using the smaller amp as kind of a pre-amp. It sounded great, but I wasn't satisfied. The crowning glory of my simple yet effective experiment was to slash the speaker cone of the Elpico with a razor blade so that the material, although now shredded, still remained intact with the outer side of the cone. As it vibrated it produced a distorted and jagged roar. In fact, the original set-up was so crude that the main amp's hum was almost as loud as the sound I had created. A sound was born, but I didn't know it at the time. Immediately I started using my set-up in live shows that I performed with Ray and our band, in the time leading up to the creation of the Kinks. Ironically, it was that sound, which we used on 'You Really Got Me,' that got the Kinks our first hit." - Excerpt from 'Kink' - An Autobiography by Dave Davies.

Found that on Dave's site. Fun little story, isn't it?


Morten Felgenhauer <> (02.01.2001)

"See My Friends" was released as a single A-side in England at the time of Kinda KInks, and as far as I can remember it made top 20. It's a brilliant song and of course it deserved a better fate. In addition to the "Indian" melody and sitar-imitating guitar it uses a bass-drone to good effect. (In Indian classical music there is usually no chords - just one basic bass-note onto which melody and instrumental improvisation is added). In the verses the bass guitar plays just one riff while the chords change around it. The Beatles used the same trick later on "If I Needed Someone" on Rubber Soul. I agree with your comments on the first two albums, by the way. It is possible to be a fan of a group and at the same time realize that not evereything the group did was pure genius. (Do you hear me, fanatics?)

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

The main problem with this album is that, while the Kinks' main strength was still in the area of straight rock, we're presented here with mostly ballads. Ray Davies simply wasn't up to scratch in the ballad department (not until later, anyway), and for me, this makes Kinda Kinks a notch or two lower than the first album. There are a couple of happy exceptions. While I'm not too blown away with "Tired Of Waiting For You," I will say that the part of the song where the title is sung is simply sublime. My favorite track, however, is "You Shouldn't Be Sad," which sounds like it could comfortably fit onto the next album. It's upbeat and catchy in a way no previous Kinks song had been, and is virtually the only sign on this release that Davies' songwriting skills had actually progressed. A couple of the other upbeat songs are fairly good, "Got My Feet On The Ground" and "Come On Now," but somehow never reach the freneticism of earlier efforts. The two ultra-quiet tunes, "So Long" and "Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me From Adding More Words To This Song Title," are both very simple but kinda charming, I guess. "Look For Me Baby" starts off reasonably well in a Motown kind of way, but gets really unfocused by the end. Okay, I've run out of good things to say, so here goes with the rest: "Naggin' Woman" is thankfully the only r&b song on here, and definitely doesn't redeem the Kinks in that category; "Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight" is a thoroughly unexceptional pop song; "Dancing In The Street" is simply a mess; "Don't Ever Change" and "Something Better Beginning" are both unashamedly corny and I wince every time I hear them. J. Kordosh summed it up best: Kinda Kinks kinda stinks.

The bonus tracks (on the Essential CD) greatly improve this listening experience. "Set Me Free," I think, is written the way a Britpop ballad is supposed to be written. "I Need You" (the B-side of "Set Me Free") miraculously copies "You Really Got Me" (again!) and succeeds in being an awesome track anyway. "See My Friends" is one the best listens on the CD, with its revolutionary raga influence. "A Well Respected Man" is also revolutionary, with its social commentary and folky sound (the tune doesn't grab me much, though). "Don't You Fret" (also from the EP) is, for me, a bigger signpost of things to come than either of the previous two, and a better song. There's something about it that makes it sound like it could have turned up on Face To Face or even Village Green and nobody would have thought anything of it. The previously unreleased demo version of "I Go To Sleep" is a definite highlight, and I consider it to be the best song Davies had written at the time of its recording. The rest don't do much for me: "Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy" is kinda fun, but a bit jerky;"Who'll Be The Next In Line" (the B-side) is one-dimensional; "Such A Shame" (from the EP) is moody and somewhat simplistic at the same time; "Wait Till The Summer Comes Along" shows that Dave Davies couldn't be Bob Dylan no matter how hard he tried; "Never Met A Girl Like You Before" (the B-side of "See My Friends) is so dorky that it completely deserves its B-side status.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Kinda Kinks was the third thing by the band I bought, after VGPS and a singles collection. You can imagine my disappointment when I played the record for the first time… But, frankly speaking, I got this mostly for a great number of bonus tracks. And I was rewarded.

Speaking about the album itself, I’d say that it’s kinda good (in a bad sense of word). In fact, only two (!) tracks are essential to your collection: the great “lazy” ballad “Tired Of Waiting For You” and the gorgeous “Something Better Beginning” with a worthwhile hook and gentle guitar work. On the other hand, you won’t find anything offensive here, with the exception of Dave-sung “Nagging Woman”, which is a bit annoying. The other tracks that I enjoy best of all are probably that nice folkish one with a long title and “You Shouldn’t Be Sad” (what the hell? It’s catchy!). The others are decent, but absolutely not interesting.

So, let’s concentrate on the marvellous bonus tracks. The poppy “Set Me Free”, the oozy “See My Friends” (I don’t quite see why it is psychedelic, but I’ve had enough of arguing what IS psychedelic and what is NOT), the singalong “Such A Shame”, the catchy-as-heck “A Well Respected Man” are all definite early Kinks’ classics. Plus, the closing “I Go To Sleep” is a very emotional tear-inducing ballad. I love it.

10/15 for the album and a 12/15 for the bonus tracks. Ray hasn’t arrived yet.


<> (28.02.2001)

I love Kink Kontroversy, its the album that made me ADDICTED to the kinks in l965 -- the mood of rays voice in each song was awesome -- "flash to the future, TO THE BONE and ONLY A DREAM are kink klassics in my book"

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

The Kinks at the Krossroads. Most of the highlights on this one point to the future, while most of the low points lean on the past. Perhaps the most solid-sounding thing on the album is "Till The End Of The Day," which simultaneously echoes the power-chord hits of their past and injects a more melodic edge and jet-set guitar solo. It's excellent B-side, "Where Have All The Good Times Gone," has a great two-part vocal harmony and with some interesting lyrics. I'm also very fond of "The World Keeps Going Round," with its droll vocal delivery and strong bassline, as well as "I'm On An Island," which almost sounds like a Village Green track. There's also something appealing about "You Can't Win," with its snide vocal harmonies, but I think it leans towards the many lesser tunes here. "Milk Cow Blues" carries a certain amount of intensity, and tops every other R&B tune they did, but that's not saying much. "Gotta Get The First Plane Home" is enjoyable enough - mainly in the rhythm department. The rest of the songs are generally weak: "When I See That Girl Of Mine" is catchy, but sappy; "It's Too Late" is simplistic; "Ring The Bells" is achingly dull; "What's In Store For Me" is totally forgettable; and "I Am Free" is Dave Davies' second failed attempt at being Bob Dylan. I guess I'd rate this about as highly as the first album, so it's an improvement over the last one.

The bonus tracks on the Essential CD do nothing to improve the picture, partly because there's only four of them. "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion" is the second of the Kinks' folksy hits, and I've always found it to be a rather obnoxious song. The B-side, "Sitting On My Sofa," is little more than a riff. The demo version of "When I See That Girl Of Mine" is not as good as the official version, so it ain't much. (It was actually recorded at about the time of "I Go To Sleep" from the previous CD and given to Bobby Rydell before the Kinks did it). For some reason, we also get a stereo mix of "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion" with a different vocal track, but I'm not sure why we needed it.

Brian Donovan <> (01.07.2005)

Let's start with what some see as "low points." "When I See That Girl Of Mine" is a favorite for me because I like songs that have that drive, where the guitars and rhythm section are just locked in sync. The song seems idiotically simple, but how many bands really were able to pull this sound off. (George, we also had this same disagreement over the Beatles' "Hold Me Tight.") I get a kick out of "It's Too Late" because of the perverse guitar that Shel Talmy insisted on playing, and dialing up in the mix so it crowds everything else out. It's so loudly and proudly amateurish, you wonder if this was a clever trick Ray was playing on Shel and Shel doesn't get it?

As I look over the song list, it strikes me that what seem to be other "weak" tunes actually have something going for them, usually a strong hook or that hard edge to the electric guitar that made the "garage band" era Kinks stand out ("Gotta Get The First Plane Home," "What's In Store For Me.")

The really good stuff is clustered toward the middle. "The World Keeps Going Round" had that same laid back vocal that made "Tired Of Waiting For You" work. I like that sparkling piano that comes in on "I'm On An Island" it's Nicky Hopkins, an old hero of mine. "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" is a great punkish performance, and Dave's guitar soloing has improved drastically for "Til The End Of The Day" and the opener "Milk Cow Blues." (incidently, check out the Ricky Nelson version of "Milk Cow" which had James Burton on lead guitar for an interesting contrast in style.)

I only started collecting Kinks CDs in the last two years and a lot of this was a revelation to me even though it's 30-40 years old. Sounds like Kink Kontroversy was the end of the Kinks' initial garage band phase, especially in light of the subsequent Face To Face and its successors. Of course the later releases have their own highlights, but Kink Kontroversy has a kick to it that wasn't really revisited.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

If you’re going to buy one Kinks’ album from their early period, it has to be Kink Kontroversy. This album is good (in a good sense of word). “Milk Cow Blues” sounds rather sloppy, but really cool. “Ring The Bells”, “I Am Free”, “I’m On An Island” are all charming ballads. The hit was “Till The End Of The Day”, which is extremely catchy and all, but it’s “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” that is the best here. The melody and the vocals simply rule. Ray creates some great pessimistic atmosphere with his slow vocal delivery. It’s amazing! Finally, the last three tracks let the album down a bit, but they’re still decent enough to be enjoyable.

We don’t have that many bonus cuts this time, but “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” is a great melodic tune dealing with narcissism. And “Sitting On My Sofa” is just a typical early Kinks’ rocker.

The album shows some artistic growth (both in music and in lyrics), it’s obvious. A highish 11/15. Ray is already knocking on your door.


Ivan Piperov <> (01.03.2000)

This is the third album I bought of the year 1966. The other ones being The Mothers' Freak Out and the other Revolver. But Face To Face doesn't impress me like these aforementioned masterpieces as I hoped. Nearly half of the tunes are somewhat bland and unoriginal and the sound is too dated. Nevertheless I really like the first half plus the bonus tracks.

Ben Greenstein <> (02.06.2000)

My favourite Kinks album - I'm sorry, but there's almost no filler on here. "Too Much On My Mind," which bothers you so much, has got a truly classy melody, and it's not alone. I may have to call it a tie with Village Green, but it's even more fun. A ten.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (21.04.2001)

Ooh, that's a very long story! It all started back in my childhood when I was listening to radio and a 'dj'(I put this word in brackets cause in USSR we had no real djs) said: 'Ok, and now here's an old folk Britain song which, I hope, will please you' (in fact, it's an old dirty trick to put a good tune on air). 'Sunny afternoon' started. I really can't tell you what happened to me then. This lazy, a little bit jazzy melody caught me so much that I was replaying this song for weeks(!!!) in my head. My English really sucked and all I could understand from the lyrics was ' summertime, in summertime...' It all happened 'bout 10 years ago and from that time I started collecting songs with word 'summertime' in a title. Great sum of money was wasted on covers of Gershwin's 'Summertime' so after seven years or so I gave up.

Until last week I didn't care about 'sunny afternoon' much. But just seven days ago it was played on air again and now dj (without brackets this time) explained that it were The Kinks. Who??? The Kinks??? These suckers that produced 'Phobia' and 'State of confusion'? Damn it! But next day I was holding 'Face to face' in my hands...

'Too much on my mind' is great, too. 'Party line' was so beautiful that Stones ripped off some hooks from it. And do you expect that my rating will be somewhere about 11 or 12? Ha! Of course, no. I give it a high 13.

Fidel Juárez <> (25.04.2002)

My God. How could I ever subsiste without gettng a hold of such an incredible album? See... for some stupid reason, this hadn't been part of my small Kinks collection of essential albums, and was only familiar with two or three songs in the MP3 format. Just the classics, 'Sunny afternoon', 'Rosy won't you please come home, 'Dandy' (I don't mention the bonus tracks for now) and 'House in the country' -the later seemed kinda ordinary after two uninterested listens. I gave the entire deal a try out of curiosity, to be honest, as I firmly believed that Ray Davies had matured his artistic intentions only after Something Else and its successors... and because I used to hold the sad preconception that there was not an absolutely ideal Kinks record out there (speaking about official releases, of course: one could only imagine the possibilities in compilations.)

Arthur is a magnificent record, but it has that tiresome jamming in 'Australia' and there's a couple of songs that I think were unnecessarily stretched (title track, 'Mr. Churchill says"); TVGPS is the poppiest thus the jolliest Kinks album, but not all of the songs live up to the expectations (though not "Big Sky"!: that refrain!) nor the track listing (all those details we appreciate when remembering an album we care about) and I believe the album misses a more dark, down-to-earth side that I appreciate in every record that I could be completely mad about (see: if I'm not blind with excitement over one of these pieces of sound every once in a while, my life would be undoubtedly duller), which leads logically to Muswell Hillbillies. For a while I believed this was my finest bet for a favourite Kinks record because of the beautiful flow that goes from despair to a certain nihilism ('Complicated life') and the familiar childlike songs in between ('Alcohol' is both funny and creepy, as singalongish is 'Have a cuppa tea')... and hell, because I'm a sucker for sentimental country as well. I learned to love Lola as well, because those ballads are so cute and because of the overall 70'ish atmosphere. Not a very strong argument, of course, but dammit if "Strangers" doesn't hold a soft spot for any admirer of the band.

I believe George Starostin wrote something about the songs contained in Muswell Hillbillies having to be appreciated in the big picture, something of which I'm not convinced. He meant it though, I think, because of the retro eclecticism of that record, of which I wasn't bothered the least at the beginning. Now... Face To Face. Just taking the fact that there were supposed to be numerous dialogs and sound effects in the mix increases my admiration for this movie... I mean record. If Lou Reed took Cabaret, Ray Davies took (drumroll...) A star is born. You get it, one of those rags to riches (and down we go again) stories about making it in the music industry. Lola touched this particular theme but without enough boost and seemed almost a parody altogether (if it wasn't already, unless there's a Part 2 on the way sometime.) I can't forget the fact that Face to face narrates musically a "simple" story (that is, that the music is more important than the subject), but it is important to acknowledge since I don't know of any other record that does it with such fun, rapidity, being devoid of pseudo intellectual rubbish and almost unaware of its importance.

Forget about the "simple" remark: see, I haven't read absolutely any review of this record bar the one in this site, and I only did it once without paying too much attention, but I think that every one of the songs contained in this album would have made one of the greatest musical movies ever made. (Now, if you go and tell me to get the hell off and buy musical movies instead of talking about this album because we're discussing rock here... I'd say, why not having both things at once?) 'Party Line' is the coolest intro for any Kinks album, with the goofy speaking voice over a telephone and the reaping guitars and fast lyrics -it evokes a fun sixties atmosphere without sounding too overwelcoming or "mistifying", it's a good song and that's it, memorable, frantic but in control (adjectives that I can apply easily to the subsequent songs.) 'Rosy won't you please come home' and 'Dandy' were songs I knew already, as I stated before, but now both seem perfect following one another because of the coming of age and lost of innocence themes (nothing to be crazy about per se, the themes I mean, but the resolution is impeccable.) "Too much on my mind" and "Rainy day in june" are songs about tension and could very well function as backgrounds for anticipating sequences (I'm still imagining the musical, in case someone cares) of misfortune. And, yes, both songs are emotionally resonant, catchy and seemed to have been written with the minimum of effort. After exploring tacitly the subject of music industry with "Session man" and the wealth that we characteristicly relate to it, "A house in the country" follows the careless path established by "Party Line", passing through "Holiday in Waikiki" (you can almost picture bucolic images of youth) until "Most exclusive residence for sale".

As anyone can see, the songs are firmly established in the present while being part of a continuum. Youth-career-fame-bad weather-house in the country-holiday-residence for sale... and so. Thus the cinematic feeling reinforced with the effects that the record company tycoons of then were kind enough to let us appreciate. Assholes.

"Fancy" is, ergh... overcooked, but still doesn't sound out of place with the twist of events that the previous songs contained. It's not spectacular but it's conveniently sad and... well... beautifully produced. (You can see I'm ready to deffend this album anytime, mister.) "Little miss queen of darkness" and "You're lookin' fine" not only mirror tracks two and three as time went on, again with apparently no effort at all, but are both cute (the way the girl looks in nightclubs and stuff), funny and pathetic (at least "You're lookin' fine" seems like a drunken effort, deliberately in the good sense by Davies, from the former Dandy to pick up a girl). What then? See, we've had thus far a constant feeling of good partying atmosphere (almost debauchery like), coming of age, stardom rising, with neverending humor (bar "Fancy", I guess) and charm. Oh, yeah. The closing "Sunny afternoon". No comments, since I think everybody should be acquaintanced with this song, which, believe me, sounds a ton stronger in the context of this album (I was going to say "in the context of the big picture" but I felt like sabotaging my own review).

After the epilogue "I'll remember", I can only think of why I hadn't listened to this record before, as I think it is the perfect Kinks album. It doesn't contain my absolute favourite Ray Davies songs or anything, but it flows like the cold sip of a beer (you know at what time of the day). I was going to end with a bitter rethorical question about a supposed grandiose album that deals with angst problems because I could earn a negative vibe from George here but he should know I'm not trying to pick on him nor anybody else, and... oh hell... is Quadrophenia better than this? Maybe... NOT! I don't think that "Buckets of rain" isn't even a better closer for an album like this at the moment. Face to Face now enters my ongoing list to pursue rock heaven alongside Abbey Road (the only Beatles album I can't seem to get tired about... eventually), Tattoo You, Band On The Run, Murmur, and so. This is what I feel honestly. I wish I could relate better to albums that I know are both good and consistent (it's not only a matter of taste, I believe this because we simply follow the sounds and themes we care about and think are essential, and because... doesn't everybody hold some sort of irrational vendetta or allergy towards something or somebody?)- now (I'm paraphrasing): Sue me.

5 stars on an MP3 page. A 10 and 15 points in the overall rating. Five stars anywhere. Original, listenable, resonant, even revoutionary, funny, unpretentious, and my favourite record from now on to serve as the basis of a film that was never made. Be gentle.


After reading George Starostin's review with full attention and the reader's comments I think everybody would agree with me... to some small extent. Good. I say tomato but my metabolism tells me to do it louder. I can't help if I'm too enthusiastic about it (otherwise, why the exposing). "Hey Bulldog"?? That's weird, man. Guess the Beatles were not all that original after all.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

Yep, the progress between the last album and this one really is pretty amazing. In a way, this was the Kinks' answer to Revolver. Both albums are filled with an eclectic selection of tunes, each totally different from the last. What most people don't realize, though, is that the Kinks album would have been released in or around the same month as the Beatles album, but contract negotiations delayed it. So it came out a few months later. And most of the songs are good, too. "Sunny Afternoon" might be the only one that I would characterize as "great," but several others are at least "very good," such as "Too Much On My Mind," and "Rosy Won't You Please Come Home" both of which indicate that Ray Davies had definitely arrived as a ballad writer. The humor on this album is very much in evidence, particularly on "House In The Country" (one of their best rockers), "Holiday In Waikiki" (that Hawaiian guitar always breaks me up), "Most Exclusive Residence For Sale" (not a big favorite, but close enough) and "Session Man" (a good little jibe at Nicky Hopkins, methinks). There's a couple of good mood pieces on here: "Rainy Day In June" conjures up a nice atmosphere and "Little Miss Queen Of Darkness" is both music-hallish and kinda dark-sounding. "Fancy" is, well, interesting I guess. For some reason, I've never been able to really connect with that one. "Party Line" and "I'll Remember" sound like they belong on the previous album, but would have been two of the better songs on that one. On this album, they don't stand out much. "You're Lookin' Fine" is a reasonable r&b tune, but nothing too special. I guess the one song that I really don't like is "Dandy," which better suited the group that had the hit with it, Herman's Hermits. I've always found the melody to be just a tad lame. Overall, I think the Kinks got a little better over the next few years, but this is still one of their five or six best albums.

The bonus tracks, as usual, provide us with a few gems. The "Dead End Street" b/w "Big Black Smoke" single has to be one of the greatest 45s of all time. Both songs are among my all-time favorite Kinks tunes. "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" (the B-side of "Sunny Afternoon") is a definite highlight. "Mister Pleasant" sounds like a lesser tune to me, but that's only compared to the other great stuff the Kinks were releasing at this time. The B-side, "This Is Where I Belong," is a strong pop tune left over from Face To Face. Previously unreleased are "Mr. Reporter" (a rather mediocre angry tune which is not the version recorded for this album, but the later version recorded for Dave's 1969 solo album) and "Little Sister" (which the vocals were never recorded for - seems it would have been better if they had been).

Brian Donovan <> (19.07.2005)

Pretty consistent as far as the original album cuts go. One great classic, "Sunny Afternoon," and one clunker "Rainy Day In June" (they should leave the thunder sound effects to Phil Spector or the Four Seasons). I notice a jangle to the guitars in cuts like "Party Line" and "Session Man" that seems unique to this album. Also ""I'll Remember."

My CD does not have the bonus cuts you list, but I know 4 or 5 of them from The Kink Kronikles. "Mr. Pleasant" is an all time favorite, what hilarious lyrics, with Ray's smirking deadpan voice and Nicky Hopkins' keyboards all over the place. "This Is Where I Belong" is a very moving tune.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Here starts their classic period. The big progression is evident only on the first half, though. But what an amazing stretch of songs the first half is! The 6 songs at the beginning are gems. The funny and catchy “Party Line” is a great slice of pop (yeah, the Stones did a rip-off, definitely). It’s so great, it’s the Beatles. The sad charming “Rosie” is as beautiful as Ray could get. “Dandy” and “Too Much On My Mind” give us fantastic melodies and clever (well, Ray could do better, of course, but not yet) lyrics. “Session Man” is just another memorable pop song and “Rainy Day In June” features absolutely irresistible “rainy” atmosphere. “Man, what a perfect album”, - you want to shout. But, no. Even such a genius as Ray Davies couldn’t be that fast in growing up. After that “fab 6” we have three good, but rather generic rockers. Granted, they are better (undoubtedly!) than the generic material witnessed on the previous recordings, but really… Well, let’s move on. “Fancy” is very clumsy and vague, but I still like such stuff. It’s amusing and different. “Little Miss Queen Of Darkness” is a nice gentle ballad, “You’re Looking Fine” is nothing special, “Sunny Afternoon” is…one of the most beautiful and charming Ray Davies’ songs ever, of course! So dreamy, so wonderful. And “I’ll Remember” is, although simplistic, very catchy.

And the bonus tracks are superb! Don’t even think of missing that new edition, for it contains such brilliant songs as “Dead End Street, “Big Black Smoke”, “Mr. Pleasant”, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” (really, the titles speak for themselves). These are classics by any standards and should be in every collection. Ahhh, and “This Is Where I Belong” and “Mr. Reporter” also rule, Damn it, they all rule.

The album gets a 13/15 (unfortunately!), but the reissue…

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (15.10.2006)

The more I listen to this album, especially in the light of the bonus tracks that come on the CD, the more I'm convinced that the Kinks at this time were almost like two bands, one that made singles so strong and groundbreaking that they're up there with the Beatles in that dept - and one that just did not make strong albums at that point. One of the reviewers earlier makes the point that FACE TO FACE is the Kinks reply to REVOLVER but both albums were recorded between april and june of '66 and there was no Stones like friendship between the two bands so I'm not sure how much of an answer it could've been. To the Kinks' credit, they pursued their own path. This album pales alongside anything the Beats had released since their opening two albums......

I think that there was a shift in attitudes towards what the main medium for presenting songs was to be {the single or the album ?} and the Beatles just happened to have cottoned on faster than any other British band. It was to be a while before Ray Davies and co did likewise. I find it interesting that the superb SUNNY AFTERNOON is far and away the standout track here.....and it was released as a single. And little else stands up to DEDICATED FOLLOWER OF FASHION or DEAD END STREET or their B sides. Hmm. Alot of the Kinks album work has a samey feel about it, there's that acoustic/electric sound, that same Mick Avory beat and that unimaginative bass ponking along. Sometimes it's hard to believe it's the same lot that put out such challenging singles.

That all said though, I think the Kinks were one of the most inventive bands of the 60s and I like the fact that once they'd put some of their early stuff behind them, they went in a unique direction for the times. They weren't beyond absorbing Dylan, the Beatles and the Who either; in fact, Dylan's mesmeric lyrical lead liberated Lennon, Townshend, Harrison, Jagger and in particular, Ray Davies. Just check out the lyric to the magnificent RAINY DAY IN JUNE. In fact, the song is one of my favourites of the Kinks and I think it's both psychedelic and Dylanesque at the same time. The 'worrying' use of sound effects is also brilliant.

The rockers on the LP {PARTY LINE, HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY, HOLIDAY IN WAIKIKI, MOST EXCLUSIVE, LOOKIN' FINE, I'LL REMEMBER} I find really irritating. It's not that they don't have melodies {I don't believe there is such a thing !}, it's that IMO the melodies are boring and unimaginative. Now, that isn't always a bad thing coz sometimes, there's enough going on musically to compensate and the melody becomes part of the whole sound {for example, HELP ! or I AM THE WALRUS}. But that doesn't happen with these songs. And DANDY starts off promisingly but ends up sounding like a hybrid rewrite of something by .........the Kinks !! There again, maybe what happened was that where this album's songs were headed just got refined over the next few years and rewritten better as Ray's craft got, um, craftier...

TOO MUCH ON MY MIND is a good one, sounds like the writings of a man going through a nervous breakdown or something. Such were the times, if people had been listening to the Kinks with both ears, maybe they'd 've thought of them as trippy bretheren coz I find something rather Anglopsychedelic about some of their output circa '66-'69. SESSION MAN and FANCY are the other ones that stand out to me; the former I wouldn't be surprized if some of the Monkees writers had a good listen to that in '67, while I get the feeling that the latter found it's way into the consciousness of The Incredible String Band and Tyrannosaurus Rex, among others. By the way, the bass line in YOU'RE LOOKIN' FINE sounds like a variation on a bass riff that turned up on loads of pieces. It's the kind of thing that many bass players kind of stumble upon when learning or practicing and we think we're so cool when we first hit it !! Lennon had the good sense of Zeppelinesque thievery to convert it into a main guitar/piano riff for BULLDOG.

Overall though, I'm rather disappointed though the good tracks are damn good.


Ben Greenstein <> (29.01.2000)

Wow! Someone else who finds this album as boring as I do! Most people praise this one, but a lot of the songs sound very lacklustre to me. "No Return" is the worst - unique chord changes like an XTC song, but a truly hideous melody unlike XTC. Sure, "Waterloo Sunset" and "David Watts" (which is really just a ripoff of "Let's Spend The Night Together") along with a couple of others, are fantastic, but the album really doesn't intrest me that much. I could probably give it a seven, but am really tempted to go for a six.

jpcs <> (09.06.2000)

"Harry Rag" isn't about pot,it's just about cigarettes.

Ivan Piperov <> (24.08.2000)

Where the memorable tunes are? I bought this album recently, and "Tin Soldier Man", "Harry Rag" and of course "Waterloo Sunset" just won't get out of my head. I'm sure the other tunes will be stuck in my head before too long too. Though I can't imagine this with "No Return". This song has some tiny hooks within the lines and it shows what a musical mind Ray Davies once has had. And the chords...really complex! Now when you say that "Love Me Till The Sun Shines" sounds like their first records, I'll maybe buy them out of pure masochism: I've never heard a clumsier voice than Dave Davies', and that's kinda entertaining... I recommend not to buy the new CD-version, because it's in ugly mono. The old CD may not contain any bonus tracks, but comes in glorious '67 stereo!

Thomas M. Silvestri <> (01.10.2000)

Who's this soulful babe (sounds like Mary J. Blige or Lauren Hill -- not that I know their stuff that well) who's done a cover of "Waterloo Sunset"? (Don't know if it's brand new or out for awhile, but I just heard it in a bar the other night.)

Didier Dumonteil <> (19.04.2001)

"David Watts" is a song that deserves to be a perennial.:We all have known a "David Watt" the guy everybody envies,the guy who always succeeds,the guy to whom we feel like giving the lethal potion.And don't forget you're someone's David Watts too."Two sisters " is some kind of female counterpart of "Watts".But all in all,the jealous sister realizes that her life is not that much bad after all and children isn't it the greatest gift?."Harry Rag" is a direct son of "dedicated follower of fashion"."Waterloo Sunset" is now Ray Davies' song par excellence.Its inspiration(Julie Christie and Terence Stamp teaming in a Schlesinger film"far from the madding crowd",an almost forgotten fine but overlong rural melodrama)took strange ways to become an urban passing love affair."Afternoon tea" ,the most English topic,will be improved over the years with the incredibly funny "Have a cuppa tea" on mushwell hillbillies.Something else is not a concept album,it's much better :a collection of English ordinary life vignettes.

<> (25.07.2001)

I seriously do not understand George's review for this album. What makes this album any more boring than the ones surrounding it? The only difference I see is that this album is marginally better than the ones surrounding it! I love this album, and the band never wrote a song as good as 'Waterloo', or released an album as consistant and wonderful as this. 'Situation Vacant' is filler? Then that means that every single song the Beatles released until Sgt. pepper was filler. 'Afternoon Tea' is amazing...the opening line still gives me chills whenever I hear it, it's so simple, lovely, and catchy "Tea Time won't be the same without my donna..." George's review almost made me skip this album....thank god I didn't.

Fidel Juárez <> (18.04.2002)

Funny how some of the things you mentioned could be stated through a more positive frame of mind. ("Night is as dark as you feel it ought to be". No wonder Lennon adored that one.) I don't see how this record sounds all that boring, and I couldn't say that the band began to lose their originality. However slow the music may sound or repetitive may the chords be (anyway, the Davies brothers could and did write catchier melodies throughout their career) every subsequent record was based on this moment of absolute confidence in which Ray Davies invented his trademark style (making it as important as Aftermath or Pet sounds for this matter.) I dig it not only because of this, but because I happen to believe this is a beautiful sounding album today. Every song has some redeeming feature (the organ at the end of 'Lazy old sun', the brief solo guitar in 'Situation vacant', the beautul lyrics in 'No return'), in spite of this one being, yes, a moody, empathic, even a 'stoner' album. 'Boooooooring'? It depends on the listener. 'I'd bet you anything this is a good song to listen to when you're stoned'? Sure, and the morning news and many of Dylan's songs too for that matter. Seriously now, besides the obvious classics, you're gonna either like or love this album depending on your level of 'nostalghia'.

Thank God I didn't skip it either.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

At this point, the Kinks were firmly lodged into their "Golden Age." The little songs about mundane English pastimes are just irresistible to me. Needless to say, I'll pick "Waterloo Sunset" as my favorite on this one. I have no qualms about describing it as a "masterpiece." "Lazy Old Sun" is also one of my all-time favorites, and totally bizarre. I get a big kick out of "End Of The Season," one of the funniest songs I've ever heard. Let's see . . . "David Watts" is thoroughly enjoyable, with its schoolboy backing vocals; "Harry Rag" works really well with its English folk leanings; "Situation Vacant" is a rare rocker from this period and very funny; "No Return" does a good job at capturing that Ipanema sound; "Afternoon Tea" is quintessential 1967 Kinks and "Two Sisters" is, too (neither is a huge favorite, but I like them). At least two of the Dave tunes on here sound good to me: "Funny Face" (which is really Ray-influenced, I think) and the slightly overrated "Death Of A Clown." I'm not too impressed with "Love Me Till The Sun Shines," which gets too redundant for me. The only other song that I find questionable is "Tin Soldier Man," which has a rather annoying melody until it gets to that nice middle part. Anyway, I prefer this over the previous album, and would rank it as my fourth favorite Kinks album.

The bonus tracks are, as usual, mostly great. "Autumn Almanac" has so many great little sections that it amazes me. Big favorite there. "Wonderboy" is another favorite, though I wouldn't want certain friends to walk in on me while it's on, with all those "la la las." The B-side, "Polly," is very catchy and Who-like. I also enjoy the Kinks' first attempt at country, "Act Nice And Gentle" (the B-side of "Waterloo Sunset"). The Dave Davies material is particularly strong. There's no doubt in my mind that "Lincoln County" (their second attempt at country) is the best of his '60s tunes, and the B-side, "There Is No Life Without Love" is enjoyable and somewhat unique. The previous A-side, "Susannah's Still Alive" is also one of Dave's stronger efforts. The previously unreleased track, "Lazy Old Sun" is the one drawback here. It's basically the same recording as the official one, but Ray's voice is very sloppily double-tracked.

Brian Sittinger <> (27.02.2003)

This album took a few listens getting into, as the overall sound to this album is sooo laid back. (It's funny that I had the same initial reaction to Genesis' SEBTP and Foxtrot. Perhaps it's their "Britishness" in one way shape or form.) But, it was more or less worth it! I actually liked "David Watts" from the first listen, though it seems quite reminiscent of a certain Rolling Stones song (a quite good one at that). Most of the other Ray tunes are good, especially "Harry Rag", "Tin Soldier Man", "Afternoon Tea" (so definantly British!), and "Waterloo Sunset". Though I don't think "Waterloo Sunset" is the most beautiful song out there, it still is quite a pretty song. The Dave songs are alright, though not that impressive ("Death of a Clown" included). "No Return" is way too lethagic for me", while the noises in "Lazy Old Sun" grate a bit, though the overall song is intriguing.

I'd give a 9(12) for the "basic album". Although I don't have the reisssue, I do have a few of the bonus tracks from "The Kink Knonikles". "Autumn Almanac" is definitely a highlight, easily one of my favorite Kink songs. All the different mini-sections flow into one another so smoothly they may not be noticed on first listen, and in about three minutes! It also has a bit of tasty reverse guitar noises at the end.

Brian Donovan <> (02.08.2005)

I think my reaction to this album is similar to's not as good as the albums that preceded it (Face To Face) or followed it (VGPS). Production and engineering are major culprits, at least on the CD I've got (Reprise Records #6279-2). The troubles begin with "No Return" in which Ray's vocal has a somewhat underrecorded, distant quality, and it sounds like background hiss on the tape. On "Situation Vacant" I have the opposite problem; here the vocal is too far out front in relation to the guitars and bass, which are buried in the mix. This could have been a number to recapture the classic early grungy Kinks sound, instead the guitars and bass get overwhelmed by the organ stabs, which sound too cute and gimmicky as a result. Then on "Lazy Old Sun" Ray's vocal gets buried again except on the chorus, when it practically leaps out of the speaker...sounds like a sloppy punch in.

Even the albums masterpiece, "Waterloo Sunset" has one small quibble; wouldn't it be better if you could tell what notes or key the acoustic guitars are playing? They might as well be cymbals, you can't tell. Fortunately this is such a strong song that it doesn't matter. There are also some weak songs in the second half, like "Love Me Til The Sun Shines" (guitars buried again), "Lazy Old Sun" (Ray's attempt at getting a laid back boring effect succeeds too well), "Afternoon Tea" and "Funny Face."

On the other hand "David Watts" and "Death Of A Clown" are good tunes and better produced too. "Two Sisters" was the "find" for me, since it isn't on Kink Kronikles like the other standouts.

Regarding the bonus cuts, my fave of the ones I've heard is "Wonderboy." Can't hear those background "la-la-las" without breaking into a smile. Indeed there are some great background vocals elsewhere, like on "Waterloo Sunset" and "Death Of A Clown"...I read somewhere the high female voice belongs to Ray's then-wife Rasa. And my keyboard hero Nicky Hopkins is around too.

With Ray's songwriting talent I can't say this is a bad album, in fact I probably listen to it more frequently these days than most Beatle albums, which I've only played a thousand times. But I bet it would have sounded a lot better with, say, George Martin producing and Norman Smith or Geoff Emerick engineering, just for example.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Even better! I don’t see why it’s boring, really. What I see is that Something Else is their most diverse album. It opens with such stunners as “David Watts”, “Death Of A Clown” (Dave’s best song ever and once my favourite Kinks’ song of all time; it’s so saaaaaad) and “Two Sisters” (absolutely breathtaking!). These three songs alone would guarantee Something Else a pretty high rating. “No Return” is probably a bit too plain and lazy, but it has a nice melody and is, in fact, a good song. Three straight classics (excuse me for the overusing of the word, but it’s Ray Davies writing songs!) follow. Yes, three, as “Situation Vacant” is fantastic. One of my favourites, actually. Great drumming from Mick and absolutely unforgettable organ breaks. Amazing lyrics, as usual. Dave’s songs are not that great, but “Funny Face” is very cleverly constructed and has, like, a bunch of quite solid melodies. “Afternoon Tea” is amusing and very English and “Lazy Old Sun” has the most brilliant moment on the whole album. I get shivers every time I hear Ray singing “one ray of light through your lazy old suuuuuuuun”. It’s terribly gorgeous. I’m not that keen on “End Of The Season”, but I can’t deny it’s extremely funny. We close with the heaven-like beauty of “Waterloo Sunset”. The song is probably the best track here. Probably.

The reissue is more than recommendable. Just because “Autumn Almanac” is here. You know what the song sound like? No? What the hell are you thinking?! These bonus tracks are as solid as the ones on the Face To Face reissue. Two Dave’s singles of highest quality! What the hell are you thinking?!?!

14/15 for the album and…wait, but that’s cheating!


<> (18.10.2001)

This is for anyone who wants to get a gauge of the intensity and the scream-fest that was a live show during the British Invasion. The selection of songs are wide and well-done, and there are other surprises. Worth adding to the pile...

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

The Kinks' answer to Got Live If You Want It. I'm not too crazy about this release (I like it about as much as the Stones album), mainly because of the atrocious sound-quality. The vocals on the original recording were almost inaudible, so they went into the studio and overdubbed more vocals (and guitars as well). This actually helps on the mono version of the album, since the overdubbed vocals are pretty loud. However, the stereo version keeps them just as low in the mix as the original vocals. The Essential CD gives us both versions so we can compare. Anyway, there are some entertaining moments on this one, particularly the "Milk Cow Blues" medley. But mostly it's just kinda noisy and sloppy. Mostly, it returns the band to their pre-Face To Face style.

It should be noted that the version called The Live Kinks was released in the US before Something Else. This was to compensate for the Musicians Union ban on the Kinks then in effect. It was released in other parts of the world around that time, too, but with the familiar Live At Kelvin Hall title. The UK release was pretty much an afterthought.

<> (28.10.2003)

Oh, shit. I have just listened this in headphones and all that I can say is crap. Disagree with you, George. Record quality is horrendous; audience noises are irritating as hell. May be the selection of songs is good (I don t know), but all I can hear are generic, stupid, boring rock-n-roll numbers. Boring and dated. Today nobody needs this stuff.

Michael H. <> (26.11.2003)

Ok, I once found and still have, a store bought tape of Live At Kelvin Hall that is one of these cheap budget releases, and the tape appears to be an import. Just today I went to our new and improved library (they merged the college library with the main branch downtown-and the college library was/is loaded with all sorts of records-tons of them) and they have a copy of The Live Kinks (The album says "Stereo"). I will have to listen to both of them back to back and then give you my opinion. Its just that this vinyl LIVE KINKS has a mistake. They list in the song contents "All day and all of the night" which is NOT on the album. (the vinyl) its is "Till The End Of The Day" ect, Ill get back to you on this! Thanks.


Eric Feder <> (22.04.99)

'big sky' is actually my favorite song on the kinks' Village Green Preservation Society. I'm a big fan of the velvet underground so i guess i don't mind speak-singing. But regardless, this song just ROCKS! Great lyrics, and i love the insistent acoustic guitar line underneat the sneering "spoken" vocal.

Ben Greenstein <> (27.08.99)

This is the album that does it for me. Unlike some of the other Kinks albums, where most of the melodies took a bit of time to grow on me, this one has tunes that leap out and grab you right away, in a sort of Beatlesey way. At least, that's the way it feels to me.

There is one stinker, though - "People Take Pictures Of Each Other" is unmelodic, and hard to be seen as anything other than filler. And it's the closing track. They really, really, should have put "Days" at the end. That's a great song! And it would have fit in perfectly with "Do You Remember Walter," the title track, my personal fave "Picture Book," the goofy "Phenomonal Cat," and the rest. A near perfect album. A perfect score.

Rich Bunnell <> (18.04.2000)

I felt a little guilty not having any albums by these guys considering that I'm a big fan of their numerous offspring, like XTC, the Jam, and Blur, so I got this one a few months ago for seven bucks. At first, it bored the living crap out of me-- I loved the title track a bit, but the rest of the songs all sounded the same. Then it started growing growing growing GROWING GROWING WOW THIS ALBUM IS REALLY REALLY FRIGGIN' GOOD! I like almost every song on it! "Do You Remember Walter," "Starstruck," "Village Green," "Big Sky," "Johnny Thunder," "Picture Book," and most of the rest of the songs are so utterly catchy. And well-written. None of it rocks at all, but it sits around and sounds really pretty, gentle, nice, and perfect. I'd give it a ten-- it's just as good as everyone says it is.

Fredrik Tydal <> (27.07.2000)

Ray Davies was a master of crafting melodies, for sure. I can look at any song title on the back of this album and immediately begin to hum the melody. And the lyrics ain't bad either; check out the title track for some really imaginative words. The album title might lead some people to believe the album is pretentious, but it's not. It's just a collection of great songs with great melodies. No, not those annoying melodies you want out of your head, but melodies you gladly tap your foot or hum along to. I think I'm gonna go listen to "Starstruck" right now...

Ivan Piperov <> (10.08.2000)

Much as I like the Preservation-thing, I just couldn't imagine this album would be better. The title track reminds me of "Shepherds Of The Nation" and "Where are they now" seems to be based around the bridge of "johny Thunder... Apart from being the prelude, this CD is really better than Preservation, much better. Although I prefer stereo, the mono version on the remastered CD sounds better. The stereo version is awfully distorted and worn out...

Ward <> (11.08.2000)

I've spent most of my life NOT understanding the Kinks. Just too English I guess. (And considering that my fave groups have been the Beatles, Who, Stones, Jam, Costello, etc. that says a lot) But I spent the last 10 days or so trying to 'get' Village Green. I'm amazed with the thoroughness your reviews run, you didn't say A WORD about 'Phenomenal Cat', perhaps Ray's only psychedelic song! A little Syd Barrett goes a long way. But then, I'm only 32. I wasn't there. Great reading. I'll have to get my own reviews up soon.

mjcarney <> (14.08.2000)

Well this album is it, it is the most quintessential Kinks album out there bar none.  Like you said, it doesn't really rock, or even move you, especially on the first few listens, but there are a ton of melodies, and strong/beautiful lyrics and arrangements to all of the songs.  Also, there really isn't a stinker on the entire album, well maybe "All of My Friends Were There"--it is a little tiresome, but the rest of the album is just brilliant.  Supposedly this album only sold 17,000 copies in the US when it was released, which is just awful for a major label band and especially one that was already somewhat established as the Kinks were just 2-3 years earlier.  All I have to say is that the consumers missed out.  Sure, the album's presence is flavored with British sentiments, but the basic themes and ideas can relate to anybody.  This is most especially true in the albums best track "Do You Remember Walter".  Everyone can relate to this song as you see your old friends change and grow away from you, it has a regretful tone, but it is honest and true plus with a melody that would make even Paul McCartney shudder.  The other major highlights include the beatiful loss of innocence ode "Animal Farm".  This song features all the lushness and beauty present in "Waterloo Sunset", but with perhaps even a better melody (which is saying a lot!!!).  That is simply why this album works so well, Ray Davies has perfected the art of writing not just catchy/beautiful songs that you can hum too (like McCartney would do) but he has added some strong lyrics to these melodies to just make them stronger.  Other strong tracks include the laid back anthemic title track and its flipside "Village Green",  the jovial/regretful "Picture Book"--which has a very upbeat melody splashed with hints of regret, and the subdued beauty of "Johnny Thunder".  Basically this album is just fun, and (strangely) rather lively considering its restrained sound.  I have heard/read complaints about this album because all of its songs were written in the same key, but you know what with melodies and lyrics this great it is so hard to notice.  Also, the similarities of "Wicked Annabella" and "Boris the Spider" are kind of a stretch.  Sure they both have a slow power chord riff progression, feature vocals by the sideman of the band, and use some dry English humour, but they don't really sound much alike at all.  I would've never drawn that conclusion--and I didn't.  Still though, this is a tremendous album, unfortunately at least where I am from it was incredibly hard to find--it took me like a year of looking to buy it (well I didn't want to use the Internet).  Believe me, if you don't own this album, you really are missing one of rock and roll's all time masterpieces.  For years I always heard from other Beatle freeks that if you really like the Beatles, you'll also love the Kinks, and this is the album by them which could stand up to any Beatles album, it is just that good. 10/10!--Buy it today!

Dan Luban <> (21.10.2000)

10.  I agree that the spoken parts of 'Big Sky' can be rather annoying, and 'Starstruck' seems a little bland to me.  But everything else is phenomenal--special standouts for me are the title track, 'Do You Remember Walter?', and 'Sitting by the Riverside'.  I will have to disagree with Ben and say that 'People Takes Pictures of Each Other' is the best song on the album, and maybe my favorite Kinks song ever. Wild, funny, but still quite moving. I think this is easily their pinnacle--nothing else came close to the songcraft and emotion they showed on this album.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (02.01.2001)

Village Green was originally released as a 12 track album. It was then withdrawn and later released with 15 songs. "Mr. Songbird" and "Days" were not on the latter version, but "Steam-Powered Trains", "Big Sky", "Sitting By The Riverside", "Animal Farm", "All Of My Friend Were There" were added. Both versions of the album along with the single version of "Days" are included on the new CD. I rate both versions of the album as a solid 9/10.

david rubien <> (10.02.2001)

'Big Sky' is perfection. Village Green PS is the greatest Kinks album ever, but the production is probably the worst ever.

Didier Dumonteil <> (22.04.2001)

After "Waterloo sunset" the Kinks' sales were tapering off.Village green and Arthur -arguably both their masterworks- were virtually ignored .Their value was reassessed a posteriori.Quite rightly so.

Arthur is urban (suburban,more like),village green is rural.The latter is gentler,more wistful than wicked.I've never thought the title track was a joke:the Kinks (Davies ) REALLY burn with a desire to preserve the apple pie,Donald Duck and the Draught beer.The characters Walter (Only Davis and MCCartney could find such a bouncy little tune) and Johnny Thunder (that was to reappear later alas) are credible local lads. "Village green" tackles a cliché (the-country-boy-attracted-by-city-lights-who-regrets-his-peaceful-past) and it works thanks to the irresistible tune.Because,tuneful,this album definitely is:"all my friends were there"and "animal farm" might sound obsolete in 1968 world but they stood the test of time better than ,say,any Moody Blues ' "poetic" ravings. Nevertheless,I think the kinks would surpass themselves with their next one,George ,you're absolutely right.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (12.06.2001)

In my opinion, Village green should get a smaller rating - something like nine or even eight. That's all due to the fact that there're not so many really rockin' pieces. I agree that other tracks are calm, atmospheric and very enjoyable but, you know, I start to like Ray being angry. I like '20-th century man', 'Shangri-la' and other tracks where he is really furious. But this album surely lacks it. Rockers, which are present here, rule, although, again, they are too soft for me. My faves are title track, its clone, 'The last of steam powered train', 'Big sky' and, sure enough, 'Picture book'. I can't see any defects in 'Big sky' - the music is great, and if you listen to it you'll understand that one just can't sing in harmony with this music.

The only problem in sight is that I simply can't sit through the record without a pause - it's getting too lazy and uninteresting for me to listen all these nearly the same songs. Besides, Village green can't get a 10 score rating because it's a inferior to Arthur. Don't believe me? Then check out how many tunes the latter have. At least 20! And all of them are unique, while here we face something about ten or so simple tunes. That's why I give Village green 12 scores.

<> (15.09.2001)

Village Green is the kinks finest hour on record, A songbook so pretty you might not notice the acid dripping from the seemingly innocent melodies.The fact that many songs are similar both musicaly and in theme is what makes it a concept album, this is not a detriment.This album is so damn good you can listen to it backwards and it still makes its point. Rays singing on "Animal Farm", "Johny Thunder" and "Sitting by the Riverside" are passionate pleas for a world sliding into a sewer. Simultaneous catchy and thought provoking not to mention moving, Village Green Preservation Society is one of Rocks greatest hidden treasures.

Roy Shpringer <> (03.12.2001)

First of all, Yes - this album does deserve a 10 strickly because Dave Davies isn't singing or writing any songs here (thank god for that...). Secondly, this concept (?) album consists of 14 really great songs. And I say 14 and not 15 because of the boring and utterly unpleasent 'Johnny Thunder'. The album begins with three great songs: 'The Village Green Preservation Society' which is a memorable title song, 'Do You Remember Walter' which is my favourite (some nice electric guitar work in the chorus) and 'Picture Book' - a very catchy and lightweight song.

However I don't agree with some of your remarks. You can't say that a song (like 'Big Sky') is awful just because the singer doesn't sing the lyrics (just look at most of Bob Dylan's career), and besides it has a great melody (though the lyrics themselves are kinda dumb). Another great song that is often overlooked is 'The Last Of The Steam Powered Trains'. It's a great blues number and has a beautiful melancholic lyrics which are conveyed with a nice metaphore.

This album's big problem is probably its lack of diversity of the songs. Sometimes it makes me reluctant to put it in my CD player and hear it all over again, But the aforementioned songs save the day.

'Monica' and 'Wicked Annabella' are the songs that sound differently. 'Monica' is a latin song that tells the story of a woman who is literally a bimbo, while 'Wicked Annabella' is a weird psychodelic number that takes some time to get used to. Finally, I must say that it's nice to find an album that was released in 1967 and could even match Sgt. Pepper and The Who Sell Out. That means you can't afford not to have this album.

David Goodwin <> (16.12.2001)

...maybe I've just been wrong for a very, very long time, but isn't that Dave Davies on 'Wicked Annabella'? (i.e. meaning there IS a Dave sung song on Village Green?)

This album took a while to grow on me, but I now am able to appreciate it for what it is. I just wish it had better production,'s so understated and dirty that it sounds more amateurish than it is. And despite the fact that the Kinks are the ULTIMATE budget-line-compilation band, nobody sees it fit to remix the %$#%$ thing.

Ahh, well.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

If songs are people, then the songs on this album are little children. They're downright cute. And not in a cloying, obnoxious way, but in a genuine way. They're the kind of lovable, infectious little songs that you just want to take out and buy an ice cream cone. The previous (studio) album gave us several examples of this type of song, but this album is almost filled with them. No fewer than eleven of these fifteen songs are among my very favorite Kinks tunes. I think "Do You Remember Walter" is probably my favorite, and to say that it has the best melody on the album is the highest compliment any pop song can receive. "Animal Farm" is also quite excellent, and makes me want to jump into it and hang out with the pigs and the goats. "Johnny Thunder" almost comes off like a rock 'n' roll tune, but is cushioned with acoustic guitars and daydreamy backing vocals. "Phenomenal Cat" safely makes it into the 'five most bizarre Kinks tunes' category, and sounds right out of a children's storybook. "Big Sky" also sounds storybookish, as though the spoken verses are narrating a story. "Picture Book" is tremendously catchy, as is its cousin, "People Take Pictures Of Each Other," which sends me away humming its melody for the rest of the day. "Village Green" is very humorous and quite vivid in its depiction of rural England. "All Of My Friends Were There" is hilarious, with its not-too-subtle polka rhythm alternated with an ultra-melodic chorus. "Wicked Annabella" ironically sounds like children's music, even though it's a dark, dissonant rocker. "Last Of The Steam Powered Trains" also fits the kiddie motif somehow, even though it's basically a rhythm 'n' blues number. Of the remaining four songs, I like three quite a lot: "The Village Green Preservation Society" is loads of fun to sing along with, but doesn't impress me too much melodically; "Monica" is pretty solid, but isn't a big favorite; and "Sitting By The Riverside" is perhaps a bit overly dainty, but otherwise good. For some reason, "Starstruck" doesn't do much for me, but I'm not sure why. Anyway, as far as Kinks albums go, this is in my top two.

The Essential CD includes the original 12-song version of the album (released in a few places, but not in the UK or US). The main difference is the lack of five of the familiar tracks and the inclusion of two others: "Days," which, for some reason, is NOT one of my favorite Kinks songs, although I think it's decent; and "Mr. Songbird," which is also enjoyable, but would not have improved the album, anyway. Also, some of the mixes are different from the usual stereo mixes (although you can't make a comparison with this CD alone, as the 15-song version is presented here in mono). We also get the mono mix of "Days" from the single.

<> (28.10.2002)

First off, I just want to suck up to George and tell him that he has the best classic review site on the net (he introduced me to Procol Harum, after all). So anyways, after picking up Arthur and enjoying it thouroughly, i decided to rummage through the Kinks section of my local FYE in search of Village Green, priced at a reasonable 12.99 (well, reasonable by todays standards, anyways).

After the first listen, I was sort of disapointed; none of the songs really jumped out at me, with the exception of "The Village Green Preservation Society" and "Monica". After another listen, I realized that I was all wrong; the songs are so subtlely genious! "Do You Remember Walter?" is the albums best, if only for the powerful chorus, with it's imaginative and witty lyrics. "Picture Book" is catchy as all hell, and you gotta love it when Davies starts singing "uh scooby dooby doo" towards the end of the song... wow! He's probably the only guy that could pull that sort of nonsense off! "Johny Thunder" and "The Last of the Steam Powered Trains" are nothing special, but they fit in with the mood of the album. I don't see what the problem is with "Big Sky", even if the lyrics are a bit ridiculous... "Big sky looked down on all the people looking up at the big sky"?? Onto the next track, I just want to say that "By the Riverside" is beautiful... sure, it's a bit corny, but who cares! Just remember, no one has to know you're listening to it

One song I just could not get into was "Animal Farm"... something about those vocals just turn me off... you know, when he sings "Take me where real AAANIMals are playin'"... I just can't feel it. Next up is "Village Green", which has a really dark overtone to it, with the creepy harpsichord worked in... it's beautiful though. "Star Struck" takes a while to get into, but it's a great song, with a well written chorus

I have a question: Why did no one mention the extremely irritating back up vocals on the song "Phenomenal Cat"? Was I the only person disturbed by the singing, which sounded like a constapated elf?? Other than that, the song is alright. "All My Friends Were There" was my second favorite of the album... sure, the verse is silly, maybe too silly, but that's why i like it... kind of like the same reason why "Alabama Song" by the Doors is so great. And the chorus is amazing, probably the most powerful and moving on the whole album. "Wicked Anabella" is the exact opposite of the rest of the album... more like a nightmare than a fairy tale... but I love it! Ray Davies sounds so evil and disturbed... wow. "Monica" is a decent song, I guess... I still don't know what to make of it... it almost sounds like a love song to Spanish whore... but i guess it's a better subject matter than a love song to a transexual...

The closer to the album is a little too light, and leaves me feeling a bit unsatisfied after each listen, but the lyrics are great, so i'll call it a fair trade. Overall, would say that this album is a bit inferior to Arthur, but it's also a lot lighter, and easier to get into... I'd have to give Village Green a 9/10. And thank you to anyone who actually felt like sitting through this overlong review.

Michael Danehy <> (03.02.2003)

Few albums that are not by the Beatles or the Stones contain as many delicious melodies as this piece o' plastic. "Starstruck" might very well be one of the catchiest tunes of the entire '60s and "Picture Book" is stuck in my head constantly. Most songs have at least two equally great melodies in them, although it takes repeated listenings in order to notice them all. Plus the lyrics are almost always witty, intelligent, and memorable.

A rating of 15 from me. I enjoy it as much as the best of the Beatles even if it is not as "diverse."

Brian Sittinger <> (27.02.2003)

First of all, a mighty thank you for you inspiring me to delve into the Kinks catalogue, with this album being my first purchase, followed by Arthur when I was able to find a copy. It seems like all the stores down in SB sell nothing but Lola....

I have never heard an album (apart from those from the Beatles) that is so consistently loaded with hooks! Most of these songs I can imagine myself easily singing along to, except for the obvious portions of "All of my Friends Were There". Granted, I was a bit bored toward the end the first couple of times (fifteen songs in a row, a bit overwhelming, by my previous remark), but that wore off once I kept the songs straight in my head. If anything, the monotony of this album is what holds these songs together, very nice vignettes into, well, the Village Green.

I won't dive into this album song-by-song, as it seems quite hopeless to do so; suffice it to say that each song definitely has something to offer. I find it quite curious that there is no overall agreement on what the 'worst song' is here. If anything, "Starstuck" lets me down just a little bit compared to the rest of the songs. With or without the wonderful "Days", I think of this album as a 10(15)!!

Mark <> (09.01.2004)

Easiily the best thing Ray and company ever did. George, once again, you hit the nail right on the head when you said that the sound is fairly monotonous at times, but I don't consider it "monotonous", I get the sense that it is comforting, something that the lyrics mention time and time again about how the "familiar is better" things that are occuring in the Village Green. (Then again, maybe I'm just full of shit for over analyzing this). I agree with you about the title track being the best one here; it's a hoot to hear what he considers to be the important facets of life ("virginity" is important to a 60's rock and roll band? I thought these guys went out and screwed every groupie they could find....guess I'm full of shit again). "Walter" is great, "Picture Book" is great, hell, it's almost all great. And "Steam Powered Trains" is a great track, even though it's riff is uhhh..."borrowed" from "Smokestack Lightning". The jam in the middle is the aural version of a trai! n, and it's breathtaking (so while it's not "loud" as you mention, it's got the "raving" Kinks vibe of old, albeit briefly). I like "Wicked Anabella" too, dispite the "Boris The Spider" vibe....spooky performance and Ray's phased vocals sound evil. But I do also find myself getting a little restless at the end of the album too. Still, it's a great album, and like you say, it's great that history rescues some works that deserve to be remembered. This is one of the better ones to get it's belated due, and another point in favor of the Kinks as being one of the most underrated bands ever (and one that adds to the "Ray-Davies-is-a-genius-on-the-same-level-as-Lennon/McCartney-and-Jagger/Richards").

Matt(the great)Byrd <> (13.07.2005)

The Kinks!! A band, that I guess (I was born in '86), has been almost totally ignored by the mainstream media (still is) and rock critics for decades! BUT, I think they're getting some of the respect they deserve, Rollingstone named placed them in their '100 immortals' list. Vilalge Green Preservation Society is GREAT guitar-pop, it's got some of the most fantastically enjoyable melodies around, and, as the eminent Mark Prindle once said, Ray Davies (or whoever) was a better songwriter, at his peak, than both John and Paul, I guess I cold swallow that with water! Still, though, great melodies aren't what rock is ALL about, and yep, that's another defense of Bruce Springsteen....... who I think shared his lack of great (still adequate, though) melodicism with a certain Robert Zimmerman.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

This is a PURE pop album, and this is one of the best PURE pop albums in existence. You seek for the definition of the word “catchy”? Go no further, for this album has some of the most unforgettable melodies written by…anybody.

Unfortunately, I have the original version of the album, which means that I have only 12 songs. My CD has the brilliant sad single “Days” and “Mr. Songbird”, a melodic tune that is, in fact, a bit weak in comparison with the rest, but is, in fact, very beautiful and charming. And my edition (which reads an “Italian issue” on its cover) doesn’t have 5 (oh, God, have I missed much? I believe so) tracks that are on everybody’s CD.

It would be pointless to discuss all the songs here; all you should know is that they are short, instantly memorable and packed with breathtaking hooks. The only song that doesn’t strike me as great (still very good, though) is the Latin-influenced “Monica”, but stuff like the God-like sounding “Phenomenal Cat” or the charmingly scary “Wicked Annabella” will never get out of your head. Never.

I still have problems with giving the perfect score to a PURE pop album. Or should I make an exception here?

Brian Donovan <> (05.10.2005)

And now it really gets good....VGPS and Arthur are the pinnacles of the Kinks' career, I believe. I like VGPS just a little bit more though, most days.

My two favorites are "Sitting By The Riverside" and "Last Of The Steam Powered Trains." "Sitting By The Riverside" is such a pretty tune; enjoy the production with that French-sounding accordion that gradually wigs out in a miniature version of "A Day In The Life." It's like an aural picture of that famous Seurat painting of a Sunday afternoon in a waterfront park. "Last Of The Steam Powered Trains" is the most overtly rocking number, and I love the building-up in the middle like a steam engine riding behind a steam engine on a train, when it's pulling out of the station after the conductor's shouted "all aboard!" As others have observed, it's inspired by Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning," but it's cleverly adapted to Ray's nostalgic village theme.

Just about everything else works as well. "Do You Remember Walter?" is a touching look back at childhood, while "Picture Book" is a clever look back (or maybe look forward) at looking back (anyone notice the ad campaign by a copier company now running with "Picture Book" as the soundtrack?) The title cut is fun with Ray stringing together as many pompous titles as he can get into a line, but you sense that he also means it at the same time, for what kind of world would we have without Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety? "Wicked Annabella" took a while to grow on me, with the singer (can't tell if it's Ray or Dave) having his voice put through all that limiting and maybe a Leslie, like Lennon's on "Tomorrow Never Knows."

I think the album had very poor U.S. sales after its release in '68. The Kinks were not able to move beyond their initial "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night" impression for many casual rock listeners, and their stupid ban from touring in the U.S. hurt as well. Then, the title almost screamed "Sergeant Pepper ripoff" to anyone who didn't take the time to listen. Here's hoping this great work finally gets its due.

Rajesh Srinivasan <> (25.03.2006)

This album has always touched me in ways I could not possibly explain with words. I do enjoy country life, but I cannot experience it for a very long period of time. I enjoy action and energy. This album has a quiet energy about it. From the soothing guitar lines of the opening track to the slightly harder "Last of the Steam-Powered Trains", this album takes the listener to completely different realm, to a small cottage somewhere in Britain. Incredibly beautiful. I actually do not mind "Big Sky" at all, but then again, I have not heard Winds of Change (and I never plan to). "Picture Book" is a truly great "bouncy" type of rocker, and you can't help but smile at Ray's ridiculousness in the song. Green Day actually stole the chord sequence for their song "Warning", which is also a good song, though it does not touch the original. "Do You Remember Walter" is addictive, and I absolutely love the way the piano leads into the song before Mick Avory enters (you can see hints of the great work he would do on their following album). "Sitting By the Riverside" takes you into a realm of carnival-like music that just emphasizes the playfulness of this album. "All of My Friends Were There" ranks among one of the most pointless songs ever recorded, which makes me enjoy it even further. I could go on forever about these songs, but I must say, the Kinks know how to finish albums. "People Take Pictures of Each Other" is upbeat and silly, but its lines are quite brilliant in their simplicity (rather cliche of me to describe Ray's lyrics in that manner, but a better description doesn't exist). But not only this album. "Arthur"? "Muswell Hillbilly"? "Waterloo Sunset"? Every one of their albums ends on a fine note. This album is a 14, but it is one of my favorite albums in my collection. My relations and I have often argued whether VGPS or Arthur was better, and we always seem to land on Arthur after arguing for hours. So this takes a close second for me for the best Kinks album, but I would take a Kinks album over most anything.

Oleg Bocharoff <> (03.08.2006)

For me It's near absolutely impossible to choose the best Kinks' album between "Something Else" and "Village Green". And that the big reason not to do it ever. 'Cause they're two different pieces not only musically: they were created for different emotional impact. "Something Else" is rockin' album. Not rockin' in "You really got me" sense of word. It's just brings the rock'n'roll emotions in the most delicate form you ever imagined.

But "Village Green" is totally opposite. I agree with George - album wasn't accepted by public for the same reason, as Velvet's 3rd album. It's too tender and intimate. It doesn't rocks. It fell down from different planet.. not from the third ROCK from the Sun. In my opinion, the best example of albums charming calmness is "Phenomenal Cat". The song that could be in both "White Album" and "Piper at the Gates Of Dawn" - just try to put it in playlist, and you'll find how closely it sticks with Lennon's naive ballads and Barrett's psychedelic romantism. And for the most rockin' moment... no, I don't mind "Wicked Anabella", I talk about "People take pictures of each other" - this song is far more moving and have a smoothened, but stomping rhythm a-la "David Watts". It's a perfect closing, 'cause notifies you, that you listens to the Kinks' records, the band, that was born not to drowse you down.

Tim Blake (21.08.2006)

Haven't had this album for that long, but it didn't take at much for it to 'click'. At first it sounded a bit fruity, and a few songs are dodgy in that regard, but it still strikes me as a great 'english' experience. This album is literally full to the brim with nostalgic longing and the stuff really gets to me. Also, you may notice an indie band called Belle & Sebastian. Man, it's hard to fathom how MUCH these guys are just copying what the Kinks were doing here. I thought they were ripping Syd Barrett but turns out they are basically an exact carbon copy of the style of this album. I literally thought this was a Belle & Sebastian CD at first and that maybe the library had given me the wrong one. Frankly though, I find those guys pretty freakin' boring, but the Kinks are fantastic.

'Sitting By The Riverside' is such a special song. Fantasticallyastic. Don't understand cries of 'CONSERVATIVE!' against them. All this strikes me as warm and also sad nostalgia. Nothing wrong with that. No other album quite has the atmosphere of this album. God save the village green!


Ben Greenstein <>(27.08.99)

I don't agree - well, not exactly. "Victoria," "Shangri-La," "Yes Sir No Sir," "Some Mother's Son," and "Australia" are fantastic songs, and certainly should have been classics, but in all the time I've had the album, none of the other songs really grew on me.

Not that they're not good! On the contrary, I like all of them quite a but! The only onw I don't really care for is the title track (what's up with the weak album closers, anyway?). The rest though, are fine songs - they just seem a little overshadowed by the multi-part epics and bouncy rockers. I would still give the album a really high score.

Nick Karn <> (09.11.99)

Although I've heard a number of Kinks songs from around their 1964-69 period, this is the only album I'm familiar with straight through. It's an excellent concept record (though half the time I can't even really tell there's a story or theme going on). Still, hooks galore on here. "Shangri La" (soaring!), "Victoria" (energetic), "Yes Sir No Sir" (unpredictable), "Some Mother's Son" (highly emotional anti-war tale), "Australia" (trance-like), the title track (unbelievable infectious refrain that has never left my head since the first time I heard it), "Nothing To Say" (groovy), "Mr. Churchill Says" (adventurous) and "She Brought A Hat Like Princess Marina" (entertaining) are absolute classics, no questions asked, but even the three minor tracks ("Drivin'" and "Brainwashed" have great hooks and "Young And Innocent Days" is a good but not great ballad) are highly recommendable. A classic example of melody and musical innovation, though. A solid 10 for this one.

Rich Bunnell <> (18.04.2000)

Not as good as Village Green to me, but I'd still give it a nine. It's very nearly as perfect, but the only flaw is that this time Ray's written such wonderfully majestic standouts ("Victoria," "Shangri-La") that everything else is overshadowed if you don't listen hard enough. In that case, "Yes Sir No Sir," "Australia," "Mr. Churchill Says," and a bucketload of other great tunes can be easily overlooked because you're still thinking of the thumping pop of "Victoria" or the well-crafted, anthemic beauty of "Shangri-La." Still well worth owning-- the only flaws in the individual songs are that "Young And Innocent Days" doesn't strike me as memorable (though pretty) and that a song like the title track shouldn't be allowed to go on for over three minutes-- it's too long!!

Ivan Piperov <> (10.08.2000)

Much as I disagree with your reviews, I am surprised that this is indeed the most acrobatic Kinks album ever. People often complain about Ray Davies' simple chord progressions; now this album proves, that he could make a song really tricky while still keeping the melodic side beautifully(Yes sir no sir). And his lyrics...just the song "Some Mother's Son" has more power and drama than the whole of Roger Waters' Final Cut! Bravo, Mr. Ray Davies!

Linda Harl <> (17.02.2001)

This is definitely my favorite Kinks album (hell, it's in my top 10 of all time). But I feel I gotta point one thing out: Shangri-La is not Arthur's mansion. If you read the lyrics, he's obviously an average working guy who's trying to pay off his car, worrying about gas bills and water rates. To top that off, he's got that damn mortgage hanging over his head. No no, no mansion for Arthur. Shangri-La is just a crummy little house identical to all the others in the neighborhood (all named...Shangri-La!). This may be a small detail, but maybe it isn't. I think it paints a different perception of the "story" if you think the guy's rich. Like maybe you feel less sorry for him. Well, he's not rich. And my heart goes out to him. But I guess we a1ll sympathize, because it says so in the title track.

Another thing, you gotta get the Castle reissue, 'cause it's just loaded with great tracks. Lost classics like: "Plastic Man", "King Kong", "Mindless Child Of Motherhood", and "This Man He Weeps Tonight", among others. Enjoy!

Didier Dumonteil <> (23.04.2001)

This album was dwarfed by the Who's Tommy at the time.Much less pretentious than P.Townshend's extravaganza,Arthur depicted suburban life in the first half of the century.Maybe Davies's finest achievement,Arthur boasted many classics:"yes sir no sir" and "some mother's son" are tackling the antimilitarism topic, -the Kinks were the first of their generation to do so, among the English of course,well before Lennon and  Costello.The former is comic,but the latter deals with plain tragedy."Shangri-la",probably Davies's masterwork, retains ambiguity:does Davies laugh at the little man and "his reward for working so hard" or does he feel for him and his hard-earned life?"She bought a hat like Princess Marina" is a delight:this desire to rise in the society,to pretend to be part of the happy few,of the "folks on the hill" is from time immemorial.Molière ,in "le bourgeois gentihomme" created Jourdain,a bourgeois whose desire was to become part of the aristocracy and who bought clothes,just like Davies's character.Davies' s Arthur is here to stay.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (12.06.2001)

Now that's what I like! Tons of great melodies packed in one album! Look, every song is divided in two and that means that you'll get a chance to hear more hooks. Besides, Arthur is totally uncommercial album. Ray could made at least two good albums out of this one. And, thankfully, he threw this idea out of his head and produced a terrific album, which simply gets full score -15. No weak tracks and even no mediocre ones in sight. When the lyrics become generic, Ray attracts your attention to wonderful hooks. Fortunately, most of the songs keep good lyrics and great melodies together.

I just caught myself on the idea that I like fast part of the songs more that slow. Especially this energetic singing on 'Shangri-la'! And 'Mr. Churchill says' rules, too. Nah, EVERY track rules! Remember that while choosing between Arthur and Village green.

Joe H <> (20.12.2001)

Extremely enjoyable album. Of course my favorites on the album are the ones everyone else loves ("Shangri-la", "Victoria") and i also love the song everyone else says is the weakest on the album! Well i think its beautiful ("Young And Innocent Days")!! As for the song i think is weakest, that'd go to "Yes Sir No Sir" maybe. "Australia" is kinda overlong, but ill let it pass, its good fun. At first i would of said "Nothing To Say", but it is good fun as well, and i like it more now. As for what ISN'T weak, and which rules, "Drivin'" is a very nice song, the title track has an awesome riff (5 minute long though? ahh well, it still rules) "Some Mothers Son" is incredibly heartbreaking. All those mothers loosing their son in war, its really a profound song. Didn't realize it at first though, cuz this album has such a happy, good time atmosphere that you wont get the message if you're not paying attention. Overall i give this album a 9. Maybe a high 8, but ahh ill be generous.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

For the second time in a row, the Kinks turn in an almost flawless album. This time, the music sounds a bit more mature, less childlike, but with just as much melodicism and infectiousness as the last album. And it rocks, too. My favorite track is "Shangri-la," which is a rather astounding track, and worthy of consideration as Ray Davies' "masterpiece." It's got a soft part and a hard part and it was released before "Stairway To Heaven" or "Free Bird" (but, of course, "Hey Jude" was already out). Several others of my favorites are on here: "Some Mother's Son" is beautiful, sorrowful and funny at the same time; "Yes Sir, No Sir" throws in several catchy little tunes in one song; "Drivin'" is irresistibly infectious; "Australia" is also very catchy, with several segments that all sound like a travel ad, plus the exotic-sounding outro jam which the Kinks never did before or since; "She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina" is a sweet, funny tune with a maniacal ending; "Victoria" is a good, rocking celebration. "Brainwashed" is a good, meaty rocker. "Mr. Churchill Says" is a good tune that fails to stand out only because of the company it keeps. "Young And Innocent Days" is very nice, although the instrumental section doesn't do it for me. "Arthur" is a fun countryish tune that points into the Kinks' future. The only track that I don't care much for is "Nothing To Say," which I find melodically uninspired. Arguably their best album.

Plenty of bonus tracks on this one, though they're mostly uneventful. The main exceptions are "Plastic Man" (a very fun kiddie tune) and its B-side, "King Kong" (a hilarious hard rock tune). We also have a couple of Dave Davies B-sides that are fairly good, "Mindless Child Of Motherhood" and "This Man He Weeps Tonight." For some reason, we're also treated to mono mixes of "Drivin'" and "She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina" that don't sound any different from the stereo mixes (this is the only album mixed for mono that wasn't released in this CD collection that way). There's also stereo mixes of some of the singles tracks: "Plastic Man," "Mindless Child Of Motherhood" and "This Man He Weeps Tonight" (which seems to be missing its drums). Most notable is the one previously unreleased track, "Mr. Shoemaker's Daughter," which is leftover from Dave's solo album and not that great.

Missing from this CD is the final single released by Dave (from this era, anyway). The A-side, "Hold My Hand" is fairly mediocre, but the B-side, "Creeping Jean" is sort of in the same vein as "King Kong," and a pretty good listen. Incidentally, if Kinks fanatics really want to drive themselves crazy looking for a rarity, how about the alternate version of "Hold My Hand" from the Star Parade various artists LP?

Brian Sittinger <> (27.02.2003)

Well, this is an easier album for me to dissect compared to VGPS. I have a few minor moans and groans about this album: (1)from time to time, Ray Davies takes on a rather 'dopey' voice in the singing (example: "Yes Sir, No Sir"). After a while, this shock has worn off, though it still nags me at the back of my mind, (2)"Shangri-La" (and perhaps "Victoria") practically dwarfs the rest of the album, since it has a bit of an epic feel to it and floors me every time I hear it, compared to the rest, (3) the album loses a little steam at the end ("Young and Innocent Days", though still quite pleasant).

With all of that out of the way, this album definitely rules! The concept is way clearer than on "Tommy". And, the Kinks actually rock again for the first time in a while. Other than "Young and Innocent Days" (perhaps), every other song is pretty darn solid. I like the was many of these songs are multiple parts, each of which are generally quite awesome ("Victoria", "Australia", "Mr. Churchill Says", and of course, "Shangri-La" come to mind). I adore most of "Australia" (very sublime). The jam at the end can be a bit long at times, depending on my mood, though it is well-played. "Shangri-La", my favorite Kinks song so far, does what "Stairway to Heaven" does, but way more to the point, and just soars on the chorus. The use of the horns are quite appropriate (adding to the mood), and I can't forget those lyrics!

Speaking of lyrics, "Arthur" also rules. I enjoy the guitar lines through the song, as well as the ending refrains. What a way to end the album. Not a 15, due to my remarks at the beginning, but a 10(14) is still quite good!!

Jon <> (11.03.2002)

I don't undersatnd it. ray davies has great melodic ability, but his songs just drag and drag and drag. 'victoria' is a masterpiece--it is simple, driving and the lyrics are wonderfully direct. 'shangri-la' is a masterpiece--it is simple, epic and the lyrics are wonderfully direct. 'Yes Sir No Sir' is ok, the melodies are nice, but it's very easy to let it float by you without catching on anything in particular. The rest are worse. the last track is just depressing. "doncha know it? doncha know it?" i think that is my least favorite of any kinks chorus. it just sounds so lifeless, and the guitar riff comes out of nowhere, sounds terrible and has no place in the song at all. not a good melody in that one. 'some mother's son' is very grating. ray davies' high notes are simply not there, and while the subject matter is admirable, the lyrics are pretty banal--the straightforwardness comes off as coy and fun in 'victoria', but not here. the scene described where two soldiers are in the trench, and one dreams nostalgically of his past life before being shot is jsut too cliched to have much resonance, and davies does nothing to add personality to the scne. the melody is nice, though. its the presentation, the weak instrumentation and almost blurry rhythm that is very offputting. 'she bought a hat like princess maria' suffers from a syndrome the kinks (and sometmes the beatles) have where they rip off popular melodies from earlier eras and no, one, ca-a-a-ares. there were cartloads of that melody in the twenties through the fifties, and nothing much is done to add to it. davies has a particularly unconvincing vocal delivery there. 'australia' is a classic case. the chorus that is so beloved is ripped off from the hit song 'brazil', and so is the atmosphere. the original part, "we'll surf" takes the song into interesting territory, but that is one terrible jam. dave has terrible tone, sounds like his guitar in a box and was recorded very quietly and later cranked up in all its muffly glory. it seems static hisses at the edges as the result of a mistake than intent. the song (such as it was) deserved better than that. It's a mixed bag, then. Stuff like 'mr churchhill says' and the rest sound eerily like parts of the things that came before it, though not so blatant as 'Picture Book'/'Village Green'. Horns are put to good work in 'shangri-la', though, and the harmonies there are really genius, even if some bad mixing results in some harmony vocals dropping in and out pretty sloppily during various parts of the chorus. Two awesome, fantastic great songs. Two good songs, if you don't mind a little ripping off, and then a bunch of work that does nothing to draw your attention. this album is a notorious floater, no one will really hear anything but 'victoria' and 'shangri-la' when it passes by. there are some cool drums, though. good progression there from early kinks for sure. the only good bass is in 'shangri-la', and you'll be more annoyed with dave than pleased with him... he did much better in watvgps. He is extremely annoying in 'arthur', but that song is so beset by problems it almost doesn't matter.

Brian Adkins <> (03.01.2004)

Maybe my expectations were set to high or I haven't fully came to appreciate this album yet. I personally prefer Muswell Hillbillies, musically and lyrically. This album actually makes me feel very sorry for Arthur, but not to where I want to help him. Becaue it seems to me that he doesn't believe he can be helped. It's like he's saying everyone has their place and they can't come above it so they should accept it and enjoy the "grind". I also don't hear any of the fantastic humor that I adore from Hillbillies. The singing is very difficult to hear on this album over the music and it takes several listens just to hear the words. My definite favorite song on the album, at this point, is "Yes Sir, No Sir". I wasn't all that impressed with "Shangri-La" myself, but a very solid song indeed! The instruments are great, but again, I think the instruments were a better back-up for the lyric on Hillbillies than on this one. I think Davies hit a point here where he was trying to hard, which usually causes you to fail at whatever it is you're trying. Whereas on Hillbillies I think he'd gotten to the point of where he realized no matter how hard he tried, it wasn't going to make people like the music. So he was just making the music from his feelings (yes, drunk and paranoid that he'd never get recognized as on of the top music makers and would have to return back home to his hillbilly family forever) and not what he thought everyone else would like. But anyway, a very good album, but don't set your expectations to high. Just get the album and listen to it yourself before you read to many reviews on it :-)

Mysterious Charisma <> (06.05.2004)

Hello George, just read your review on this album and it is indeed the best the Kinks have released, from what I've heard anyway. One idea I wanted to present was about the song 'Shangri-La'. The word 'Shangri-La' means an imaginary remote paradise on earth, so I agree with the earlier comment that Arthur is not an old man, but a working class hero (as Lennon would say). The song 'Shangri-La' I believe is him dreaming of his paradise on earth, which would be an old wealthy man living in a nice, comfortable home with no worries. And he imagines himself looking out at the world of youngsters struggling with their bills and family life as he is experiencing throughout the album.

Okay, got that out of the way. I totally agree that this album is a perfect balance. When a song lacks on the lyric, the music more than makes up for it. And when a song lacks musically, the lyric are so darn good. It starts out rip-roaring with 'Victoria', both the instruments and his singing are spectacular. Then Davies delivers a vocal like only he can on 'Yes Sir, No Sir' backed up by music that totally fits the mood and gets you ready for war which takes place on the next track, 'Some Mothers Son', which nearly brings me to tears every time (all dead soldiers look the sad). Luckily it's followed up by the happy go lucky song of 'Drivin', which is one of those that has better music than lyric, but it certainly lifts your mood after 'Some Mothers Son' depresses you. Then that opening of 'Brainwashed' grabs your attention and doesn't let go until you're like "the songs over already".......Then I talked of 'Shangri-La', a very lovely song. The rest of the album has great catchy parts of some songs, but the songs in their entirety are nothing special. Unfortunately I don't have the bonus tracks. But anyway, it's my favorite Kinks album, only paralled by Muswell Hillbillies. Where this one hits sincerity and common people, Muswell hits humor and common people. Still working to fully appreciate Villiage Green Preservation Society. Thanks for all your detailed album reviews, they're very insightful, keep it up!

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Looking at my Kinks’ ratings I notice an amusing progression. And now we reach the very top. Arthur. Few more perfect albums exist, I’d say. So many musical ideas, so many wonderful melodies packed in every song. Plus, a very good story that doesn’t hurt the quality of music, which is a thing that doesn’t happen that often.

Really, the only song that doesn’t quite match the level of perfection is the pleasant-sounding “Young And Innocent Days” (and what a beautiful song that is!). But the effective opening track “Victoria” with its punkish energy? The heartbreaking “Some Mother’s Song”, that will show you what kind of a sentimental person you really are? The unstoppable “Brainwashed”, that doesn’t give you a single moment to calm down? The best song of all time “Shangri-La” that will stick you to your chair to prevent you from missing even a second while the song is on? It’s Ray Davies at his creative peak, ladies and gentlemen. And he’ll show no mercy.

You see, I desperately admire this record. Hell, but what can I do? My score is 16/15. I understand that it’s stupid and all, but I have no choice.

P.S. Sorry, I got carried away a little. “Like A Rolling Stone” is that kind of a song. But “Shangri-La” is a very close second.

Brian Donovan <> (01.12.2005)

Arthur is the next big winner for Ray Davies after the great VGPS. This one rocks a little more, right from the outset with "Victoria." I like most of these songs but I'll highlight just a couple.

"Drivin'" is such a breath of fresh air after the deepest gloom of "Every Mother's Son." "Australia" has the Kinks pulling off a good Beach Boys impression, and while I agree Dave's big solo is a bit too long there's so much else in the song that works. "She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina" is a hugely witty ditty where Gilbert & Sullivan meet Spike Jones. Wonder how many folks remember who Anthony Eden was? Ray was a Beverly Hillbillies fan, and I can just see Ray and the boys waving goodbye as the credits roll and the title cut is playing. "Arthur" sounds a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies closing theme and the twangy riff Dave is playing seems a bit of an homage....although they would save the banjos for Lola.


Gustavo Rodriguez <> (07.04.99)

I have to disagree with you big time on your criticism of the Lola album. Over the last few years I've noticed a shift in opinion towards this album. It used to get a lot more respect. Now it seems that Something Else gets all the kudos. I have to agree with you on one thing: Something Else is way overrated. But I think you're way too hard on the Lola album. When all is said and done I guess it's just a matter of taste, but I will still try to argue against a few points you made. One is why do you make such a big deal about the chords/chord changes/chord sequences in the songs? That is such a weak criticism for a rock record! Sure they're formulaic, but that's rock'n roll!! Those are the same chord configurations Bob Dylan, The Stones, The Who, and anyone (especially the entire punk genre) who has pretty much played rock music have used over and over before or since. It's when the structures get complicated and convoluted that we get the bloated and pompous music that has plagued us since the mid-seventies!

That's part of what is great about the Kinks. They're not virtuosos. Whether or not you buy into rock being more about attitude and mood than technical mastery is up to you. You review of "Victoria" off Arthur seems to show that you share this belief so I don't understand why the chords make such a difference to you on the Lola album. The ideal rock band shouldn't play much better than the Kinks.

Ray Davies is rock's great illusionist. He takes the simplest of musical material and expands it beyond its limitations making you think that you've taken in something much more complicated. I must argue that Lola contains some of his best work in that vein. How could you sleep on "Get Back in Line" or "A Long Way From Home"? Both are simple, yes, not so simple. The chord structures (particularly the latter song) are simple but davies concocts gorgeous melodies and lyrically these two songs alone are poignant and carry a real resonance.

I also feel you take the theme of the album too much to heart. It isn't quite a concept album. It's a series of personal sketches mostly about the music industry with a couple of healthy, HUMOUROUS digressions ('Lola', 'Apeman') to keep us from drowning in the bile. And Davies was not being "hypocritical". He and his band like many bands before and since get screwed royally by the music industry. The Kinks are not really part of the record industry in the sense that they alone cannot truly distribute, advertise, and market their own product. They are independent contractors like most entertainers and artists and as such have considerably less share of the pie than we are led to believe.

You only need to see what happened to current artists like TLC, Toni Braxton, Tribe Called Quest, and countless bands today who sign lousy deals and who end up broke and in debt even as they are selling millions of records! The timelieness of Ray's bitter satire of the music industry has not faded a bit, especially if you know how ugly and corrupt the actual dealings still are. He was then and is now justified in his criticism. It wasn't just whining. The Kinks really lost out and time has proved unfortunately the Moneygoround goes on and you can't win. Ray Davies triumph of course was a perverse one. He was actually able to get the same industry he was tearing apart to release his album. I know all my rambling will most likely not change your opinion, but if you can try to hear this album with different ears. I, Personally think Lola Vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround is every bit as good as Arthur and Village Green. The only weak spot for me is "Rats" otherwise I think it's fine.

Ben Greenstein <> (27.08.99)

I think I'd rate this one higher than you did. While I agree almost completely with your bashing of the stupid rockers, but I love those ballads! They're all really pretty and distinctive-sounding. "This Time Tommorow" is the best - I need to listen to this tune any time I am about to get on an airplane. Part of my obsessive compulsive disorder, I guess. Also, my mummy is very insistent that "Get Back In The Line" was a hit when she was younger - I think she's crazy, but wouldn't mind if it did get some airplay!

"Moneygoround" is fun, "Apeman" is awesome, and "Lola" has become, interestingly enough, a very personal song for me. Maybe I'm just kinky. Probably am, seeing as I like the Kinks so much. I'd give this album an eight.

<> (20.10.2000)

I didn't like this album the first few times I listened to it. But after listening to it a few times I think it is great. "Lola" is the best song on the album but I also think that "This time tomorrow is also one of my favorites. The only one I dislike is "Rats", and I hate the lines in "Moneygoround" that go like "they don't know the words and they don't know the tune/but they don't give a damn" make me bite my lip, but overall I'd give it an 8.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (05.06.2001)

No doubt, 'Lola' is a little bit worse than Kinks' previous attempt but I still would stay away from such rather low rating you gave it. Maybe I'm getting a d-d-d-d-d-diehard Kinks' fan or maybe just a dumb moron but, anyway, I like all the tracks here. Yup, you've heard right. Half of the tracks are riff-filled, another half consists of catchy ballads and fast a-la Music hall songs. And, man, I do love these riffs! You know, when I hear the first guitar riff in 'Top of the pops', my head starts shaking and I my body wishes to dance. 'Powerman', 'Lola', 'Apeman' and 'Strangers' are really cool, catchy, danceable and memorable. I don't take 'Contenders' as a song - rather a kind of intro to the album (BTW, what's about concept? I really don't get it) and it's a good intro. Nothing against 'Long way from home' from my side - the song is cute, calm, nice.

On previous record Ray was saying to you: 'boy, we have tons of great melodies in our pockets, that's why we use two tunes in one song!'. This time, however, it's clear that guys give us everything they have and because of that some tunes are almost similar ('Lola' and 'Apeman' have nearly the same chorus). Besides, 'Lola' is a semi concept album - half of the songs just don't fit it. But, anyway, Kinks are still in a great from on here and that's enough to make you go to the music shop and spend your 4, ahem, sorry, 14 bucks. My rating will be 9/10.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

With this release, the Kinks started to sound more American, being influenced by the current back-to-the-roots movement. Only a few songs are really big favorites for me, but the rest are all good. "Lola" is particularly excellent, and it's easy to see why it was so successful. I'm also a big fan of "Apeman," although I wish the vocal was louder in the mix. The rockers on this album are all standouts: "Powerman" drives along nicely and does a good job of overlapping things; "Top Of The Pops" is basically a hard rock tune with very amusing lyrics; "The Contenders" starts off with a bit of country music from "Got To Be Free" and then gets the ball rolling with a fun driving rhythm; and "Rats" is an excellent hard-rocker by Dave that runs out of ideas halfway through. The ballads are mostly strong, too, with "Get Back In Line" and "Strangers" (another good Dave tune) being the strongest. The other songs are all enjoyable: "A Long Way From Home" is a nice ballad, if unspectacular; "Got To Be Free" is more upbeat and fairly solid; "This Time Tomorrow" is kind of catchy. The two vaudeville tunes sound unexceptional to me. "The Moneygoround" has very amusing lyrics, but doesn't impress me otherwise, and "Denmark Street" just doesn't grab me at all. They're all right, though. There are enough good songs on this album that I would rate it as one of the five or six best Kinks albums.

The bonus tracks include the famous mono mix of "Lola," in which 'coca-cola' is replaced with 'cherry cola' for radio consumption. But more importantly, the so-called 'demo version' of "Apeman" is included, which was released as an A-side in Denmark and Portugal (other countries got the common version on the single). This is a definite highlight for me, since I love the song, and the vocals are loud and clear. The 'demo version' of "Powerman" sounds like it just has a different vocal on the same backing track.

Mark <> (02.02.2004)

I am mostly on your side on this one, George. Mostly. I like this album a lot. In fact, the first time I heard this one I loved it, although Village Green Preservation took me a couple of listens to really fully appreciate it. Obviously, "la-la la Lola" and "Apeman" are the best songs, but there are a couple of other killer tracks that makes this an essential Kinks CD. I love "Strangers" (lilke you I am not a huge fan of Dave's voice, but on this one he's real good). Great tune, and the lyrics that you hate ("If I love too long I'm afraid I'll die") I like: it's so stupid that it's profound. And I seem to be in the minority about "Rats": I like it. Great guitar sound and cool riff. And the riff on "Top Of The Pops" i love too, although it is a bit too long in my opinion. "Moneygoround" is okay, but it's short so it is not offensive to me. "Contenders" is a cool opening tune and I like "Get Back In The Line" a lot. (According to Ray in his "X-Ray" book, that one was abou! t seeing his dad in the unemployment line when he was younger, and it reminded him of trying to get a record deal later on in life). "This Time Tomorrow" I like a lot. Love the guitar work (Dave I am assuming) who makes the damn thing sound like a banjo. Great. As to the concept.....well, I can follow it, and being a musician, I can relate to the concept of what it is trying to make it as a musician, although I can see how the concept would leave non-musicians puzzled or bored. As to how "Lola" and "Apeman" fits....I always thought that "Lola" was the 'hit' that the narrator wrote that was accepted by the publisher even though he didn't understand it (or didn't like the tune and didn't like the words). Especially since the next song, "Top Of The Pops" is talking about how the song climbs the British charts. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that is what I get out of it. As to "Apeman", I always thought that this was the narrator getting pissed off at the business and ! how he's surrounded by "Rats" (the song before) so he wants to get out if all (the music business being a jungle). Again, maybe it's fanciful, but it makes sense to me. As to your comments about the same chords being used in a million songs before, I agree that some of the chord sequences are a bit familiar (I will skip over the "Land Of A Thousand Dances" riff in "Top Of The Pops" which I think is neat....most bands do that as a tribute. Listen to "Out Of Control" on the Stones "Bridges" album which has the harp line from "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"...neat trick). But I digress...yeah, this is what mars this album for me too, George, if only slightly. Some of the melodies and chord progressions, if not "stolen" or "borrowed" are having a bit of deja vu to them. If not instantly recognizable, they do have a generic sound to them. This doesn't really bother me on this album, because Ray is so fucking clever that he can still throw in a beautiful chorus or bridge to make up for it. Anyway on this one, I give it an 8.5 or a 9. Not the best Kinks album, but still real good.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Another concept album (well, half-concept) and another winner. It IS a letdown, of course, but there supposed to be a letdown after a peak. Lola is simply packed with superb melodies! “The Contenders” is a striking opener with a solid hook and amazing harmonica, “Strangers” seriously challenges “Death Of A Clown” for being Dave’s best contribution to their catalogue – very emotional! “Denmark St.” and “The Moneygoround” may seem short and fillerish, but one also shouldn’t miss their solid melodies (biting lyrics, too). “Back In The Line” is just gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. You know the hits, the unforgettable title track and hilarious “Apeman”, but how about the smashing riffs of “TOTP” and “Powerman”, how about the unbelievable catchiness of “This Time Tomorrow” (average, you say? This song has a melody to kill for!). A bit bleak “A Long Way From Home” and an inferior rewrite of the opener, “Got To Be Free”, are slight letdowns, but still pleasant enough. And Dave’s “Rats” is fast, angry and dirty. I like it.

My final word is that it is a great album, not merely good, but truly great. Yeah, Ray Davies was a genius, not merely a talented songwriter, but a genius. And if you think that he was the only worthy composer in the band, go and listen to “Strangers” and tell me you are not moved. Oh, alright, a low 14 for Lola.


Mister Pleasant <> (28.10.99)

Really nice page you have! Great "stories" about the albums, even though I don't agree with all of your ratings. But they are *your* personal views so no matter discussing it.

I haven't heard the whole of this album (Percy) myself, but I just want to make a thing clear. The reason why you find Ray's vocal unrecognisable on "Willeseden Green" is because the simple reason it is *not* Ray who sings! It is actually bass player John Dalton singing this one.

On the KPS mailing list, someone told about the plot of the film, and we don't have to be sorry for not having seen it...

<> (09.10.2000)

If anyone doubts Ray's genius from a purely musical standpoint, I sit them down and force them to listen to this CD. Churchill's description of the USSR (riddle in a mystery surrounded by enigma) can be used about the movie, but I guess all agree that effort should be put in other quests than trying to find a copy. But the music here is unique and timeless, and should be in all Kinkophile collections. 'Animals in the Zoo', 'The Way Love Used to Be', 'Moments' are all great vocal treats. But it is the first track, 'God's Children', that shines on this CD. Ray's God must be an impersonal one. Great CD!

Sergey Zhilkin <> (05.06.2001)

I suppose that Percy should get a little bit more praise. Cause it's one of really rare soundtracks that has wonderful melodies, previously unreleased. I mean that the usual problem I face is that artist/band throws out some weird instrumental tracks together with old hits, so Percy seems to be a nice surprise here. Ray really tried to put out a very good soundtrack. 'God's children' together with 'Moments' are essential 'classic' Kinks songs (and I don't really get why ALL the compilations ignore them). 'Lola' is at worst an extreme fun (it's almost played in disco tempo!) while 'The way love used to be' is a gorgeous ballad. 'Animals in the ZOO' is great, but we know why it is, now don't we? All other short instrumental tracks are very cute and nice. I know, nothing to get pissed off but at the same time very enjoyable. The fact that some people reject Percy can be simply explained - look, they all take it as an album while it is a soundtrack. And as a soundtrack, it's more than nice.

Robert Tally <> (05.05.2002)

A strange detour. The band still plays the way they did on the last album, but a lot of the material sounds like it's left over from 1968. Nevertheless, there are some great songs on here. "The Way Love Used To Be" is arguably the most beautiful love song Ray Davies ever wrote. "Dreams" is a very catchy quasi-kiddie tune with (unfortunately) a few too many soundtracky moments. "Just Friends" is delightfully bizarre. "Willesden Green" is an all-out c&w parody sung by bassist John Dalton, and is hilarious. The other full-fledged songs do less for me. "Animals In The Zoo" is another kiddie tune, and kind of catchy. "Moments" is fairly good, but nothing more (sounds influenced by George Harrison, doesn't it?). "God's Children" is melodically bland. The instrumentals work best when they're short: "Whip Lady" and "Helga" are both interesting, and "Running Round Town" keeps up a good head of steam. "God's Children - End" is subtle and unobtrusive. The instrumental version of "Lola" is okay when I'm in the right mood, and "Completely" is mostly uninteresting. Obviously, this isn't the first Kinks album one should run out and buy, but it is from their 'Golden Age,' so even the worst from that era is better than most of their other output.

The bonus tracks are fairly disposable film versions of a few of the songs: "Dreams" is badly edited and has some bad sound quality, with virtually no band to be heard in the mix; "Moments" is just a short instrumental break; "The Way Love Used To Be" shows up in three different versions (an interesting orchestral snippet, a quasi-jazz snippet, and a version pretty close to the official one).

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Soundtracks are rarely that good, I should say. Obviously, if we compare it with Kinks’ studio efforts at that time, Percy will seem not very striking, but as a soundtrack it is very good. The instrumentals are always entertaining (the guys were having fun!). Not long and draggy, but short and amusing. As for the actual songs, I would like to start with “God’s Children” and not just because it’s the first here, but because it has become one of my favourite Kinks’ tracks ever (and you know what that means, right?). It’s memorable, emotional, has wonderful lyrics and is very charming. I can’t get enough of it! But, hell, “The Way Love Used To Be”, “Moments”, “Dreams” are all songs of very high quality; as melodic as anything Ray Davies wrote at that period. Period. “Animals In The Zoo” is catchy and “Willesden Green” is very funny. Very strong material and I simply don’t understand why Mr. Davies was so heartless to it. A high 11. After all, it IS a soundtrack. Get it, you won’t be disappointed.


Gustavo Rodriguez <> (09.04.99)

Ray sounds drunk on almost every Muswell Hillbillies track. It's a fine record but I really think the album's weakness is that it has considerably less musical invention going on here than all the other 'great' Kinks albums, a lot of standard blues runs and simpler melodies than usual. And how can you not like 'Uncle Son'?! Maybe you're not too fond of country music or something but I find that track really moving. And thematically I like Muswell Hillbillies for the same reason I like the Lola record. Ray's commitment to his subject matter is commendable (and sometimes a little scary).

Ben Greenstein <> (27.08.99)

As you may know, I'm not a big fan of most rootsy, bluesy music. I find it boring and derivative. That's why I was so surprised when I loved this album!

The melodies, even on the hickiest songs, are quite top-notch, and the country, blues, and folk aspects are done in a remarkably laid-back, British way. The best song is "Alcohol," which my personal favourite protest song on that devil's brew. A bit hypocritical, though, seeing as Ray had quite an affection for beers. I love "20th Century Man" a heap, and "Oklahoma USA" is a gorgeous song. The other tunes don't stand out as much, but they help the album flow, rather than slow it down, like the weak ones on Arthur did. I'd give the album a nine, too.

Didier Dumonteil <> (23.04.2001)

Frankly,I could do without side one.But side two!"Have a cuppa tea " is the Kinks' funniest ditty,and it features a social comment,at that!"tea knows no segregation,no sect or organization" At least , least in England.But now it seems, tea takes a back seat to coffee in this country..Too bad!"Oklahoma USA " is perhaps the first song dealing with the topic "we're all stars at least in our mind",a topic we will find all along Davies' way.The tune is nothing short of perfection.The woman in her dreams is far away ,far of her routine life in a lousy part of the town."Uncle son" might be Arthur's .Like him,to quote "She's leaving home","he struggled hard all his life to get by",and everybody ,be they liberals or conservatives,unionists or preachers ,"use you all your life."A bit Lennonesque too,"working class hero was released about six months before "mushwell".And the hero of the title track is Oklahoma heroine's brother:He too dreams of an Eldorado .The main difference lays in the fact that the boy dreams of America whereas the girl dreams of an American fiction(or dream).

Sergey Zhilkin <> (27.08.2001)

This was a new year, new album and new record company - this time RCA. And, man, they were lucky to grab such band as Kinks (at least they thought so after first album was released). Now, be patient and listen to the background - I promise it will be short.

Ray was very depressed by the fact that Village green passed without being noticed by anyone and Arthur wasn't far from that, too. Fortunately, 'Lola' single put everything on its places but not for Ray - he didn't want to become a simple pop songwriter at all. Apparently, that's why he hated 'Lola' much (remember One for the road? Actually I like how publishers called this 'Fuck you' to audience - 'Introduction to Lola'. Heh heh....). But, anyway, he chose a hard way - writing a conceptual album and not a collection of stupid pop songs. There was a big problem, though, - the lyrics. I will remind you that Village green was a 'horror' from that point of view - how could a young teenager stand such lines as 'Picture yourself when you're getting old'? Sure enough, this was the last thing on boys' minds.

So this time Ray found a golden middle - he sung what he really wanted to sing (all the nostalgia filled lyrics are here again, just like on VG) but this time it was sung in humiliating way which helped him to get high sales. Moreover, the lyrics hit your heart straight and in many cases you don't laugh - you start to cry (at least that's what happen to me). Shit, I tried to evade these banal words but... sorry. Of course, this is a kind of autobiography - Ray lived on Muswell hill, there was a Holloway street, he had a granny who watered everyone with tea and he had a girlfriend who was seduced by an old engine driver ... oh, pardon my Whomania. As for the record itself, well, I don't want to repeat you saying that it's a nice merging of British culture with blah blah blah and even Paul McCartney couldn't write such blah blah blah afterall, Mich Jagger was a gay blah blah blah (I must have put word 'blah' in buffer) and etc. The only place we disagree a bit is that you don't highlight 'Holloway jail', though.

So God save the village green, Ray Davies and good 'ole George who didn't bash this record.

PS. The last timeless Kinks' record for me - never got tired from it.

Brian Adkins <> (24.12.2003)

Wow! What a fantastic album. I don't know if it's my own West Virginia roots (I grew up in an extremely secluded, desolate, rural area in Southern West Virginia) or just dang good music, but I fell in love with this album. The music is never offensive and I love the lyric and how he sings, absolutely love it! Such lines as 'gotta get away from/the complicated life some' captures the hillbilly way perfectly. You could truly tell he was singing about something he knew about and felt, not just something to sale records. And I just can't stop adoring that voice and the sound through the whole album. That's what I really liked about Dylans voice, it was something a good ole, down-to-earth hillbilly could relate too. But anyway, great review and I recommend anyone that likes music to buy this album.

Guilherme Nettesheim <> (30.01.2004)

I'm quickly becoming a Kinks fan, I once saw Village Green on the store shelf and heard good things, and I was hooked. I also bought Arthur and Muswell is my latest purchase, and I love it. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect like Arthur, it does contain various fillers, though the songs which rock, really rock. This like most of The Kinks' albums gives a distinct feel. The feel is that of 1920s/40s US and it really works here.

'20th Century Man' is amazing in that is builds up power in an amazingly subtle manner. You never feel the change unless you listen to the beginning then fast forward to the end. Ray's vocals are rip-roaring here to the point of damaging his voice while in the beginning you can barely hear him. One of the angriest songs I've heard by Mr. Davies. 'Holiday' is so simple that it's incedibly catchy and relaxing, and if it didn't have so much of an American roots sound to it, it would've felt right at home in Village Green. Ray's vocals are a bit hard to get used to, but it grows on ya like bacteria. 'Alcohol' might just be the catchiest song I have ever heard, and it isn't a surprise that it came from Ray Davies. The way he sings the chorus gives me chills, Ray shows that you don't need to have a godly voice like Lake or Daltrey to make an impression. Outside of his vocals (and the lyrics which are also well written) is the brass in the background which later "solos". It sounds like '40s jazz or blues, I can't tell. 'People in Grey' isn't bad, I just don't see why people like it so much. It seems very repetative to me, even though Dave sneaks some bluesy riffs in there and the lyrics are really paranoid.

Outside of '20th Century Man' and 'Alcohol', 'Holloway Jail' is my favorite tune here. The way the guitar is distorted and the slide guitar licks are incredibly powerful in this song. The way Ray's voice is backed by the female singers also plucks your heartstrings just the right way, and I usually despise adding female background singers *cough*Clapton*cough*cough*David Gilmour.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

I have to agree with Ben Greenstein here, the album flows wonderfully. So wonderfully, that you won’t pay much attention to the individual songs. The atmosphere, the coziness of the record, that’s what is really important on Muswell Hillbillies. Actually, only one song can match the greatness of Arthur (I’m talking about the fantastic mind-boggling “20th Century Man”, of course). Okay, so maybe “Uncle Son” is not very solid and all, but it is a great link (if you know what I mean), so I enjoy it. On Arthur (though I’ve learned to get over the problem) we have a catchy and solid “Drivin’”, which is put between two far superior classics (the fact doesn’t mean that “Drivin’” is not a classic, of course). Anyway, to MH.

I said it and I’ll say it again, the album is very welcoming. It’s smooth, comfortable, lazy. And absolutely not monotonous. We have an upbeat rocker (“Skin And Bone”), a warm and beautiful blues (“Acute Schizophrenia Blues”), a hopelessly drunk “Holiday” (and “Alcohol”, for that matter), a gorgeous “Oklahoma USA”. It’s amazing, to sit back and relax to this album. That is what it was made for.

Kudos to Ray and the other hillbillies who helped him make this masterpiece. 14/15!

David Dickson <> (02.02.2006)

Ragtime, eh? Bebop, huh? Funny. I always thought this was just a normal country-rock album. Not too much to distinguish it from other such albums of the early-'70's except Ray's voice and lyrics. And, of course, the fact that it rules. Can Ray do no wrong?

Many people say Village Green and Something Else (lyrics, lyrics, lyrics), but I say this album and Arthur was the peak of the mountain for the Kinks, and their only two real masterpieces. Only one band other than the Beatles, but one, has managed to rule incessantly through hooks, melodies, and consistency alone (excluding production, mood, emotion, all that), and the Kinks are IT. I give this a ten and may God bless us with some random band covering "20th Century Man" as "21st Century Man" in the next few months.


Ivan Piperov <> (08.02.2000)

That's the first Kinks album I bought, attracted by "Sitting In My Hotel". It took a while to get used to the brass section (first I thought it sucked). I also had to listen to the CD quite often to realize the quality of the tunes. Ultimately I thought, "That's a good band!"

<> (17.12.2000)

How can you give this album a higher rating than Lola vs. the Powerman? "Here Comes Yet Another Day," "Maximum Consumption," "Unreal Reality" and "Hot Potatoes" could be the worst start to any Kinks album. I feel Lola's "Get Back in Line", "A Long Way From Home," and "This Time Tomorrow" are clearly superior songs to anything on Showbiz except for "Sitting in My Hotel" and "Celluloid Heroes" (even though the way "Celluloid Heroes" is played here is inferior to the updated version on To the Bone. Also, "Celluloid Heroes' " melody is similar to Peter Paul and Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Sitting in My Hotel" begins peculiarly like the children's song "The Ugly Duckling." It does have a great chorus though.) I think "Celluloid Heroes" may be the Kinks most overrated song. I would rather listen to the 2 minute plus "Get Back in Line" and "A Long Way From Home" on any day, and Arthur's "Shangri-La" (a song I think is even better than "Stairway to Heaven") is the Kinks' 5 minute plus masterpiece. It should have been played in front of arena audiences instead of the movie-star-naming "crowd pleaser." Overall, the Kinks wrote two decent ballads for this album, and Dave's "You Don't Know My Name" is good, but the rest is just either silly music hall stuff or boring blues. The live songs are much better on their original albums.

<> (19.04.2001)

this is the kinks all-time worst lp.this lp makes me appreciate phobia

Sergey Zhilkin <> (30.08.2001)

Gonna defend this one, too. Maybe even stronger than you, George.

Let's start from the live part. Actually, I could summarize it in one sentence: Ray Davies used to sing 'Alcohol' with a bottle of beer on his head. More explanation needed? I guess so. Have you ever wondered why Live at Leeds sounds much better than Join together, Wings over America better than Paul is live, Concert for B-D better than Live in Japan, Ya-yas better than Flashpoint and etc? Because the formers weren't comeback live albums! On these 'comebacks' bands usually beg for pardon - 'boy some of our previous albums sucked much but we have changed!' (actually, that is the message of One for the road). But when a band doesn't need to prove it can still rock things get much better. In this case a leader can start drinking beer right on stage, dance on the piano, perform such strange numbers as 'Mr. Wonderful' or introduce a jazzy song as 'really heavy number'.

That's been said, I think that if the song selection was better, it could have been the best live Kinks' album. Yeah, and in case if <> is still here, I want to say that's it's silly to compare these live tracks and their studio originals since they are played different with some new moments thrown in - some for good, some for not - but, overall, live versions have more 'atmosphere' than studio ones. Btw, live 'Brainwashed' completely overshadows its original since it's played 1.5 times faster on stage.

Now about studio part. In fact, album's title and cover give you wrong idea - as for me, I thought that this album will be about many untalented youths trying to earn easy money by working in music business. No, as it soon occurred, the album was about hardship you face being a rock'n'roll star (although, I don't understand how the messages of 'Hot potatoes', 'Look A Little On The Sunnyside' and 'Supersonic rocket ship' deal with main conception). By the way, on the back cover face of every Kink is put in a David's star and there's a sign 'Everybody's a star'. Now, tell me what did they try to deliver? A thought that only Jews deal with show-biz? Or an idea that Bob Dylan became a moneymaker? Whatever. Still, funny. As for the songs, they are here (really stupid phrase). Standouts are: 'Sitting in my hotel' (Ray used to call this song 'Who I'm trying to kid') and 'Celluloid heroes' (surely inspired by Dylan's 'Desolation row'). The latter was the main non-hit hit in Kinks' career - DJs said that song was too long and they didn't care about lyrics much (imagine if this answer was given to mr.Zimmerman!). Dave contributed a really cute countrish number 'You don't know my name' with a good hook, which was really strange for Dave (maybe that's why Ray got a nervous breakdown later?). 'Supersonic ship' might seem childish until you start understanding lyrics - Ray sings about a city (big rocket ship, actually) where no discrimination will take place. Ironically, a few months later Concord plane was made for big, fat and rich bastards and this fact divided people again.

Someone (aha! good old <> again!) mentioned above that first four tracks are 'the worst start' for a Kinks' record. Well, what can I say? Definitely, first three tracks on State of confusion are way better. To be frank, I adore melody 'Hot potatoes', although, the lyrics are kinda cheesy ('I want your loving 60 minutes an hour / I want your loving 24 a day / I want your loving 7 days a week' (btw, Beatles beat them with 8 days a week)). And first two tracks are great, too.

Overall, this album wins 12/15 rating from me only because it was dumped (with 2 bonus tracks) on 1 CD. Great buy, indeed.

Jason X <> (16.08.2004)

With some albums, there's one clear classic and then some 35 minutes of filler. Usually when I get one of those albums, I feel bad having bought a CD for a single song and end up listening to the filler until it clicks and I start to enjoy it. The problem with this album is that there are, as has been thoroughly established, three classics. If it comes to it, I can handle paying an album's price for only three songs. The result (I swear that in my head I had this idea down to two sentences, but it just won't come out that way) is that in the case of this album, I really can't get into the filler because I just don't feel like I need to. Here Comes Yet Another Maximum Consumption of Unreal Potatoes, it all adds up to "That 15 minutes before I start paying attention."

For the sake of redundancy, though, the classics are "Sitting In My Hotel," "Supersonic Rocket Ship," and "Celluloid Heroes."

I was reading the lyrics while I listened to this album, and it still amazes me that people criticize Ray for being too simplistic. Yeah, of course his stuff doesn't exactly read as poetry. Excuse me if I'm unconsciously stealing this analogy from someone, but taking Ray's lyrics without any singing and saying they're not expressive enough is like taking the wheels off a car and complaining that it isn't moving fast enough. Barring some embarrassing exceptions (Like the baffling "Young and Innocent Days," which I'm sure had some brilliant purpose that we've all just missed), Ray's lyrics always seem to go right to a calculated point after which he uses the MUSIC to get the rest of the point across. Cynics can say his lyrics stop right where his lyrical ability ends (Cynics can jump off a bridge for all I care!), but it's moot point. While I haven't listened to the entire Kinks catalog, I've never found a place where the sum of Ray's abilities wasn't enough to make his message crystal clear to me (Except the aforementioned "Young And Innocent Days," which I WILL NOT accept as insipid as it appears. THERE'S JUST NO WAY).

"Look A Little On the Sunny Side," makes me feel like Ray was penpals with my dear friend Ian Anderson. While the professional music review industry has never answered the perfectly valid question "Who the hell asked you?" to my satisfaction, there's just no way for the artist under fire to gracefully ask it. Maybe when Ian is finally too decrepit to hop around on one leg he can start a magazine that reviews Rolling Stone's reviews, and Ray can get a job as editor.


Bill <> (15.01.2000)

Alas, m'lad, I dost think you have missed the point of Preservation Act 1 and have possibly tried to categorized this group to better fix in with the masses. The Kinks just cannot be linked with any other group or style. They copied no one, but were copied often. Ray Davies was simply the champion of the common man. I suggest you listen to this effort without trying to categorize it, but take it for what it's intent is, to set a storyline of an "us versus them" society of the haves and have nots. 'Give Money & Corruption/I am Your Man' another chance and listen to it as if you were recently laid off of work or passed over for a raise, or feel voiceless with no soap box in site to stand on. Alas, a person expressing hope comes onto the scene to try to raise the spirits of the downtrodden. It is quite simply one of my favorite songs ever written by anyone of any genre. This was concept extraordinaire.

[Special author note: actually, if I want some work of art to help me in moments of 'being put down by the establishment', I'll hardly be wanting to revert to the straightforward, cliched, derivative imagery of Preservation. And as for the request not to categorize the album, I surmise that translated into simpler language this means "don't try to explain the greatness of the album, just give yourself in". Well, one might as well ask me not to try to 'categorize' a Britney Spears record next time... Oh and if I have 'missed the point' of this album, I guess I had better go find some work as a nightman, since there are few albums in the Kinks catalog whose 'point' is less obvious than Preservation's].

Ivan Piperov <> (08.02.2000)

I don't know the pre- or sequels (yet) but the CD isn't that bad. It takes lots of listenings to get used to. I only knew "Sitting In The Midday Sun" and loved it, and I don't think it sounds like "Sunny Afternoon". There are quite strong moments there "Money and Corruption" and "Demolition" being the best I can think of. The CD however ir awfully remastered. It's overall distorted!

<> (28.12.2000)

I agree! What a terrible rock album. The only thing I disagree with is the rating. I think Preservation Act 1 is the worst Kinks album, and I would give it a 2 and move Phobia up to a 4. At least Phobia has a few nice ballads, and a couple of good rockers. Preservation has one good song, "Sweet Lady Genevieve" (why must it begin like the Beatles' "Bungalow Bill?") and some melodic moments in "Sitting in the Midday Sun" and "Money and Corruption." But that's it!!! What's most disturbing about this album is its association with The Village Green Preservation Society, one of my favorite albums by any band. Was Ray reallly not able to distinguish the superior quality of Village Geen from this very poor effort? Had he lost the ability to judge his own music? It's like a bad sequel to a great movie. With the risk of sounding like the crazed fan from Stephen King's Misery, "Ray, what did you do to Johnny Thunder? How dare you sell him out to Harley Davidson, 50's rock nostalgia."

<> (08.04.2001)

It's probably the worst Kinks album and yet it's not boring. The weakest songs are those in the style of showtunes like: "There's a Change in the Weather", "Demolition" and "Here Comes Flash". But "Sweet Lady Genevieve", "Sitting in the Midday Sun", and the second half of "Money and Corruption I am Your Man" make it worth having in your collection if you're a fan. Even if you consider it a failure, it's still more interesting than the efforts of most 70's bands. I guess that's what makes us Kinks fans.

Didier Dumonteil <> (19.04.2001)

Sure not the album to play when you feel "put down by the establishment",I agree with you George.How could one take this masquerade seriously?

The 2 parts have been reissued as one double-CD in France so I do a "double" comment.

Some tracks taken out of context can be enjoyed:"sweet lady Genevieve" is a catchy pop song."Where are they now" is wistful.I don't think it could have been  included on the village green LP because at the time (1968) most of the topics were present (Mary Quant's miniskirt) or very recent past (C.Keeler,A.Sillitoe's loneliness of the long distance runner,1962).In 1974,the events were happening at such a speed that all that -and more-had become historic past.

The second part is notable- and not unbearable-mostly because Davis has mastered some of his peers' styles and the results are sometimes stunning:"Money talks" pays to the Stones the supreme tribute of parody."When a solution comes" combines Lennon's POB whining with decadent Roxy Music final."Introduction to a solution" recalls Bowie's grandiloquence.THe appalling announcements should have been discarded for the CD release.Here Davies takes drivel to new limits.

Mark <> (02.02.2004)

I am totally out on a limb here. I haven't heard this album in years. (All these Kinks albums I have on vinyl for the most part). But I read your review and some of the readers comments, so I dug it out and listened to it. Why I didn't love this album 15 years ago is a mystery.

The "concept" that bugs you about not much happening doesn't bother me a bit. Actually, only one or two parts do I realize that this is part of a story (I know; exactly your point about there being no action) but as a collection of songs I think it's great. I've listened to it straight for the past week and I love it. Even the tracks that I don't really like "Morning Song" I find interesting (like the duet between some opera type female vocalist and I guess Ray on that track). "Daylight" I love, great droning riff and the vocals are great, with Ray describing different people that he sees everyday. Love the stereo panning on this one. "Sweet Lady Genevieve" I love. Great tune and funny lyrics (! apparently, Ray says in his book that that was his life at the time, drinking and fucking up relationships) but this is an upbeat hopeful song; most writers would mope about how they screwed up, but Ray is cheerful admitting his shortcomings and wanting to make it up to the woman. This one makes me smile; it reminds me of my own screwed up relationships and I'm sure that others will get the same feeling from it. "Change In The Weather" I like too, like the jazzy break in it, and the female vocals are neat too. "Where Are They Now" is beautiful too, with the nostalgia that you mention, but I like it, even though you are right when you compare it to the"Village Green" album. I like the wistfulness of it. I disagree entirely on "One Of The Survivors". I like this one a lot. I think it rocks. Yeah, not like "You Really Got Me", but it's about a guy (Mr. Thunder, the most obvious link to "VGPS") who is into 50's rock and roll. (And obviously Ray knows what he's talking about, t! he name drops are great). As this, it succeeds perfectly. Love the chorus: "He's one of the survivors/the boppers and the jivers". And the tempos changes kill me. Great track. And this was a single?!?!??!?!? Wonder how high it placed? It's too odd with the tempo changes I'll bet it stiffed. Too bad....."Cricket" doesn't slay me, although I think the lyrics are a hoot. Comparing the rules of cricket to the Ten Commandments in the bible? Ha ha! (And here's the proof that Ray still had a sense of humor; as you say that Ray couldn't have taken this seriously, well obviously he didn't!!!!! Even at his most "serious" he still had a black sense of humor...much more than Townsend....when Pete was writing this "opera" stuff he was too serious for his own good. At least Ray still had a smirk and a giggle even at his most pretentious). "Money And Corruption/I Am Your Man" is not my favorite, but I still find it interesting. "Here Comes Flash" I like. Love that evil opening riff (thanks for pointing out the "Paranoid" similarity!!!! I noticed it but after! I re-read your review it really hit home). Like I said, love the opening riff, but the female vocals don't add much too it for me. I still find in interesting. I guess it depends on my mood. One day I think the female vocals on "Flash" are annoying and the next it doesn't bother me. Oh well....."Sitting In The Midday Sun". I disagree that it sounds like "Sunny Afternoon". The lyrical similarity is all I get from it. But this song I think is one of Ray's masterpieces. This song absolutely kills me. The bridge "Ohh look at all the ladies..." up to the "when it's sunny whow oh" is beautiful to the point of taking my breath away. The piano in this is brilliant, the flutes, the backing vocals, the drums and best of all Ray's laid back vocals (plus his take on laziness) is brilliant. If this song went on for another 10 minutes it wouldn't be long enough for me. How this one never gets noticed is beyond me. (Although this is probably a good thing; it probably wouldn't be as impre! ssive if I've heard it with the same regularity as "You Really Got Me" ). Interestingly enough, what I have noticed about the Kinks RCA period is that some of the songs have a killer bridge or chorus that comes out of nowhere and then goes back into the rest of the song which is not too great (although "Sitting In My Hotel" is a great song in it's own right, most of this period is like that; whereas before in the mid 60's every part of the song was great. The only reason I mention "Sitting In My Hotel" is because while I like it, parts of it I love and I say to myself, "Why the fuck didn't Ray expand on that part of the song and lose some of the other parts?") Anyway, "Midday Sun" is a complete winner in my books, and proves that Ray could still write in his "classic style" of the mid to late 60's. This song stands with the best of his career and is easily one of his top 5 tracks EVER. I know, a pretty bold claim comparing it to "Waterloo Sunset" or "Autumn Almanac" (glad you noticed that one George, it seems to skip most people, I don't! know why). "Demolition" I find interesting only for the multi tracked vocals and Ray's comical "He doesn't have a garden but he's got a lovely patio" line. Again, great stereo panning on the vocals. This is one of the only other tracks that I get some of the VGPS theme. A lot of the other tracks could fit on any album. (I haven't gotten around to re-listening to "Preservation Act 2"; I have been obsessed with this album to even put it on...I will get around to it. It had better be good to pass this one in my books). Anyway George, I hope you will listen to this one again and see if it changes your mind any. I give this a high 8 or a low 9......maybe I'm crazy, but.....I always thought that Ray was a genius on a par with Lennon and Keith Richards. Now I'm convinced. I'm just sitting in the midday sun, just soaking up that currant bun...........

Greg Perryman <> (10.07.2004)

I would tend to agree more with Mark than with you here, George. Now, while this album is definitely less coherent than Act II (I didn't even know who was singing what until I read your review), I think there are some great melodies on here. If they're not the most creative or innovative that Ray has ever written, so what? I still get a rush of optimism every time I hear 'Daylight', and 'One of the Survivors' makes me wanna get up and dance. And there most certainly is humor on here. There's irony in the way the people yearn for a politician who will stop telling promises they will never keep, then they DO band around Mr. Black just like sheep. With Mr. Black's promises like "I'll work out a five-year plan," Ray's making it obvious that these are just more empty words, and the people just keep getting bamboozled. I really think this is a great album, on par with Arthur, even. Everyone that I know who has heard the album loves it.... why don't any critics?


Ivan Piperov <> (08.02.2000)

Highly imaginative. That's what I think about both the music and the plot of this wonderful CD. First I thought it was boring, but it took a few listenings and reading all lyrics to fully enjoy it all. The album is strangely accessible, not such a mental torture like Genesis' Lamb and due to the announcments quite entertaining if you are willing to.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (02.12.2001)

While I was going home with this CD in a pocket, I wondered why, the hell, did Ray divided Preservation project into two parts. Indeed, Act2 makes the whole story of Act1 rather senseless - why do I need the introduction to people, some of which even won't appear later? Besides, the scenario is so twisted that it's getting hard to realise what is going on without reading the actual lyrics (though, even this trick doesn't help sometimes...). Although, I must confess, the plot is interesting (there are some really attractive and taste places - like these 'Announcements' and 'Flash's dream' (What a funny line - 'Men like you will come and go but people will go on forever')) but badly produced. God only knows why did Ray put so much filler between strong openers and good tunes near the end. I mean that 1st LP goes off just fine - there're no annoying songs till 'Mirror of love' (included) (love Ray's voice in the line 'though you treat me b-a-a-a-a-d') which makes you think that album worthes your money - and even if the tunes of some first songs are weak, tracks themselves are saved by the touch of humor. As for the highlights, here you are: 'Mirror of love', 'Intro', 'When the solution comes' and of course 'Money talks' with some great, although too straightforward, lyrics - what can I do if the message of 'Money talks' can be so clearly connected with famous Russian corruption. But after the first half, you can't do nothing but lay the hands down - almost every song is oh so predictable. Will I ever need them? Well, only in the case if my grandchildren will start asking me: 'Grandpa, tell us about generic jazz and blues!'. Though, wait, not everything is so bad - 'Artificial man' (Brodwayish tune full of cheap tricks but oh so catchy) and 'Salvation road' are enjoyable. The main question is - why couldn't Ray wait for a few months and release a double album, a medley of 'Act1' and 'Act2'. Though, he realised his mistake and, while promoting Preservation, played both acts in 65 minutes. I wish we could have a version of live Preservation, just like Who did with Tommy. Let's hope there're some bootlegs left. Overall, Act2 is a nice album, good to listen when you're in a bit uplifted mood. My rating - 6.5

Mark <> (24.03.2004)

Okay, here our ideas are almost on the same page. (We disagreed on Preservation Act 1). I agree that some of the tracks are ver generic and are included mostly to advance the plot. And you are correct when you say that Part 1 was seemingly slapped together to keep RCA happy - you can tell by the mixes. Part 1's mixes are sloppy, parts of the tracks are buried in the mix, but Part 2 is real slick and the mixes are nice and clean. And there more tidiness to the arrangements.

That said, I disagree about the "Announcer" sections. They are expendable and are there to help the plot, but I like'em anyway. The announcers comments does patch in some things that might get lost, and even though you say that you find the whole concept a little obvious (Mr. Black being just as corrupt as Flash but in a different manner), I always laugh when the announce (with a straight face seemingly) gives the public the news of shortages, curfews etc but acts like it's a good thing and an improvement.

The music is also where we agree. There are some killer tracks here and the band's energy is much improved. "Money Talks" is good, I find the "faux opera" section in "Shepherds Of The Nation" great (and I agree with you, the lyrics are a riot). "He's Evil" is pretty good (with the reprise of "Here Comes Flash" from Part 1), "Mirror Of Love" is great (if this was the single from this album, taken out of context from the album, wonder what the public thought of Ray warblilng "You were the best man I ever had" without knowing that it was Flash's special floosie Belle singing it...first "Lola" and now this????) "Nobody Gives" is killer; what a groove!!! I like "Oh Where Is Love" dispite the it's generic melody (the vocal harmonies between Ray and, I guess, Marianne Price are killer and passionate - at least if the plot was pretty generic, he beleived, damn it!) "Flash's Dream" I think is funny, but some of it is awkward...the dialog to me is very "rehearsed" sounding and it ! sounds to me like "Flash" is reading off cue cards). "Nothing Lasts Forever" is okay, but I love "Artificial Man"; with it's time changes and the build ups, this is a classic. Great vocals by the ladies on this one, and the lyrics are funny. "Scrapheap City" I like, dispite the fact that I loathe Bette Midler, whom this song sounds like. Nice groove on this one. "Salvation" I like a lot, having a bit from "Demolition" from Part 1.

That in fact, is one of my favorite parts of this album. Even though (as someone pointed out) some of the plot and characters in Part 1 have no relevance or are not even introduced in Part 2, I find it neat hearing melodies that were on Part 1. It hits you by surprise and it always makes you go "Ohhh, I get it!!!!" which makes it a lot more interesting. I would go a little higher than your rating, I'll give it a 7. The great songs are great, the "plot advancement" songs are not bad, but they are at least interesting enough to warrant a listen. I still like Part 1 better, dispite being in the minority. At least it's shorter. While I like a lot of the songs on this one, I get restless about three quarters the way through.


Ewa Duvedal & Stefan Asplund <> (18.02.2000)

As a kinks-fan beeing able to see the kinks performe this live in stage back then I think this album is one of the best they made. Lots of good melodies and great lyrics. A ten, if you ask me.....God save the kinks

<> (19.03.2000)

When I first bought the CD, I listened to it once and threw it on the pile of thrity other Kink CDs. However Soap Opera grew on me. You neglect to mention the drinking songs. Think about it, everybody DOES have problems. OK, DON'T stop and think, just have another drink! It says much about Ray's view of "uninteresting". But he comes up with a very Joseph Campbell philosophy, everybody is a star. One of my favorites now.

<> (12.11.2000)

Soap Opera can turn you off very quickly with the embarrassing dialogue and tired melodies: It is the opposite of say a Led Zeppelin IV. However, if you judge it for what it is, it is one of the most original and colorful albums of its time. It's anti-rock taken to the extreme. Ray Davies wants to change places with Norman to do research for his songs - like a writer who needs to live the common life to write a novel about it. And, as a result, we get angry and humorous criticism of the 9 to 5 life. Listen to the Kinks album as a teenager, and it can scare you away from any thoughts of an office career. I have never listened to an album since that was so blatantly critical of the office and suburban life. And Ray Davies is not being condescending, because in the book X-Ray he discusses a time in his life when he was face to face with a future of office boredom. Norman is simply Ray if he hadn't gotten lucky and joined his brother's rock band, The Kinks!

Didier Dumonteil <> (24.04.2001)

To put it mildly ,the plot is far-fetched.So the best is to enjoy separate tracks taken outside this "conceptual" work.

For instance "nine to five" is one of these Kinks ' ballad that you will hum all day(you can waltz to it too)."Ordinary people" is pure doo-wop .(Davies will use the doo-wop again for "the first time you fall in love" on the next album)"Ducks on the wall" has an intro that can make your hair stand on end,but the rest of the track is routine rock.The best track is imho "you make it all worthwhile",because the melody survives the ponderous "dialogue".The chorus is infectious and would not be bad for a singalong."Holiday romance" displays regrettable Davies vaudeville and the rest is filler.

The bonus tracks ,so to speak,offer horrible live versions of "ordinary people" (One hardly recognizes it) and "you make it all worthwhile" (shrill and cacophonous)Nowadays,even the lousiest of the bootlegs wouldn't dare !

Sergey Zhilkin <> (20.08.2001)

Apparently, you, George, messed up the album name with band's one. Isn't it 'Kinks (featuring Norman and Starmaker)' by Soap Opera band? NO?!!! What a disappointment... Sure, it was a joke but it has its share of truth - this album marks the end of 'golden age' for boys and a start of pause which lasted till Sleepwalker. You may wonder why I've put Preservation into that era, but it's easily explained - Preservation was a kind of failed experiment, moreover it could be successful if put on 1 LP (instead of 3). And, actually, I suppose it didn't ruin much of Kinks' reputation - they could return their fame by making just a decent album and that's all.

But we got a bland album and even worse - an album stealing too many maelodies - 'secretly' stealing them. I mean that if I were Ray Davies and I'd done such a thing, I would surely make a joke out of it. You know, Kinks could just say out loud 'we're motherfuckers, we steal great riffs and give no crap about it'. But they go straight, make serious faces and say: 'man, believe us, we really wrote these songs'. Kots on every ass of every Kink, I say! Really, they could make a darn funny album. For example, 'When the work is over' could have the same melody as 'When the music's over' and '9 to 5' could borrow music from '5 to 1'. Good chance missed, I think.

Mark <> (05.02.2004)

This is an album that (like a reviewer above) I heard years ago and tossed in a pile and every once in awhile I'd pull it out and find another song that I'd like. Now I love it. I agree with you George that the humor is back. It's a fucking hoot. (And all the drinking songs are interesting - apparently Ray was into the booze big time, but decided to deal with it in a humorous way instead of "Alcohol" off Muswell Hillbillies). Plus all the dialog that's on the songs between Ray and Norman's wife is a riot, especially in "You Make It Worthwhile" and "Rush Hour Blues". I crack up everytime. As to this being a bad move....I can't agree. I like it a lot, and I think it's much better than Muswell which is the pick for most people's "best RCA album". Yeah some of the riffs are familiar (one you missed George! was "Ducks On The Wall" which is a carbon copy -except faster- of "Supersonic Rocket Ship" from Show-Biz....which was ripped from "Junior's Farm" by Beatle Paulie) but I can see the humor in it. Being Ray after all, he's not a stupid boy, so I'm sure he knew it too (I always thought that the "Jumping Jack Flash" riff in "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" was a sarcastic dig at the Stones. I mean c'mon, you had to notice that one and probably expect to be sued for it too). No wonder that Ray is a little bitter; this is one of his most brilliant pieces and it bombed. I'd be a bitter bastard too. Okay, so there is a few plot lapses here (listen to Tommy lately?) but I always thought like you, that it was all a dream or Norman's split personality (and knowing about how uhhhh, "intersting" Ray is, why not?) And man, Ray sings amazing on this album. One of my favorite moments with ANY vocalist is Ray's vocal in "You Make It All Worthwhile" near the end after the female vocals! . Wow. Plus the production is killer and the band is hot. Dave probabl y wasn't a big fan of this album like you said, because he is conspicuously absent in the vocals department and not much of his guitar that I can tell. If he preferred Schoolboys to this, then it shows that he's not a great judge sometimes. Then again, with the "Broadway" like style, there's probably not much room for his wailing. And I like how you liken Ray to an actor on this one - I never thought of it like that before, but now I see it and find it facinating. Would have loved to have seen a concert from this tour. It would have been a hoot. Anyway, I give this one an 8. I like it much more than a lot of other Kinks albums.


<> (06.08.2000)

It's funny that you say this album can be used for a high school reunion because at the high school I teach in, "The Last Assembly" was used as one of the graduation songs. Believe it or not, kids from this East Harlem school were arm in arm singing "gather round ..." But I agree with your rating. Songs like "Schooldays" and "The Last Assembly" seem to be written just for those occasions which means the music is unimaginative - fun interpretations of 50's ballads and doo wop songs - and the lyrics are certainly not cutting edge. What happened to the quirkiness and originality of say a "David Watts" which has some great lines like "I cannot tell water from champagne" or "Do you Remember Walter" - "smoking cigarrettes by the garden gate"? The harder rockers like "I'm in Disgrace", "Headmaster" and "The Hardway" are fun songs, but they seem to fall uncomfortably between punk and classic rock: not raw and impulsive enough to be punk and yet too spare to be classics.

<> (13.10.2000)

While by 1975 The Kinks had recorded several superbly good LPs, they were presently on a run of 3 superbly bad ones. Even their prior best, the lusciously melodic Something Else failed to do what this album does -- RULE.

This is the album where Dave became a real lead guitarist and Ray a real... uhhh, vocalist. Mick's drumming... well, he's had better outings (most notably, Something Else, unless the Nick Trevisick attack on Dave's tunes was indeed Nick Trevisick's), but this is his most diverse album as a rock drummer to date. And both Johns, Dalton and Gosling, finally woke up before the 3:00 bell.

Best song is difficult to pick, because of the introduction of a category previously unfamiliar (and perhaps unimportant) to Kinks fans: technical proficiency. The "Headmaster" break is Dave's finest hours as a lead guitarist, with ""No More Looking Back" a respectable, if not very close, second. To the latter also belongs the most soulful lead vocal of Ray's career and one of the snappier drum pieces known beyond doubt to be Mick's.

It is fiting that the lyrics to this album have many references to rites de passage. For Kinks and Kinks fans alike, this album was nothing less.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (29.10.2001)

Okay, I finished school this year and the context of Schoolboys should be very familiar to me and should awake some good and nostalgic feelings as well, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't. From the very first sight I understood that album was supposed to be made in the 'those were the days' style but now I also learnt another side of the story (and Kinks, in general) - when Ray tries to write nostalgia filled lyrics, he fails and all we get is banal lyrics and chewn hackneyed melody ('Schooldays'). The whole conception can also leave the building since, you know, it all sounds like an obligatory part of album and doesn't bring any sense at all (and this story about little boy growing up into mr.Flash seems to be completely absurd - Ray doesn't even mention mr. Flash here).

But, anyway, I liked a part of this album so after hitting poor Ray on the head, I'll start praising him. Let's start from the very obvious thing - this is the only album, together with 'Wall' (has anybody noticed that Pinks stole the idea of these famous masks from Kinks' stage performances?), is the only albums which tells us stories about school life. Next, even if melodies are nothing new, there are hooks everywhere, even on the poorest tracks like 'No more looking back' and 'Last assembly'. The best hook, IMHO, appears on 'Education' ('but saved the day!!!'), although Ray shouldn't have included this corny coda ('Everybody needs an education, black skin, red skin, yellow or white, everybody needs to read and write'), which spoils the song a bit.

Fortunately, we're talking about school so humor is here - 'Jack the Idiot dunce' is cool enegretic song about a fool who became the local star of dance (I laughed at the line 'Hey! who's that cool looking dude dancing with all the chicks? -- Jack, Jack, the idiot dunce...'); then there's a silly 'Headmaster' about a boy who doesn't want to confess but he's obliged to do it, and, finally, 'Hard way' with stolen riff but who cares if it's great?

So to end with this, I want to say that Ray failed to deliver so needed atmosphere, but the record is till saved by many hooks. Does it all worth $10 which I paid? Well, ummm....if I had only two variants of answer, I would ahve said 'yes'....

Andrew Yurkovsky <> (28.01.2002)

Please note the following chart positions for RCA albums by the Kinks.

I do not think that SBID was the last straw for RCA. If memory serves me, this was the group's final original RCA album simply because their contract was up (6-LP deal). Thanks to their annual coast-to-coast touring, the Kinks probably had a larger following in the United States by 1975 than they had in 1972 (when they performed at Carnegie Hall). And, in fact, the chart positions--with the exception of the convoluted Preservation albums--reflect an increasing, rather than declining, popularity. A. Yurkovsky

100-14 50-12 48-13 Muswell Hillbillies

70-14 68-13 47-14 Everybody's in Show-Biz

177- 6 151- 8 106-12 Preservation Act I

114-11 79-12 105- 9 Preservation Act II

51-13 33-14 28-19 Soap Opera

45-14 64-13 43-13 Schoolboys in Disgrace

144- 5 155- 6 177-4 Kinks' Greatest -- Celluloid Heroes


<> (25.08.2000)

A friend croaks. I am dealing with it very badly. Someone hands me this CD and says "listen to the last song." BANG! I'm a Kinkophile. This started me on the road to collecting all I could get my hands on. 'JUKEBOX MUSIC' and 'SLEEPWALKER' are two hot rock tracks. 'STORMY SKY' and 'FULL MOON' change the mood just enough. Does anyone know who Mr. Big Man is? Some say Rod Stewart. I have also heard Elton John. "No one will care if you've been good or bad, right or wrong, life will still go on..."

Didier Dumonteil <> (24.04.2001)

It's one of the last good Kinks albums.No more concept except maybe for the three tracks "Sleepless night/Stormy sky/Full moon",the latter being some kind of outburst after a fake quietness(sleepless...) and something ominous (stormy...) :it's also the Stevenson's-Jekyll-Mr Hyde syndrome that will be continued on "yo - yo" and "Art lover" on give the people what they want."Brother" (a pean to Dave?) is a nice ballad,and "life on the road " is very exciting ,alternating slow bits and stunning accelerations.I feel a Springsteen (ouch!)("thunder road" "jungleland") influence here.

The bonus tracks,unlike those of soap opera are a godsend:all are worthwhile,"on the outside" the stand-out for me.(but why 2 versions?I can hardly tell them apart)

Sergey Zhilkin <> (28.12.2001)

Double 'wow!' from me for this record - what a relief. Although, I actually love Kinks' Brodway period, I simply forgot how the guys can rock. And what really matters - it's not a generic rockin' (like on Low budget or Give the people...). Hell, just listen to title track and you'll know what I mean - no brass section, just a few piano lines here and there and finally - swinging guitars. And what about riff? It's not 'Can't explain' anymore! Just try to remember when the Kinks used original, not stolen, riff - dude, it was 7 years ago on 'Lola'! And tender ballads are back, too - 'Stormy sky' with wonderful, gentle guitar playing and 'Full moon'. Gee, did i tell you that I love the lyrics about sleepwalking? Well, they are funny and original so what else do you need? Btw, I don't really care about solos. You probably know that I'm not the fan of One for the road so to hell with Dave (don't think I hate the guy - I just don't like his predictable solos (he's no Townshend after all)). Yeah, and this time Velvel did a great job - four new songs, three of which rule. 'Poseur' is a creepy riff rocker but I always get a feeling that some lines are borrowed from 'Sunshine of your love'. Anyway, it's nice. 'Prince of the punks' (dedicated to Mr. Rotton?) has funny and stinging at the same time lyrics and good melody as well. Plus, don't forget about 'On the outside' and its mix (better version) - another touching ballad. So remastered CD gets a 8/10 from me. Maybe the last great Kinks' album.

Bob Josef <> (11.11.2002)

There are three great singles here (the title track, "Jukebox Music," "Prince of the Punks"), as well as "Life on the Road" (a terrific live number -- they should dig a performance up), so I had high hopes for the balance of the album. But the rest of it, while certainly listenable, doesn't really grab me. The songs seem a little bland, relatively uninvolving. Certainly their best in a long time, but they would do better later.

On a tour they did after releasing The Road, they did "Sleepwalker," but they gave the lead vocal to Dave for some reason. A major error -- I do like his voice, but it definitely didn't work here.

I'm surprise that no one has commented on the lyrics to "On the Outside" -- it was still exceedingly rare for a rock star to express empathy for gay people. Based on a Kinks biography I once read, I would guess that Ray is writing to Dave -- but that is just a guess.


<> (09.08.2000)

Isn't it great that there is a storyteller out there that isn't all sunshine, lollypops and rainbows? I think my Kinks pull it off, very melodically, singing about the human condition - Hay Fever, cross-dressing, getting a perm - living life, basically. You are right about 'Trust Your Heart' - I had to read the liner notes to find out what the hell Dave was screaming about, but all in all it is one of the best albums they did, in my opinion. Ever meet someone who believes in a savior coming to set the world on fire? It could be worth a whole mini rock opera if you could harness the passion. I think Ray did very well here. Bravo.

<> (31.08.2000)

This is an era of the Kinks that seems to be all but ignored by radio, 77-83, when the Kinks made some kick ass records............from Sleepwalker through Word Of Mouth, they were a consistently excellent band, with nary a misstep along the way........Why they do not have a record contract today is beyond me. I loved this album when it first came out.........only slightly less today. The lyrics to 'Rock And Roll Fantasy' scare the bejesus out of me. Why? Because I could defintly relate to the kid in the song, who just sits in his room, and becomes lost in the music........becomes lost in his own Rock And Roll Fantasy..........I spent hours in my room listening to my stereo when I was growing up.......Yep, ol Ray could have been singing about me. 'Misfits' is an equally powerful song. When i listen to 'Hay Fever', I want to run to the bathroom, get a tissue, jump through my speakers, and give Ray that damm tissue to blow his nose..........Jeez..talking about really getting into the song..........and a damm funny song at that. Well, radio, should wake up, and start playing these damm Kinks albums again...........and take Wimp Bisquick, and all these other pretenders out to pasture.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (16.09.2005)

Still looking at the seductive CDs by King Crimson and Genesis, I grabbed a copy of one of the Kinks’ late records. Is it that I’m under Ray Davies’ spell and Misfits is no good? Frankly speaking, I don’t give a damn. I like Misfits. There are too many painfully good moments here to save the record from being bland and insipid. Probably a bit generic, but I’d rather take Ray’s genericness over…well, never mind. The album provides us with yet another set of strong melodies from our favourite songwriter. How many classics do we have this time? The sad title track, the dreamy “The R’n’R Fantasy”, the reggaeish “Black Messiah”. Three classics (Kinks’ classics!). And I also quite like the sniffy “Hay Fever” (with a great hookline, “There must be a cure from this hay fever”), the hairy “Permanent Waves” (with a great (dumb?) hookline, “Comb your hair, put on weight, try to look up-to-date”). I’m fond of the hard rocking “Live Life”, the humorous “Out Of The Wardrobe” with its unforgettable refrain, the optimistic “Get Up”. And I dig Dave’s vocals on his lone tune here, “Trust Your Heart”. See, I mentioned every song here (oh, “In A Foreign Land”? It’s good, especially those silly la la la’s), which means: no charmless songs, every song has something to offer. And so many messages! Banal, yes, but still.

Several bonus cuts and, unfortunately, only one new song. But what a song! “Father Christmas”! Another message? Seems so. Well, a 12/15 for the record.


<> (25.08.2000)

In my opinion, the best Kinks Rock and Roll album. It contains the song that changes many a life in 'NATIONAL HEALTH'. One of the most beautiful songs with more of Ray's inner feelings is 'LITTLE BIT OF EMOTION'. The people in that song are like the guy in CLICHES OF THE WORLD (B MOVIE) on the State of Confusion CD that is, for some reason, not mentioned in your reviews. I think that is why the Kinks are so large in my eyes - they speak to the human condition, they strike a chord. OK, enough cliches...

Didier Dumonteil <> (22.04.2001)

THe Kinks' popularity was soaring in the late seventies.

"Little bit of emotion" is one of the biggest ballad written by Ray Davies.The words come right from the heart,the voice is moving and yearning,and you can't get the melody out of your head.

But that's only one track,we hear...What about the rest?

Simply filler.


<> (01.12.2000)

This is the perfect Kinks album for the uninitiated. The quirkiness of the Kinks' masterpieces like Village Green, Something Else, and Arthur are an acquired taste because they stray so far from mainstream rock n' roll. Ray Davies' voice during the "Golden Age" was so whimsical that "conventional" rock listeners couldn't take it seriously - just a guess. One For the Road on the otherhand is one of those few Kinks albums that could be blasted at parties without people questioning what's coming out of the speakers. Call it the Kinks "frat rock" album. One For the Road is by far the Kinks most polished live album. But compare One For the Road's "Victoria" and "David Watts" to the originals, and you realize that sounding cool and "respectable" (in the kids' ears) has become more important to the Kinks than musical art.

Didier Dumonteil <> (24.04.2001)

I don'ty know why someone on the site wrote that they didn't play Kinks music in the late seventies.Where was he? low budget was a top 20 album in the billboard.This one made the charts too.This is not glorious stuff though.This live album suffers from a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the singer and lays too much emphasis on noisy and ugly guitars.The ballads like "celluloid heroes" and"misfits" are botched.Do keep your dough.

<> (06.05.2001)



Sergey Zhilkin <> (03.09.2001)

Everyone above was so excited about this record so, I guess, I'll have to fart and spoil the whole fun. Btw, it's the only place on Kinks' page where I disagree with George, so this comment should be treasured!

Ok, I suppose that I am the only 'lucky one' here to have a double-CD album. The first CD contains the same songs as you reviewed, George, and the second one has an extract of footage from a concert (it's like a Paul is live video companion to 'Paul is live' video). And you know what? I would have rated One for the road with 12 scores just like you if there were no video. What's the point, you ask? Well, the theatre on stage is still with us. Do I have to continue? I think yes, since you don't have any Kinks' videos from that era.

Ray looks like mad on stage. He completely forgets to play his guitar when it's needed and prefers to jump like a goat all over the stage to impress the crowd. He makes very silly face when he sings 'Low budget' (and it's not a kind of silliness that was spread over Village green record), asks people to clap hands by clapping his own (but people don't really want to do it) and, finally, strips a bit on some songs. Moreover, he sometimes runs towards the edge of stage (damn, I nearly wrote 'arena'. Arena of circus) and impels teenagers in first rows to try to touch his jeans. To fill the list, here's one more - Ray wasn't bastardizing 'Lola' - he just couldn't sing any better.

Fortunately, some things still redeems this concert. First of all, it's Ray's brother who doesn't play theatre games anymore - he prefers to do quality solos and comes out of shadow only when Ray cries out loud: 'Dave Davies on guitar!!!'. Next, Ray calms down on 'Celluloid heroes' and 'Misfits', which helps the songs out. The keyboards player (Ian Gibbons, if I'm not mistaken) saves the day, too. Anyway, if you have one CD version, you're lucky - you'll never know what the hell was going on on stage, but me... For me the songs are ruined by this 'theatre'.

Btw, I don't really know how come '20th century man' wins the title of best song on this live album cause it's really ruined by being heavily metallized and by too rough voice (again, Ray was 'impressing' crowd). I mean, heck, the song was meant to be humble in the beginning (complains from simple Village Green dweller - that's what it is!), but mr. Davies the elder starts roaring on the first minute! That's pretty awful, counting that the song is played at least two times faster than original. And 'You really got me' doesn't sound as sharp as original, too (mostly because of too long and ordinary solo which has nothing to do with good old one string solo).

Nevertheless, I give this record 10 scores on general rating scale (still, there're some painfully good moments, too - 'I wish I could fly like superman' and 'Celluloid heroes' are among them). Thanks for attention, orr over.

Bob Josef <> (17.11.2003)

Well, I agree that the sound is a tad murky, but having seen the band twice in 1980 (in a college gym in March, this album and tour gave them enough momentum to be playing multiple nights in stadia like the Philadelphia Spectrum by October -- it was great to see them having that much success), I can say that the album pretty much shows what you got sonically from a Kinks show that year, for better or for worse. In particular, the record really showcases what a great and underrated guitarist Dave Davies was, even if he was a bit too loud at this point. I would agree with Didier that the ballads are the least successful tracks -- especially "Celluloid Heroes," in which they omit the verse that mentions Marilyn Monroe in favor of Ian Gibbons' squealing Moog synth intro. Not bad, but too electric.

The song selection is accurate in a couple of senses -- heavy on Low Budget, of course, and the three American top 10 hit singles. Ray also did that corny "Lola" bit, but would add a rather mean-spirited "Of course, we all know that disco sucks" (which seems rather hypocritical in the wake of "Superman," but anyway...). As far as more obscure classic songs, though, they evidently really shuffled the bag. Out of the non-Low Budget tracks on the album that I haven't mentioned, I can only remember "The Hard Way" and "Misfits" for sure performed at the shows I saw. They did NOT do "20th Century Man," which I agree is the best song on the album. With Ray's desperate vocal, Dave's powerful guitar and Ian's repetitive synth overdub (one of only 3 songs where he did overdubs), this version sound like the Kinks' "Won't Get Fooled Again." Fantastic!

However, I do remember a medley that included "Death of a Clown." And at the Philadelphia show, they pulled out one that Ray said that they were performing for the first time in years -- "See My Friends" (!!!), complete with more of Ian's Moog in the arrangement. However, since the original single was a big bomb in the U.S., the crowd was more confused than anything else. Too bad, because this was a great version of a classic, if obscure, song.


Ben Greenstein <> (06.08.99)

Yeah - what's up with "Art Lover"? It's got a perfectly decent melody, but for some reason Ray decided to give it those stupid lyrics about a child molester, which completely sabotage any hopes of it being at all commercial. A good songwriter like Ray should know that, in order to pen a hit single, people have to be able to relate to it - and it strikes me that the song could have been really personal and gorgeous if it had lyrics about something like - I don't know - art.

And the rest of the album stinks, save for the miniscule hit "Destroyer" and the pretty gorgeous "Better Things," which you shamefully did not mention. I give this a really, really low score.

<> (05.06.2000)

C'mon. Listen to the words. The guy is NOT a child molester. He misses what was taken from him. He doesn't want to own, snatch, harm. He wants to put a frame around it and view it for what it is...God's greatest art work. As a father of two girls, I can relate. Look up the word 'epiphany' and you will see what he is referring to. The whole album is good, and 'Art Lover' is the best song on the album. The live version on The Road got me interested. Take a jog and work out the tension. I rate it MUCH higher.

M.Franklin <> (30.10.2000)

While there are many things that could be said about this review I will leave them for someone who feels the need to rant. After all, its just another opinion, but...

I felt the need to chime in and support Ben's appreciation for "Better Things". The melody and lyrics really speak to me and I have shared it with many appreciative friends. The words, and the mood the song invokes, have gotten me through some very difficult times in my life. When I lost a friend to cancer, Ray was there to cheer me up. When my girl and I split, Ray told me it would be alright. Of course, on more than one occasion, I wondered why I go to work, and Ray reminded me that it was to prepare for the next better thing.

That's a lot more than most songs do for me.

Didier Dumonteil <> (24.04.2001)

"Art lover" is definitely not a song about a child molester.A reference to "Degas' Ballerina" does show we are dealing with a genuine art lover.The French singer Serge Gainsbourg had the same problem when he released a song called "lemon incest", a duet with her daughter.He did tell in his song :"l'amour que nous ne ferons jamais ensemble est le plus beau"(=the love we will never make together is the most beautiful).But the song caused scandal among the well-meaning people,but anyway,this artist,the greatest we ever had in France was used to it."yo yo" is another episode of the ongoing DrJekill and Mr Hyde (who is the real me doctor?) story.Vocally ,R.Davies is impressive here."Better Days",an optimistic song,is catchy and poppy.

Three good tracks on an album:you make it on the percentages,but lose out on the bonuses.But for the sinister eighties,that's still good value.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (27.05.2001)

After a good comeback Ray thought that he could relax again and do whatever he wanted to. Yeah, surely he is relaxing on Give the people what they want and you can tell it by his voice. The atmosphere is rather pleasant for Ray and here is no 'money-making mood' but for actual reasons you can't share Ray's happiness. That's all Ray goes too much generic. And the lyrics are not as good as they used to be. The title track is really dumb. I mean, where are metaphors? You don't have to think about the meaning of the song, cuz Ray tells it for us, stupid morons.

I like the middle part of record - just three songs. 'Killer's eyes', 'Predictable' (imho, a ripoff of Stones 'Respectable'), 'Add it up' (generic but catchy), 'Destroyer' (a melody taken from 'You really got me' - it's a very bad sign) and wonderful ballad 'Yo-yo'. The latter is a classic post Low Budget song. Unfortunately, others are very lousy. Maybe except title track with its good guitarwork.

In other words, if you have an idea of collecting everything these damned Kinks have produced, be sure to grab it - it's not bad at all. In other case, buy yourself Harrison's All things must pass (sorry, I'm still his fan).

Mark <> (09.01.2004)

Okay George, most of the time I agree with you, but on this one, I've got to disagree. I love this fact, it could be my favorite Kinks album. (I Love Village Green and Lola Vs. a lot too). Some of it could be typical "heavy metal rockers" as you say, but again, when it's on, it's smoking. I am pleased that you singled out "Yo-Yo", one that most people don't notice much. Great lyrics and a funny performance. Again, Ray's storytelling is great; you can almost picture the man and wife living together in complete apathy. And while "Destroyer" does have quotes from "Lola" and "All Day", it's still a fun track with a great groove and a lyric that I always wondered if it was about some experience Ray had (like "Lola"). I never really made the connection that you did about the "commercialization" that you mentioned. I see it now, but as you point out, it is rather loose in parts. I really love "Around The Dial" with the heavy riff in the beginning and then using B! each Boys harmonies in the middle. Ray's sense of humor is still wicked, even this late in the game. And while you are correct in saying that some of it "drags". You are bang on, but when they kick, they kick. Hard. I could do without "Back To Front", "Add It Up" and "Predictable" just doesn't go anywhere in particular for me. "Killers Eyes" I like for the lyrics and it's a pretty decent llittle song. The title track has a nice kick to it with a decent riff and Ray sounds fucking insane on it (plus the "There goes a piece of the President's brain!!!" line cracks me up every time). "Better Things" is one of the better songs Ray wrote in the late 70's and early 80's (why do I always think of Lennon when I hear it??) Which leaves the infamous "Art Lover". You are not fond of it, and some of the comments are not particularly flattering towards it, but I love it. I agree with's about a guy who loses his child and relates it to "art". But I always thought this was one of Ray's more brilliant songs. The big set up, you think the guy is a pervert or a stalker, and then he lets you in on the real reason....this kid reminds him of his child that was taken from him. It's a big sucker punch. But if you don't get that far into the song (or are so offended by the first part) you miss the punchlline. Of cource, Ray being Ray, he couldn't write a song about losing a child in a custody battle (I am assuming) and have it straight and honest. he would have to disguise it, maybe to hide his pain. Maybe I'm way off base here and the guy is just having an elaborate jjoke, but I'd like to think that he's a little bit more crafty than that. I sense that was probably the intent of "Little Bit Of Emotion", but here the joke was made a little more obvious. Anyway, I give this one a 7 or 8 out of 10. Okay, so it's not Arthur, or Villliage Green or Something Else By The Kinks, but is it fair that we judge everybody's latest work by their classics, especially when their classics are like this????? Ahhhh, opinions..........


Sergey Zhilkin <> (27.05.2001)

That's right - the worst thing about the album is its opener. Openers, to be more exact. First three songs are just generic heavy metal crap and I don't even know how anyone can get kicks from them. Things get better with 'Come dancing' and 'Property'. But the main treasure of record is its rest part - starting from 'Don't forget to dance' and ending with a bonus track 'Noise'. In fact, it was really hard for me to get through the first three songs so I used to think that State of Confusion sucked.

I was amazed by the lyrics of 'Young conservatives' just like you because they were so fresh for my life (nah, don't think that I was with these 'Going Together' company for Putin). 'Don't forget' had a very nice guitar work that nearly ripped my heart out. 'Heart of gold' is a very touching song, too, because of Ray's vocal (I always like when Ray is singing gently - not crying 'GIVE THE PEOPLE...' ). Others are great, too.

Actually, State of confusion is a sequel to Give the people - just look at the cover. But this time it is much better. The record seems to be an oasis in the desert of all these heavy metal, generic hard rock and etc. Unfortunately, it's the last glory in Kinks' collection, so don't care much for their later output.


Munro Chaligne <> (13.07.2002)

I think your a bit hard with this album , it's not as bad.I don't agree with you when you write that "do it again" is the best song on the album "living on a thin line" is way better!

A song like "sold me out" is quite pleasant to listen to (I think it can be compared to "add it up" in GTPWTW. 'Guilty' could have been a good song if dave had let Ray sing it!!!!! But I admit that this lp didn't match the quality of state of confusion


<> (01.02.2003)

good kinks album. there's a few ditties that kinda stick around in the brain. "think visual" and "lost and found" are 2 of them. really good songs. those 2 songs are good enough to go out and buy the cd/album.


<> (29.05.2006)

I think the lyrics to "The road" were supposed to be "Jimmy Hendrix, The Who, The Led Zeppelin "ARE" free, They took the road, so its alright by me". That makes more sense in the story of the song. The song is a retrospect of years on the road and how bad it seemed. Why did they do it? Because they were free. I think its a typical bitter sweet Kinks song, I like it. I think the original release of the lyrics were probably misprinted. Unfortunately like everything else Ray Davies does, its been lost in obscurity. I agree with the webmaster though, the album doesn't compare to The bone............roc


Sergey Zhilkin <> (14.11.2002)

I don't see any reasons to rate it as Word of mouth. This is the worst Kinks album I've ever heard and that's for sure! Phobia, I hear you crying? Nope, Phobia has some fun and melodical tracks. This one sure demonstrates few nice melodies ("War is over", "Down all the days" and "What are we doing", which I think is the best song here) but the whole atmosphere is somewhat gloomy. Also, there's too much social observations and I tell you, I hate social 80s observations (a thing that killed Who's It's hard, btw). "Aggrivation" does nothing for me cause this time I can't stand the generic lyrics about the world pressing on you. FUCK OFF, Ray, I say! Do you really think people are interested in such banal and flat lyrics? Where's the wit you used to demonstrate in Arthur? Or the fun of Lola? Damn it, even the recent Word of mouth had some nice nostalgic tracks which managed to come close to my heart! This one spits with used riffs ("Entertainment") and simply bad ballads ("How do I get close" and "Loony ballon"). Fortunately, bonus tracks (only for CD issues) contain two good Dave tracks. Enjoy. If you can.

Diego Roversi <> (11.08.2004)


even if is not one of the best album of The Kinks, is one of the most interesting: 'Aggravation' is singular, you love it or you hate it, 'UK Jive' is stupid but very funny (try to sing it... dududu .... :) ), and 'What Are We Doing' is one of my favorites. The only song i really dislike is 'Entertainment' (boring punk song).

I agree is not a classic The Kinks album, but there was enough of them.

Perhaps it deserves more attention...

That was my humble opinion.


<> (25.08.2000)

Another CD in my collection that gathered dust until a long road trip forced me to pop it in the car. Then, BANG, it goes from zero to 10+. Listen to 'STILL SEARCHING'. Everyone is. 'DON'T' is my favorite - you think a guy is on the verge and in reality he is standing on a rainbow. 'SCATTERED' is the best song on the CD. "In the end, there will only be my ashes to scatter" and the quest for the lost loved-one really oozes with Ray's feelings. Another one to keep and treasure. Who cares where the boys get their ideas from?

Gwen <> (17.08.2004)

No offense, ok?! I'ne been an almost life long fan of the KINKS, and a life long heavy metal fan - all sorts of metal, to be honest.Maybe I'll just sound stupid - the good old habit- but well... do you know "Dirty dreams" by Alice Cooper (the Hey stoopid album, not the best)? Does it not remind you of "Somebody stole my car"?

Well, never mind if it does not, I'm only too happy to share my feelings on that wonderful album with someone who likes it too!!! If you want to tell me to wash my ears, just try; I'm fond of violent riffs, but am not THAT violent myself! Keep on r'n'rolling!!


Peter Castanos <> (05.09.2000)

I would just like to give you some extra info on To The Bone by the Kinks.

The single CD version was released in UK in 1994, the double CD in the US and elsewhere in 1996. The live in the studio tracks were all recorded at Konk in 1994. The two new tracks were recorded in 1996, so they're not old outtakes.

The acoustic guitar riff on 'VGPS' (the flute bit) is I believe Dave and not Ray. You will clearly hear 2 acoustic guitars on the track, Ray's is mixed to the left and Dave's to the right.

<> (23.10.2000)

I just got this album and it KICKS ASS. I really like Dave Davies vocals on death of a clown. Also great are "Set Me Free" "You Really Got Me" and "Days". The british version is the same as disc one except it does not have "Do It Again" (either one), but instead features "Waterloo Sunset" and "Autumn Almanac" and closes with "You Really Got me".


Peter Castanos <> (17.04.2002)

Hi George

I'm sitting here with my cherished GLKA LP and my 30 or so Kinks CDs and have realised that slowly but surely the 14 LP tracks are making their way onto official releases.

Here's what I can make out: 'There is No Life Without Love' - bonus track on 1998 Something else reissue. 'Mr Songbird' -bonus track on 1998 Village Green reissue. 'When I Turn on..' .- BBC sessions 2001. 'The Way Love Used to Be' - Percy. 'I'm Not Like Anybody Else' - Face to Face 1998 reissue plus numerous compilations.

Plastic Man - numerous compilations and Arthur bonus track. 'This Man He Weeps Tonight' - Arthur bonus track.

So that leaves seven brilliant tracks (well, six plus Dave's) yet to be officially released.

P.S. Further to my earlier email, I noticed that the Dave song "Groovy Movies" from the original LP is missing from this Bootleg version and therefore is the only track missing from both this Bootleg and any official release. It is however on other Great Lost bootleg CDs.

Incidentally I just bought this bootleg on ebay. The real one, not the copy copy! I've got my fingers crossed that the sound quality (on the second half) will be as good as my LP.

BBC SESSIONS 1964-1977

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Carson Duper <> (18.03.2003)

Haven't heard the disc yet, but I think there was more storytelling in the show I saw at the Alcazar in San Francisco. There were sad and scary tales of bad management and show biz exploitation. The "kontroversy" over whether or not them Kinks was gay. (Apparently, their name attracted at least one well-heeled in-the-closet mentor who had 'em playing for his private parties - so there was SOME basis to the rumor!) And LOTS of bashing of his English rock contemporaries - especially John Lennon, whom Davies remembered as monumentally arrogant and sarcastic (go figure). After making the mistake of complimenting Lennon minutes before going onstage with a zillion other groups opening for the pre-American-tour Beatles, John replied: "We're the Beeee-tles, laddie. Nobody "opens" for us. You're just here to hold the place down until WE come on."

Talk about arrogant and sarcastic! Mr. Davies was an acid-tongued, disingenuous, condescending, smarmy and patronizing TEASE all night! He hit the opening chords of "Lola," smirked "how they love the hits," and when the cheering died down, went and played something else! He had this look that seemed to say, "how curious we share the same world," and acted like slumming royalty through the whole show, which was just him on acoustic with one backup guitarist on acoustic/electric to fill out the sound. I got the distinct impression old Ray wouldn't be much fun to share a pint with down at the pub - unless you were a masochist.

Yet if you had handed me a Paul McCartney concert ticket that same night and said "choose," I'd have picked Ray then and I still would. For me, seeing only the aforementioned John would be a greater privilege - and that, alas, will never happen. Of the greats I have seen - Dylan, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, King Crimson, The Beach Boys, Plant and Page, The Grateful Dead (and from backstage with the Hells Angels!) - or the near greats - Tower of Power at their sizzling early peak, U2 at that street concert with the graffiti incident, Los Lobos at a tiny dance hall just before "La Bamba" came out, Sal Valentino (looking and sounding just like Frankie Vallee, sitting in unexpectedly and weirdly with a progressive jazz group at a bar in Sacramento), Frankie Vallee himself with the Four Seasons in Reno, Maceo Parker at a barbecue juke joint in Oakland, The Doobie Brothers (yawn) wherever, Jorma Kaukonen alone with his big guitar, Todd Rundgren with a whole mess of drunk old ! rockers at one of those benefits, The Ramones (with fog, yet), Primus (with Buckethead!), Steve Morse, John Paul Jones, Dire Straits, etc. etc. - or even jazz immortals - Count Basie (at Disneyland!), Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Pharaoh Sanders, McCoy Tyner with Bobby Hutcherson - have I missed anyone good? Well, anyhow, believe me... nobody but nobody could have pleased me more than the great and captivating Ray Davies.

He's simply in a class of his own. Legendary, first-wave, the much-overlooked and underrated survivor, influential beyond and perhaps ONLY beyond his time, and one of the most unique prime creators of that music I love most. Yes, he was a disappointment at that uniformly disappointing Queen's Jubilee thing (though Brian May ripping "God Save" from the roof of Buckingham Palace was pretty darn cool), and he hasn't done much lately except maybe get mistaken for one of Herman's Hermits in those Union Jack rags. But even in his rock'n'roll dotage, the old bitch still looks pretty good! And he's Ray Davies, thou foolish mortals. Ray Fucking Davies!

His encore at the Alcazar was "Thank you for the Days..." Indeed.


Brad Langoulant <> (09.05.2001)

If anyone is looking for a good collection of Kinks songs its proberbly best to ignore big hits and any other greatest hits albums and go straight for the singles collection.

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