Archive | April, 2017

Certain Songs #855: The Kinks – “The Village Green Preservation Society”

Album: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
Year: 1968

Two years in the making, with multiple configurations — there was a scrapped U.S. album that featured about half of these tracks called Four More Respected Gentlemen — and the entire Something Else By The Kinks album recorded after the Ray Davies had the original concept, there is absolutely no reason The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society should hold together as well as it does.

But it does, of course, and that goes to the incredibly high quality of the songs that Ray Davies wrote, the singularity of his worldview — especially for the late 1960s — and the quantum leap in musicianship in his band. Not to mention the trust he’d earned. In 1964, Dave Davies would have laughed at songs like “Animal Farm” or “Phenomenal Cat,” but just a few years later, he provided the voice of the cat.

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Certain Songs #854: The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset”

Album: Something Else By The Kinks
Year: 1967

One the short list of Prettiest Songs Ever Recorded, Every Song Ever Division, “Waterloo Sunset” is an absolutely titanic achievement. It’s usually listed as Ray Davies’ greatest song, and it’s really on a par with only “You Really Got Me” in terms of impact and influence.

And there absolutely no disagreement here: when I first got Something Else By The Kinks, I played the entire album — learned to love the entire album, really — in order to get to hear “Waterloo Sunset” another time.

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Certain Songs #853: The Kinks – “Afternoon Tea”

Album: Something Else by The Kinks
Year: 1968

The thing about writing about an album as jam-packed with great songs as Something Else By The Kinks is trying to narrow it down to only a handful of songs, especially since it’s only the first of four utter classics in a row.

So, it’s been difficult to pick which songs to write about. While the opening and closing tracks were always going to be written about, just because I didn’t write entries on the likes of the jaunty “Harry Rag,” the rollicking “Love Me Till The Sun Shines,” the domestic drama of “Situation Vacant” or the psychedelic “Lazy Old Sun” — notice how even the song titles are evocative — doesn’t mean I couldn’t have.

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Certain Songs #852: The Kinks – “Two Sisters”

Album: Something Else By The Kinks
Year: 1967

It’s weird being in a band with your brother. Especially if you really don’t have all that much in common with said brother. So it’s no wonder that Ray Davies found his relationship with his younger, wilder brother such a fertile subject for songs, from “Dandy” (possibly) to “Rock and Roll Fantasy” (definitely).

But my favorite is the allegorical “Two Sisters,” which, in a great bit of sequencing follows Dave Davies’ allegorical song about giving up (or at least toning down) his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle with Ray’s allegorical song about being jealous of said rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

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Certain Songs #851: The Kinks – “Death of a Clown”

Album: Something Else By The Kinks
Year: 1967

“Death of a Clown” is a weird bird in Kinks world. Not only was it originally released as a Dave Davies solo single — which reached #3 on the U.K. charts! — it’s one of the very few songs credited to both Davies brothers.

None of which I knew, of course, when I first bought Something Else by The Kinks back in late 1980 during a phase where I dug heavily into the late 1960s Kinks. I’m not even sure if I knew it was Dave singing, which of course seems obvious now, but I was trying to absorb The Kinks without questioning much at that time.

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