Notwithstanding

StageRay Davies and the Button Down Brass does not, in any way, represent the melodic brilliance of The Kinks’ frontman, and creative rep, Raymond Douglas Davies. I learned this lesson, as you would say, the hard way, but Volume Two of Stereo Sound Stage isn’t necessarily a venture with which to walk away from, Kinks-less notions notwithstanding. I was duped, but in a pleasing manner, if in any way that makes sense.

That Record is Something Else, Man

SomethingElseI’ve been holding out for the 2012 remastered mono / stereo reissue of The Kink’s 1967 masterpiece, Something Else by the Kinks, but had to pull the trigger on this original US stereo pressing when faced with the decision. Chapter two in the “perfect album string” that started with 1966’s Face to Face and ended with 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies (6 albums in total), Something Else… is home to the following flawless cuts: Harry Rag, Waterloo Sunset, Death of a Clown (a Dave track), David Watts, and Two Sisters. Like with all early, middle, and late Kinks releases, Something Else… is nothing short of essential listening material. Ray Davies = genius… that is all.

We Are the Draught Beer Preservation Society

The VillageSundays are for resting, so get off your computer and enjoy what’s left of your weekend. (On the left, the 1968 US Reprise Records pressing, and on the right, the 2011 UK Sanctuary Records double “orange splattered green” mono / stereo release.) God save the Village Green (and what’s left of your weekend)!

2014 Hillbillies

MuswellIt doesn’t take much for an avid Kinks fan to purchase an album (for the third time), when a bonus disc is involved. If you’re smart, you already own The Kinks’ 1971 masterpiece, Muswell Hillbillies. If you’re late to the game, do yourself a favor and pick up 2014’s remastered double LP with a vinyl pressing of this amazing “bonus disc” chock full of alt takes and BBC session what-have-yous. It’s a great way to experience a classic album with new, stereophonic ears, and that’s all I’m willing to say on the matter.

A Shameful First

CoverCan you imagine James Ensor in a piano keys tie? So too is the flabbergasting monstrosity that is to follow… 1980’s One for the Road was, sadly, and with a heavy blanket of shame, my first Kinks album. The raging rivers of comfort that are Arthur, Village Green, Something Else, and quite literally, every-damn-thing-else I’d discovered by The Kinks, were slow to flow throughout my younger, adolescent, and obviously stupid, darker days. One never forgets their first… as much as they’re willing to try.

Arthur We Know and We Sympathize

newA hearty thanks to JWick1 for this amazing double LP (proper post forthcoming). Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) is a personal fav, and this graduated version is, simply put, the bee’s knees. A collector and avid Kinks fan cannot go wrong with both mono and stereo versions of this outstanding album. Thanks again, senior choch!

TKATVGPS

TKATVGPSSimple, and to the point is today’s moderate theme. So, in case you were unaware, The Kinks would like God to save the following (have a nice day):

– Donald Duck

– Vaudeville

– Variety

– Strawberry jam, and all the different varieties

– Mrs. Mopp

– Good Old Mother Riley

– George Cross, and all those who were awarded them

– Little shops

– China cups

– Virginity

– Tudor houses

– Antique tables

– Billiards

– The Village Green

GSTKOh, and before I forget, The Kinks would also like it to be internationally understood that they will forever be known as the following aliases (again, hope you are having a nice day):

– The Village Green Preservation Society

– The Desperate Dan Appreciation Society

– The Draught Beer Preservation Society

– The Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium

– The Sherlock Holmes English Speaking Vernacular

– The Office Block Persecution Affinity

– The Skyscraper Condemnation Affiliate

What you do with this information is squarely up to you, just so long as you have a nice day. 🙂

UK vs. US

Reprise InsertWhy the UK and the US didn’t get along is something I’ve never been able to comprehend. Oh sure, things may be all fine and good now (for now…), but back in the day (and before my time), it seems that ego took precedent over creative output. Case in point, this Reprise Records insert from (roughly) 1965.

Featured on this beautiful little rock artifact (rock-ifact?), are two albums, or rather fabrications released by The Kinks. First (left side near the bottom) is the US version of their 1964 debut called simply, The Kinks. The original track lineup, cover art and title have been ignored for the supposed candy-grabbing, fat-bellied, narrow-minded delights of US audiences. Here it is titled You Really Got Me. There, it’s appropriately titled The Kinks. Why the change? Yet another age-old question whose real answer has been mummified and lives buried within the damp and dusty crypt of music’s blotchy past. (Wikipedia offers their decent explanation of this butchering practice that can found here.)

Second, and along the same lines is 1965’s Kinks-Size (middle). Here, US meatheads grabbed material from the EP Kinksize Session, leftover tracks from their debut, and both sides to two of their singles, Tired of Waiting for You and All Day and All of the Night. This Frankenstein makes for a decent listen, because let’s be honest, there really isn’t a bad Kinks song (before 1973), but it’s disjointing and certainly NOT what the band had intended. Wankers, the lot of them!

So, what’s the point? I dunno. Why couldn’t we all just get along? That, or I just really dig old inserts. Carry on.

Post #250: Three Albums, One Island

Paul'sIf you were stranded on a remote island (that conveniently harbored electricity, speakers and a bomb-ass turntable), and you were only allowed to pick three albums with which to spin for your remaining, ocean-gazing days, what three albums would they be?

For me, the first two albums were no-brainers. Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks. Choosing the proper versions, both albums are double LPs (1998’s Grand Royal reissue and 2011’s mono/stereo split), so you’re already a leg up on the island dwelling competition. The third and final album requires much more, overanalyzed thought. Do you play it safe and pick Abbey Road? What about The Beatles, also known as the White Album? Or, do you skip the 12” format altogether and grab your favorite song, which just happens to be a post-hardcore thrasher by the obscure Wisconsin band, Defacto Oppression? Certainly NOT an easy decision to make (in this overly voluptuous hypothetical), second-guessing is sure to follow after the inevitably dreadful decision is (finally) made.

Village GreenBruce Springsteen’s Nebraska garnishes some thought, but would probably be far too depressing… after all, these three albums will help feed, or deter the fact that you are, after all, stranded on a remote island. Emergency & I by the Dismemberment Plan is a considerably strong candidate, but would immediately be my number four pick. Bizarre Ride II (The Pharcyde), In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live) (Ministry), This is Tim Hardin (Tim Hardin… duh), and Circa: Now! (Rocket from the Crypt) are all, exceptional lily pads on this thought pond, but none of them make the distinct cut.

London Calling (The Clash), Double Nickels on the Dime (Minutemen), Singles – 45’s and Under (Squeeze), Energy (Operation Ivy), Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses), which would easily be my number five pick, Black Monk Time (The Monks), and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Dead Kennedys) all lay floating in the salted sea of “never to enjoy again.” Damn, this post is depressing.

RefusedAnd the winner goes to… The Shape of Punk to Come… the quintessential soundtrack to my evasive youth wins the number three spot, and with little hesitation, I might add. Refused’s best, and another double LP, this top three has quickly turned into the top six, and would respectfully demonstrate, and/or adequately demolish my headspace for the rest of my delusional life. To pick three out of 2,800 is certainly NOT an easy gesture… if asked again tomorrow, I’d have a completely different roster. Oh, the joy, and immediate pleasure of viable options.

The Kinks Are Exceptionally, and Unapologetically Dangerous

VG KinksThe Kinks are exceptionally, and unapologetically dangerous. What I mean by this, is that once you get that ball a-rollin’, there really is no stopping it.

ArthurMuch like the LP itself, there are two sides to this conundrum. On one hand, listening to nothing but the Kinks can be, and often is, some of the best consecutive series of days one could ever live, given the enormity of their monumentally successful catalog of perfect grooves. Let’s call this the A-side. On the other hand, there is an entire universe of juicy, wet ear candy that needs inspecting and overly sarcastic analyzing, that, because of the Kinks and their erotic time-sucking, mouth-watering tunes, gets neglected. We’ll label this the B-side.

Drum HeadIf you find yourself locked into a Kinks bender, and there’s no end in sight, do what I do. WALK THE HELL AWAY! Try as hard as you can to ignore the luscious songwriting and blood-pumping beats. I assure you, it won’t be easy, but I believe in you. Have no fear, however, because the great thing about the Kinks, is that you can’t go too long without listening to them. Just be extremely cautious… those Kinks are dangerous.

The Great Lost Kinks Album Versus Prudentman and the Groove Go Round (Part One of One)

TGLKAWhat once was lost… should sometimes remain lost. Not the case with this arousing little nugget of Kinks history. The Great Lost Kinks Album, for those of you who don’t know, was NOT in fact an album recorded by the band that was mysteriously whisked away by the inevitable hands of fate, then miraculously found and released some seven years later to a wide and welcoming audience. Instead, The Great Lost Kinks Album was a compilation of B-sides, film and television themes, songs written and performed by Dave Davies for his never-released solo album, and various other unreleased tracks.

TGLKA BackApart from containing some pretty damn rare (at the time) Kinks tracks, TGLKA (you can figure it out) was not authorized by the band, and according to the lovely Wikipedia article, Reprise, the label, never even informed the band of its release. According to the same article (mentioned in the previous paragraph), the band (The Kinks… keep up) became aware of the album only after it appeared in the US Billboard charts. A lawsuit ensued and Reprise was forced to discontinue the album in 1975, some two years after its release, and the rest is Kinks history.

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note, why are we still fastening our shoes with string? Velcro tried (and failed) in the 80s, but it’s 2013, people! We haven’t developed an updated technique with which to secure our feet clothes? We need to get to work!

To Play and Play Again!

Reprise InsertQuick question… Q: What do The Kinks, Dean Martin, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra all have in common? A: Quite a bit actually; you’re going to need to be a bit more specific.

Fine, I’ll tell you. They were all monumentally talented artists on the Reprise Records label. As a longtime collector of the Kinks, I’m a bit surprised to find Duke Ellington and Dean Martin to be their egg-borrowing neighbors. Apparently Reprise was started by Frank Sinatra in 1960, and then sold to Warner Bros. Records in 1963… and a year later the label would land the rights to Pye Records (UK label of the Kinks), and the well-rounded and eclectic Reprise Records family was born.

This is an insert from Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night album. Not being a huge fan of the womanizing crooner, I decided to avert my attention to the brothers Davies. Have a good Saturday!

One Man’s Mold is Another Man’s Groove

Kinks GHWould you buy this album for $1.84 + CA state tax? Look at it! It’s got mold or something all over the sleeve. The hell?! On one hand, The Kinks Greatest Hits! is a bit of a farce to begin with, what with it not containing ANYTHING from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One OR Muswell Hillbillies, but it does possess a b side that rivals any five track early Kinks comp I’ve ever heard… but it’s moldy, or whatever… but it’s The Kinks!… but look at it!… its got A Well Respected Man on it, and it’s only $1.84…

Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA State tax? Well, you can’t. I already did.

We Are Not Two, We Are One

StrangersReleased on 1970’s Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round, Part One, Strangers wasn’t written or performed by The Kinks’ vehement songwriter, Ray Davies, but instead by his equally talented brother and lead guitarist, Dave Davies. Strangers is MY definitive acoustic love song. With its intercontinental grandeur, its vastness can be realized from coast to coast, from continent to continent, and from heart to heart.

Strangers is the most important song I’ve ever heard, because it, above all others, connects me with the love of my life. It acts as the vaccine to life’s woes, and the reliever of its burdens. It’s a symbol of strength, a foundation of trust, and a song of admired fervor. It is a song performed by my favorite band, and a song adored by my favorite person.

Happy birthday, Jillian. I love you.

Strangers Cover