Love, The Prudent Groove
Another day, another essential, yet overpriced Kinks Record Store Day release. The only one I was unable to acquire from this year’s Black Friday releases was the black and white swirled version of 1977’s Sleepwalker. I mean, Sleepwalker isn’t bad, but they need to start releasing sexy colored versions of Muswell Hillbillies, if you ask me. And since you didn’t, I’d suggest something similar to the 2011 UK rerelease of The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (green translucent / orange splatter colored vinyl). Well, there’s always next year, I suppose.
There are only two bands whose 7″ Record Store Day overpriced buffoonery I’d throw money at, and one of these bands is The Kinks. Complete with hype sticker (that will never be removed as far as I’m still breathing), this Village Green-era make-shift EP features the classics, Do You Remember Walter? and People Take Pictures of Each Other, both found on the Village Green masterpiece, as well as the brilliant throwaway, Till Death Us Do Part, which was apparently the theme to a film based on a popular British television series. Long story short, one can never go wrong with any Kinks record, and this EP is certainly no exception, regardless of its hefty price tag.
The below list is, we feel, adequate camping music for the inner, nature-minded ruffian in all of us. A few old standbys, a few personal favs, but all helping to create a calming soundtrack for our recent, peacock-screaming nature excursion. I’d be interested to hear what others would consider like-minded, camping-acceptable albums.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy and the Poor Boys
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory
Jim Croce – I Got A Name
ZZ Top – First Album
John Fahey – The Dance of Death & Other Plantation Favorites Volume 3
Booker T. & the MG’s – Green Onions
Michael Bloomfield / Al Kooper / Steve Stills – Super Session
The Beatles – The Kinfaun Demos
The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies
Death of a Clown received an outstanding rerelease on this Dave Davies Hits 7″ for 2016’s Record Store Day. One of three Kinks releases, Dave Davies Hits also contains the personal fav, Susannah’s Still Alive. I, of course, say this with all due respect, but thankfully, Dave’s personal career didn’t take off in 1968. Village Green, Lola, Arthur, and Muswell were all to follow, and I for one can’t imagine what they would have been without master Dave on the 6-string.
Tonight’s rendezvous with social abnormality was Gin Rummy and the Beatles’ self-titled release on 8-track. What I lost in strategy, I gained in audio entertainment, and solid company. It’s all about the random Tuesday evenings in front of a lifeless television listening to vintage mediums and playing card games made famous by our grandparents… or, at least, it damn well should be.
Pitched as the introduction to the great decline, Everybody’s in Show Biz is actually a thoroughly enjoyable album, and as a bonus, and entire live record recording during the Muswell Hillbillies tour only adds to this album’s historical greatness! Face to Face through Muswell Hillbillies era Everybody’s in Show Biz is certainly not, but it’s still damn good Kinky ear candy.
I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the end of 2015 than with the beginning of arguably the most prolific force of all British Invasion bands. 30 years of Kinky blues-driven hard rock (1964 – 1994) all started with this album (this copy, an obvious reissue), and as we look forward to a fruitful 2016, let’s not forget the lucrative paths that brought us to today. Goodbye, 2015. You were no 1964.
I’m so absolutely beside myself to finally own a working copy of Muswell on 8-track that I’m thoroughly on board with the complete reworking of the playlist for this bass-heavy medium. Have a Cuppa Tea, followed by Skin and Bone, wait… TO CLOSE OUT THE ALBUM?! I continue to tell myself how fortunate I am to have finally found this 12-song, 8-track cartridge of perfection, and will, obviously, welcome it into the family with open, outstretched arms despite its, lets say, unorthodox and creative reordering. I now own Muswell a total of four times, but really, who’s counting?
Finally, a reasonably priced vinyl version of the Original Soundtrack to High Fidelity. It only took 15 years, but this Record Store Day Black Friday exclusive was well worth the wait. The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, The Beta Band, and The Thirteenth Floor Elevators to name only a few rampant cuts covering four sides of wax make for a damn good compilation album. This album is best enjoyed while accompanied by Johnny Cash’s autobiography, Cash By Johnny Cash.
The Kinks – Folks’ Van Mix (misspelled, of course)
1. The Moneygoround (1970)
2. Mr. Pleasant (1966)
3. Autumn Almanac (1968)
4. Holiday in Waikiki (1966)
5. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues (1971)
6. Skin and Bone (1971)
7. Sitting By the Riverside (1968)
8. Animal Farm (1968)
9. Village Green (1968)
10. Starstruck (1968)
11. The Contenders (1970)
12. Last of the Steam Powered Trains (1968)
13. Arthur (1969)
14. Lincoln County (1968)
15. Rats (1970)
16. 20th Century Man (1971)
17. Susannah’s Still Alive (1967)
18. Harry Rag (1967)
19. David Watts (1967)
20. Apeman (1970)
21. A Well Respected Man (1965)
22. All of My Friends Were There (1968)
23. Waterloo Sunset (1967)
24. Strangers (1970)
25. People Take Pictures of Each Other (1968)
To follow up the commercially unsuccessful, yet strikingly ultramodern, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the greatest British Invasion act of all time met 1969 with Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Arthur was originally slated as a soundtrack to a Granada Television play (thanks Wikipedia), which was later scrapped and never produced. Arthur reaches back to the band’s more rock-centric roots, and for a moment, abandoned the hazy-day, uncomplicated soundscapes of Village Green (or something to that effect). Arthur is a perfect bridge from the open-air concept album and the corporate, backdealing-rant that is Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. This particular copy is a 2 LP, mono / stereo remastered European release from 2012. They released a remastered version of Village Green in 2011, but have yet to release Lola with such prominent and uncompromising quality. One day, perhaps…
I’m excited for these newly (ish) released 33 1/3 titles from Bloomsbury Publishing! Adding to the handpicked selects from this amazing series that already includes The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society, Paul’s Boutique, Double Nickels on the Dime, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, and 20 Jazz Funk Greats (to name a few), is Dead Kennedys’ debut, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, and Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack. I can honestly say, I’m not sure which title I’m more excited for. These books are quick and entertaining reads, and with over 108 titles on albums by a diverse collection of bands (from Serge Gainsbourg to Joy Division), you’re certainly bound to find something that tickles your learning fancy. Here’s the checklist. Have a look, and get reading!