News for the ‘The Kinks’ Category

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #4 – The Kinks – “Starstruck” b/w “Picture Book” – German Pye 45 DV-14795 (G1/H1)

45-adapter-logo2kinksstarstruck

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #4 – The Kinks – “Starstruck” b/w “Picture Book” – German Pye 45 DV-14795 (G1/H1)

In a year that saw the release of The Beatles’ White Album and Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, it’s no surprise that a low-key gem like The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks would fall through the cracks. However, when one considers the high caliber and quality of the album, it is surprising that it took so long for it to take its place amongst the greatest albums of the 1960s, easily equaling, if not surpassing the two aforementioned albums.

Part of the explanation for the record being ignored is that it was totally out of step with what was going on musically during the late 1960s. While bands were letting their freak flags fly with psychedelia, The Kinks dropped a laid-back nostalgic look at England on an unsuspecting public. Perhaps the record was also a little too British for American ears, but the fact is that The Kinks hadn’t had a proper hit on the U.S. charts since “Sunny Afternoon” hit the top twenty in 1966, and the band’s decision not to tour in support of the album upon its release didn’t help matters either.

The last album by the original quartet of Ray and Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory also had a tough birthing process which saw an early 12-track version pulled at the last minute by Ray Davies because he wasn’t satisfied with its quality. The band’s label then balked at Davies’ request to turn it into a double album, finally settling on the 15-track masterpiece we know today.

Today’s Song Of The Day inhabits position G1/H1 in the jukebox and comes from a German single on the Pye record label. I purchased the single on EBay about ten years ago and it was quite pricey for a 45rpm record, but considering the greatness of both songs, it was well worth the price of admission to be able to have these tracks cycle through on the juke.

The single was released in many territories around the world including the U.S., and failed to chart in all of them. The A-Side of the single is “Starstruck” which is a tuneful cautionary tale about the foibles of living the nightlife, something Ray Davies was probably no stranger to at the time. While I’ve always loved the song, it’s the B-side that got me to seek out a copy of the single for the juke.

“Picture Book” was one of a trilogy of songs about nostalgia for photographs that Ray Davies wrote around this time. The other two are “People Take Pictures Of Each Other” which ended up on the Village Green album, and “Pictures In The Sand” which wasn’t released until 1973 on The Great Lost Kinks Album compilation.

The song finally gained wide exposure in 2004 when it was used in an award-winning Hewlett-Packard ad campaign for digital photography. After all those years as an album cut that was only familiar to die-hard Kinks fans, the song finally got heard. Ray Davies: “I always knew that song would have its day…sometimes you just know. It was never a hit, but it’s become a hit in another way.” (songfacts.com)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: March 9th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ducks On The Wall” by The Kinks

45ADAPTERKinksSoap

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ducks On The Wall” by The Kinks

Today’s Song Of The Day by Eric Berman comes from The Kinks’ 1975 concept album Soap Opera. The album’s muddled tale focuses on the star-making machinery and the perils of stardom itself with the Starmaker character changing places with the utterly normal Norman. While the story is hazy at best, the album does provide several Kink Klassics.

Like the two Preservation albums before this one, the Kinks were still in big band story-telling mode and in concert; the album was originally presented as a stage show.

The song took on even more meaning for me because the first time I met my wife’s family in upstate New York, I was blown away by the ceramic ducks they had hanging on their living room wall…

Edited: August 19th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/9/13

45 adapterkinksgreatlost

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Groovy Movies” by The Kinks

The Great Lost Kinks Album isn’t really The Great Lost Kinks Album.

That distinction goes to Reprise Records RS-6309 which would have been released in late 1967 or early 1968 as Four More Respected Gentlemen. But for reasons unknown, that record was never released and ultimately its best tracks finally saw the light of day on The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, and judging by the quality of that platter, we can all be thankful that The Great Lost Kinks Album never materialized anyway. You follow?

By 1971, The Kinks jumped ship to RCA Records and released the also wonderful Muswell Hillbillies album, while still owing their old label Reprise two more records. The first of the contractual agreement records was the superb and super necessary two record set known as The Kink Kronikles that featured many Kinks’ hits, should-have-been-hits and numerous necessary rarities that Kinks fans were grateful to wrap their ears around.

The second contractual album was the fourteen track, rarity filled Great Lost Kinks Album that featured songs recorded between 1966 and 1970, and was released on Reprise in 1973. On it were songs written for a British TV show (“When I Turn Off The Living Room Light” (one of Raymond Douglas Davies finest) and “Where Did The Spring Go?” from Where Was Spring? ), a film soundtrack (“Till Death Do Us Part” from the film adaptation of the TV show of the same name), a British single (“Plastic Man”), a B-side (“I’m Not Like Everybody Else”), lots of album outtakes including off cuts from Something Else (“Lavender Hill” and “Rosemary Rose) and Village Green (“Misty Waters” and “Mr. Songbird), plus several Dave Davies tracks that were recorded for his ill-fated never released solo record including (“There Is No Life Without Love,” “This Man He Weeps Tonight” and today’s Song Of The Day, “Groovy Movies.”)

“Groovy Movies” is very much a product of its time with its swinging arrangement, colloquial lyrics and driving horn arrangement. And as for the sadly out of print Great Lost Kinks Album, Kink kastoffs like the ones included within are way better than most groups’ keepers.

God Save The Kinks!

Edited: April 8th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/15/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by The Animals (Live NME Version 1965)

Some classic Animals from the 1965 NME Poll Winners Concert, as “Song Of The Day by Eric Berman” looks at a terrific “grey area” CD release!

The New Musical Express is a weekly British newspaper that has focused solely on the music scene for nearly 50 years. For several years during the 1960s, the paper sponsored concerts featuring artists who topped their music polls. The 1965 edition took place at Wembley Stadium on April 11, 1965, and was filmed. An edited version of the concert was screened on ABC TV in the U.S. on April 18 of that year. The New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert 1965 2 CD set was compiled from the soundtrack of the unedited master.

OK, so today’s Song Of The Day (and resultant album), isn’t an “official” release. It was put out in 1998 by Vigotone Industries, one of the best of the “grey area” record labels that existed for a brief time in the late 1990s. Vigotone specialized in Beatles and Beach Boy related bootlegs, comprised mostly of studio outtakes. Some of their landmark releases included The Beach Boys’ Leggo My Ego, featuring studio outs from 1965, and the Beatles Off White Album featuring the 1968 Escher demos recorded at George Harrison’s house shortly after the group returned from India.

Kicking things off are The Moody Blues, no not the version with the overblown orchestral arrangements and such, but the Brit-beat version of the group with future Wings-man, Denny Laine, performing a muscular and extended take of “Bo Diddley,” plus a version of their current single at the time, “Go Now.”

Next up are Freddie And The Dreamers with a credible version of Thurston Harris’ “Little Bitty Pretty One,” followed by Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames, and an early instrumental take of “Yeah Yeah,” plus a terrific performance of “Walkin’ The Dog.”

From there, it’s a trip down under for The Seekers and their hits “I’ll Never Find Another You” and “A World Of Our Own.” Herman’s Hermits were riding high with three records in the U.S. top ten at the time of this recording. They debut their then, brand new single “What A Wonderful World,” followed by the crowd pleaser “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter.”

The Ivy League And Division Two take the stage next, with the gorgeous ballad “That’s Why I’m Crying,” and then Sounds Incorporated spread a little of their instrumental magic with “Time For You” and a rocking version of Grieg’s classical masterwork “In The Hall Of The Mountain King.”

A real crowd pleaser is up next with Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders performing “Game Of Love” and “Just A Little Bit Too Late,” before The Rolling Stones tear it up with a four-song set  comprised of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” Otis Redding’s “Pain In My Heart,” Chuck Berry’s “Around And Around,” and finally, “The Last Time.”

Disc one is rounded off by Cilla Black backed by Sounds Incorporated on “Going Out Of My Head,” and that old Disney favorite “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which was covered by in the U.S. by Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans, as well as fellow Brit Invasion groups Freddie And The Dreamers, The Hollies and Dave Clark Five.

The second disc kicks off with Donovan, “The British Dylan,” performing six minutes of “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond” followed by “Catch The Wind,” before the Belfast Cowboy (Van Morrison) and Them are brought on for rough and ready takes of “Here Comes The Night” and an nearly seven minute version of “Turn On Your Love Light.”

The Searchers are up next with “Bumble Bee” and “Let The Good Times Roll,” before pop royalty takes the stage in the form of Dusty Springfield giving Martha Reeves a run for her money on “Dancing In The Street,” followed by a cover of Inez and Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird” and “I Can’t Hear You.”

The big ending is in sight with three more heavy hitters on deck, including The Animals tearing it up on John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Talkin’ ‘Bout You,” followed by The Kinks with two of their very best, “You Really Got Me” and “Tired Of Waiting For You.”

Finally, the group that the audience has been waiting for all day takes the stage! It’s The Beatles with a five song set including “I Feel Fine,” “She’s A Woman,” “Baby’s In Black,” “Ticket To Ride” and “Long Tall Sally” bringing the festivities to a rousing conclusion.

Much of this concert is up on YouTube (search by artist and NME 1965) and is recommended viewing.  So there we have the next to last NME Poll Winners Concert from 1965 in its entirety, in pristine sound quality to boot. Why hasn’t this been released officially?

The Animals “Boom Boom”

The Animals “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

The Animals “Talkin’ ‘Bout You”

Edited: February 14th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 12/16/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Father Christmas” by The Kinks

Today, Song Of The Day by Eric Berman takes a look at Christmas music in general, and specifically The Kinks “Father Christmas.”

Years ago, when I was on the mailing list to pretty much every record label, I amassed quite a collection of literally hundreds of Christmas CDs. Everything from those Very Special Christmas compilations to records by the biggest stars of the day like Mariah Carey, Rosie O’Donnell, Randy Travis, and numerous others — from just about every genre you can think of. During that time, I was able to order any deep catalog holiday offerings I wanted and picked up CDs by 60s stalwarts like Andy Williams, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Cash, even John Davidson and Mitch Miller. (OK, so I’m not proud about the last couple, but hey, I was putting CD compilations together for a living and I needed and used them.)

Through all of that listening, I came to the conclusion that I’m really not much of a fan of Christmas music at all. Sure, there are some classics I love by Vince Guaraldi, Bing Crosby, Nat Cole, Gene Autry, and offerings by The Ventures, Chuck Berry, Phil Spector’s stable of artists, Suicide, The Waitresses and others I wouldn’t want not to hear once a year during the season, but cringe-inducing tracks like that John & Yoko monstrosity and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” get under my skin and rattle me to the core with intense hatred for the genre. (Should I tell you how I really feel about it?)

That said, one of the greatest Christmas records ever is this Kinks’ one-off single from 1977. Recorded between sessions for Sleepwaker and Misfits, “Father Christmas” found The Kinks on a new record label in America (Arista) and backed by the svengali of career resuscitation Clive Davis. While the aforementioned first two albums for the label were moderate successes, The Kinks were at the precipice of career rejuvenation with the 1979 album Low Budget with its hit single “(I Wanna Fly Like) Superman” and the live follow-up double album “One For The Road” on the horizon, bringing The Kinks back to the upper regions of the charts for the first time in many years.

Not only is “Father Christmas” one of the most rockin’ holiday offerings around, its message of poor kids beating up a department store Santa for delivering toys “to the little rich boys” instead of money and jobs for those who need them resulted in one of the most punk rock holiday messages ever…especially from a group that weren’t punk rockers. Despite the fact that the song has been ludicrously co-opted to sell product in TV commercials, it still retains its power, anger and, yes, joie de vivre all these years later.

Edited: December 15th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 9/15/11

Song Of The Day – “Ducks On The Wall” by The Kinks

This delightful gem comes from their mid-70s concept album “Soap Opera.” Its muddled tale focuses on the star-making machinery and stardom itself. While the story is hazy at best, we do get a few Kink Klassics. Like the two “Preservation” albums before this one, the Kinks were still in big band story-telling mode. In concert, the album was presented as a stage show.

Edited: September 15th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/9/11

Song Of The Day – “Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home” by The Kinks

From their finest album, 1966′s “Face To Face,” where Ray Davies really began to report on life in middle class England. The proof is all in the lyrical detail in this song and many others between 1966 and 1975. Hangin’ with a dog named Rosie this week which is why this song came to mind…

Edited: August 8th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/20/10

Song Of the Day – “When I Turn Off The Living Room Light” by The Kinks from the album “The Great Lost Kinks Album”

This hilarious song was an unreleased castoff recorded and unused for a British TV show from the early 70s.  It finds Ray Davies doing what he does best…taking the simple things in life, injecting them with sly humor and setting it all to a great melody.  “The Great Lost Kinks Album” was originally released in 1973 as a contractual obligation record when the Kinks jumped labels from Reprise to RCA.  The band found out about the existence of the record when it hit the Billboard charts and they immediately took legal action to have the record removed from the market making it a collectible today.  It’s a shame since the record holds together as a great set of music, even though many of the songs have since been issued as bonus tracks on CDs.

Listen: “When I Turn Off The Living Room Light” by The Kinks

Edited: November 20th, 2010