Posts Tagged ‘Dave Davies’

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)

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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 – “Groovy Movies” by The Kinks

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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 by Eric Berman, “Groovy Movies.”)

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

God Save The Kinks!

Edited: January 20th, 2015

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

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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

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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 – 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