Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Kinks ... Kinda Kontroversy & Show # 347

In March 2011, The Kinks released deluxe versions of their first three albums as part of a reissue campaign that will cover the band's first seven albums. The Kinks, Kinda Kinks, and Kink Kontroversy are now available in two disc deluxe format, featuring a plethora of singles, demos, outtakes, and BBC sessions from the band's catalogue. When discussing The Kinks catalogue, its no hidden secret that the master tapes from early Kinks recordings were not well looked after, they were often times destroyed, lost, or recorded over by Pye in the 80s, their record label. Unlike their 60s contemporaries (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc.) whose recordings have been preserved, it is nearly impossible to determine how many recordings may have been lost due to this fact. But despite this, many outtakes and demos survived, several of which are found on these reissues. From the period that the band signed to RCA onwards, more careful consideration and documentation of the band's recordings have been kept. One of the good things about these reissues is the sound fidelity. If you have purchased The Kinks 1998 Castle reissues, and compared them to the new deluxe edition songs, you will notice the sound quality is of a greater improvement. There is an apparent muddiness sound on the 98 releases that has now seemed to be cleaned up, possibly due to the location of better quality master tape recordings. This week, we will discuss a little bit of the two of the deluxe reissues, Kinda Kinks and Kink Kontroversy both of which were originally released in 1965.

The Kinks second album titled, Kinda Kinks was recorded at a combination of studio sessions. It was recorded during February 16-18 in 1965 at Pye Studios No.2 in London, England, “Tired of Waiting For You” was recorded in August of 1964, prior to any of the albums main sessions and held back as an early single for the album, with guitar overdubs occurring in December of 1964. The songs “Come On Now” and “Something Better Beginning” were recorded between December 22-23 1963 at Pye Studios. The album was recorded quickly in a rush between the band's 1964-1965 world tour. In a matter of approximately two weeks, The Kinks completed their second album with Shel Talmy producing and it was released in March 1965 in the UK and August 1965 in the US.

Kinda Kinks is an often underlooked album in regards to the band's catalgoue. The album mixes the band's early R&B sound, with elements of Folk, and Motown. Kinda Kinks is notable for having numerous songs sung by lead guitarist Dave Davies “Got My Feet On The Ground” is an R&B rave up sung by Dave Davies featuring that early raw Kinks sound, “Naggin’ Woman” finds the Kinks delving deeper into a Blues groove, and “Come On Now” is a early Kinks Garage track, written by Ray Davies, sung by Dave and also included as the B-Side to "Tired of Waiting For You". The rest of the album mixes in a variety of the developing song writing style of Ray Davies. Songs such as “Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ About That Girl” reflects an atmospheric Folk nature with its flirtatious Jazz beats, “Tired of Waiting For You” was the lead off single for this album, the song reflects the band's early R&B influences while at the same time featuring a slower groove. When released as a single it went to number one on the UK singles charts, and number six in the US. “So Long” is akin to “Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ About That Girl”, with its Folk coffee house style, the song has prominent acoustic guitar and with lyrics such as “Got No Time For Tears/There’s Music In My Ears” it reflects the band's situation at the time, there are also songs such as “You Shouldn’t Be Said” which is a Motown influenced R&B track. The album ends with the rather poignant “Something Better Beginning” lyrically and musically it reflects the future direction in which Ray Davies and the Kinks would take their sound.

Kinda Kinks also produced numerous singles and songs that would be released on a variety of US only releases (Kinks-Size and Kinkdom) and Kywet Kinks which was an EP released in the UK. Among these, some of the non-Kinda Kinks album tracks include “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy”, “Who’ll Be The Next In Line”, “Set Me Free”, “I Need You”, “See My Friends”, and “A Well Respected Man”. “Set Me Free” was released in May of 1965 as a single, it is a song done in a style similar to “Tired of Waiting For You”. The single is perhaps loved for its exciting B-Side “I Need You”, which is a raw uncompromising Kinks power chord filled Rock song right from the start of its initial bursting feedback and infectious harmonies. “See My Friends” is a pinnacle single indicating the maturing song writing style of Ray Davies. The song itself features Indian guitar raga styles, dipping into elements of Psychedelic Rock and notable for being released prior to The Beatles “Norwegian Wood”, which featured Sitar. Lyrically the song was placed under some scrutiny regarding the subject matter which have often been misconstrued, lyrically the song has been said to be influenced by a stop the band made in Bombay during their 1965 Asian tour where Davies witnessed a group of fisherman chanting on way to their morning work. The next set of singles released during this period were the piano driven “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” and “A Well Respected Man”, which lyrically addressed British class economics and musically drew from British Music Hall influences.

Kink Kontroversy was recorded in late October/early November of 1965 at Pye Studios no.2 in London, England. The album was once again produced by Shel Talmy and was released on November 26th, 1965 in the UK and in March 30th 1966 in the US. The albums title originates from the band's onstage reputation, which at times earned them the nick name Kontroversial Kinks. Prior to the album being recorded, one such incident occurred onstage between guitarist Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory. After apparently being spat at by Dave Davies, Avory hit him over the head with the pedal end of his drum hi-hat, resulting in stitches for Dave. The media focused on the issue, but the band wanted to get away from it. As a result, Clem Cattini filled in as a session drummer for the majority of the Kink Kontroversy album sessions, Avory appears on approximately two to three tracks. Despite the drummer situation, Avory would re-join as the drummer quickly after the sessions.

Musically and lyrically Kink Kontroversy showed The Kinks developing into their own style and with a new sense of sophistication. The album displays elements of The Kinks previous R&B sound, but also transitional elements of what would become the band's future Kinks sound. A perfect example of this dynamic can be explained when looking at the first single released for the album “Till The End of the Day”, backed with “Where Have All The Good Times Gone”(also found on Kink Kontroversy). This strong single exemplified the end of The Kinks “You Really Got Me” style, with “Till The End of the Day”, but also contrasted it with the song “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” which demonstrates Ray Davies ability and development as a song writer. Not only do the two songs contrast each other musically, but they do so lyrically as well. While “Till The End of the Day” is somewhat upbeat and in a style most fans identified with (being one of the last songs in that style to do so), “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” is a lament, it can also be seen as a farewell to the Kinks previous musical direction and a step forward into the next, thus indicating the end of one of the band's first eras. Chart wise the single reached the top ten on the UK singles charts, and went to number 50 initially on the UK singles charts. Kontroversy starts off with the tense and raunchy R&B “Milk Cow Blues”, sung by Dave Davies, it is also complimented with the piano playing of session man Nicky Hopkins, who is featured on this whole album. Songs such as the ballad “Ring The Bells”, the laidback “The World Keeps Going Round”, and Calypso stylings of “I’m On An Island” all indicate the band's new sense of direction, which would be further developed on the band's next release Face To Face in 1966. “I Am Free” is a Dave Davies composition, in which he declares independence, “Too Late” an acoustic Blues number, and the final offering “You Can’t Win” that has dual vocals between Ray and Dave all add to the albums pivotal atmosphere.

The next single to follow was the song “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”, which is an angry, satirical song furthering the Music Hall influenced style first demonstrated with “A Well Respected Man”. The single charted high in the top ten on the UK singles charts and in the top 40 in the US. Following the albums release and Mick Avory coming back into the fold The Kinks continued to make albums and also got involved in more controversy in 1965, resulting in a five year ban from the touring in the US.

This Weeks Play List:

1. Jook - Aggravation Place
2. The Gorillas - She's My Gal
3. The Kinks - Time Will Tell
4. The Kinks - A Little Bit of Sunlight (Demo)
5. Boats - Drinking The Lake
6. Obits - You Gotta Lose
7. Cake - Long Time
8. This City Defects - Recycle Thief
9. Timber Timbre - Black Water
10. Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers - Make Your Mind Up
11. Les Jupes - Mathematics
12. 49th Parallel - Laborer
13. Martha & The Muffins - Saigon
14. The Space Plan - Tread Lightly
15. Link Wray - Fat Back
16. The Fleshtones - Comin' Home Baby
17. Mach Kung-Fu - Bamboo Twist
18. 999 - My Street Stinks
19. Supergrass - Caught By The Fuzz
20. The Howlies - Howlies Sound
21. Young Rival - Untitled (CBC Radio 3 Session 2009)
22. Alex Chilton - Can't Seem To Make You Mine
23. ASK - Have A Gun
24. The Kinks - I Need You
25. The Kinks - Till The End of The Day (BBC Session)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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