• Cream of The Crate: CD #39- The Kinks: The Ultimate Collection

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      “The Kinks are recognised as one of the most important and influencial British groups of all time, with millions of record sales and countless awards and accolades to their name." (Kinks Official Web Site)

      “I got together with my brother and a friend and we decided to play dates. The more we played, the more we wanted to do it. And I got it to the stage where we wanted to do it all the time." (Ray Davies)

      "Among feuds between brothers in bands, the enmity between the Kinks’ Ray and Dave Davies is unparalleled."
      (The Fifty Greatest Beefs in Rock Music History)

      CD Cover

      This is number thirty nine in the series of retro-reviews of Cd albums in my collection.

      The series is called,
      "Cream of The Crate (CD's)", and they represent CD albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

      The group is The Kinks and the CD is titled "The Ultimate Collection" and was released on the Castle Communications label (France) in 1989. Its code is CTVCD001. The Cd has a total of mighty 25 tracks and spans 1964 through to 1970 which are, arguably, the greatest years for the group.

      It doesn't have a booklet, and the fold-out insert is only marginally more than a piece of advertising for Kinks releases, it has a little info, but really there is nothing about it to actually talk about.

      The Kinks hit the music scene as part of the wave of the fast developing "British Beat Boom" of the early 1960's, largely as a result of the Beatles rapid rise to popularity. Fronted brothers Ray and Dave Davies, these two London brothers along with long time friend Peter Quaife had been in and out of local bands. In 1963 they met up with John Stuart, and with him on drums, Peter on bass and Ray and his younger brother, Dave, both playing guitar and singing formed their first group - The Ravens.

      John didn't stay with them all that long, and no wonder as at that time there were literally thousands of similar groups springing up everywhere and members were moving back and forth, or simply giving up as it became apparent, that to experience fame, you had to work really hard, and, have some talent! The remaining three members stayed as a trio until early 1964, when they took Mick Avory into the group and became the Kinks.

      Very early Kinks

      In regard to the name Kinks, there are several theories floating around, but it seems Ray Davies said that not only did it sound unpleasant, like a kink in your back (he's always been obsessed with the idea of no one liking the Kinks), the shortest names were always printed bigger on show bills. The Kinks were second in shortness only to the Who.

      It didn't take long for Pye to pick them up, and in January 1964 they cut four sides, and released two singles, which went absolutely nowhere. however, how often do you here, "third time lucky"? The third single released was an absolute ripper - mind you they had the legendary Shel Talmy produce them. The track? - You Really Got Me"! Written Ray it literally catapulted the group onto international fame, and it was the catalyst for the writing and playing of many more classic tracks. With this success the Kinks became in high demand on all the British television pop shows

      A shot from an early British TV show

      Over the next three years the group had no less than 11 tracks on the charts. Sure from 1970 onward the "hits" tapered off but the musical legacy is still remembered strongly today. The story of the Kinks is lengthy and involved, so much so that it is beyond this review to deal with it in detail, however, there is no lack of info on the web - so go seek!

      Mick Avory

      Peter Quaife

      The great thing about this CD, is that with the exception of two tracks, all charted. The two that didn't chart include track #22 - I'm Not Like Everyone Else, and, track # 23 - End Of The Season. I'm Not Like Everyone Else was actually the B-side to Sunny Afternoon and while it didn't chart, it is generally considered as one of Ray Davies greatest compositions, and is a cult track amongst die hard fans. End Of The Season is considered as a stand-out track on the 1976 "Something Else" album - an album where Ray Davies took over the production.

      The Davies brothers

      Track Listing

      You Really Got Me
      All Day And All Of The Night
      Tired Of Waiting For You
      Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
      Set Me Free
      See My Friends
      Till The End Of The Day
      Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
      Sunny Afternoon
      Dead End Street
      Waterloo Sunset
      Autumn Almanac
      Wonder Boy
      Plastic Man
      David Watts
      Where Have All The Good Times Gone
      Well Respected Man
      I'm Not Like Everybody Else
      End Of Season
      Death Of A Clown
      Suzannah's Still Alive

      Ray and Dave

      In choosing what tracks to actually feature, from what is in fact a smorgasbord of tracks - I first visited Youtube to see what decent live videos were available and found five performances of tracks on this album, so I left those tracks for the video part of the review. With, You Really Got Me, featured in a video I automatically went for the great follow-up to that track, track #2 - All day And All Of The Night.

      I must say I am particularly fond of these two tracks as they were not technically challenging to play or sing, so back in those early days of the 1960's, they were two tracks the group I was in featured for the reasons mentioned, but also because they were crowd favourites. You Really Got Me also featured for the first time, a deliberate distorted sound, which has now become legendary. The distorted guitar riff was simply achieved Dave Davies taking a razor blade and slicing the speaker cone of his Elpico amplifier (referred to the band as the "little green amp"). The end result provided the song its signature, gritty guitar sound. Even if we had realised that this was how he achieved that, at the time, I doubt (given how poor we all were), that we would have sliced into our speaker cones.

      Dave Davies

      All The Day and All the Night was indeed a great track to follow up You Really Got Me, even though this track reached #1 in the UK, and All The day and All The Night only reached #2. It was tremendously popular not only as a radio track, but as a live track at dances. It's no wonder, as the pulse and excitement the tracks create absolutely urge the crowd to dance, and because of the simple but fabulous vocal hooks, it was easy to sing along with.

      Dave Davies also once again made use of the unique guitar sound he got from slitting the speaker cone to get that sound, fast becoming known as the, "Kinks Sound".

      All The Day And All The Night

      1965 saw a number of releases the Kinks as the frequent appearances on British pop shows were supported tours and some astute writing Davies. "Track #3 - Tired Of Waiting was in fact a more 'down-tempo' track in regard to the style fans had been used to, but it still went to #1 in the UK (for 10 weeks), and in the the then harder to crack US Charts, it raced up to #6. In fact wearing the label of slow and boring might have been the case, but some excellent guitar work that sure did made a difference.

      According to Ray Davies, he wrote it on a train while traveling to a recording session. Dave Davies recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "The recording went well but there was something missing and it was my raunchy guitar sound. Ray and I were worried that putting that heavy-sounding guitar on top of a ponderous song might ruin it. Luckily it enhanced the recording, giving it a more cutting, emotional edge. In my opinion 'Tired Of Waiting' was the perfect Pop record.

      Tired of Waiting

      1966 and Carna Street was peaking in its popularity. The Carna Street contingent of Swinging London stormed into North American and in fact into international awareness with the April 15, 1966 publication of Time magazine's cover and article that extolled this street's role: "Perhaps nothing illustrates the new swinging London better than the narrow, three block long Carna Street, which is crammed with a cluster of 'gear' boutiques where the girls and boys buy each other clothing..."

      Fashion was certainly "high", high in the minds of the mods and high on the minds of the money making moguls whose constant looking out for the next big trend was beautifully summed up in a scene in the Beatles movie - Hard Days Night, which featured George being "interrogated" over fashion. It was also high on the mind Ray Davies when he wrote Dedicated Follower Of Fashion - track #8. The track climbed to # 36 in the US (who really still didn't "get" what was happening in the UK, but the track did hold a respectable #4 in the UK for 11 weeks.

      Ray Davies

      If you listen (not all that closely, either), to the intonation in the vocal delivery, it is easy to see that ray, and indeed the Kinks, were very "dismissive" or even "disdainful" of the way fashion had become all embracing!

      They seek him here, they seek him there,
      His clothes are loud, but never square.
      It will make or break him so he's got to buy the best,
      'Cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion.

      And when he does his little rounds,
      'Round the boutiques of London Town,
      Eagerly pursuing all the latest fads and trends,
      'Cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion.

      Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is).
      He thinks he is a flower to be looked at,
      And when he pulls his frilly nylon panties right up tight,
      He feels a dedicated follower of fashion.

      Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is).
      There's one thing that he loves and that is flattery.
      One week he's in polka-dots, the next week he is in stripes.
      'Cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion.

      They seek him here, they seek him there,
      In Regent Street and Leicester Square.
      Everywhere the Carnabetian army marches on,
      Each one an dedicated follower of fashion.

      Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is).
      His world is built 'round discoteques and parties.
      This pleasure-seeking individual always looks his best
      'Cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion.

      Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is).
      He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly.
      In matters of the cloth he is as fickle as can be,
      'Cause he's a dedicated follower of fashion.
      He's a dedicated follower of fashion.
      He's a dedicated follower of fashion.

      Dedicated Follower Of Fashion

      Track # 12 - Autumn Almanac is a quirky song, that has always been a favourite of mine. I agree with some fans who call the track both a "classic" as well as, a piece of music that is a distinct change in direction. Some writers have claimed it is best described as Ray Davies "Wordswoth" period - OK, I think that is going overboard a little, but it does have a gentle lyrical side, absent of any disdain or any feeling of "bad-vibes" that were starting to creep into some of their music as a result of the growing tension between the brothers Davies.

      From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
      When the dawn begins to crack.
      It's all part of my autumn almanac.
      Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow,
      So i sweep them in my sack.
      Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

      Davies described the song as being inspired a local hunch-backed gardener in his native Muswell Hill neighbourhood of North London. The track was actually a non-LP track and was well received the fans and general record buying public reaching #3 in 1967 in the UK. The song begins with Davies describing how the leaves begin to fall from the trees, and how it was his role to sweep them into a sack. Davies' Autumn Almanac goes on to describe that with autumn comes the beginning of the football (soccer) season and how much he loves to attend a match on Saturday, as well as attending a family lunch on Sundays with the family, where his favorite dish of roast beef is served.

      I think it's safe to assume he was in a good place, when he wrote this piece, and even today I listen, and it makes me smile!

      Autumn Almanac

      Finally I come to the track End Of The Season, track #23. This is one of those tracks that got little or no airplay, as I wrote earlier it was the B-Side to the popular track Sunny Afternoon. I like the use of the piano as the introductory instrument, which is proceeded tweeting birds. It is certainly an introspective sing, and it actually sits comfortably in the "English Musical Hall" tradition in both the lyric delivery and the music composition.

      It probably doesn't sit comfortably with many peoples memories of the Kinks, and I doubt that Ray cares one iota, it not only represents a unique music track for the Kinks, it was one of Ray Davies first efforts at producing the group.

      Winter time is coming
      All the sky is grey
      Summer birds aren't singing
      Since you went away

      Since you've been gone, end of the season
      Winter is here, close of play
      I get no kicks walking down Savile Row
      There's no more chicks left where the green grass grows and I know that
      Winter is here, end of the season
      My reason's gone, close of play
      I just can't mix in all the clubs I know
      Now Labour's in, I have no place to go

      You're on a yacht near an island in Greece
      Though you are hot, forget me not
      I will keep waiting until your return
      Now you are gone, end of the season
      Winter will come any day
      Back in the scrum on a wet afternoon
      Down in the mud, dreaming of flowers in June
      End of the season
      End of the season

      End Of The Season

      So what of the feuding between Ray and Dave Davies, well it's hard to write a review like this and not make some mention and in doing so, I turned to Rolling Stone that did an interview with Dave Davies in September 2013. In part of that interview Rolling Stone writer - Andy Greene says, "Their battles over the past 50 years are the stuff of rock legend. Dave has accused Ray of manipulating behavior and denying Dave songwriting credit on the hit "Lola" and many other Kinks classics. But after Dave's stroke Ray came around to visit more than he had in years. "I know this sounds a bit mean," he says. "But I think he secretly enjoyed seeing me completely incapacitated."

      "Months after the stroke, Ray told the British press that he was teaching Dave how to play guitar again. Dave roars with laugher when reminded of this. "Oh God!" he says. "My cat was more helpful in teaching me guitar. It loved me. It didn't try to dominate me. It nurtured me."

      Sometimes, time does not heal all wounds!

      In 1990, the Davies brothers were inducted, with the Kinks, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, in 2005, into the UK Music Hall of Fame. It is hard to imagine that the Kinks could have reached the popularity with either of the Davies brothers missing. On one hand we have Rays great songwriting and his fantastic vocal delivery.

      On the other, we have Dave's fantastic guitar work, after all he was voted #88/100 in the 2012 listing of the top 100 Guitarists in Rolling Stone.

      The Kinks finally, and officially, broke up with a last public performance in mid 1996. This represented a fantastic thirty-two years, and although during that time other band members came and went, it wasn't until the two brothers refused to share the stage anymore, that the end had occurred.

      It is easy to claim that in many ways the end was in sight almost 10 years earlier as their popularly waned, but for me it is those "Golden years" of 1964 to 1970/71, that are the years that represent their best and most consistent music output.

      There are so very many Kinks albums, almost as many compilations as thematic album releases. It would be hard to believe that anyone striving for a comprehensive music collection didn't have at least one Kinks album. of course if you appreciate the unbelievable music generated in the 1960's, particularly the British Beat scene, then it is impossible to have a collection without including the Kinks.

      This particular album will cost you generally around $20.00 to $25.00, although I saw one second-hand copy on Ebay for $5.00!!

      VIDEOS - There is a reasonably good selection of live performances the Kinks on Youtube. Not unexpectedly, there are more of recent years than the early years, but I have concentrated on clips and tracks from the period that this CD represents.

      You really got me

      Sunny Afternoon


      Waterloo Sunset

      A Well Respected Man

      Previous Cream of the Crate Albums

      If you are interested in checking out the first fifty vinyl albums reviewed, just click HERE

      Cream of The Crate CD Reviews

      #1 - The Fugs: The Fugs First Album

      #2 - Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings

      #3 - Bob Dylan: Biograph

      #4 - Robin Trower: Essential

      #5 - Sixties Down Under: Various Artists


      #6 - The Big Ol' Box Of New Orleans: Various Artists

      #7 - Hugh Masekela: African Breeze

      #8- The Last Poets: The Legend


      #9 - Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Down The River Side

      #10 - Sixties Down Under (Volume 2): Various Artists


      #11 - The Beatles: On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2

      #12 - The Rolling Stones: Singles Collection The London Years

      #13 - Girl Groups Of The '60s: Various Artists

      #14 - The rds: There Is A Season

      #15 - Sixties Down Under (Volume 3): Various Artists

      #16 - The London Howling Wolf Sessions

      #17 - The Who: Thirty Years of Maximum R&B

      # 18 - Thomas Dol: Hyperactive

      #19 - Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965 -1970

      #20 - Sixties Down Under (Volume 4): Various Artists

      #21 - 2nu: Ponderous

      #22 - Eric Clapton: The Great Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds

      #23 - The Sue Records Story: New York City - The Sound of Soul

      #24 - The Encyclopedia of Boogie Woogie: Various Artists

      #25 - Cam-pact: Psychedelic Pop 'n Soul 1967 - 1969

      #26 - The Clash: The Singles

      #27 - Arthur Brown : Fire-The Story of Arthur Brown

      #28 - Red Hot and Blue: Cole Porter tribute (Various Artists)

      #29 - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: Global A Go-Go

      #30 - Jeff St John's Copperwine: Joint Effort

      #31 - John Lee Hooker: Boogie Man

      #32 - Jefferson Airplane - Jefferson Airplane

      #33 - The Ultimate Guitar Survival Guide: Various Artists

      #34 - Muddy Waters: The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues

      #35 - Dave Hole: The Plumber

      #36 - Sly and The Family Stone: Stand

      #37 - The Pretty Things: Last Writs (Best of Greatest Hits)


      #38 - Fats Waller: Aint Misbehavin'

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