Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell

Holly Hughes and a bunch of Kink's Kooks at the Ray Davies Forum are listening to one Kinks (UK) album per day, in chronological order. They started on November 1st, and today they are listening to The Kink Kontroversy. See Holly's post at The Song In My Head Today.

Because my Kinks LP collection consists of the US releases I waited until today to join them, as from this point forward the UK and US albums contain virtually the same tracks. The Kink Kontroversy is also an entry point for what I consider to be the Kinks run of five consecutive studio LPs that are essential to any rock collection, along with The Kink Kronikles which collects all their exquisite 45 rpm only singles along with a few outstanding album tracks. The newer CDs include these singles A and B sides on the LP from the same period.

Till the End of the Day is the single that was pulled from today's LP. A great song that bridges the gap between their early guitar-riff oriented songs and the new direction they would take after this LP. But for sheer listening pleasure I'm On an Island is the song that grabs me and won't let go.

More so than most rock singers, Ray Davies sings with a vast array of inflections, and when he forces out the words "I'm..On..An..Island" I cannot help but smile and chuckle. The unusual calypso beat and hilarious entry of the cowbell take this song to a whole new level. Ray moans wistfully that "my girl left me behind. She said that I'm not her kind" but hoping against hope "there is nowhere else on Earth I'd rather be, than if my long, lost little girl was here with me". The island in question is no doubt an analogy to the lonely state of his heart, so setting the song to a Caribbean beat not only deflects the pain of his loss but creates one of the finest happy tune/sad lyrics pop songs of the 60s.


Holly A Hughes said...

I have been told that Ray wrote "I'm On An Island" when he was in Iceland, and he swore he'd never sing the song anywhere else. Which is why someday I must travel to Iceland to see Ray in concert there -- because I am determined finally to see him sing this song live before I die!

Cool post. I'm sorry I've been so snowed under by the Kinksathon that I didn't check in until day. Okay if I link your blog to the Kinks forum so they can enjoy it too?

Mister Pleasant said...

Very interesting - Iceland is about the last island I would have expected to be the genesis for this. That's hilarious!

Absolutely - feel free to link me at the forum. I have been meaning to post there but it was a busy week for me too.