Friday, November 27, 2009

Some people say it blows your mind

Holy cow, Batman! I just finished my first listen to The Kinks Low Budget since the early eighties and it hit me that this is the killer follow-up to Some Girls that the Stones should have recorded. Scattered amidst the Keith Richard's riffs and driving drums are some juicy new wave nuggets too. At this point the Kinks had cast off most of their otherness that made them so special, but in return they were playing real honest-to-goodness rock'n'roll. And doing it as well as any band out there. There is no looking back.

Ray had his ear to the track and was picking up all sorts of interesting sounds from the burgeoning new wave and punk movements. Pressure pumps it up with a driving Ramone's fury. National Health takes the Stone's Shattered and adds a veneer of ska/reggae ala the Clash. Check out Holly Hughes bang-up posting on this LP's new wave influences over at the Ray Davies Forum. And there are some juicy Ray Davies' nuggets in the lyrics throughout. Misery has a couplet that really slays me:

"Until you learn to laugh you'll never come to any parties at my house/And if you go on like this the only house you'll ever visit is the nut house"

My only complaint about this LP is that a few of the songs go on too long, wearing out their welcome after they have had their say. In 1979 I bought the 12" single of (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman which is the extended 6:01 edit on the LP. But I really wish I had bought the 7" 45rpm edit because it is a real corker. It lays out all the juicy parts and then is done in 3:26.


Holly A Hughes said...

For such a Pye-era fan as you are, I love hearing that you appreciate Low Budget all over again. I wonder if we weren't a little harsh on these LPs at the time because we felt so betrayed that Ray wasn't doing the same-old same-old. I for one could listen to Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Shangri-La over and over -- but I realize I can't blame for not wanting to write more of the same. And trying to stay current in the volatile music scene of the 70s was no easy task. But like you said, Ray has always had his ear to the ground; he's so much more adaptable than the other British Invasion bands were ever able to be.

So when you say this was the follow-up to Some Girls -- did you LIKE Some Girls? I have to admit I listened to it an awful lot at the time. Now I hear it and I can't imagine why!

Mister Pleasant said...

In a truly weird coincidence, I heard Catch Me Now I'm Falling today at a local Burgerville franchise.

I totally agree with you Holly. I started tuning out the Kinks around the time of this release, and it was mostly because I was not ready for Ray and the boys to move on and keep up with the times. That they were out of time even in the late 60's was wonderful for me and you and a bunch of other Kinks' fanatics, but it wasn't selling many records.

As far as Some Girls is concerned - yeah I really like it. A lot. It is the Stones' last gasp by my account. The final three tunes - Before They Make Me Run, Beast of Burden, and Shattered - showed that they could be inventive within the confines of their sonic universe. The followup Emotional Rescue is almost unlistenable to me now. That they never went any further fits right into your premise that The Kinks were they only British Invasion band to adapt.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Oops. See this is what happens when I stubbornly insist on reading -- & commenting on -- blog posts in the order in which they were posted. Holly, when I commented below re Some Girls I hadn’t yet seen this discussion, which makes most of my points there moot, so sorry if it seemed like I was piling on!

But yeah, poisonally, Some Girls does sound as good to me now as it did in ’78. I still think it’s just a great record. But why the wheels – steel or no, yah! -- fell off thereafter is an excellent, excellent question.

To be honest, I’m a bigger Stones fan than most and have to confess that I thought even as late as the Bridges to Babylon tour in ’97 – by which point most every serious critic had written them off as an embarrassing self-parody – I thought the Stones were in fact still a fine live band. (And I think that puts me in the minority even of Stones fans!) After ’97, however, I cannot be held accountable for their doings.

Alrighty, sorry for the off-topic tangent, and hey doesn’t Low Budget have to be the most topically relevant 20-year-old album of all time for this modern fast paced world in which we live in right now here today in the year of our lord two thousand nine? I mean I’m on a lowww budget (I thought you said that!)

Mister Pleasant said...

You are not alone Who Am - my anal retentiveness requires me to read and respond to posts in chronological order. LOL.

Holly - if you happen to pop back into this thread, I would be very interested to read more of your thoughts on Some Girls. Feel free to dish it out. You are among friends here.