Monday, November 30, 2009

They Really Got Me

The folks at Reprise Records in the USA were a crafty bunch. They figured out how to multiply two 12" LPs into four. By shuffling a few tracks across LPs, reducing the track count by two or three, and adding non-LP single A and B sides, they succeeded in creating twice as much Kinks product as their counterpart Pye in the UK.

In the US that meant the first LP - known as You Really Got Me - would have only 11 tracks compared to 14 on Kinks. I Took My Baby Home had already been released on the B-Side of The Kinks initial Long Tall Sally single on the Cameo label. I'm A Lover Not A Fighter and the instrumental Revenge would be moved to the next LP. Given the high percentage of covers already on the record, it does not take away from the overall feel to miss these tracks. In fact it makes the listening time just about right.

Of course the real deals here are that harbinger of metal You Really Got Me, and Stop Your Sobbing which would be covered by the Pretenders early in their career. The remaining songs are rough around the edges and yet there is a real joy in the performances. Mr. Quaife lays out some awesome bass lines. Dave's solos on the two Chuck Berry covers are wild and wooly in the best possible way. I will go out on a limb here and state that for me the early Kinks were a much more fun R&B band than the Rolling Stones at this stage of their careers. Yeah I know - the accepted opinion is that the Stones were hands down the best at covering American R&B - but the fact is I never listen to anything they released before Satisfaction. I will take Ray Davies' more natural attempt at blues vocals over Mick Jagger's exagerated cotton-balls-in-mouth slurry any day of the week. If you think I speak blasphemy - well, sue me.

Case in point - dig Ray's performance on this clip of The Kinks covering Got Love If You Want It. No need for any further words from me. It speaks for itself.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Holy crap!! :-) An absolutely amazing video.

As you no doubt suspect I do think you are underrating the pre-Satisfaction Stones, but I can't sue you for that because what are my damages? This is an incredible performance! I've watched it thrice and am not done yet ... :-) Just truly great & under-recognized & underappreciated stuff. Many thanks for posting.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Hey Mr. P, look who's giving you a nice shout out:


Mister Pleasant said...

Hey Who Am Us! Glad the live performance hit you as hard as it did me. I must admit to being in a tatty mood yesterday, so I probably over-emphasized my point. First of all I do listen to The Last Time and Play With Fire, both of which slightly predate Satisfaction. And from that point forward there is no arguing (in my book) that until Goats Head Soup the Stones were a major force of nature. Thanks for taking my jibe at them in good stride.

And another thank you for pointing out the link. Good to see that my blowhard tendencies don't scare everyone away. :)