Friday, December 4, 2009

I Don't Need Nobody Else

Kinda Kinks hit the US record shelves in August 1965, five months after the UK release with the same name. Many of the same tracks appeared, augmented by two 45 single A-sides, Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy (UK March 1965) and Set Me Free (from May 1965). Ev'rybody failed to make the top ten in Britain so the A and B sides were switched for the US market with Who'll Be The Next In Line getting the A honors when it was released in July 1965. Meanwhile a new single was out in the UK . Confusing? Reprise and Pye were each attempting to keep the masses buying Kinks' product, unsure just how long the British Invasion was going to last. Neither Set Me Free nor WBTNIL would come close to the top ten in the US, a steep drop-off from their first three hits.

The US LP kicks off with Look For Me Baby, a Motown influenced number in which Ray chides his lover "In your desperation you're going to look for someone else". There is a clumsiness to Ray's lead vocal that endears it to me, and the background vocals are a dead-on swipe from the Motown girl's group of that period. On Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' About That Girl Ray opens up a new sound for the Kinks with a bluesy acoustic opening, then midway through the electric guitar and bass play a unison riff underneath his gentle lead vocal and propel the song to a most satisfactory end. Of the two previously mentioned singles Set Me Free is far superior, containing one of Ray's first falsetto attempts and a middle eight of impeccable beauty.

On the LP's final track The Kinks offer up a brilliant combination of Merseybeat songwriting and a chiming guitar riff that sounds as if the boys had been transplanted from sunny Southern California. Given that Something Better Beginning was recorded in December 1964, months before the Byrds would make their big splash, one wonders where Dave came up with this unique sound. Ray plays out this story of young love on the dance floor, one of the first of many Kinks songs to do so. And for once Ray is feeling positive, believing that this time it might just work out.

"Is this the start of another heart breaker
Or something better beginning"


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

One of my favorites, capturing perfectly that hope/dread of new love. And your point about this actually predating the Byrds is excellent; i'd never thought of that ...

Holly A Hughes said...

I love to imagine that the girl in this song is the same one who shows up in "Don't Forget to Dance," nearly 20 years later....

Did this come before or after the Beatles' "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You"? They make a great pair, either way. I love how all those bands in those days were listening to each other and stealing all the good bits from each other.

FYI I have a great book you should read -- Please Please Me by Gordon Thompson. It's an absolutely fabulous history of the British Invasion, with lots of rich detail on how the tracks actually got laid down. You'd love it!