...on and on.
With the release of Kinkdom in November 1965 the Kinks - or rather Reprise Records - had managed four LPs in the span of twelve months. There is no UK counterpart to this release, as it was cobbled together from singles A and B sides, the British EP Kwyet Kinks, and a leftover track from an early UK EP. That track - Louie Louie - makes its second US LP appearance as Reprise was desperate to fill up side two. By this point they had nearly emptied the vaults of Kinks material.
In terms of music this is an awesome album. All but two tracks were written by one of the Davies' brothers. But I would have ordered the tracks differently. For instance, why bury I Need You in the middle of side 2 when it cries out for either the lead-off track or the LP closer. But enough nitpicking. Reprise was right on to include A Well Respected Man, and even more so to release it as a single A side the previous month. Why it was relegated to an EP track in the UK by Pye is one of the great mysteries of Kinkdom. This would be the first of many character sketches to come in which Ray would explore the pompous and the pure. The amount of bile generated towards the "man" of this song is astonishing for a 1965 hit. Such a Shame is that rare early Kink's track to dwell in minor keys. Never Met A Girl Like You Before starts off with the opening riff from Tired Of Waiting For You, then completely switches gears into a perky R&B number. In the previously mentioned I Need You Ray Davies perfected the proto-metal genre he created with You Really Got Me. The sound is vastly improved over that earlier hit, as is the production which uses feedback to propel the song forward into the pile driving riff that carries through to the end. The Kinks would not return to this sort of raw rock until the late 70's, and even then they would never surpass it.
Today's bonus embedded video contains one of the oddest Kinks performances, this one of See My Friends, a single A side released the previous summer and also the closing track on side 1. The song's novel use of an Indian drone accompaniment (using western instruments) was no doubt ahead of its time. Ray produced one of his most touching lyrics in which he deals with the departure of his girl. We learn that she left by crossing the river, but why she left is never discussed. All we know is that she left him and he feels abandoned, but at least he does have his friends, who he watches playing across the river. The vocals on this performance are live, though I suspect the basic instrumental track may be canned. Ray uses a much more nasal voice for the "see my friends" lines, while Dave's harmony vocals during the "she is gone" are louder and fuller than Ray's lead. It is a very affected and affecting performance.
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