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The Bickershaw Programme: The Kinks.
Ray Davies in a fit of self indulgence referred to the Kinks as ë the finest band in the world. ë, maybe heís right. If not the finest then they are surely the most consistent and durable group around, having remained true to the brothers Davies code of introverted musical patriotism for night on eight years with never a wink or a nod in the direction of flower power. , de bloos or any of the other bandwagons that our musical heroes have jumped aboard at one time or another.
The Who, together with Procul
Harem, the only other British bands who come near them in terms
of musical consistency- The Kinks
can and do still play their early hits like ë All Day
and All Of The Night 'and 'You Really Got Meí
and bring sweat on the brows of the uninitiated. Yet recently more attention
has been paid to the KInks and primarily Ray
Davies as socially observant music makers and the basic simplicity
of their work has been much ignored. A shame - why do the British , in particular,
need an excuse to enjoy their music on a gut
Of course, albums like 'Arthur 'and the ' Village Green Preservation Society 'and singles like ' Waterloo Sunset ' are certainly genuinely felt , if somewhat wry sentiments of respect for the peculiarities of life in dear old Blighty. But the Davies brothers music is surely to be dug in the way its delivered- with gusto.
Not that the Kinkís own musical ethos hasnít embraced some pretty extreme musical developments in its time. Brother Rayís sexually notorious , oriental flavoured ' See My Friend ' was a minor hit ( ie :it didnít quite reach the number one ) in 65- a good two years before groups were donning kaftans and singing about anything else other than holding hands at the hop. ( I think if Ray Davies held anybody's hand at a dance they night find something rather nasty in it afterwards - a dead frog perhaps).
ëSee My Friends 'was delivered in that same arrogantly nasal , Gibson Flying-V-slung-contemptuously-over-the- shoulder style that's always been with the Kinks. The original group, with the man the press releases never mention- Pete Quaife on bass, has changed little since those hedonistic days in the mid sixties. Dave Davies still plays a mean guitar and looks out from behind mischievous eyes. His contribution to the bandís music isnít as dominant as his elder brothers but its just as individual ( remember his three solo singles, including the raspy- 'Death Of A Clown '? ) Mick Avory sits laconically behind his skins and kicks shit out of them with a look of benign innocence written large all over his face. Bassist John Dalton has been with the band once, before he officially joined up in 1969 - for six months when Pete Quaife was indisposed in 1966. Lurking in the background is the fifth but apparently unofficial member of the group, pianist Mike Gosling .
Together The Kinks are not just a back up crew for Ray Davies , although his outrageous camping about is not fully appreciated in the UK where Workers Playtime still represents all that's best in popular music humour. The Kinks are in fact one of the very small pack of ace bands who manage to tread the tightrope between rock and schlock with tongue in cheek style. Like Ray says, maybe they ARE the finest.
Leaders of the pack of Muswell hillbillies.
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Updated May 2023