Getting Out The Kinks

Arthur movie Arthur

Ray Davies knows how to write good songs (this just in). The Kinks were the Come Dancing, You Really Got Me, Lola band forever in my mind and not much else. Plus Van Halen has a rocking version of their best known song so I never felt the need to play their music, oh how foolish. I didn’t wise up during my college radio days either despite being introduced to their albums they just sounded “too British” for my ears. I remember listening to The Village Green Preservation Society and thinking this is for Anglophiles only. I picked up a copy of Arthur (not the Dudley Moore movie) mainly to get the song Victoria to kick off a mix CD for my wife whose name is of course, Arthur (Not as funny as John Gielgud in that 1981 comedy, but it’ll do). I played the whole album just to check it out and then played it over and over again. Incredible music and compelling lyrics and The Kinks manages to pull together a concept album that inspires frequent spins. The music from Arthur was originally intended as a soundtrack to a television play that never materialized and centered (centred?) around a fictionalized version of Ray Davies’ brother-in-law who moved from England to Australia after World War II. The Kinks sound inspired on this release like their national pride is at stake and the whole album sizzles despite not containing any of their better known tunes. These songs sound like the blueprint to a lot of Roger Waters’ war/military themed songs on Pink Floyd albums such as The Wall and The Final Cut. Songs off of Arthur such as Some Mother’s Son, Yes Sir, No Sir and Mr. Churchill Says are all songs I would have ignored as being too British in my narrow ranged youth. This album proves what a mistake it is to base a record simply on song titles because Arthur is a treasure trove of great music that I would have passed on if I wasn’t married to a girl named after a British queen. A title like She’s Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina does not sound like a rock and roll gem, compare that track name to any AC/DC song and you’ll see what I’m talking about. But the songs on Arthur do rock, and I feel like I owe Mr. Davies an apology for not giving his work a fair listen. In fact I want to hear Village Green again and acquire other albums from The Kinks catalog. To paraphrase Hobson from the 1981 movie, I look forward to their next syllable with great eagerness!


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