Ray Davies’ prolific songwriting muse showcased on choice rarities from the Kinks’ golden years – including a tune from brother Dave, and several recordings in which the whole band participated.
One of the greatest songwriting talents the UK has ever produced, Ray Davies was tremendously prolific right from his earliest days with the Kinks. His wry take on the British way of life was matched by uncanny melodic and commercial sensibilities, resulting in a body of work that remains unsurpassed. From ‘You Really Got Me’ on, the Kinks’ popularity and influence around the globe has been immeasurable, as ably demonstrated by the many covers of Davies’ songs.
“Kinked!” is an alternative celebration of the Kinks’ first decade, via the songs that “got away” when a surfeit of material was shopped by Davies’ publisher and management, both in the UK and overseas. These tunes include several signature items never officially recorded by the Kinks – ‘I Go To Sleep’, ‘This Strange Effect’, ‘All Night Stand’ – or often released well in advance of the Kinks’ own versions. The range of interpreters is wide, from pop-jazz chanteuse Peggy Lee and teen idol Bobby Rydell to Brit-girls the Orchids, UK mainstays the Pretty Things, sessioneer Nicky Hopkins, satirist Barry Fantoni, US garage punk avatars the Chocolate Watchband and R&B veterans the Olympics. Several cuts are previously unissued alternate versions / mixes or recent vault discoveries. “Kinked!” also gathers the known outside tracks to feature some or all of the Kinks as accompaniment, like the obscure ‘King Of The Whole Wide World’. And as writer, Kinks guitar slinger extraordinaire Dave Davies contributes one track, the rare beat pounder ‘One Fine Day.’
Growing up in Crouch End, at the foot of Muswell Hill, you might say an affinity with the Kinks was in the tapwater. Indeed, ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘Lola’ and others resonated in my sub-teenaged brain long before I learned who the actual artist was. Subsequent exploration of the Kinks’ vintage catalogue proved to be a constant joy, and I managed to see them live on at least one occasion in London in the mid-80s. I noted at the time that the audience was almost wholly comprised of Americans, and after to moving to California I discovered just how deep an impression my hometown heroes had made on this side of the Atlantic.
The contents of “Kinked!” almost compiled themselves but as a long-time fan I was happy to oblige and shepherd this package to fruition. It’s an eminently listenable programme that firmly makes the case that Ray Davies and the Kinks had talent in spades from the very start.