Monday’s Music Moves Me –  Let’s Get Kinky!

This is my second week participating in the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop. It’s a “Freebie” week which means we don’t have to follow a specific theme and instead can choose whatever music we want to feature. I say Let’s Get Kinky with a time-capsule set of The Kinks!

The Kinks were an English rock band formed in North London in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the era. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat and they were briefly part of the British Invasion of the US until their touring ban in 1965.

The group opened 1965 with their first tour of Australia and New Zealand, with Manfred Mann and the Honeycombs. An intensive performing schedule saw them headline other package tours throughout the year with acts such as the Yardbirds and Mickey Finn. Tensions began to emerge within the band, expressed in incidents such as the on-stage fight between Avory and Dave Davies at The Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales in May that year. After finishing the first song, “You Really Got Me”, Davies insulted Avory and kicked over his drum set. Avory responded by hitting Davies with his hi-hat stand, rendering him unconscious, before fleeing from the scene, fearing that he had killed his bandmate. Davies was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he received 16 stitches to his head. To placate the police, Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.

Following a mid-year tour of the United States, the American Federation of Musicians refused permits for the group to appear in concerts there for the next four years, effectively cutting off the Kinks from the main market for rock music at the height of the British Invasion. Although neither the Kinks nor the union gave a specific reason for the ban, at the time it was widely attributed to their rowdy on-stage behavior. It has been reported that an incident when the band was taping Dick Clark’s TV show Where The Action Is in 1965 led to the ban. Ray Davies recalls in his autobiography, “Some guy who said he worked for the TV company walked up and accused us of being late. Then he started making anti-British comments. Things like ‘Just because the Beatles did it, every mop-topped, spotty-faced limey juvenile thinks he can come over here and make a career for himself” following which a punch was thrown and the AFM banned them.”

After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival during the late 1970s and early 1980s with albums Sleepwalker (1977), Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981) and State of Confusion (1983). In addition, groups such as Van Halen, the Jam, the Knack, the Pretenders and the Fall covered their songs, helping to boost the Kinks’ record sales. The Kinks broke up in 1996, a result of the commercial failures of their last few albums and creative tension between the Davies brothers. Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the group’s 32-year run.

The following are my favorite Kinks songs, presented in order of release dates:

You Really Got Me – written by Ray Davies, “You Really Got Me” was released in August 1964 as the group’s third single, and reached number one on the UK singles chart the next month, remaining for two weeks. The song became the group’s breakthrough hit; it established them as one of the top British Invasion acts in the United States, reaching number seven there later in the year. “You Really Got Me” was later included on the Kinks’ debut album, Kinks.

The lyrics of the song are about lust and sex. Dave Davies said of the song’s lyrics, “‘You Really Got Me’ [is] such a pure record, really. It’s a love song for street kids. They’re not going to wine and dine you, even if they knew how to chat you up. [They say] ‘I want you—come here.'”

The song was covered by American rock band Van Halen in 1978 for their debut album Van Halen, reaching the Billboard Top 40. As the band’s first single, it was a popular radio hit which helped jump-start the band’s career, as it had done for the Kinks 14 years earlier. This version, which was cited by Eddie Van Halen as an “updated” version of the original, featured “histrionic” guitar playing by Eddie Van Halen and “vocal shenanigans” by David Lee Roth. The song had been played by the band live for years before its studio release. On the radio, it is often featured with “Eruption”, the instrumental that precedes it on the album, as an intro. (I’ve included a video of Van Halen’s version at the end of this post).

The following video shows a very early Kinks, performing in 1965 on the show Shindig! Shindig! was an American musical variety series which aired on ABC from September 16, 1964 to January 8, 1966.

 

All Day and All of the Night – “All Day and All of the Night” is a song from 1964. It reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 7 on Billboard’s US chart in 1965. The song was released on the American studio album Kinks-Size.

 

Tired of Waiting for You – “Tired of Waiting for You” was a 1965 hit. The song was released as a single in January 1965 in the UK and in February 1965 in the US. It then appeared on their second studio album Kinda Kinks.

According to Ray Davies, the music for “Tired of Waiting for You” was written on the train to the recording studio and the words were written at a coffee shop during a break in the session.

“Tired of Waiting for You” was written before “All Day and All of the Night,” but “All Day and All of the Night” was released first due to its similarities to the band’s first UK hit, “You Really Got Me.”

It reached No.1 on both the UK Singles Chart and Melody Maker, becoming the band’s second UK chart-topper since “You Really Got Me.” The single also reached No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the highest charting Kinks single in the US until the band’s 1983 hit “Come Dancing” tied it.

Here’s another television performance on the British show Shindig! appearing on July 7, 1965:

 

 Where Have All the Good Times Gone – written by Ray Davies, it was first released as the B-side to “Till the End of the Day,” and was then included on their album The Kink Kontroversy in 1965 (1966 in the US).

Ray Davies said, “We’d been rehearsing ‘Where Have All the Good Times Gone’ and our tour manager at the time, who was a lot older than us, said, ‘That’s a song a 40-year-old would write. I don’t know where you get that from.’ But I was taking inspiration from older people around me. I’d been watching them in the pubs, talking about taxes and job opportunities.”

 

Lola – This is probably my favorite Kinks song. The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible transgender woman, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. In the song, the narrator describes his confusion towards a person named Lola who “walked like a woman and talked like a man”. Although Ray Davies claims that the incident was inspired by a true encounter experienced by the band’s manager, alternate explanations for the song have been given by drummer Mick Avory.

The song was released in June 1970. Commercially, the single reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. Due to its controversial subject matter and use of the brand name Coca-Cola, the single received backlash and even bans in Britain and Australia. The single version (mono) used the words “cherry cola” while the album version (stereo) uses the name “Coca-Cola”. The track has since become one of The Kinks’ most iconic and popular songs

This video features a 1970 performance on Britain’s Top of the Pops television show:

 

Celluloid Heroes – written by lead vocalist and principal songwriter Ray Davies, the song debuted on the Kinks 1972 album Everybody’s in Show-Biz.

The song names several famous actors of 20th century film, and also mentions Los Angeles’s Hollywood Boulevard, alluding to its Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actors mentioned are Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Bela Lugosi, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders, and Mickey Rooney

Here’s a cool video I found on YouTube:

 

Sleepwalker – another of my favorites. Written by Ray Davies, “Sleepwalker” is the debut single from The Kinks’ 1977 album of the same name. Here’s a great 1977 performance but the video embedding was disabled so you’ll have to jump over to the YouTube site to check it out. But do go. It’s worth it!  https://youtu.be/NC5BR3RL6ug

If you’d rather stay here and just listen to a studio version of the song, here you go:

 

Father Christmas – This 1977 single is one of my holiday favorites. It tells of a department store Father Christmas who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids who tell him to give them money instead of toys, as toys are impractical; and asks that the toys be given “to the little rich boys.” At one point, a child asks the narrator to give his/her father a job for Christmas—or, if he must deliver a toy, a machine gun.

 

A Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy – “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” is the lead single and fourth track from The Kinks’ 1978 album Misfits. Written by Ray Davies, the song was inspired by the band’s then-tumultuous state at the time, with two members leaving the band during the recording of Misfits. Released as the first single from the album, the track was the band’s most successful single in years, peaking at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 

Low Budget – “Low Budget” is the sixth track of the Kinks 1979 album of the same name. Recorded in January 1979, it describes a man giving up his “expensive tastes” in order to save money. Like many of the tracks on Low Budget, it applies to the economic troubles occurring during the time that the album was released, such as strikes in Great Britain (and the gas and oil crisis in the US). However, AllMusic’s Richard Gilliam claimed that the track’s theme could “easily apply to just about any modern recession.”

Although “Low Budget” refers to economic problems of the times in general, it also refers to some of Ray Davies’ own personal concerns. In the song, Davies mocks his own fear of not having money and his frugality. The song also references Davies’ vanity. The singer describes himself as once being well dressed and able to afford cigars, but now has to buy discount clothes and chew mints. He describes himself as “a cut-price person in a low-budget land.” But despite being reduced to poverty, the singer expresses pride in his hair and his teeth. Author Thomas Kitts notes that even the title, used in the refrain “I’m on a low budget” could refer to Davies keeping himself on a tight budget.

Here are The Kinks performing live in Providence, Rhode Island on September 23, 1979:

 

Destroyer – “Destroyer” was written by Ray Davies and released as a track on the group’s nineteenth album Give the People What They Want in August 1981. It was the album’s lead single in the US. In 1982, the single reached #3 on the Billboard Rock Top Tracks chart and #85 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was not released as a single in the UK and was available only when the album was released there in January 1982. (The album’s lead single in the UK was “Better Things”).

The song features many callbacks to previous Kinks songs, both lyrically and musically. The track borrows the main riff from The Kinks’ 1964 song, “All Day and All of the Night”, one of the band’s first hits. The lyrics are a continuation of The Kinks’ 1970 hit song, “Lola”, about a transgender individual. In “Destroyer”, the protagonist of the song becomes paranoid after taking Lola back to his place.

 

Come Dancing – “Come Dancing” was a 1983 hit single in both the US and the UK, the track was included on the album State of Confusion. The song is a nostalgic look back at childhood memories of its writer: the Kinks’ frontman Ray Davies, remembering his older sister going on dates to the local Palais dance hall where big bands would play. The lyrics tell how the Palais has been demolished and his sister now has her own daughters who are going on dates. Great video!

 

Living On a Thin Line – “Living on a Thin Line” is a track written by Dave Davies for The Kinks’ 1984 album Word of Mouth. It has been praised as being on of Dave Davies greatest songs. I really like this song.

“Living on a Thin Line” is one of two songs on Word of Mouth written by Dave Davies (the other being “Guilty”). Davies said, in his biography Kink, that the track was influenced by The Kinks’ long and difficult career, along with his hatred toward politicians. The song’s lyrics compare the barbaric times of medieval England to today, saying that “inside we’re the same as we ever were”.

The song, despite not having much commercial success, has become a fan-favorite. The track has also been played three times in the American TV show The Sopranos’ 2001 episode “University.” Producer Terence Winter has said that it is the series’ most asked about song.

 

Now if this hasn’t been enough Kink, let’s get a little more kinky: Here is Van Halen’s cover of “You Really Got Me” – in a 1980 performance:

 

Have yourself a very kinky week…

 

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Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Doctor My Eyes

Hi guys. I’m three days late getting my Results post up. Sorry ’bout that.

The battle was with the Jackson Browne song Doctor My Eyes and the contenders were Wilson Phillips and Gretchen Wilson.

Well, Stephen’s Magic 8-Ball was right on the money on this one: Wilson Phillips took the title in this battle. Voting had a low turnout though so I wouldn’t really call it a landslide ending, as he predicted. Wilson Phillips came in with 7 votes and Gretchen Wilson with 3 votes, including mine.

Honestly, I was at a loss as to who to choose. I listened to each version several times, like 5 or 6 times each while I’ve been working on something else here, and I just had a hard time deciding on how to cast my vote. I absolutely love the vocal harmonies in the Wilson Phillips version and then I really like Gretchen’s voice and the music in her version, it being very close to the original in strength and tempo. In the end, I tossed my vote to Gretchen.

I’m going to leave you all with a fun song by Gretchen: Redneck Woman. If you haven’t heard it before, give a listen and pay attention to the lyrics (I’m posting a video with the lyrics on screen so they’ll be easy to follow). I love the lyrics. Living in Texas for the past 25 years, I’m very well acquainted with the redneck lifestyle! This is a fun song. Enjoy.

As always, thanks for your participation. I’ll be back next month, on July 15th, with a new battle.

Monday’s Music Moves Me Bloghop: Locations theme

Happy Monday! Today I’m taking part in a Blog Hop called Monday’s Music Moves Me. I visited my friend Mary’s blog at JingleJangleJungle today and discovered that she was honored with choosing the theme for this week’s Monday’s Music Moves Me. It’s a fun theme: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Songs that have Locations in the Title.

I thought of so many songs that I like with locations in the title that I decided to put a playlist together to share with you all. Here’s my list. Click into the YouTube video playlist and you can listen to the songs and check out the videos: some of them are pretty cool.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

Waterloo by Abba

The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace

Jesus Just Left Chicago by ZZ Top

La Grange by ZZ Top

Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees

New York State of Mind by Billy Joel

Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Woman from Tokyo by Deep Purple

Philadephia Freedom by Elton John

Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel

Woodstock by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – EXCELLENT Woodstock video, for those of us who like to get retro. Check out this counterculture anthem!

Witchita Lineman by Glen Campbell

Youngstown by Bruce Springsteen – I went to college at Youngstown State University in Ohio and Bruce’s song tells about the history of the town. When I was there in the early 80s, it was a sad city of shutdown steel mills and had the highest unemployment rate in the country at the time. The song highlights the situation.

My City Was Gone by The Pretenders  — This song doesn’t have an exact location in the title but it’s meaningful to me because as it’s a song about Chrissie Hynde’s hometown of Akron, Ohio. When I was away at college in Ohio, my friend Jeff told me that every time he heard that song it reminded him of me. So it’s very special to me.

I also wanted to include New York Minute by Don Henley but it has strict copyright restrictions so there was no YouTube video and I couldn’t include it in the playlist. But you can click here to give it a listen. It’s an excellent high quality version of the song so be sure to check it out. It’s worth it!

 

Hope you enjoy my Monday’s Music Moves Me playlist of Songs with Locations in the Title. Thanks to all the hosts and to Mary for the great theme!

 

Today’s post is part of the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop, hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Callie of JAmerican Spice, Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants as well.

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Father’s Day

This is my first Father’s Day without my Dad. He passed in October and I think about him every single day. I miss him. A lot.

Last Father’s Day, he was here, at my house and it was the first Father’s Day in a number of years that we were actually in the same place together. I didn’t realize it then but it was the last Father’s Day I’d ever have with him.

I don’t remember the date but it was sometime last year. My Dad wanted a pair of cowboy boots. I don’t know why. He couldn’t get around much and really didn’t go anywhere anymore. He had had a gorgeous pair of snakeskin boots that never fit him right and I ended up selling them for him.

Dad’s snakeskin cowboy boots

I think he just wanted to own another pair. So I took him down to Cavender’s Boot City here in Austin and I helped him try on a number of different kinds of boots. We didn’t find one pair that he could get his foot into because he had such a high instep and would’ve required custom boots, but I think it just satisfied him that we tried. And he got to shop around and look at all the leather belts and the cowboy hats. We left the store not buying a thing but I know he enjoyed our little adventure out that afternoon.

These pictures were taken back in North Carolina in 2009. My Mom and I were in the car, just about to back out of the driveway and Dad was standing there to see us off. I looked up and just thought he was so cute standing there in his cowboy hat. I grabbed my camera real quick and snapped a few pics through the windshield. I’m so glad I did. These are my favorite four photos of him. I’ve always wondered what he was looking up at in the sky…

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And now I look up at him in the sky…

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD!

I love you forever.

You’re always in my heart and

I hope you hear me talking to you and thinking about you every day.

I miss you so much!

 

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!

 

 

Battle of the Bands: Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne

It’s June 15th and the official kickoff to Battle of the Bands going monthly. From here on out, Battles will be held once a month, on the 15th of every month. (Note: some BOTB participants will still post two battles per month, on the 1st and the 15th).

My mid-month battle is featuring the song Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne.

“Doctor My Eyes” is a 1972 song written and performed by Jackson Browne and included on his debut album Jackson Browne. Featuring a combination of an upbeat piano riff coupled, somewhat ironically, with lyric about feeling world-weary, the song was a surprise hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in spring 1972, after debuting on the chart at #80. In Canada, the song peaked at #4.

Jesse Ed Davis played the electric guitar while David Crosby and Graham Nash sang backing vocals, and Russ Kunkel played drums.

I’ve always loved this song. It’s interesting in that the upbeat music doesn’t match the lyrics. Here’s some history of the song from Wikipedia: William Ruhlmann on Allmusic.com elaborated on the development of the song: “Browne first recorded a demo of ‘Doctor My Eyes’ for the Criterion Music publishing company in early 1971, and despite its striking imagery and carefully crafted writing, it was a bleak song… By the time he came to record the song for his first album in the summer of 1971, however, Browne had revised the lyric, tossing out the most pessimistic lines. Now, ‘Doctor My Eyes’ was the statement of a man who had stoically endured life’s hardships, but having done so, now worried that he had been rendered unable to feel anything. It still wasn’t an optimistic song, but the unhappy ending had been rendered ambiguous.” Ruhlmann addresses the final recorded version’s “paradoxical sense” between the music and the lyrics: “Working with other musicians, Browne drastically altered the sound of the song on record. A lively 4/4 beat, played on drums and congas, and supported by piano, set up a catchy underlying riff before the lyrics even began. Browne’s singing was supported by Graham Nash and David Crosby’s harmonies, giving the lyrics an emotional edge. On the whole, the arrangement and performance worked against the still desperate message contained in the words.” There was originally a third verse to the song, but it was not retained when Browne recorded the song for his debut album. The lost verse, however, can be found on circulating bootlegs of the song’s original demo.

In part 1 of the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, JD Souther and Glenn Frey discuss at some length the process of Browne’s work methods while Browne was working on the song over a period of some months. The three lived in adjacent downmarket apartments; the future Eagles would hear Browne, through the walls, at work on his piano every morning.

On the song’s reception: Jeff Walker, in his review of Browne’s debut album for Phonograph Record magazine in 1972, wrote that “Doctor My Eyes” is one of a number of tracks on the album that “deal with a spiritual search; no preaching, no conclusions, just searching.”

Ruhlmann on Allmusic called it “a rollicking pop/rock song about being almost terminally burnt out.”

Here’s a terrific live performance of Jackson Browne’s appearance on Rockpalast (Rock Palace), a German music television show, in 1986. Don’t vote for this version: it’s here for your enjoyment only.

 

THE BATTLE, featuring female vocals:

CONTENDER #1: Wilson Phillips 

Wilson Phillips covered the song on their 2004 album “California”.  Wilson Phillips is an American vocal group consisting of Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, and Chynna Phillips, the daughters, respectively, of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas. (If the video doesn’t play for some reason, you can hear the version here)

 

CONTENDER #2: Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Frances Wilson (born June 26, 1973) is an American country music artist. She made her debut in 2004 with the Grammy Award-winning single “Redneck Woman,” a number-one hit on the Billboard country charts. She covered the song for the 2013 album “Under the Covers“.

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! I’ll be back next month, on July 15th, for another battle. Until then, rock on…