August 28th, 2007
Last year Madison played host to the kickoff of Ray Davies’ solo tour. He was hitting the road in support of Other People’s Lives when he stopped in at the Barrymore last spring.
As the frontman for The Kinks, Davies always seemed to play fourth fiddle to Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, and Pete Townshend. In the mid-60s they were all revving up American rhythm & blues and The Kinks will forever be most famous for taking R&B and making it into the proto-metal of “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night”. Unfortunately, people tend to ignore most of the band’s later output despite the wealth of great songs. As Blonde on Blonde, Revolver, and Pet Sounds finished the transformation of rock’n'roll into rock, The Kinks added their 2 cents with the criminally underrated Something Else by the Kinks. Although recording began in the autumn of 1966, it wasn’t released until December of the following year, a bit late to be included in that seminal period.
I don’t want to go on too much longer citing great songs that have been overlooked but it’s unfortunate that The Kinks were banned from performing here in the U.S. in 1965 for 4 or 5 years. The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur are almost unknown here despite having some of their best work on them. Things eventually got sorted out and Ray would perform “Alcohol” with a beer can balanced on his head and get into legendary onstage fights with his brother Dave. The band would record until the early 1990s.
With his legacy behind him, I have to give Davies credit for the concert he performed at the Barrymore Theatre here in Madison on 18 March 2006. He played half of his solo album to an audience which, no doubt, was keen on hearing songs from The Kinks’ heyday. I chose the first half of the show because it has a couple songs from Muswell Hillbillies but, truth be told, the new material holds up well against the classics.
Lastly I’ll note that Davies apparently has another album in the can which he hopes to have out by year’s end. So keep your eyes peeled.
I’m Not Like Everybody Else
Where Have All the Good Times Gone
After the Fall
20th Century Man
Dead End Street
Next Door Neighbor
Creatures of Little Faith
This is Davies doing “Come Dancing” earlier this month.