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Where to start with The Kinks?

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Where to start with The Kinks?

Old 01-05-04, 01:08 PM
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Where to start with The Kinks?

OK, in my never-ending quest for musical education, I really want to learn more about The Kinks, who I'm shamefully ignorant of. But it seems like there's a zillion CDs out there, and no one-stop "Essential Kinks" type CD (which would be nice). So anyone out there who's a Kinks fan, can you sort the wheat from the chaff?
Old 01-05-04, 02:07 PM
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Yeah, this isn't the easist thing in the world if you want a couple of discs with all their hits. I think I lucked out and found a GREAT CD of their early hits that I can't find anywhere anymore. The hits collection on PRT is good... but it's missing Victoria and Apeman (at least the one showing up on Allmusic... the hits collection I own from '89 says it's PRT, but has those songs). The Kinks Kronikles is a killer double disc comp, but it's missing some obvious early hits. As for post '77, I'd just pick up the Come Dancing collection, which has most of what you'd want from their late 70's/early 80's period.

If you are just wanting the right hits comp, you might not find it all in one place. Weird, huh? If you want their regular albums I think Allmusic.com is pretty accurate.
Old 01-05-04, 04:28 PM
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Stay away from a "hits" collection.

There are two Kinks albums that I reccomend head-and-shoulders above all of their other albums.

"Lola vs. Powerman and the Money-go-round" - yeah, it has Lola on it - but what it's realy about is a strugling musician who finally has a hit song (Lola) and what happens as a result - this is one of those classic, essential albums where every single song is great and you'll still be listening to it 20 years from now (I first listened to it almost 20 years ago myself) - if you can find the UK version, it's remasterred with a couple bonus tracks.

"Muswell Hillbillies" - fresh after the success of Lola..., the Kinks went into a completely different direction... Country (it's actually more of a folksy sound - in the same vien as 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou'). This album is sort of a theme album about a cynical, disenfranchised city-boy, pinning for the country hills that "he aint never seen". It's a very acoustic album, but it's not really mellow. Davies really outdid himself with some of the best written lyrics I've ever heard - smart, funny, angry, sweet, bitter, cynical, witty - all of this and it holds together beautifully. It gets better each time I listen to it. The music and the guitar-work is impecible, with some of the coolest tones of acoustic and electric slide guitar ever. This is easly one of my favorite albums of all time.
Rhino put out a remastered version about a year ago, with a couple of bonus tracks.

Get these two, and you can (almost) ignore the rest.

Last edited by slop101; 01-05-04 at 04:38 PM.
Old 01-05-04, 04:30 PM
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In a related story, lead singer Ray Davies was shot in the leg yesterday after confronting a mugger:

Old 01-05-04, 06:39 PM
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The Kinks are kind of a tough nut to crack recording-wise. I came of age durring the "Come Dancing"/"State of Confusion" period, grew wary of the band after the umpteenth playing of "Lola" on classic rock radio (I suspect the mugger who shot Ray Davies in New Orleans was at least in part motivated because he's as sick of that tune as I am), then rediscovered the band in my college years. They've put out A LOT of records, and just about each of them has at least one song (or two) that's a classic (some of them underappreciated classics, perhaps, but classics nevertheless).

Unfortunately, I cannot concur with slop101's recommendation of Lola vs. Powerman And The Moneygoround. That is my least favorite of the band's late 60's/early 70's output (which is the band's best period, in my opinion). And it's not just because I've heard "Lola" too damn much. Like Muswell Hillbillies, though.

To me, the best Kinks album hands down (and one of my all-time ALL-TIME favorites) is Something Else by the Kinks. But it may not be the place to start if you're diggin' on the early rockers like "You Really Got Me" or "All Day and All of the Night". More typical of this record are songs like "Love Me Till the Sun Shines" and "Waterloo Sunset". Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society is probably my second fav from the band.
Old 01-05-04, 07:42 PM
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The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society!!!

It is one of their most accessible albums, and it really holds a distinct sound and consistency that I never really encountered with any of the Kinks' other albums. I love the Kinks, but this is the Kinks album that get the heaviest rotation out of the rest of their catalogue for me.
Old 01-06-04, 07:59 AM
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Something Else
Village Green
Face to Face

Most of the reissues have extra tracks, like b-sides and non-album singles, which are crucial to understanding the band. They also tend to render greatest hits compilations unnecessary.
Old 01-06-04, 12:10 PM
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hmmm, I honestly thought the only song they really play on the radio is "you really got me"

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