Tag Archives: Dave Davies

Paying Tribute! The Kinks

Another in a series of Kinks tribute albums, Unkovered features a mostly lesser-known roster of artists who produce mixed results. About half the songs are from the classic late 60s period, but I was glad to see the usual targets like “You Really Got Me” skipped over and tracks like “Dandy” and “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” get covered.

Some of the artists offer little more than straight cover versions. Ghosts of Electricity handles “Sunny Afternoon” about as well as you’d expect a bar band to play it, and James O’Malley’s odd pauses in “Celluloid Heroes” gives it an odd Harry Chapin flavor but neither track sticks in your head.  On the other hand, while Maura Kennedy’s cover of “Autumn Almanac” doesn’t vary much from the original arrangement, her lilting voice perfectly suits the song, and she inhabits it with spirit and heart.

A couple of my favorite tracks have been given a country flavor, and why not? Muswell Hillbillies, Percy and Village Green Preservation Society did nothing if not celebrate family, hearth and home from the English perspective. The Corduroy Sky’s take on “Holloway Jail” morphs from simple acoustic riffs to a lightweight version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Caroline Doctorow’s beautiful “Oklahoma USA” (with Maura and Pete Kennedy backing up) is the standout cut on the album along with The Blaggards’ “Last of the Steam Powered Trains”.

Other artists took chances; Smile Pretty Misery treats “Set Me Free” like a dark confessional, while The Lone Sharks threw “Willesden Green” through an Elvis Presley filter. Johnny Cuomo’s ragged voice makes Rod Stewart sound silky, but at least he infuses some emotion into “Dead End Street”, much like Patrick Costello’s wailing guitars save “Give The People What They Want”. There are disappointments – I found Tara Eberle’s “Do It Again” and Claudia Jacobs’ “Loony Balloon” pretty tepid – but for a regional label (Long Island, NY) it’s a pretty decent tribute disc.

Die-hard Kinks fans collect everything related to their heroes; hopefully they will find a few favorites on Unkovered to listen to alongside This is Where I Belong, Shangri-La, Give The People What We Want and the other loving tips of the cap.

Listen to clips from Unkovered at Amazon.

Unkovered is released on Paradiddle Records.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Absent Artists

I hope they're not lost...

As I’m going back and revisiting the year, I’m reminded once again of those artists I hoped to hear from who didn’t pop up and release an album. Some of them might just be in the normal development cycle, but for others it’s an unusual gap between efforts. I know they won’t all go on forever, but there are many who are still creating at a high level and I selfishly want more from them. I am the customer, after all, and rumor has it that I’m always right.

It’s not too much to ask, is it? Jason and The Scorchers reformed and released an absolute gemDwight Twilley came out with a brand new album this year after a half-decade of vault outtakes. Robert Klein has a new comedy release scheduled for January. I’m not going all Tinkerbell on you here, but things can happen. (Clapping hands is optional.)

So here are Ten Absent Artists – I hope each of them read this and kick it into high gear. I promise to be appreciative of the effort, and I’m hopeful that my anticipation will be replaced by a huge smile.

01) Walter Clevenger – He’s been more centered on his production work than recording. Maybe he’s busy, maybe it’s the frustration of releasing wonderful albums that failed to launch him into the mainstream. But I wish he’d keep punching that wall until it falls. Stop breaking my Paper Heart.

02) Tonio K – A repeat submission, I’m sure, and I know he’s out there because his work shows up on other people’s albums. I wish he’d just saddle up and form a band – Nashville, LA, whatever – and record his own material again. Don’t that make you want to jump right up and start to dance?

03) Fountains of Wayne – There have been a few collaborations with others, from songwriting for Russell Brand to the apparently one-off Tinted Windows project. We need your pop genius, now. Don’t give up.

04) Joe Jackson – You came out in that same “angry man” wave as Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt. Guess who is the only one not releasing new material? Pretty soon now, you know you’re gonna make a comeback.

05) Richard Belzer – you might think this is an odd choice, but Belz was a great stand up comic long before he made a living playing Detective John Munch. Call me a rooster on acid, but i think since he’s been popping up on celebrity roasts, he might have an album in the can.

Waiting to be rocked.

06) The Montgomery Cliffs – Man, I miss this band so bad. Great songs, great presence, big sound and a killer sense of humor. That band, she was good! Hope they reunite or Joey Salvia will have to continue to play for Republicans.

07) Artful Dodger – A lot of pop bands have reunited in the past few years, some for the cash, some out of curiosity, some purely out of the respect for their music and their fans. Artful Dodger never got the credit they deserved the first time around, and their 2006 show in Cleveland proved they still had it. Will bands who copped their style be jealous? I say there’s honor among the thieves.

08) The Faces Rod is back to spewing out collections of pop standards, but Ron, Mac and Kenney hooked up with Glen Matlock and Mick Hucknall to play a series of shows and apparently not only have more dates in 2011 but some new material to record. Rod passed, so let him go!  Seize the day, mates! And this time stay with me.

09) Love NutAndy Bopp moved from Love Nut to Myracle Brah to solo and collaborative efforts, but the pure pop power of Baltimucho needs to be revived. You could just change anything that you want, ’cause that’s alright.

10) The Kinks – Yes, I know there’s another Ray Davies album on the way. Yes, I know he and Dave have sibling issues. I hoped Pete Quaife‘s passing would have woken them up to how tentative life is, since Ray’s bullet hole didn’t do it. Come on, boys…give the people what they want.

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Dead End Street

Pete Quaife, original Kinks bassist, dead at 66.

“All those early gigs we ever played
Sometimes we were lucky if we even got paid
On the road
Pete played on the bass guitar
Liked to get around, mixing with all the stars
But Mrs. Avory’s child was all fingers and thumbs
But solid as a rock, setting time on the drums
While Dave the Rave hit the rock ‘n’ roll riffs
Yours truly strummed away with a slightly limp wrist

Ironically, Ray Davies also just turned 66 the other day. Rumors had run rampant for the last couple of years that the original band was going to reunite for one more album and tour, but I remember Ray saying he was going to do that a decade ago to celebrate the Millennium.

Now it’s too late.

Quaife was an underrated bass player and understandably so; how could you possibly stand out with the flamboyant Davies brothers out front? But listen to the early singles and albums like Face To Face, Something Else and Village Green Preservation Society and you’ll realize just how solid Quaife and Mick Avory were. They were the engine; Ray was the fuel…and Dave was the gear shift, chrome bumpers and (careful, ladies!) back seat.

Where Have All The Good Times Gone?

Pete quit the band over forty years ago (replaced by the exquisite John Dalton) but was still revered by Kinks fans worldwide. And even when he was diagnosed with renal cancer a decade ago but turned lemons into lemonade. A graphic artist after his music career, he drew cartoons during treatment that morphed from a private pleasure into wide acclaim. A collection of these were released in a book entitled The Lighter Side of Dialysis.

In Pete’s words, “For the last 10 years, I have been a dialysis patient. During those long, boring, sessions, I found that drawing cartoons was an amusing outlet for all of my frustrations with the condition, the hospital and even at times, the professionals that were treating me. I hope you can enjoy the humour in these cartoons – I know I certainly enjoyed creating them! I have tried to make light of the various situations that I know we have all had to endure at one time or another. I hope these cartoons will make your situation a little better, wherever you may be. Remember, there is always humour – even in the deepest despair.”

He had reportedly fallen ill recently, even in a coma for a short time. The passing of anyone who has endured renal issues for a decade is not a great surprise. But it’s a sad day for Kinks fans worldwide, for his chapter has closed forever. Rest in Peace, Pete.

Today will be filled with Sunny Afternoons and Waterloo Sunsets.

***

Kinda Kinks

Geoff Edgers’ tribute from Do It Again

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Do It Again, Again.

I was privileged to attend the screening of Do It Again at the Independent Film Festival Boston last night. The Somerville Theatre was packed – the film was an advance sellout and the ticket of the weekend – and the audience response was astounding. The crowd was a diverse group, with a huge contingent of traveling Kinks fans (like me!) among some friends and families of the principals and the healthy crowd that the Festival naturally attracts.

I won’t rehash the previous promos of the movie I’ve written, nor will I spoil anything for you today, as there are many warm surprises, but I highly encourage you to get to a screening and see this film. There were at least two dozen moments during the film when the entire audience broke into spontaneous applause or laughter in unison as if operating from one central nervous system.

Blending stock footage, interviews, travelogue, voice-overs and creative graphics, Do It Again’s 85 or so minutes breezed by leaving me exhilarated yet wanting more. There are moments of gut-busting laughter, moments of tender poignancy, musical encounters that will make you cringe and others that will make you cheer…and maybe even dampen that eye of yours.

  • If you are, or have ever been, a Kinks fan…you need to see this.
  • If you have ever had an obsession about a band…you need to see this.
  • If you have ever questioned your pursuit of a goal…you need to see this.
  • If you enjoy a well scripted and superbly edited documentary about a fascinating subject…you need to see this.
  • If you are a Kink and your name is Rayyou need to see this.

Here’s a taste…

I’m writing a larger piece about the film and the principals for Blurt Online and will post an excerpt and a link here in the near future. But I would be remiss if I did not send up a flare within ten minutes of my return from Boston to implore you to do whatever you have to do to see this movie as soon as possible.

Please note that I didn’t say I was happy to see the film or lucky to see the film.

I was privileged.

The Do It Again film website  – trailer, info, etc.

Geoff Edgers interview at the Full Frame Film Festival

Reviews from Nashville Scene and Variety and The Huffington Post

Back the film project on Kickstarter

Dave Davies website

Ray Davies website

Kinda Kinksunofficial website

Kinks fan club forum discussion

Ray Davies fan forum discussion

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Blast From The Past: Mott The Hoople

I can’t help myself.

I know I’ve pimped Mott one or two times already but (1) we’re not getting any younger, (2) Mott The Hoople rules, and (3) what’s a couple of posts over fifteen months? Besides, all but one were related to the reunion we thought we’d never see, which some of my friends (who attended) are still jawing about (and judging by the reviews, rightfully so.)

And it’s almost Easter – an appropriate time to Roll Away The Stone.

Roll Away The Stone / All The Young Dudes

And do enjoy this great diary from Mott fan John O’Rourke, one of the lucky American blokes who leaped The Big Pond for the event. That great event can be relived via the official live album which can be ordered here.

But to invert a great line, that was now and this is then.

No, today’s time-trip is for a release that popped across my desk a decade ago, just after the luminous box set All The Young Dudes finally saw the light of day but before many more of the live shows officially surfaced. While it wasn’t the pristine capture that people have come to expect, consider the source of the material and the date of the show and be thankful that these gems surface at all. (Be forewarned that it’s for fans with a tolerance for bootleg quality sound.)

Rock’n’Roll Circus is just one of many Mott titles available from UK label Angel Air, who have unearthed and issueed great music for many classic bands. Here’s what I wrote for Consumable Online in 2000…

Recorded at the Civic Centre in Wolverhampton (a favorite venue of many bands of the era), this CD features the classic lineup of Mott The Hoople in April 1972, just after their legendary meeting with David Bowie and his donation of his “All The Young Dudes“. Although that track had yet to be recorded (and the band’s global popularity had yet to explode), Mott The Hoople sounds revitalized and plays this sixty-six minute set with great enthusiasm.

Perhaps that’s why “The Ballad Of Mott” sounds especially poignant here in its rare live appearance. “Just lately we started to do what we wanted to do again”, says Hunter at one point, and you can sense that this almost-defunct unit once again truly believed in themselves and their future.

Like the Stones before them (albeit only once) and Ronnie Lane afterwards, the band headlined a “Rock And Roll Circus“; musical concert as part of a variety/vaudeville format. Knife throwers, comics and animal acts took the stage in addition to other groups, which made life on the road especially chaotic, but also a lot of fun. In the liner notes, the band speaks highly of the late comic Max Wall and dedicates the release to his memory. Ironically, the opening band Hackensack featured future Mott member Ray Majors on guitar in a performance that obviously impressed Buffin and Overend Watts.

The sound quality on Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus is merely bootleg plus, but once your ears settle in, it’s hard not to get caught up in the energy of the performance. Hunter’s voice is in prime form, Verden Allen’s Hammond B3 sounds positively sinister and full, and Mick Ralphs is chock full of spirited leads and chunky rhythms. “Angeline”, later played at a much faster tempo, here retains the spirit of the original, while early staples like “Darkness Darkness” and “Thunderbuck Ram” (with Mick Ralphs’ vocals sounding a lot like Dave Davies) get solid workouts.

Ian Hunter’s “Mr. Bugle Player” admittedly robs “Mr. Tambourine Man” blind (so thoroughly that Dylan’s lack of a co-write is criminal) but gives due props on their blues-based take of “Honky Tonk Women”. Ralphs’ “Until I’m Gone”, the Who-like “The Moon Upstairs” and the manic “Rock And Roll Queen” are standouts, along with the encore of “Midnight Lady”. It’s a great aural snapshot of Mott The Hoople at a critical point in their history. Like all releases on Angel Air, the packaging is outstanding, featuring well-written liner notes and rare photos in the twenty-page booklet.

Roll Away The Stone

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Do It Again

It’s only appropriate to follow a Kinks reunion post with a Kinks film-related post, since the Oscars are taking place this evening. (By the way, how did I miss Alex Chilton in that list of collaborators on the album-in-progress? Holy shit!) The film Do It Again isn’t in the running this year, but with several prominent film festival appearances this Spring, who knows what will happen next year?

Boston Globe reporter and die-hard Kinks fan (are there any other kind?) Geoff Edgers took his frustration about the Kinks dormancy a step further and made a documentary film about trying to reunite the band. Obviously he didn’t succeed (at least by the time the documentary was edited) but this film is about the journey, not the result. Do It Again features his encounters with members of The Kinks as well as Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Clive Davis, Peter Buck, Paul Weller and Robyn Hitchcock, among others.

* Watch a promo video about the film.

* Read the review in Variety.

Geoff made this film on a…wait for itLow Budget. Which means that without a major studio or even Harvey Weinstein picking up dinner checks, this is coming out of his pocket. Like any artist in the era of cuts in arts funding, Geoff is taking advantage of what available means of financing remain to help defray the cost. Enter Kickstarter, a site that allows artists to set up a funding website, track pledges and offer updates and rewards to the backers. Edgers has set up a very modest goal to be able to participate in the film festivals, and as of today he is almost halfway there.

Click for the Do It Again Kickstarter site.

So far it’s a still man and a dream. But as stated yesterday, perhaps Ray and Dave will Give The People What They Want and we’ll all experience Better Things. For now, I’m helping Geoff out with a little Word Of Mouth. And if you have a few bucks, maybe consider helping Geoff out…because Money Talks.

And Ray, regarding the film and the reunion rumors…may I please use your own lyrics to plead my case? The clock is ticking…

The days go by and you wish you were a different guy,
Different friends and a new set of clothes.
You make alterations and affect a new pose,
A new house, a new car, a new job, a new nose.
But it’s superficial and it’s only skin deep,
Because the voices in your head keep shouting in your sleep.
Get back, get back.

Back where you started, here we go round again,
Back where you started, come on do it again.

Back where you started, here we go round again,
Day after day I get up and I say, do it again.
Do it again.
Day after day I get up and I say, come on do it again.

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God Save The Kinks

Still four, still fab.

…and perhaps Ray and Dave have decided to save them also. 

During an interview promoting an upcoming master class series he will be participating in, longtime drummer Mick Avory spilled some rather interesting beans. Not only are he and Ray “baking” some old unreleased Kinks tracks in the studio (there are reportedly eight ready to go!), but the efforts finally seem in place to record some new Kinks material. Those of us pining for the long-awaited Julien Temple Kinks film are now also hopeful that the recent Kinks box set will become outdated as a result, and for all the right reasons: 

New. Kinks. Music. 

Ray has always been the one to squelch rumors about any Kinks projects, citing the unwillingness to just reunite without new music. That hasn’t stopped him from taking the old chestnuts on the road or creating new projects around them, from Storytellers to The Kinks Choral Collection to a new studio effort re-recording Kinks Klassics with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and The Killers, among others. He’s currently hitting the road as an acoustic two-piece presenting forty years of Kinks songs (with The 88, an excellent band, opening the shows). 

Dave’s issues have been more cut and dried – since suffering a stroke in 2004, he has struggled to regain his strength and chops, although he did start playing some dates again. And as to his slagging Ray for “performing karaoke Kinks shows” for the past fifteen years, Ray wryly observed that Dave’s sarcasm was a good sign that he is getting back to normal. 

Of course, these reunion rumors have been going on forever. But to Mick’s point, Ray seems to have turned the corner regarding new music. In a November 2009 interview Ray spoke about missing The Kinks and the desire to make a new album with Avory, Ian Gibbons and others, but the key was if Dave was willing. That could be the very thing that gets Dave to bury the hatchet…and not in Ray’s head

To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, “we wait with bated breath“. 

Ray Davies - Prince of the Punnnnks

And speaking of the Legends Master Class series, check out the website. If you hit the main page you might be put off by the offer to rehearse and write in the same room used by Lady Gaga or…um… master where Robbie Williams did (hand sanitizer not included). But forge ahead to the 2010 schedule where the teachers include respected icons like Avory, Chris Difford, Glen Matlock and the great Ian McLagan. Plus any event that winds up at Bill Wyman‘s pub for lunch is alright by me. The fun starts in April, so plenty of time to sign on; sounds a lot better than Rock&Roll Fantasy Camp to me. 

The only fan site you need: KindaKinks.net 

A Kollection of Kinks Klips

Do It Again

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