Review Summary: The Kinks returns in this "Kinky" sophomore album!
Meet The Kinks!
Ray Davies – Rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Dave Davies – Lead Guitar, backing vocals
Pete Quaife – Bass guitar
Mick Avory – Drums
In 1965; The Kinks were international super rock stars. The boys returned to the studio to record their sophomore effort. This time around the band is still maturing but as you can see Ray Davies wrote the majority of songs (just 2 covered songs out of 12 tracks). This album is much more varied than the first offering. Here the band does: Folk, Beat Pop, Piano driven rock, Strong melodic songs and of course fast garage rockers that everyone enjoys from the Kinks. This is good we see the band expanding their horizons but I wish I can say it’s perfect. Blame it on producer Shel Talmy, he botched up the album. Some tracks sound muddy and rushed, instruments are sometimes inaudible (Mick Avory doesn’t shine on this album). Don’t let that stop you from listening; this album has some great gems. Let’s see what’s in store:
Track 1 – Look for Me Baby
The album opens up with a cool 60’s style rocker, a song that can even rival The Rolling Stones. Dave’s guitar sounds so sleek with a great lick. Ray does a decent job on vocals; so relaxed and cool but at the same time catchy. The harmonization is good however it’s not effective due to the production.
Track 2 – Got My Feet on the Ground
Dave takes vocal duties in this track and boy is he LOUD! A good rock track that gives the impression the singer is upset and frustrated. This song was penned by The Davies brothers; the first song with Dave’s writing contributions. This is by far the best vocal job from Dave.
Track 3 – Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl
A “folksy-blues” song that reminds me of the delta blues. What a fantastic track! At first listen I actually thought this was a cover. Ray writes some very deep and personal lyrics here and his vocal shows it! Pete’s bass gives the song an atmosphere filled with darkness and despair. The guitar riff makes it so bluesy; I was expecting a harmonica solo at one point, oh well. In my opinion this is the most “underrated” song of the “1964-1965 period”.
Track 4 – Naggin’ Woman
More blues coming at you, this time Dave is on vocals. It’s not impressive as the previous track; it just lacks the mood it had. I have a feeling this song was rushed and lacked any effort. The guitar solo was puzzling; really sloppy. Was it supposed to resemble a slide guitar? Not good.
Track 5 – Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight
Fun little pop song here with Ray on piano! A very jumpy melody he has going on the keys with Pete’s bass in toll. Dave again delivers another good vocal performance here, but I feel he was inferior to his big brother.
Track 6 – Tired Of Waiting for You
The hit single of the album. This is the first track which shows the Kinks moving out of the “garage sound” into more of a “mellow and emotional rock sound” that will come into fruition within a year. The song is amazing of course. Ray’s voice sounds like he’s actually tired and yearning. The guitars work so well with the melodic picking. Oh and the drums to this song is just great! Good job Mick Avory! Wait a minute, Mick wasn’t in this track. Session drummer Bobby Graham took drum duties (where was Mick!?) He did a great job nonetheless. Never mind.
Track 7 – Dancing In the Street
Side 2 starts with The Martha and The Vandellas cover, a signature Motown song that was covered by billions of musicians. I’m not a fan of this song especially this cover. It’s horrible and boring, doesn’t sound anything like The Kinks. The mix is bad; at some point of the song the drums sounds louder than the vocals; burying Ray’s boring vocals. Sometimes I swear the song falls offbeat around the beginning, please skip this track.
Track 8 – Don’t Ever Change
Another song that was destroyed by the production. The only interesting thing about the track is the addition of Ray’s acoustic guitar. A throwaway pop song nothing new, in other words “filler”
Track 9 – Come On Now
What a song, this saved side 2 of the album from dipping in quality! A fast paced garage rocker; everyone in the band comes together as a unit. What surprises me is that Dave was on vocals again! He really dominated this album. The chorus is loud and catchy which makes me believe a pattern is forming. Ray sings the soothing, mellow songs while Dave has the angry and loud rockers; you just gotta love The Kinks!
Track 10 – So Long
This is a sweet, fabulous country-tinged folk song with great melodic harmonization! Ray sings some more personal lyrics (are you seeing the pattern here!?) Sure the production here is weak but listen to those guitar pickings! This song makes it all worthwhile, and adds another step away from their early “garagy” stuff. I wished this was the album closer, what a perfect was to say “so long”
Track 11 – You Shouldn’t Be Sad
A good “Beatlesque” track here. I like the use of the power chords throughout the song. The track could have been better if they added a solo maybe or another instrument. Or maybe if the production didn’t make the song sound far and muddy; could have been an improvement.
Track 12 – Something Better Beginning
What a let down. The track has some good melody going on, the rhythm section were decent. However Ray was flat he didn’t show any emotion even though he tried. I’m not going to blame it on the producer this could be the band’s fault. It just sounds rushed and had no effort.
There you have it, a mix sided album. The songs here are indeed excellent but could have been better if the production wasn’t so rushed. Ray Davies is one of the greatest songwriters in rock and if definitely shine in these songs, even though he has a lot more to go. I would strongly recommend getting the 2011 deluxe edition of this album; which features tons of bonus tracks from singles, outtakes and BBC sessions. You’ll get great songs like “Set Me Free” the Pre-Raga rockish “See My Friends” and the excellent “A Well Respected Man”. If you’re a fan of 60’s rock or starting your own “Kinks Kollection” definitely pick this album up.
- Tired of Waiting For You
- Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl
- Come On Now
- So Long