Nick Bollinger delights in a compilation of some of the more obscure '60s compositions by The Kinks’ Ray Davies.
The Kinks’ Ray Davies may have shown his disdain for the British upper class with withering mid-60s satire such as ‘A Well Respected Man’, but it didn’t stop him from accepting a knighthood last month.
But then Davies has always been a contrarian, writing affectionate songs about London pubs and village greens while his peers were preoccupied with drugs, free love and revolution.
He has always been prolific, though, and no more so than in the period ‘A Well Respected Man’ comes from. It’s one of numerous Davies compositions, either written for or covered by artists other than the Kinks during the mid-60s, more than two-dozen of which you’ll find on this fine compilation: Kinked! Kinks Songs & Sessions 1964-1971 (‘A Well Respected Man’ appears here as ‘Un Jeunne Homme Bien’ in a 1966 cover by the multi-lingual Petula Clark).
Davies wrote ‘This Strange Effect’ on commission for 60s pop enigma Dave Berry, known for his weird dance moves and his one big hit ‘The Crying Game’. And while it’s not a million miles from the early Kinks sound, it certainly fits Berry’s oddly languid style. Then there’s Barry Fantoni, probably best known as a cartoonist for British satirical magazine Private Eye, but an old friend of Davies, who penned the obscure ‘Little Man in A Little Box’ especially for him in 1966.
Tracks like these are great oddities. Others are little disappointing – like Peggy Lee’s recording of ‘I Go To Sleep’, in which she sounds as if she really is going to sleep. On the other hand, Marianne Faithful sounds convincingly like the good-girl-gone-wrong ‘Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home’ is addressed to.
Compiled by Ace records with all their customary attention to detail, Kinked! digs out plenty of things I never knew existed, others I had long forgotten or were just impossible to find. Just what a great compilation should do.
Songs featured: Un Jeunne Homme Bien, This Strange Effect, Little Man In A Little Box, I Go To Sleep, Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home, Mr Pleasant.
Kinked! Is available on Ace Records.