Kinda Kinks is all Ray’s writing, with one obvious exception. “Look For Me Baby” is a clunky tune with Ray’s wife on prominent backing vocals, and Dave sings the countrified “Got My Feet On The Ground”, which he helped write. Both are harmless, but a real surprise is “Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl”, a muted 16-bar blues following the same simple riff (later used quite effectively in Rushmore). Ray sings this one quite well, and hands “Wonder Where My Baby Is” over to Dave, who could relate to the lyrics, while he tackled the basic piano part. “Set Me Free” begins with that same chordal attack familiar from “You Really Got Me” and “All Day And All Of The Night”, complete with drums that sound like biscuit tins. But dig in some more and you’ll notice the subtle downward slope of the backing and a killer bridge. Near perfection in under two minutes and ten.
“Ev’rybody’s Gonna Be Happy” was a British A-side but an American B-side, repetitive but danceable. Everybody in London loved Motown, and the band’s take on “Dancing In The Street” isn’t any worse than any others that don’t have a horn section. “Don’t Ever Change” is another mild rewrite of “Stop Your Sobbing”, crossed with “Under The Boardwalk”, with a Spanish guitar adding Latin accents. That instrument is prominent on “So Long”, another deceptively simple-sounding song. The crunch returns, somewhat, on “You Shouldn’t Be Sad”, which balances a call-and-response vocal arrangement with some unexpected modulations. “Something Better Beginning” is an excellent rewrite of “Save The Last Dance For Me”, both lyrically and musically.
On top of everything else, Kinda Kinks shows how Ray Davies was developing as a writer before our very ears, and the band gamely kept up with him. It’s also the first Kinks album that can be truly recommended. Rhino’s CD followed the British listing, ignoring the American editions, but today’s deluxe version includes includes the songs from both sequences, and then some.
The Kinks Kinda Kinks (1965)—3
Current CD equivalent: Kinda Kinks