Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kinks 3: Kinda Kinks

The third American Kinks album shared the title of the second British album, the same general photo, and nine of its tracks (of the remainder, two had already been on Kinks-Size and one would be held over), plus two recent singles bridging the sides.
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


  1. Ray has said many times that he felt this album was rushed and it does sound like it. It has some of the worst overdubbs I've ever heard but it is saved by a handful of decent songs. Most notably NITWCSMWBTG. Great song used for the film Mount Rushmore. It sounds like Ray knew the Kinks were still trying to find there place in music. Pop one minute, folksy the next.