Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Kinks 16: The Great Lost Kinks Album

Atlantic. Having recently explored the depths of the vaults with The Kink Kronikles, Reprise (and resident Kinks krusader John Mendelsohn) dangled another carrot in the form of The Great Lost Kinks Album. With a track selection as baffling as its cover art, this album attempted to illuminate some hidden gems, except that the band (read: Ray Davies) didn’t know anything about it till after it was out, and since most of the tracks had already been rejected by the label years before, forced the LP’s deletion. (On top of that, the liner notes even take up several paragraphs slamming the band’s current stage act, which likely didn’t please Ray either.)
Two of the tunes were actually from a truly lost album, the aborted Four More Respected Gentlemen stopgap: “Misty Water” and “Mr. Songbird” (which had already been out on the rare 12-track version of Village Green Preservation Society). With its subtle Mellotron, “Lavender Hill” (not to be confused with the Muswell Hillbillies outtake “Lavender Lane”) is a nice refugee from the Something Else period, as is “Rosemary Rose” with its harpsichord. “Pictures In The Sand” is also from the same era, stuck between vaudeville and “Autumn Almanac”. The trad-jazzy “Till Death Us Do Part” sounds like a TV theme song, and since it was written for a film, that makes sense. Meanwhile, side two is bookended by two similar middle-aged goofs, “When I Turn Off The Living Room Light” and “Where Did My Spring Go?”
A handful of tracks come from another great lost album, that being the never-finished full-length LP Dave Davies was supposedly working on in the wake of his solo singles. “There Is No Life Without Love” and “This Man He Weeps Tonight” were both British B-sides, while the horn-flavored “Groovy Movies” makes its debut here. Dave also sings lead on “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”, rescued from the flipside of the “Sunny Afternoon” single; rumor has it the song was written for Eric Burdon of the Animals, and we believe it. “Plastic Man” was the equally silly A-side to “King Kong”, which was already included on Kronikles, and “The Way Love Used To Be” is the other worthy song from the Percy soundtrack.
As an album, The Great Lost Kinks Album isn’t great by any stretch, but its charms do reveal themselves in time. Original copies are rare and therefore high-priced; luckily, the tracks have since been farmed out to various CDs, predominantly the expanded Village Green and Arthur reissues. So while no single disc replicates it, the tunes are all readily accessible.

The Kinks The Great Lost Kinks Album (1973)—3
Current CD equivalent: none

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