Friday, May 3, 2024

Kinks 29: Come Dancing

It had been ten years since the last Kinks kompilation, and it’s pretty safe to say that they had enough hits to fill such an album—particularly since their contract was up with the latest label. As proven by Come Dancing With The Kinks, helpfully subtitled “The Best Of The Kinks 1977-1986”, there were two records’ worth. The so-called Arista years were pretty solid as it turned out, and most of these tracks were FM radio favorites.

Of course, the live album included songs that had been around before, which is how the set could begin with “You Really Got Me”. That’s a good setup for the familiar structure of “Destroyer”, and while the disco thump of “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” is out of place, “Juke Box Music” and “A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy” show a common thread. The title track starts an upbeat side two, through “Sleepwalker”, “Catch Me Now I’m Falling”, “Do It Again”, and “Better Things”.

The third side begins like the first, this time with “Lola”. The snotty “Low Budget” leads into three more songs from State Of Confusion—“Long Distance” (which was only on the cassette of that album), “Heart Of Gold”, and “Don’t Forget To Dance”. The mood of that one is revealed to have its roots in “Misfits” from five years earlier, and it’s wisely placed at the top of side four. “Living On A Thin Line” gives Dave some of the publishing, but the real value is the first LP appearance of 1977’s “Father Christmas” single, with its bluntly honest sentiment disguised by a Springsteenian intro. The extended live “Celluloid Heroes” provides a fitting conclusion.

The set’s running time just exceeded 80 minutes, so something had to be sacrificed for the burgeoning compact disc format. To achieve this, the compilers chose to cut “Catch Me Now I’m Falling”, “Sleepwalker”, and “Misfits”. The latter was no real loss, but surely the two lesser tracks from State Of Confusion (read: non-hits) could have been booted instead.

When the album was reissued at the turn of the century as part of the Konk overhaul, those two were indeed left off, along with the live “Celluloid Heroes”, but replaced by “Full Moon”, “A Gallon Of Gas”, and “Good Day”. In other cases, the longer album tracks were used instead of single versions, to fill the disc to capacity. This only underscores that a band’s “best of” is purely subjective, as opposed to “greatest hits”, which can be verified. The order was shuffled as well, so it now begins with “Come Dancing”, sticks the live tracks in the middle, and ends with “Father Christmas”. Other than that, it seems very random, so while they may not sound as good, the 1986 versions are preferred.

The Kinks Come Dancing With The Kinks/The Best Of The Kinks 1977-1986 (1986)—3
The Kinks
Come Dancing With The Kinks/The Best Of The Kinks 1977-1986 (2000)—3

1 comment:

  1. Great band. Brilliant sings. The master Davies Brothers. Never a dull moment.