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Battle of the Band: The Kinks

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Dust-ups within the Kinks camp are nothing new; besides producing amazing music, brothers Ray and Dave Davies have been bickering for decades and have been known to resort to fisticuffs from time to time. This time out the battle is strictly musical though, as a reissue of the classic Kinks album Muswell Hillbillies on vinyl dukes it out with the new Dave Davies solo album Rippin' Up Time.

The Kinks
Muswell Hillbillies (Legacy Edition)

RCA/Legacy
2-LP, 180 gram vinyl, gatefold jacket

Long considered one of the era's most-overlooked masterpieces, Muswell Hillbillies is stacked with some of Ray Davies' most interesting songwriting, featuring cuts like "20th Century Man," the glam of "Skin and Bone," the playful lamentation of a boozy life that is "Alcohol," the paranoid "Here Come the People in Grey" and the perfect sing-along take on cornball country pop of "Muswell Hillbillies." These alone are worth the price of admission, but there's also a bonus disc holding goodies like semi-rare cuts "Mountain Woman" and "Lavender Lane," alternate takes on Hillbillies' "Have a Cuppa Tea" and "Uncle Son," live BBC Peel Sessions versions of "Holiday," "Skin and Bone" and "Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues" and many other not-often heard tidbits. A radio spot promoting the release of the album is appended at the end of the music.

Get the limited edition vinyl here or the CD version here

Dave Davies
Rippin' Up Time

Red River

Although an integral part of the Kinks for his guitar playing, Dave Davies rarely got to sing lead vocals on any Kinks album, usually relegated to one song if any. Brother Ray wasn't just being mean to Dave back then; many of Dave's solo albums over the years, especially the early ones, were a bit uneven. It may come as a surprise then, to those who haven't heard Dave's solo work for a while, how cohesive and just how much fun Rippin' Up Time is. The title cut is a fuzz guitar-filled rocker with lyrics that reflect the kind of uncertainty that comes from an acid trip and the immediately following "Semblance of Sanity" also finds Dave playing the nutter. Davies isn't actually off his rocker though and he has a blast with the fun satire of "King of Karaoke," the tale of a wannabe lounge lizard hero that name-checks popular karaoke songs and rock hits like "My Sharona," "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" before cleverly deviating momentarily from the song's Latin-flavored sway to play a bit of the Kink's own "In the Summertime." Another playful song is the self-explanatory rocker "Nosey Neighbors" and of course there's plenty of loud guitar to be heard on "Mindwash," "Johnny Adams" and the punk-tinged "In the Old Days" where Davies affects a Cockney accent. In the album's closing tune "Through My Window" there's a line that says "There is nothing more for me to say." In light of this very strong effort, fans can only hope that isn't true.

Get it here.

Battle of the Band: The Kinks

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