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6 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

The Kinks - Soap Opera.jpg

Soap Opera by The Kinks-May 1975

Another concept album by the Kinks, and this is a good one, I liked it much better than Preservation. It begins with "Everybody's A Star" in which the main character Starmaker, is a rock star who wants to prove he can make anybody a star. He switches places with ordinary man Norman and lives with the man's wife and works at his dull job. "Ordinary People' is the kind of song Ray does best, about the plight of the ordinary  British working man. "Rush Hour Blues" is a good song done in blues style about waking up, having tea, catching the train to work. "Nine To Five" shows how the Star is finding out how dull life is working at this ordinary office job. The next two songs "When Work Is Over" and "Have Another Drink" captures the feeling of unwinding after work at the bar with a few drinks. "Underneath The Neon Sign" has some great guitar playing, sort of a sad country tune. My favorite song on here is "Holiday Romance" about taking a holiday at a seaside hotel and he has an affair. It has a vaudevillian feel and nice string arrangement. "You Make It All Worth While"  has Star and the wife Andrea (played by June Ritchie) arguing over dinner and we know find out that Star was actually Norman all along, it was just his fantasy about being a rock star, I thought this was a good twist to the story.  'Ducks On The Wall" is a hilarious song about Norman/Star hating on the terrible taste décor in his house, a bunch of ducks on the wall. Norman realizes he must now face reality again in "Face In The Crowd". The final song "You Can't Stop The Music" is a tribute to all rock stars.

Yea,  after a few I-don't-really-need-to-purchase-this-album,   The Kinks released Soap Opera and it is my favorite of their later period.    I listen often to Underneath The Neon Sign (and playing that guitar part takes a lot of practice!),   and Holiday Romance.    Two very solid tunes.      You Can't Stop the Music was a throw in unrelated to the concept of the album (which was about the point of:  how can a now rich,  rock star write songs that the everyday working people can related to).     While You Can't Stop the Music is a simple 4 chord song (with the break being the same 4 chords in a different key),  the song has a nice feel and rocks along well.    I.e.  it a great campfire,  acoustic guitar song. 

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The Kinks Present Schoolboys In Disgrace -Dec 1975

Another good concept album, one of the simplest stories with some very good songs. The opening track, "Schooldays" is a song about nostalgia for those times, but the narrator tells us how he hated the rules and regulations. "Jack The Idiot Dunce" is Ray showing his ironic wit again, he sings of the school twit, he is constantly ridiculed but he knows how to dance. "Education" has more ironic humor as it chronicles education starting from cave man days. "The First Time We Fall In Love" is an entertaining 1950s doo w o p style song about young love." I'm In Disgrace" is a rocking song about the naughty schoolboy who is in disgrace because he "fell for your pretty face". My favorite song is "Headmaster" about the naughty boy getting ready for punishment, it begins with a chilling opening, just piano and Ray's plaintive voice, turns into rocker and Ray starts some heartrending shouting. "The Hard Way" is another rocker with Ray singing in character as  the cruel headmaster prepares to give the boy a beating. "The Last Assembly" is nicely done song about leaving school, done in a style of many school songs of the era. "No More Looking Back" is about leaving the past behind. "Finale" is just a reprise of "Education". The lyrics don't get too specific about what went on in the story, but the liner notes tell us the naughty boy who was beaten and humiliated will grow up to be the Preservation villain Mr Flash. 

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Sleepwalker by The Kinks -Feb 1977

The group ditches concept albums and starts rocking again. The songs are OK but nothing really outstanding here. "Life On The Road" and "Mr Big Man" have some good guitar by Dave and Ray sings with some passion. The title song has some intriguing lyrics about an insomniac wandering around at night, it hints a bit at vampirism. "Brother" is a pretty good song with nice keyboard playing, I thought it might be about the Davies brothers but the lyrics are more about brotherhood among all men. Side 2 opens with "Juke Box Music" about a girl who lives for the songs on the juke box, more good guitar. "Sleepless Night" is sung by Dave, this and "Stormy Sky" are not very memorable. "Full Moon" is about the affect the moon has on one's mind. The final song "Life Goes On" is one of the better ones, Ray has some dark, ironic lyrics about wanting to commit suicide by turning on the gas, but he can't since he hasn't paid the bill.

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Of the 12 songs on The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, recorded in May, 1966, five are original, including this one by John Mayall and Eric about Jack Bruce, who left Mayall unexpectedly to join Manfred Mann. Of course, Clapton and Bruce would soon become bandmates again in Cream

Eric is said to have played his Gibson Les Paul with the amp volume cranked to maximum, which resulted in complaints from Decca Studio's neighbors. 

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16 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

Eric Clapton

Saw him tour in the 1980s with MARK KNOPFLER.  One of the best shows I've seen.  We actually SAT while CLAPTON played...standing there... KNOPFLER bounced off the walls when we all stood up... great dynamic, great friends...

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13 hours ago, Allhallowsday said:

Saw him tour in the 1980s with MARK KNOPFLER.  One of the best shows I've seen.  We actually SAT while CLAPTON played...standing there... KNOPFLER bounced off the walls when we all stood up... great dynamic, great friends...

Saw Knopfler play with Chet Atkins.    Saw Clapton twice.     I have to say that I find Knopfler to be a much more well rounded guitar player than Clapton.  

Yea,   I think Clapton is overrated.   Oh well.

 

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45 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Saw Knopfler play with Chet Atkins.    Saw Clapton twice.     I have to say that I find Knopfler to be a much more well rounded guitar player than Clapton.  

Yea,   I think Clapton is overrated.   Oh well.

 

KNOPFLER was much more of a showman.  CLAPTON just stood there.  The two juxtaposed was an unexpected tension and rhythm. 

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Misfits by The Kinks -May 1978

I liked this one a bit better than the last, more of the great Davies wit. John Dalton had quit the band so Andy Pyle is the new bassist. The title song is pretty good, about accepting yourself as a misfit, not one of the crowd. "Hay Fever" is a funny song about a guy so sick with the allergy he can't get together with his girl. "Live Life" has some great guitar by Dave. The best on the album and one of their best songs in years is "A Rock And Roll Fantasy", great lyrics about wasting life listening to music with a haunting melody on the bridge. "In A Foreign Land" is good typical Davies, about leaving for another country due to tax problems. "Permanent Waves" is another comical song, this time about a new hairstyle. Racial problems get the Davies treatment in 'Black Messiah" as he pokes fun at white naivete and black anger. "Out Of The Wardrobe" gets into "Lola" territory, another funny one about a burly married guy who likes to wear dresses and look like a princess.  Dave contribution is "Trust Your Heart" which is OK, he sings with a lot of emotion. "Get Up" is a good, rousing song about telling the forgotten little men to stand up for themselves.

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Low Budget by The Kinks-July 1979

A great album collection of diverse songs, the Kinks are rocking again and probably their most entertaining album since Arthur.  Jim Rodford is now the new bass player. "Attitude" is a great rocker which opens the album, a put down of somebody with a bad attitude, some of Ray's most forceful singing in a while. "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" is another good rocker, about Captain America needing help, the guitar riff sounds a bit too close to the one in the Stones' "Satisfaction". "Pressure" has a good Chuck Berry style opening. "National Health" pokes fun at the current exercise/health craze. My favorite song is "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman". It was inspired by the hit superhero movie around that time. It's a very funny comic song where the narrator talks about how thin and weak he is, wanting to fly away like Superman. Side 2 begins with the title song, another fine rocker about another current issue, inflation. "In A Space" sounds like it could be about overcrowding. "Little Bit Of Emotion" is one of Ray's best wistful ballads, it concerns put up a hard exterior to cover vulnerability. More current events with the witty blues song "A Gallon Of A Gas" about the gas shortage. "Misery" is another put down song about someone who takes them self too seriously. "Moving Pictures" has some good rhythm guitar parts. This became the Kinks' biggest hit album in years, going to #11. 

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On 5/28/2021 at 11:14 AM, jamesjazzguitar said:

I have to say that I find Knopfler to be a much more well rounded guitar player than Clapton.  

Yea,   I think Clapton is overrated.   Oh well.

 

I know what you mean about well roundedness, but think of it this way: How many of Mark's recordings would you say are truly memorable, vs "not bad"? How many of Eric's? I think EC wins there. Consider too he came of age at a time when most of the brits were succumbîng to the siren's song of pop success while he stubbornly worked to stay true to the blues heritage. 

But we don't have to choose. They are both amazing players with their own signature sound, especially Mark who is one of a handful of guys who does not play with a plectrum. 

 

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44 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

I know what you mean about well roundedness, but think of it this way: How many of Mark's recordings would you say are truly memorable, vs "not bad"? How many of Eric's? I think EC wins there. Consider too he came of age at a time when most of the brits were succumbîng to the siren's song of pop success while he stubbornly worked to stay true to the blues heritage. 

But we don't have to choose. They are both amazing players with their own signature sound, especially Mark who is one of a handful of guys who does not play with a plectrum. 

 

I agree that Clapton has a more memorable recording legacy than Knopfler.     My view about their ability as a guitarist was based on the live shows I have seen (in person or on T.V. \ You Tube),   especially the tour Knopfler did with Atkins.      I will admit in not being too impressed with any blues guitarist.    I don't understand how one wouldn't get bored to death playing over the same blues changes,  song after song.       Yea,  I'm a jazz,  give me rhythm changes,   snob!  (ha ha).

But as you say,  given Clapton's domain,  he excelled.

 

 

   

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Give The People What They Want by The Kinks -Aug 1981

A great album, I think it ranks with their best, also their second top 20 hit collection in a row. Ian Gibbons takes over on keyboards after John Gosling left. "Around The Dial" gets it off to a rousing start, a rocking song with lyrics about the current state of radio. The title song has some dark, cynical lyrics about how people want to see more sex, perversity and violence, Dave supplies some scorching guitar. "Killer's Eyes" is another dark story about what drives someone to murder. It was inspired by the attempted assassin of Pope John Paul II. The would be killer had very angry, dark eyes. "Predictable" is about living a monotonous, empty life, good backup singing. "Add It Up" is a good speeded up rocker. Side 2 starts with "Destroyer" a fun song for Kinks fans as the lyrics talk about a girl named Lola and the riff is borrowed rom 'All Day And All Of The Night".  "Yo Yo" is another interesting song about empty lives. 'Back To Front" is another rocker with lyrics about opposites. The next track  is the best and one of the greatest Kinks songs ever. "Art Lover" is a beautiful but provocative song. It starts out sounding like some pervert watching little girls in the park. But by the poignant end, it is simply about a father who no longer has his child and comforts himself by seeing the children play. More dark territory is explored in "A Little Bit Of Abuse" which takes a scary look at domestic violence. "Better Things" is a great closer, an optimistic and wonderful song about hoping for the best.

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9 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Give The People What They Want by The Kinks -Aug 1981

A great album, I think it ranks with their best, also their second top 20 hit collection in a row.

I was waiting to hear what you had to say about this record.  It's the only KINKS album I bought - when it was NEWLY RELEASED!  I loved that record.  I think KINKS produced three videos to accompany that release... not sure.  It's been 40 years!  "Art Lover" was one of them... I've got to get that record... again...

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On 5/29/2021 at 5:52 PM, jamesjazzguitar said:

My Exhibit A

Reading a bit on BARNEY KESSEL I learned he had been one of the "wrecking crew" working out of LA... awesome musician... any "member" of the LA "wrecking crew" had to be among the very best...

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