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The Kinks – Come Dancing

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After the supreme triumverate of the Beatles, Stones, and Who, the Kinks – led by singer/songwriter Ray Davies and his guitarist brother Dave – are the next most important band from the British Invasion.

Beginning with the primal riff rock of “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night,” the Kinks then evolved into an outlet for Davies’ sophisticated take on British society and awkward personal relationships in a variety of musical styles, with classic songs “A Well Respected Man,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “When I Turn Off the Living Room Light,” “Waterloo Sunset,” “Celluloid Heroes,” and best-loved of all, “Lola.”

In the ’70s the Kinks became more of a cult band, recording a series of up and down albums for RCA from ’71 to ’76, then for Arista from ’77 through ’84. Although the Arista years certainly aren’t the band’s greatest, the Come Dancing collection a revelation.

Taking gems out of their original context proves that Davies was still writing great songs in this period, including the bouncy, charming title track, “Superman,” “Catch Me Now I’m Falling,” “Sleepwalker,” “Do It Again,” “Better Things,” and the holiday standard “Father Christmas”: a must for all Kinks fans, and an excellent acquisition for those who only know “You Really Got Me” and “Lola.”

About Eric Olsen

  • http://oakhaus.blogspot.com/ Bill Sherman

    As a die-hard Kinks fan who’d rank the band above (gulp!) the Who, I’d agree that Come Dancing is the best way to approach Arista Era Kinks. (One underplayed gem from the set: “Living on A Thin Line.”) The Koch CD set is different from the original two-platter vinyl release (a few lesser numbers like “Heart of Gold” are missing), but it’s a great collection.

    But to this Kinks Kultist, the prime stuff can be found in the 60′s era Face to Face, Something Else and Village Green Preservation Society. Britpop doesn’t get much better than that. . .

  • Eric Olsen

    Never afraid to blaspheme, are you Bill (smile)? From a lyrical standpoint I can see the Kinks over the Who, but that central Who canon – from Meaty Beaty (a collection, I know) through Quadrophenia – is about as solid and varied as anything in rock.

    I love the Kinks though – my favorite era is actually RCA, especially Muswell Hillbillies, which is one of my favorite albums ever. The RCA Greatest Hits is super also.