Tuesday, 12 July 2011

“Something Else By The Kinks: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS (June 2011 Universal/Sanctuary 2CD Reissue and Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Lead The School Team To Victory…"

Like many fans of this great British band - I've watched the release of 6 Kinks 'Deluxe Editions' since the beginning of 2011 with a certain amount of scepticism. Haven't these albums been done to death already and isn't this just more monetary milking of it? But then several Reckless Records customers began to rave about the great new remastered sound on these doubles - so I took the plunge and they were right. These are better than previous 2004 single issues - and how. But along with the gains (there's 12 'previously unreleased' tracks), there are some minor omissions too. Here are the schoolboy details...

UK released 20 June 2011 in the UK - "Something Else By The Kinks: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS is a 2CD Reissue/Remaster on Universal/Sanctuary 273 214-1 (Barcode 602527 321417) and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (79:46 minutes):
1. David Watts
2. Death Of A Clown
3. Two Sisters
4. No Return
5. Harry Rag
6. Tin Soldier Man
7. Situation Vacant
8. Love Me Till The Sun Shines
9. Lazy Old Sun
10. Afternoon Tea
11. Funny Face
12. End Of The Season
13. Waterloo Sunset
Tracks 1 to 13 are the MONO version of the LP "Something Else By The Kinks" released 15 September 1967 in the UK on Pye Records NPL 18193 and January 1968 in the USA on Reprise Records R 6279 [Mono Variant Was Promo-Only in the USA]

Track 14 is "Act Nice And Gentle" – the Mono non-album A-side of a UK 7” single released 5 May 1967 on Pye Records 7N.17321
Track 15 is "Mr. Pleasant" - the Mono non-album A-side of a UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N.17314. Released 21 April 1967, it pressed up for export issue to Europe. It was also issued in the USA on 24 May 1967 on Reprise Records 0587. Its non-album B-side is "That is Where I Belong" - that track is 'not' available here – it’s on the "Face To Face Deluxe Edition"
Track 16 is "Susannah’s Still Alive" – credited to Dave Davies, it’s the Mono A-side of a UK 7” single released November 1967 on Pye Records 7N.17429 – it was issued in the USA on 31 January 1968 on Reprise Records 0660
Track 17 is "Autumn Almanac" – the Mono A-side of a UK 7” single released 13 October 1967 on Pye Records 7N.17400 – it was also issued 29 November 1967 in the USA on Reprise Records 0647
Tracks 18 and 19 are "Harry Rag" and "David Watts" - Alternate Takes, both are 'Previously Unreleased'
Track 20 is "Afternoon Tea" – An Alternate Mix – It was originally issued as a Canadian 7” single on Pye 828 in October 1967
Tracks 21 to 29 are "Sunny Afternoon", "Autumn Almanac", "Mr. Pleasant", "Susannah's Still Alive", "David Watts", "Love Me Till The Sun Shines", "Death Of A Clown", "Good Luck Charm" and "Harry Rag" – all are BBC Recordings (August to October 1967) with 21 to 25 being 'Previously Unreleased'
Track 30 is "Little Women – Unfinished Backing Track" – first released in 1998 on the "Face To Face" CD reissue

Disc 2 (69:42 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 13 (titles as per Disc 1) are the STEREO version of the LP - Pye Records NSPL 18193 in the UK and Reprise Records RS 6279 in the USA

Tracks 14 and 15 are "Susannah's Still Alive" and "Autumn Almanac" – these 2 STEREO versions were first slotted for release on the 1968 "Four More Respected Gentlemen" UK LP, but withdrawn - they finally saw release in the USA on the 2LP Reprise Records retrospective "Kinks Kronikles" in March 1972.
Tracks 16 to 20 are "Sand On My Shoes", "Afternoon Tea", "Mr. Pleasant", "Lazy Old Sun" and "Funny Face" – all are Stereo and 'Previously Unreleased'
Tracks 21 is "Afternoon Tea" – a German Stereo Mix released on the German LP version in December 1967 on Pye Hitton HTSLP 340044
Track 22 is "Tin Soldier Man" – and is 'Previously Unreleased'

The 24-page booklet is as tastefully laid out as the "Face To Face" issue is – they all have the same generic look - liners notes by noted writer PETER DOGGETT (Record Collector magazine), photos of both the UK and US LP artwork along with many rare Euro and US 7" single picture sleeves, trade adverts, newspaper clippings, memorabilia and input from fan sites etc. The breakdown of the tracks is very well done too - what came from what and why. Both of the discs are also themed - the CDs reflect the purple colouring of the original UK Pye Records LP label - with Side 1 pictured beneath the see-through tray of CD1 and Side 2 beneath the tray of CD2 - all nice touches.

ANDREW SANDOVAL, DAN HERSCH (of Digiprep and Rhino fame) and ANDY PEARCE carried out the remasters - and the sound quality is exceptionally good. The STEREO mixes in particular are superb and so fresh, not just separated two-channel reprocessing, but a cohesive whole - very warm and beautifully clear. The difference between the MONO and STEREO versions in fact is acute (as it is on “Face To Face”). Some prefer the stark power of the MONO, but I think this is one of those 'Deluxe Editions' that actually benefits from the presence of both - they different beasts for sure - but equally admirable.

To the record itself - with "Sgt. Peppers" thrashing everything in sight from 1 June 1967 to the end of the year, that goliath’s presence perhaps goes some way to explaining why an album as brilliant as "Something Else…" was virtually ignored by the public on both sides of the pond. It made number 35 on the LP charts for 2 weeks in the UK and barely scraped 153 in the USA for 1 week. Talk about lost masterpiece…

The album opens with a double-whammy – "David Watts" (lyrics above) and "Death Of A Clown" – a duo of lyrical and musical brilliance. "Situation Vacant" is another gem – with lyrics like "…to keep his Mama satisfied, he went and bought the weekly classified…" Few bands excepting maybe The Beatles and The Stones had their finger on the pulse of Sixties society like The Kinks did – the light and the dark. The sonic punch out of both "Afternoon Tea" and the beautiful "Waterloo Sunset" is fantastic too. I love the even-more-trippy vocal on the Alternate "Lazy Old Sun" while the 'Alternate Backing Track' on "Tin Soldier Man" sounds like it will turn up on some retro TV program soon (it may be vocal-less, but it's fully-formed and ready to use). And as with "Face To Face", the keyboard flourishes of ace sessionman Nicky Hopkins can now be heard clearly throughout. Again - the whole thing feels like an embarrassment of riches.

Niggles – couple of B-sides left off (but they’re on the "Face To Face" double if you really want them) and I find these new card-digipaks easy to dent and mark without the outer plastic wrap that was on all initial Deluxe Editions. But these are minor points - at a whopping 52 tracks, there’s genuinely little to moan about.

To sum up - a superb new remaster on both mixes, properly upgraded packaging and liner notes and extra tracks that actually warrant the title 'bonus'.

Recommended like gazing on a fine Waterloo Sunset...

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