Friday, 22 April 2016

"The Kink Kontroversy: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS (2011 Universal/Sanctuary 2CD Remasters) - A Review for Mark Barry...

"…Where Have All The Good Times Gone…"

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 skepticism. Haven't these albums been done to death already and isn't this just more monetary milking of it? 

But then many fans began to rave about the great new remastered sound on these doubles - so I took the plunge and they were right. The 2011 Deluxe Edition 2CD Sets for THE KINKS are probably the best were ever going to get - and they’ve been presented with a fantastic eye to detail - even managing three Previously Unreleased performances on this particular twofer. Here are the not so Kontroversial details...

UK released 28 March 2011 in the UK (April 2011 in the USA) - "The Kink Kontroversy: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS is a 2CD Reissue/Remaster on Universal/Sanctuary 275 628-5 (Barcode 602527562858) and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (30:14 minutes):
1. Milk Cow Blues
2. Ring The Bells
3. Gotta Get The First Plane Home
4. When I See That Girl Of Mine
5. I Am Free
6. Till The End Of The Day
7. The World Keeps Going Round [Side 2]
8. I’m On An Island
9. Where Have All The Good Times Gone
10. It's Too Late
11. What's In Store For Me
12. You Can't Win
Tracks 1 to 12 are their 3rd LP "The Kink Kontroversy" - released 26 November 1965 in the UK on Pye Records NPL 18131 (Mono) and Pye NSPL 18131 (Export Only issue in Simulated Stereo) - and 30 March 1966 in the USA on Reprise Records R 6197 (Mono) and Reprise RS 6197 (Simulated Stereo). The MONO MIX only is used for this 2011 CD Remaster. RAY DAVIES wrote all songs except "Milk Cow Blues" by Sleepy John Estes and "I Am Free" by DAVE DAVIES.

Disc 2 (43:54 minutes):
1. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (Mono Single)
2. Sittin' On My Sofa (Mono Single)
Tracks 1 and 2 are the non-album A&B-sides of a 7" single released 19 November 1965 in the UK on Pye 7N 15981 and 2 March 1966 in the USA on Reprise 0454
3. I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Mono Single)
Track 3 is the non-album B-side of “Sunny Afternoon” released 3 June 1966 in the UK on Pye 7N 17125 and July 1966 in the USA on Reprise 0497
4. Mr. Reporter (Outtake)
Track 4 first appeared as a Bonus on the March 1988 UK CD Reissue of "Face To Face" on Sanctuary/Essential ESM CD 479
5. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (Alternate Take)
Track 5 first appeared as a Bonus on the March 1998 UK CD Reissue of "The Kink Kontroversy" on Sanctuary/Essential ESM CD 507
6. Time Will Tell (Outtake)
Track 6 first appeared on the October 1983 Vinyl LP "Dead End Street – The Kinks Greatest Hits" on the Bonus 10" that came with initial copies - but was withdrawn after legal action from The Kinks. First CD appearance was on the 1997 "Kollectable Kinks Kontraband" 2CD set in the Netherlands.
7. And I Will Love You (Unissued EP Track)
Track 7 appeared on the December 2008 "Picture Book" 6CD Box Set on Universal/Sanctuary 531 3049
8. I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Alternate Vocal) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
9. All Night Stand (Demo)
10. Milk Cow Blues (Live)
11. Ray Talks About Songwriting [Dialogue only]
12. Never Met A Girl Like You Before (Live) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
13. Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight (Live)
Tracks 10 to 13 recorded 10 August 1965 live at the Playhouse Theatre in London – broadcast on the BBC's 'Saturday Club', 4 September 1965
14. Pete (Quaife) Talks About Records [Dialogue only]
15. Till The End Of The Day (Live)
16. A Well Respected Man (Live) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
17. Where Have All The Good Times Gone (Live)
Tracks 14 to 17 recorded 13 December 1965 live at the Playhouse Theatre in London – first broadcast on the BBC's 'Saturday Club', 18 December 1965

As with all of these DELUXE EDITION reissues – there's a fact-filled picture-festooned 24-page booklet full of period details. In this case noted knowledgeable type BOB STANLEY has done the honours with some thorough liner notes (on the core album). In between the interviews you get photos of the UK LP artwork (with fay distressed look rear sleeve) along with many rare 7" single picture sleeves and EPs (Dutch, Mexican, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Danish), US and UK trade adverts, newspaper clippings, memorabilia and snaps of the boys looking like delinquents you wouldn't want your daughter to bring home. The breakdown of the tracks is very well done too - what came from what and why. Both of the discs 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 – the "Dedicated Kinks" EP pictured on the fold-out flaps - all nice touches. My copy also comes with an outer 'Deluxe Collectors Edition' plastic slipcase which none of the other reissues I bought had? Niggles – there isn’t enough discussion on the contents of Disc 2 (the BBC stuff isn't talked about at all).

ANDREW SANDOVAL, DAN HERSCH (of Digiprep and Rhino fame) and ANDY PEARCE carried out the remasters - and the sound quality is exceptional. Comparing my single-disc 2004 version of "Milk Cow Blues" with this new 2011 MONO take and the punch is immediate - quite incredible in fact. The previous version was thinny – here the wallop is absolute - giving this raucous R&B cover a real kick in the undercarriage. I then play one of my favourite ballads of theirs – "Ring The Bell" – and I'm a remaster convert reaching for adjectives. Those high-strung Spanish strings are so clear – there is hiss – but it’s not drowning the track and if anything the whacking drums are ‘too’ clear – a complaint I’ll take any day of the week.

To the record itself – their 3rd album "The Kink Kontroversy" peaked at No. 9 in the UK LP charts – as did the hip-shaking 7" single "Till The End Of The Day" with its stunning "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" B-side. Their 2nd album "Kinda Kinks" had hit No. 3 earlier in March of 1965 in Britain – so No. 9 for the LP and the 45 was a good follow-through. The brilliant and socially aware "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion" would rightly go to No. 4 on the UK single charts in March 1966 - just as "Kontroversy" was being released as an LP in the States. Musical historians have long since viewed "The Kink Kontroversy" as a bit of a poisonous little bugger at heart – and you can certainly hear the anger and weariness of being in the limelight come sneaking through "Gotta Get The First Plane Home" and the worrying song "The World Keeps Going Round" – both sounding better than ever on this 'DE'.

Another fave rave is surely going to be "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" – a song so many have latched onto since - David Bowie on 1973's "Pin Ups" and Van Halen on 1982's "Diver Down" to name but two. Here it's sounding so fresh and alive. However you half expect Ray Davies to don a grass skirt and start rattling maracas on the Dr. No hula-hula shake of "I'm On An Island" – another witty and acidic take on the strange dynamic of relationships. "It's Too Late" sounds big but still a tad fuzzy around the edges (the doubled vocals are clearer). "What's In Store For Me" had the potential for another killer single – a choppy little groover that questions what the future will bring. I also like the Dave Davies lone contribution "I Am Free" - while the album ends on the distorted garage guitar of "You Can't Win" – Ray laying down the emotional law to another girl with dubious intentions. 

The BONUS TRACKS are always a mixed bag – genius running alongside curios only uber-fans will ever play – and Disc 2 of this DE is no different. You can't go much wrong with "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion" and you could argue that the LP could have used its huge appeal and lyrical smarts. The non-album "Sittin' On My Sofa" is a genuine winner - but even better is the outtake "Mr. Reporter" a song that turns the tables on the tabloid hacks who hounded the band and their lifestyles. The Alternate Take of "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion" has wonderfully clear Bass and Guitar and frankly you can't help thinking that in any variant - it would have been a hit anyway. "Time Will Tell" is another outtake – Take 5 to be exact – and again Kinks fans will dig its fuzzed-up guitar groove. "And I Will Love You" sounds like Van Morrison's THEM complete with a weedy organ for backing. The first Previously Unreleased track is an 'Alternate Vocal' of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" where it manages to sound like The Monkees circa 1964 getting down with their badass selves. It's a bit rough for sure but damn good too. "All Night Stand" is clearly a knackered Demo (a rough recording) but you can hear why it was included.

"...Coming to you from our London studio...this is that great British live show Top Of The Pops...and it's Blues time!" – the plummy BBC DJ announces in that so 60ts voice. Highlights include "Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight" and Ray Davies talking about how his acetate for "I Go To Sleep" somehow made its way to Peggy Lee who recorded it (one of his heroes). The BBC recordings are superbly done – just as punchy as their LP counterparts. A hit single in the States on Reprise – "A Well Respected Man" is presented here in an unreleased live version – a more echoed take of this much-loved Kinks tune. You can kind of hear Davies losing the vocal every now and then – but it's still a great bonus.

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

"...They seek him here...they seek him there..." – Ray Davies sang on the slippery "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion". 

Your search is over – this is the version of "The Kink Kontroversy" to own...

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