Thursday, 5 May 2016

"Kinked! Kinks Songs & Sessions 1964-1971" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2016 Ace Records CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Strange Effect On Me..."

You can tell you're in the presence of something nifty when only three tracks in and you're already thinking - 'cool reissue'. The premise here is simple and smart – 26 long-forgotten tunes written by Ray Davies of The Kinks in the hands of others (one by Dave Davies). 
Ace Records of the UK are offering a CD compilation full of stragglers and rarities that they think deserve another go round (five in Stereo and four Previously Unreleased). Here are the Kinky details...

UK released 26 March 2016 (8 April 2016 in the USA) – "Kinked! Kinks Songs & Sessions 1964-1971" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 1463 (Barcode 029667075022) is a 26-track CD compilation and plays out as follows (64:59 minutes):

1. This Strange Effect - DAVE BERRY (July 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12188, A)
2. Look For Me Baby - GOLDIE & THE GINGERBREADS (2016, Previously Unissued May 1965 Decca Recording)
3. I Bet You Won't Stay - THE CASCADES (September 1965 UK 7" single on Liberty LIB 55822, A)
4. King Of The Whole Wide World - LEAPY LEE (March 1966 UK 7" single on Decca F 12369, A)
5. I Go To Sleep - PEGGY LEE (August 1965 USA 7" single on Capitol 5488, A - STEREO)
6. All Night Stand - THE THOUGHTS (2016, Alternate Version of Planet PLF 118, a September 1966 UK 7" single, A)
7. So Mystifying - THE OLYMPICS (2016, Previously Unissued 1964 & 1965 Loma Recording)
8. Un Jeune Homme Bien - PETULA CLARK (1996 French-only 4-Track EP on Vogue EPL 8379)
9. One Fine Day - SHEL NAYLOR (March 1964 UK 7" single on Decca F 11856, A)
10. Oh What A Day It's Going To Be - MO & STEVE (September 1966 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17175, A)
11. Little Man In A Little Box - BARRY FANTONI (May 1966 UK 7" single on Fontana TF 707, A)
12. A House In The Country - THE PRETTY THINGS (July 1966 UK 7" single on Fontana TF 722, A)
13. When I See That Girl Of Mine - BOBBY RYDELL (October 1965 USA 7" single on Capitol 5513, A)
14. Nobody's Fool - COLD TURKEY (May 1972 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 45142, A - STEREO)
15. Act Nice And Gentle - DUSTER BENNETT (October 1970 UK 7" single on Blue Horizon 57-3179, A - STEREO)
16. I've Got That Feeling - THE ORCHIDS (March 1964 UK 7" single on Decca F 11861, A)
17. Emptiness - THE HONEYCOMBS (from the 1965 UK LP "All Systems Go!" on Pye NPL 18132 - STEREO)
18. Rosy, Won't You Please Come Home [aka Rosie Rosie] - MARIANNE FAITHFULL
(1966 recording first released in 1988 on the reissue CD for "Loveinamist" on London 820 632 - STEREO)
19. I'm Not Like Everybody Else - THE CHOCOLATE WATCH BAND (2016, Alternate Mono Mix of a song from their 1968 Stereo LP "The Inner Mystique" on Tower ST 5106)
20. Who'll Be The Next In Line - THE KNACK (September 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12234, A)
21. Dandy - HERMAN'S HERMITS (September 1966 USA 7" single on MGM Records K 13603, A)
22. The Virgin Soldier's March - THE JOHN SCHROEDER ORCHESTRA (November 1969 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17862, A)
23. A Little Bit Of Sunlight - THE MAJORITY (October 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12271, A)
24. Big Black Smoke - MICK & MALCOLM (March 1967 UK 7" single on Piccadilly 7N 35372, A)
25. NICKY HOPKINS & THE WHISTLING PIANO (1967 USA Promo-only 7" single on Decca 9-34466, A)
26. End Of The Season - THE UGLY'S (September 1966 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17178, A)
NOTES: All songs are in MONO except Tracks 5, 14, 15, 17 and 18 - which are STEREO. Tracks 2, 6, 7 and 19 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

The 20-page booklet is the usual award-winning fan-fest wet dream - knowledgeable paragraphs by Compiler and genre lover ALEC PALAO - every page prettified with sheet music, record company promotional photos, label repros for 7" single on Pye, Piccadilly, Capitol and Liberty Records, rare EP sleeves and trade adverts. It's beautifully done. But NICK ROBBINS - one of Ace's long-time Audio Engineers - has again outdone himself - bringing fab audio to a huge number of sources.

It opens strongly with Dave Barry's "This Strange Effect" - a tune Ray wrote in Melbourne on The Kinks first World Tour and with Dave specifically in mind. Sonically - it's a total Mono winner - beautiful clarity and a wickedly good tune that almost feels Bacharach in places (it was Ray's first chart success outside of The Kinks hitting No. 37 in the UK singles charts). Neck-jerking and dancing Northern Soul - "Look For Me Baby" is a groover from Goldie & The Gingerbreads that should have done better chartwise (Genya "Goldie" Zelkowitz is Genya in Polydor's Ten Wheel Drive). The Cascades track is a bit more cluttered in the transfer than I'd like while Leapy Lee's "King Of The Whole Wide World" is a 'when she kisses me' pop ditty that's good rather than being great.

On the 2CD Deluxe Edition of "The Kink Kontroversy" from 2011 - one of the bonus track son Disc 2 has Ray Davies discussing with a BBC interviewer being tickled pink that one of his audio heroes Peggy Lee had received an acetate of his "I Go To Sleep" - and promptly recorded it. Well in glorious Stereo - here it is. Chrissie Hinde would fall under its spell too and record a cover of it for The Pretenders. I can't profess to knowing the obscure and rare "All Night Stand" by The Thoughts - but I can say that this 'Alternate Version' of that Ray Davies A-side is superb and in great audio too. And I'd swear he sings " all night...then shag some more..." (nice). Just as good is the grungy chugger "So Mystifying" by The Olympics (of "Western Movies" fame) - a track The Kinks had released on their American Reprise Records debut album "You Really Got Me" in 1965. Just as cool is the French language version of "Well Respected Man" from Petula Clark's rare French Vogue EP (pictured on Page 10) called "Un Jeune Homme Bein".

Groovers and Freakbeat fans will love the Shel Naylor take on "One Fine Day". Nicknamed 'The Midlands Powerhouse' - Naylor got the October 1963 song (The Kinks were then The Boll-Weevils) from Shel Talmy's people and he goes for it (there's a picture of the uber-rare sheet music to it on Page 5).  No one seems to know who Manchester duo Mo & Steve actually are – but their ballad “Oh What A Day It’s Going To Be” is a pleasant enough valley Sunday. Two 70ts entries come at us in Stereo - TV studio band Cold Turkey's "Nobody's Fool" was the theme to the second series of "Budgie" with Adam Faith in the title role while Blue Horizon artist Duster Bennett does "Act Nice And Gentle" (there a rare foreign picture sleeve of it on Page 18). There are moments when this CD goes from cloying (Herman's Hermits) to dead interesting (John Schroeder Orchestra) on to very cool stuff like the Previously Unreleased mono mix of the angry young man anthem "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" by The Chocolate Watch Band.  On the homeward stretch I like "Big Black Smoke" best by another obscure duo Malcolm & Mo where our girl is walking the streets, sat in coffee bars and spending her cash on purple hearts and cigarettes. The Nicky Hopkins instrumental effort is best forgotten but the twittering birds of The Uglys ends proceedings on a typically upbeat and erratic note.

You wouldn't say everything on here is unmitigated genius - it just isn't. But the good stuff is great - and collectors will love the obscurities and superlative booklet and audio. Another winner from those Kinky folks at Ace Records...

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