Saturday, 31 December 2016

"Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround Part 1 & Percy: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS (2014 Sony/Legacy/BMG 2CD Reissue and Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Got To Be Free...Got To Be Free Right Now..." 
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2014 'Deluxe Edition' 2CD REISSUE ***

"...I see that Union Man walking down the street...
He’s the man who decides if I live or I die...if I starve or I eat..."

For a band so intrinsically linked with the Sixties - as ever Ray Davies refused to be pigeonholed by its sentiment and started the new Seventies decade with a musical hand-grenade – something of a kick in the nadge for the hippy dream. Yet despite being a bit of a caustic brute (especially lyrically) – November 1970's album "Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part 1" also contained huge popular hits like "Lola" and "Apeman" – provocatively charged sexpot songs that felt all grown up and mature and even gender-bender risky. The Kinks' "Lola..." has always been a great album and its arrival on DE has been much anticipated...

But after the thrilling CD reissue ride their 60ts catalogue received at the hands of Universal's double-disc 'Deluxe Editions' in 2011 - this August 2014 Sony/Legacy 2CD addition sounds better for sure but is actually incomplete. Although we get the "Percy" Soundtrack from 1971 on Disc 2 as a bonus along with many other outtakes on both CDs (some superb unreleased stuff amidst the 12 new cuts like "Anytime") - we lose two tracks that were on the previous 2004 issue - and it comes in a forgettable double jewel case instead of a foldout card digipak that would have matched the other spines in the series. Still - despite the packaging and content niggles - there's so much on here to love and want - there really is. Let's get physical...

UK released August 2014 - "Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround & Percy: Deluxe Edition" by THE KINKS on Sony Legacy/BMG 88843089592 (Barcode 0888430895928) is a 43-Track 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Reissue and Remaster with 12 Previously Unreleased tracks that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (64:48 minutes):
1. The Contenders
2. Strangers
3. Denmark Street
4. Get Back In Line
5. Lola
6. Top Of The Pops
7. The Moneygoround
8. This Time Tomorrow [Side 2]
9. A Long Way From Home
10. Rats
11. Apeman
12. Powerman
13. Got To Be Free
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One" - released 27 November 1970 in the UK on Pye Records NSPL 18359 and 2 December 1970 in the USA on Reprise RS 6423 in Stereo. It peaked at No. 35 on the US LP charts.

14. Anytime
15. The Contenders (instrumental Demo)
16. The Good Life
17. Lola (Alternate Version)
18. This Time Tomorrow (Instrumental)
19. Apeman (Alternate Version, Stereo) - originally appeared on the April 1971 Japanese LP of "Lola..." on Reprise YS-2456-Y
20. Got To Be Free (Alternate Version) - originally broadcast in the UK 15 Oct 1970 on BBC 1 Television

Disc 2 (63:25 minutes):
1. God's Children
2. Lola (Instrumental)
3. The Way Love Used To Be
4. Completely
5. Running Round Town
6. Moments
7. Animals In The Zoo
8. Just Friends
9. Whip Lady
10. Dreams
11. Helga
12. Willesden Green
13. God's Children (End)
Tracks 1 to 13 are the Soundtrack LP "Percy" - released March 1971 in the UK on Pye Records NSPL 18365 in Stereo. No US LP - but "God's Children" and "The Way Love Used To Be" was released as an American 7" single on Reprise REP 1017 in July 1971.

14. Dreams (Remix) - Previously Unreleased
15. Lola (Mono Single) - 12 June 1970 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N 17961 - 12 June 1970 US 7" single on Reprise 0930 with "cherry cola" lyric
16. Apeman (Mono Single) - 20 Nov 1970 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N 45016, A-side
17. Rats (Mono Single)  - 20 Nov 1970 UK 7" single on Pye International 7N 45016, B-side of "Apeman" - 16 Dec 1970 US 7" single on Reprise 0979
18. Powerman (Mono) - first issued May 1998 in the UK on the CD reissue of "Lola..." on Essential ESM CD 509
19. The Moneygoround (Alternate Version, Mono) - first issued August 2012 in the UK on the 5CD/1DVD Box Set "The Kinks At The BBC" on Sanctuary/UMC 279 721-8 as part of the DVD - Audio here for the first time - Previously Unreleased
20. Apeman (Alternate Version, Mono) - first issued December 1970 on a Denmark 7" single on Pye 7N 45016, A-side - Previously Unreleased
21. God's Children (Mono Film Mix) - Previously Unreleased
22. The Way Love Used To Be (Mono Film Mix) - first released May 1998 in the UK on the CD Reissue of "Percy" on Essential ESM CD 510
23. Gold's Children (End) (Mono Film Mix) - Previously Unreleased

The 24-page booklet is the usual feast of colour photos, picture sleeves, repro'd memorabilia and in-depth recording/release date factoids you've come to expect from these DE releases. The second half of the booklet features racy stills from the iffy movie "Percy" - a superb 15-strong picture array of rare 45 single-sleeves from around the world ("Lola, "Apeman", "God's Children" and "Animals In The Zoo") - while the final few pages feature the handwritten lyrics to the "Lola" LP that graced the inner gatefold of British and American albums on Pye and Reprise. Noted writer and author PETER DOGGETT gives a detailed analysis of the band's leap into the heavy rock decade and their dubious involvement in a dubious movie. It's beautifully laid out. Unfortunately the "Apeman" and "Powerman" Demos that were unreleased extras on the 2004 reissue CD are AWOL when there was clearly room on either disc for them - so docked a star for that and the boring jewel case presentation.

But there's better news for fans in the CD transfers. A team of three trusted names have tackled the new 2014 Remasters - ANDREW SANDOVAL, DAN HERSCH and ANDY PEARCE. Sandoval was involved with all of the Universal DE's for The Kinks and much praised for it - Dan Hersch has been Rhino's go-to guy for decades and Andy Pearce (along with Matt Wortham) has a growing rep for fabulously realistic transfers that just keeps getting better (Thin Lizzy, Wishbone Ash, Budgie, the 2016 Free reissues and the much-anticipated new versions of Deep Purple's catalogue in 2017). The moment you hear the 40-second Acoustic into to "The Contenders" or the sheer punch to the riffage of "Powerman" or the 'Yes It's No. 1!' "Top Of The Pops" and you can 'feel' the punch. Great stuff. Let's get to the music...

"...On the verge of a nervous breakdown...I went to see a solicitor..." Ray sings bitterly on "The Moneygoround" as he (like so many musicians of the day) wonder - there's all this fame so why is there so little cash to go with it? No one at the record label is answering the phone. That kind of probing angst imbibes songs like "This Time Tomorrow" and the 'where are you going' cries in "Strangers" - each tune filled with cool music unpinned by a weary pathos. The audio on the Stereo "Lola" and "Apeman" makes them huge - those brilliant and fun lyrics still raising a smile after 46 years. I'd forgotten just how New York Dolls the "Rats" track is (B-side to the "Apeman” 45 in most territories) – a hard-hitting little rocker where slick and aggressive city types are crowding our Ray's personal space. It ends on the brilliant and upbeat "Got To Be Free".

Fans will love the newest find - "Anytime" - a 3:30 minute amble that feels epic. Probably the very guitar-based feel excluded it from the LP - but there's no doubt in my mind that it's the premium find on here - brilliant and exciting. The Instrumental of "The Contenders" is truly fascinating stuff - half Gary Moore's Skid Row when the guitars dominate - half Chicken Shack when the piano gets a look in. Just when you think it's going to descend into filler - "The Good Life" chugs its Havana Cigar way across your speakers - a wickedly good rocker that makes you wonder why it wasn't used as a B-side. There's Take 11 dialogue before the Alternate Take of "Lola" and a slower intro - and again - it's impressive stuff even for such a familiar song. Fans are going to eat up an instrumental of their LP fave "This Time Tomorrow" - piano and rhythm acting as a backing track as you hum along to the words in your head. The car sounds at the beginning of the Stereo "Apeman" are still intact - but after being used to the Mono Single - the 'nuclear war' instruments and lyrics feel 'massive' - an amazing listen. But the most radically different take is "Got To Be Free" where Ray sounds like he's channelling his inner Alan Price as he plinks away on a childlike piano - shame it's not better recorded and fades out too fast...

CD2 gives us the "Percy" Soundtrack - a much-maligned beast that's far better than I remember it - with some shining moments like the obvious upbeat single "God's Children" and its lovely flipside "The Way Love Used To Be". With lyrics like "...I want to go back to the way the good Lord made me..." - Davies gives "God's Children" a hopeful feel complete with choruses and strings. I've always thought the funked-up guitar version of "Lola" to be cool even if the cheesy organ that follows the opening kind of ruins the vibe. I also dig the chugging Bluesy guitar-and-harmonica instrumental "Completely" - like The Kinks forgot who they were for a moment and went all Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac for one song. "Moments" is pretty too - remembering things the main characters have forgotten. You can hear why "Animals In The Zoo" was chosen as a leadoff single - funky acoustic to begin with - yet so Kinks in its rhythms as it boogies along in a very catchy way. Of the unreleased on Disc 2 "The Moneygoround" and the Alternate Mono of "Apeman" come off the best - an impressive end to an impressive release. 

"...It might even turn into a steady job..." - our Ray roared on "Top Of The Pops" (number 11 with a bullet) about the life of a Rock Musician. And on the evidence of this 2CD reissue - thank God it did...

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