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Friday on my Mind 183: Death of a Clown

I remember at the time this came out there was some talk about the Kinks having too many good songs for them to all be released under their name, hence this song – mostly written by Dave but with a contribution from the group’s prime songwriter Ray – appeared as a Dave Davies solo venture, even though the Kinks played on it, and it sounded very much like the group. Later that year it was the second track on the Kinks’ fifth album Something Else by the Kinks.

Dave’s solo career petered out after the follow-up Suzannah’s Still Alive didn’t have as much success as this top five hit.

Dave Davies: Death of a Clown

Reelin’ In the Years 145: Hold Your Head Up. RIP Jim Rodford, Hugh Masekela and Mark E Smith

What a week this has been. It’s like 2016 came back again.

First Jim Rodford of Argent (and later The Kinks and the re-formed Zombies) then Jimmy Armfield, Hugh Masekela, Ursula Le Guin and Mark E Smith of The Fall.

Jimmy Armfield was an almost forgotten member of a certain England football World Cup squad but had a follow-up career as a manager in which he took Leeds United to the European Cup final where they were diddled out of a win by some dodgy refereeing but crowd trouble took some shine off the team’s efforts and later as a commenter on BBC radio’s football coverage.

I’m not much into jazz but was aware Hugh Masekela was an impressive musician, and equally important for his standing in the anti-apartheid movement.

I posted about Ursula Le Guin on Wednesday 24/1/2018. There were two articles about her in yesterday’s Guardian. This one by Alison Flood and Benjamin Lee plus David Mitchell’s appreciation.

The Fall is a band I didn’t follow (they were a bit after my time) but some folks swear by them. By all accounts Mark E Smith was a particularly exacting taskmaster.

Argent’s biggest hit was Hold Your Head Up from 1972. This is a TV performance from 1973.

Argent: Hold Your Head Up

Below are two samples of Masekela in performance.

Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela: Soweto Blues

Hugh Masekela: Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela.)

And here’s The Fall’s cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland song There’s a Ghost in My House, which gave them their highest UK chart placing.

The Fall: There’s a Ghost in My House

James Walter Rodford: 7/7/1941 – 20/1/2018. So it goes.
James Christopher Armfield: 21/9/1935 – 22/1/2018. So it goes.
Hugh Ramapolo Masekela: 4/4/1939 – 23/1/2018. So it goes.
Mark Edward Smith: 5/3/1957 – 24/1/2018. So it goes.

Not Friday On My Mind 34: The Truth

The Truth found difficulty coming up with their own songs. As this link from last week says, their singles were all written by people from other, more famous bands, in order here: The Beatles, The Kinks and The Rascals.

The Truth: Girl

The Truth: I Go To Sleep

The Truth: Sueno

Friday On My Mind 82: RIP Ray Manzarek

Sad to hear this morning of the death of Ray Manzarek, keyboardist with The Doors, who came to notice in the UK with Light My Fire. Despite showing off Manzarek’s playing it only reached no. 49 in the charts on its first release in 1967.

Their biggest UK hit was in fact Hello I Love You (Won’t You Tell me Your Name?) which sounded as if it owed a lot to The Kinks’ All Day and All of the Night, though apparently The Doors denied the connection.

Their only other song to trouble the UK charts was the atmospheric Riders on the Storm in 1971.

Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr: 12/02/1939 – 20/05/2013. So it goes.

The Doors: Light My Fire

Not Friday On My Mind 12: The Village Green Preservation Society

Last week I watched a TV programme about Dave Davies of the Kinks. In it he said his brother Ray had been playing two notes on the piano and he (Dave) thought that he could do something with it. To get the right effect – not the clean recorded sound they had had up to this – he tried cutting his amp’s loudspeakers with a razor blade, not expecting this to work. The result ended up as You Really Got Me. So maybe it was Dave, and not Ray, who invented heavy metal. Maybe.

The following programme was a retrospective of Kinks performances from the BBC archive which included this gem.

Not a hit at the time – nor was the LP from which it came despite it being a critical success and now much revered – The Village Green Preservation Society prefigures Ray’s movement into the chronicling of Englishness. It hits perfectly that note of wistful nostalgia encompassed by John Major quoting Orwell’s remark about old maids bicycling to Holy Communion. But Ray’s lyrics are a bit more amusing.

The Kinks: The Village Green Preservation Society

Friday On My Mind 21: Dead End Street

This is a song from the far-from-lighhearted-lyrics-set-against-jaunty-tune genre that The Beautiful South mined so successfully much later. Did Ray Davies invent this as well as heavy metal and prog rock?

The BBC apparently took exception to this promotional film at the time as it was “in bad taste.” (You can see why I didn’t want to post it in the week Pete Quaife died.)

The Kinks: Dead End Street

Friday On My Mind 13: RIP Pete Quaife

Neither of these two songs was originally going to be featured in this series (despite them being the progenitors of heavy metal.)

However, the sad death recently of founder member Pete Quaife and the consequent possible unsuitability of the video for a Kinks song that I did intend to include meant I lean this week towards these early examples of his work with The Kinks.

The first is a rather rough live recording.

The Kinks: All Day And All Of The Night – Live

The second is from the studio.

The Kinks: You Really Got Me

Pete Quaife; 31/12/43–23/6/10. So it goes.

Autumn Almanac

I happened to hear this song by the Kinks on the radio the other day. I thought (again) how strange it is. It seems to have as many galloping hiccoughs as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and sounds as if it has at least three different melodies. As a result I began to wonder if there were different time signatures involved and if perhaps it could be claimed as a progenitor of prog rock. After all, the Kinks songwriter and éminence grise Ray Davies has been credited with inventing heavy metal with the riff driven You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night so why not prog too? Note here that his song writing skills undoubtedly rank as high as anyone in the rock/pop pantheon – and I mean anyone.

So I listened to it again more carefully and, yes, there are key changes, but, to my ears anyway, it follows a resolute 2/2 throughout. (Either that or it’s a quick 4/4.)

Despite the apparent complexity, it’s actually very simple rhythmically.

The man was/is a genius. Hear for yourself.

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