Ray Davies

by Jon Mandle on November 26, 2009

Okay, so he’s 65 and perhaps his voice isn’t what it once was – actually, I’m not sure his voice was ever what it once was – I haven’t seen him play live for probably 25 years, so I can’t really remember too well. But oh, those songs! He’s touring in support of a new cd called “The Kinks Choral Collection”. Some of his gigs have been with chorus, but I saw him the other day without – around 45 minutes of just him and the incredible Bill Shanley on guitar, followed by a full-on band blow-out. Amazing stuff from throughout his career – early and late Kinks along with his recent solo albums. He certainly was in fine spirits – he kept cracking himself up with lots of funny stories and interaction with the audience – and did I mention that the songs just don’t quit, although, no, he didn’t play “Thanksgiving Day.” Looks like he’s headed back across the Atlantic next month – Cambridge, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, and London. Definitely worth seeing.



MR Bill 11.26.09 at 11:45 pm

I saw the Kinks in Atlanta on the “Sleepwalker” tour, a great show then, varied and unlike so many performers, he seemed to be really enjoying himself. I keep hoping someone will revive the middle period albums like “Soap Opera” as a short performance or theater piece.
“Alcohol” is the sort of thing Noel Coward would have done did he write rock and roll..


zhaz 11.27.09 at 2:52 am

… old Ray eh. Hazy recollection of a pasty Joker-type face, lank hair and god awful vocals. Don’t get this Kinks appreciation among ivory tower types of a certain age. Perhaps it reminds them of snogging with mini skirted ‘birds’ in darkened rooms while a scratchy LP played in the corner. I think rock stars should be forced to sign a contract that by the age of 40 they retire permanently and never reappear.


Alex 11.27.09 at 3:57 am

This should’ve been about the physicist…


virgil xenophon 11.27.09 at 8:03 pm

mheh, sort of agree with zhaz here. Last time I caught their act live was at Felixstowe Pavillion in Felixstowe-by-the Sea in 70 or 71? as a young Capt in the USAF stationed nearby at RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge. “old Ray” has some courage tho–was shot while successfully resisting and giving chase to some muggers in my home town of New Orleans a few years back–had to fly back from the UK to testify against them couple yrs later. And he was no spring chicken then, either. Got to give the man credit where credit is due…


Lee A. Arnold 11.27.09 at 11:43 pm

Ray Davies is one of the few rock songwriters who also possesses the prolific and sophisticated melodic invention of the Tin Pan Alley geniuses such as Berlin, Gershwin and Porter. There aren’t that many others in Davies’ class: Lennon, McCartney, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson.

My favorites:

Sunny Afternoon (1966)
Autumn Almanac (1967)
Waterloo Sunset (1967)
Days (1968)
Shangri-La (1969)
Victoria (1969)
Apeman (1970)
Lola (1970)
20th Century Man (1971)
Alcohol (1971)
Skin & Bone (1971)
Celluloid Heroes (1972)
Sitting in My Hotel (1972)
Sitting in the Midday Sun (1973)
Misfits (1978)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy (1978)
Catch Me Now I’m Falling (1979)


The Modesto Kid 11.28.09 at 12:06 am

Excellent, did you see him in Montclair on Tuesday? I was there too! I had never seen him before, was just blown away.


Jon Mandle 11.28.09 at 1:59 am

No – up in Albany on Monday.


virgil xenophon 11.28.09 at 8:04 pm


Some good picks…


Daverz 11.29.09 at 7:47 am

It’s understandable that some folks might not get the Kinks worship if all they know is the post Muswell Hillbillies music (that’s my cutoff, anyway, despite a few good songs in the remaining RCA and Arista years). Much of the later stuff is even paler than that. But between 1966 and 1970 or so Ray’s output of great songs is staggering. And they’re songs that don’t have to be apologized for as great *rock* songs. Great songs period.


carl 12.01.09 at 4:01 am

the man is genuis ~ all the wondeful songs he wrote ,
he is human and expresses what most people feel
impressed how great he was


The Fool 12.01.09 at 5:45 pm

They always seemed kind of shallow to me. Some nice catchy pop songs but I never saw much going on there.

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