Ray Davies Songwriting
By now The Kinks were blossoming and coming into their own, almost all the songs on this album were self penned. “Milk Cow Blues” was the only cover on the album. There are still the raucous rockers like “‘Til the End of the Day” (Ray’s last re-write of “You Really Got Me”) but there were several moments of melancholy, a sign that things were not all so rosy and things were about to change in The Kinks camp.
The Kinks Banned from USA
This album was named “The Kink Kontroversy” for a reason. By now the Davies brothers were at each others throats with their on-stage fall-outs spilling over into audience riots. On top of this, for reasons that have never been made entirely clear, the American Federation of Musicians banned The Kinks from touring the U.S between 1965 to 1969.
In Ray Davies autobiography, X-Ray, he described the reason for the ban as being for a bit of “bad behavior”.
Ray had to leave his new wife and daughter for a tour of the U.S. in 1965. Ray’s wife Rasa was Lithuanian-born and could not accompany him due to visa problems. This has been at least partially blamed for Ray’s bad behavior on the tour. One particular incident with a commie-baiting stage manager (whether it was meant to be or not, back then marrying someone from behind the Iron Curtain was quite a political statement) has been mentioned as a key reason for the ban, but whatever it was, it all weighed heavily on Ray and he headed towards a breakdown.
Deeper and More Meloncholy
The resulting introversion, both physical and psychological, spawned songs like the dark and melancholic ballads “Ring the Bells” and “The World Keeps Going Round” and the almost despairing “Where have all the Good Times Gone?” “I’m on an island”, finds Ray’s singing in a jaunty, calypso style at odds with the lyrics of his loneliness and isolation.
The uneasy effect of happy tunes and darker lyrics was a trick he later used to great effect on “Sunny Afternoon”. His acid wit did not let the London scene that spawned The Kinks off the hook either. “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” is a wickedly dry, satirical dig at the young bucks of Carnaby Street The Kinks found themselves surrounded by.
Dave Davies Songwriting
Ray Davies was not the only one of the brothers suffering at this point. Dave Davies was by now feeling suffocated in his brother’s shadow and his lead vocal on “I Am Free” rings hollow with the benefit of hindsight.
“The Kink Kontroversy” saw The Kinks maturing, with the garage rock sound of the earlier recordings appearing less and Ray beginning to discover his own lyrical voice. This is by no means a perfect album, there are a few filler tracks, but with the addition of “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” to the remastered CD it is a highly under-rated album and far better than it’s predecessors.
However nothing would prepare the world for the huge leap forward between this album and it’s successor, “Face to Face“.
- Ray Davies – Guitar, Vocals
- Dave Davies – Guitar, Vocals
- Peter Quaife – Bass, Backing Vocals
- Mick Avory – Drums
All songs by Ray Davies unless otherwise specified.
- “Milk Cow Blues” (Sleepy John Estes; arranged by The Kinks) – 3:44
- “Ring the Bells” – 2:21
- “Gotta Get the First Plane Home” – 1:49
- “When I See That Girl of Mine” – 2:12
- “I Am Free” (Dave Davies) – 2:32
- “Till the End of the Day” – 2:21
- “The World Keeps Going Round” – 2:36
- “I’m on An Island” – 2:19
- “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” – 2:53
- “It’s Too Late” – 2:37
- “What’s in Store for Me” – 2:06
- “You Can’t Win” – 2:42
CD Bonus Tracks
- “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” – 3:05
- “Sittin’ on My Sofa” – 3:08
- “When I See That Girl of Mine” (Demo version) – 2:01
- “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” (Alternate stereo take) – 3:01
Record Label/Catalog Number (USA)
Record Label/Catalog Number (UK)
Pye NSPL 18131 (Simulated Stereo)
Pye NPL 18131 (Mono)
Milk Cow Blues – Ray and Dave swop over lead
Ring The Bells – Ray, solo
Gotta Get The First Plane Home – Ray singing and playing harmonica
When I See That Girl Of Mine – Dave and Ray share vocal
I Am Free – Dave moans on his own
Till The End Of The Day – Ray, Dave and (help!) Pete, but Ray sings lead
The World Keeps Going Round – Ray mainly but with Dave and Pete in background
I’m On An Island – I Think it’s Ray?
Where Have All The Good Times Gone – Ray and Dave
It’s Too Late – Ray and Dave singing, but with Shel Talmy on guitar and Ray in the control box
What’s In Store For Me – Dave sings assisted by Ray
You Can’t Win – Ray and Dave, share
Before you proceed any further, ask yourself why you are reading this. Surely, the important thing is not to read about, but to listen to, the LP? It is because you are attracted by the look of the four young men enticing you to sample some Kinks Kontroversy? Or is it because you hope that by reading something on the back of an album cover, it will make you desperately want to buy what is inside?
Maybe you are simply hung up on The Kinks. If you are, then you are wasting valuable listening time reading what is, after all, only the designer’s fill-in on the back. And, you should really be gazing, enraptured, at the photograph of Ray, Dave, Pete and Mick on the other side.
Should you be idly browsing through a stack of LP sleeves without the slightest intention of buying anything, read on. It will help absorb a few brief seconds of your life. And who knows, your curiosity might even be sufficiently aroused for you to want to hear this LP.
For the uninitiated – and it is conceivable that there may be one or two people around who still aren’t hip – The Kinks compromise two brothers, Ray Davies and Dave Davies; a bassist by the name of Peter Quaife, and a drummer, Mick Avory. They are four separate identities and four conflicting personalities. Yet, somehow, they gell with a magnetism and force that has made them not only one of the country’s most consistent groups, but gathered them hordes of followers throughout Germany, Scandinavia, France and America as well.
Ray, is one of England’s most enlightened songwriters. His lyrics are very simple, to the point of being basic. They mask the complex character that evolves them.
Dave’s main preoccupation is the diverse pursuit of happiness. But, he too, swings between the extremes of frustration, elation and black boredom.
Peter Quaife is everybody’s friend. Rarely upset, he regards being a Kink infinitely preferable to being a commercial artist – his former occupation.
Mick Avory is at his happiest when he is drumming. He says little, and drums a great deal.
But enough is enough. Now is the fatal moment of decision. Take out the LP, listen and buy. You won’t be disappointed. You never are with the Kontroversial Kinks.