BBC Sessions 1964-1977
Release info:Produced by: various
Release date: 12 Mar, 2001
Record label & catalog #: Sanctuary Records SANDD010
Format: 2 CD set
Release type: Compilation
|2. You Really Got Me
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:16), recorded 30 Oct, 1964 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:36), recorded 7 Sep, 1964 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|5. All Day And All Of The Night
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:22), recorded 30 Oct, 1964 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|6. Tired Of Waiting For You
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:22), recorded 20 Apr, 1965 at BBC Maida Vale Studios, London
|7. Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:13), recorded 20 Apr, 1965 at BBC Maida Vale Studios, London
|8. See My Friends
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:52), recorded 6 Aug, 1965 at BBC Aeolian Hall, Studio 1, London
|9. This Strange Effect
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:32), recorded 6 Aug, 1965 at BBC Aeolian Hall, Studio 1, London
|10. Milk Cow Blues
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:37), recorded 10 Aug, 1965 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|11. Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight
|mono mix, BBC recording (1:51), recorded 10 Aug, 1965 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|12. Till The End Of The Day
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:19), recorded 13 Dec, 1965 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|13. Where Have All The Good Times Gone
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:45), recorded 13 Dec, 1965 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|14. Death Of A Clown
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:56), recorded 4 Aug, 1967 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|15. Love Me Till The Sun Shines
|mono mix, BBC recording, recorded 1 Jul, 1968 at BBC Piccadilly Studio 1, London
|16. Harry Rag
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:18), recorded 25 Oct, 1967 at BBC Maida Vale Studio 4, London
|17. Good Luck Charm
|mono mix, BBC recording (1:21), recorded 4 Aug, 1967 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|18. Waterloo Sunset
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:16), recorded 1 Jul, 1968 at BBC Piccadilly Studio 1, London
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:09), recorded 9 Jul, 1968 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:49), recorded 1 Jul, 1968 at BBC Piccadilly Studio 1, London
|21. The Village Green Preservation Society
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:53), recorded 26 Nov, 1968 at Playhouse Theatre, London
|1. Mindless Child Of Motherhood
|mono mix, BBC recording (2:57), recorded 18 May, 1970 at Aeolian Hall, Studio 2, London
|mono mix, BBC recording, recorded 5 May, 1972 at Studio T1, Transcription Service, Kensington House, London
|mono mix, BBC recording (3:41), recorded 6 Jun, 1974 at Langham Studios, Studio 1, London
|live, stereo mix (3:30), recorded 14 Jul, 1974 at Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green, London
|5. Here Comes Yet Another Day
|live, stereo mix (4:46), recorded 14 Jul, 1974 at Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green, London
|6. Money Talks
|live, stereo mix (4:14), recorded 14 Jul, 1974 at Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green, London
|7. Mirror Of Love
|live, stereo mix (4:20), recorded 14 Jul, 1974 at Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green, London
|8. Celluloid Heroes
|live, stereo mix (5:23), recorded 14 Jul, 1974 at Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green, London
|9. Skin And Bone
|live, stereo mix (5:41), recorded 14 Jul, 1974 at Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green, London
|10. Get Back In Line
|live, stereo mix (4:00), recorded 24 Dec, 1977 at Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London
|11. Did You See His Name?
|stereo mix (1:55), recorded Mar 1968 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London
|12. When I Turn Off The Living Room Light
|mono mix (2:17), recorded 4 Feb, 1969 at BBC's Riverside Sound Studios, Hammersmith, London
|13. Skin And Bone
|mono mix, BBC recording, recorded 5 May, 1972 at Studio T1, Transcription Service, Kensington House, London
|14. Money Talks
|mono mix, BBC recording (3:53), recorded 6 Jun, 1974 at Langham Studios, Studio 1, London
ErrataFor those of you that have already picked up the Kinks BBC sessions, you may have noticed some anomalies in both the liner notes and annotations. Both I and Doug Hinman who prepared these, would like to make it known, the information we supplied to Sanctuary in our opinion was rigorously checked and proofed. In the case of the liner notes Dave Emlen spent hours tirelessly checking and proofing them without a hint of complaint. Unbeknown to us all, changes were made without our knowledge. In fact neither Dave, Doug nor I got the opportunity to see the proofs of the finished article prior to being submitted for printing, despite requesting such copies. I feel particularly for David as all his effort appears to count for nought.
Undoubtedly Sanctuarys motives in the changes were honourable, but unfortunatley errors were introduced/created that were not originally part of the submitted copy.
Both I and Doug were very dissapointed to see these errors particulary as we had both spent a lot of time trying to get our contributions right. I think it is fair to say the BBC sessions, consumed a significant part of our lives in the last few months.
Both Doug and I have submitted corrected copy to Sanctuary and we have been assured that future pressings of the CD will incorporate the corrections.
This liner notes and annotations as they appear on this page are more or less as Doug and I intended.
Russell Smith & Doug Hinman
CORRECTED ENTRIES FOR THE ANNOTATIONS TO THE BBC SESSIONS, 1964-1977
A last second change in the numbering of the tracks resulting from the separating of two interview lead-ins into their own track numbers, plus the separate rather than continuous renumbering of the tracks on CD 2, combined with the last minute rearrangement of tracks also on CD 2 led to a number of unfortunately confusing and erroneous cross references within my carefully prepared annotations. Corrections to the affected entries follow below:
2) Holiday (R. Davies)
Recorded at Studio T1, Transcription Service, Kensington House, London 5 May 1972
First broadcast on John Peel Show (Radio-1) 16 May 1972.
Produced by John Walters, engineered by Bob Conduct.
Personnel: plus John Gosling (piano), John Beecham (trombone), Alan Holmes (clarinet) and Michael Rosen (trumpet)
3) Demolition (R. Davies)
Recorded at Langham Studios, Studio 1, London 6 June 1974
First broadcast on John Peel Show (Radio-1) 11 July 1974.
Produced by Tony Wilson, engineered by Bill Aitken.
Personnel: plus John Gosling electric piano and organ), John Beecham (trombone), Alan Holmes (tenor saxophone), Laurie Brown (trumpet), Pam Travis and Maryann Price (backing vocals)
5) Here Comes Yet Another Day (R. Davies)
All details same as track 4.
6) Money Talks
All details same as track 4 but John Gosling (piano)
7) Mirror Of Love (R. Davies)
All details same as track 4 but Ray Davies (acoustic guitar), John Gosling (piano), John Beecham (tuba), Alan Holmes (clarinet)
8) Celluloid Heroes (R. Davies)
All details same as track 4 but Ray Davies (acoustic guitar) John Gosling (piano)
9) Skin And Bone (R. Davies)/Dry Bones (traditional).
All details same as track 4 but Ray Davies (vocals only), John Gosling (piano)
13) Skin And Bones (R. Davies)
All details same as track 2 but Alan Holmes (tenor saxophone)
14) Money Talks (R. Davies)
All details same as track 3 but John Gosling (piano)
Personnel: Ray Davies (lead vocals except as noted, rhythm guitar except as noted), Dave Davies (lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals as noted), Mick Avory (drums), Pete Quaife (bass guitar, backing vocals) CD 1 tracks 2, 4-21, CD 2 tracks 11, 12 John Dalton (bass) CD 2 tracks 1-9, 13-14.
Voice-overs/interviews when present as recorded for the syndicated programme Top Of The Pops (BBC Transcription Service) by Brian Matthew CD 1 tracks 1-21 and CD 2 track 1, except CD 1 tracks 14 & 17 by David Symonds.
The Songs We Sang For Auntie: The Kinks BBCSessions 1964-1977
You probably would be hard-pressed to find two better icons of British culture in the latter part of the 20th Century than The Kinks and the BBC. Though viewed from entirely different perspectives, of course. The Kinks with their often skewed vision of English suburban life via the eyes of Ray and Dave Davies, and the BBC with their perceived stiff upper lip attitude and world-wide integrity. Yet these two strange bedfellows have had an on/off 30 year association, producing a remarkable 24 sessions (including two in-concert performances): the first stretching back to September 7th 1964 and the last being performed live on daytime radio on October 8th 1994. This collection does not draw from all these sessions (it is interesting to note that Dave Davies was absent from one of the early 1990s visits to the BBC and this not considered a "true" Kinks performance by the band and fans alike) but does, however, afford us a glimpse into Aunties "kinky" treasure chest.
At last these "long lost" performances are being presented officially for the first time, to take their place along side Kinks peers who have already produced similarly styled BBC collections. This anthology is not just an historical document, but it also provides a unique insight on the Kinks 30-year-plus career with tracks that were not officially released at the time. These stripped-down BBC recordings go a long way toward slaying the myth that the Kinks were a band with limited playing ability (a view no doubt partly prompted by Ray Davies own assertion, "The day we become professional, is the day we are ruined"). This collection reveals the truth that belies the myth. That in reality the Kinks were every bit the equal of their contemporaries in the musical ability stakes.
It is also interesting to compare the BBC recordings against the Pye recordings: essentially the BBC recordings reveal the "real" Kinks and give a truer reflection of the bands sound. One has to remember that on a lot of the earlier Pye recordings the Kinks were augmented by various session players such as Bobby Graham and Clem Cattani on drums. These differences are very noticeable, particularly Mick Avorys drum sound as opposed to aforementioned "session men": more confident and aggressive drumming on the very earliest material and sometimes a slightly less dense sound due to doubling or augmenting of parts in the studio not present on the stripped-down BBC session material. Ray Davies remembers that time was at a premium at the BBC studios, and points out that "we had no time to set up or get organised." This undoubtedly added to the live "BBC" sound.
We have the then-heavily unionised/conservative BBC to thank for the existence of these recordings due to an agreement between the BBC and the respective unions, whereby the playing of commercial recordings was extremely limited (referred to as "needle time") so as to ensure work for the BBCs in-house engineers and musicians. This agreement was struck prior to the emergence of Rock n Roll when the staple of the countrys listening would have been dance bands and light orchestras. Even after the birth pangs of Rock n Roll the BBC carried on its own sweet way, possibly in denial, hoping the infant Rock n Roll would be still-born. In fact it soon became apparent the BBC avoided Rock n Roll like the plague. The BBCs answer was to offer (by way of lip service) lame, safe and anonymous cover versions of songs from the hit parade. The only way to hear the real McCoy over the airwaves was to tune to Radio Luxembourg, but broadcast hours were limited and reception was notoriously indifferent to say the least. It wasnt until Good Friday 1964 and the arrival off the Essex coast of the first "pop pirate" Radio Caroline that Great British public was treated to an all-day pop radio station, but due to limited broadcast power Radio Caroline did not reach everyone. Even though a host of other offshore pirates joined Radio Caroline in the following months, most suffered similarly from limited broadcast power. It wasnt until the passing of the Marine Offence Act in 1967 that outlawed the "pirates" and saw BBC Radio One emerge on the 30th September 1967, that the UK had a truly all day pop station that reached most of mainland Britain.
Therefore up until 1967, the majority of the pop-starved nation tuned into the BBC light programme to hear such shows as "The Joe Loss Pop Show," "Top Gear" and "Saturday Club" where artists could be heard performing songs specifically recorded for broadcast on the BBC. Not surprisingly in the heyday of the British Beat boom, these shows attracted massive audiences. Despite the importance of appearing on such shows, each artist was only paid a nominal fee for 4 or 5 tracks recorded over an average 3 - 4 hour session. Recording these sessions was the equivalent of performing without the aid of a safety net the tracks were mainly recorded in one take with only essential overdubs being carried out. In comparison to commercial recording studios of the day, the Beebs facilities were considered somewhat primitive, but this only adds to the charm of the recordings.
But surely no one could have realised what an historic archive the BBC was inadvertently amassing. Even the great Corporation itself didnt realise this as most of the master tapes have either been lost or wiped. It is the transcription/syndication arm of the service that we have to thank for the preservation of most of this invaluable archive, as many of these recordings were compiled into a weekly various artists radio show called "Top Of The Pops" (not to be confused with the TV programme of the same name) for overseas broadcast.
This type of anthology is not an easy one to pull together as previously mentioned the BBC, at least until the mid-seventies, were not the best custodians of their own precious archive. Some very hard decisions have had to be made along the way. Some important sessions, no matter how much effort was put into locating them just could not be found. Sometimes when these elusive recordings were found, the sound quality was so dubious it has not possible to include them. So unfortunately some Kinks BBC lynch pin recordings are missing from this set. But what is included here is more than a fair representation of this strange amalgam of the Kinks and the BBC.
Normally "new" artists wanting to secure a BBC session had to audition before a panel, to see if what was being produced was suitable for the nations ears! Only a majority verdict in favour would see the artist move on to work at the BBC. However, so meteoric was the rise of "You Really Got Me" up the charts, that this arcane practice was waived for the Kinks. The first session was granted on the basis that it was a trial session, subject to review. Of course the Kinks never looked back and were never officially informed if they were suitable BBC material.
Whilst "You Really Got Me" was storming its way to the number one position in the hit parade, the Kinks recorded their first session for The Corporation on September 7th, 1964 at the Playhouse Theatre, subsequently broadcast as part of "Saturday Club" on the 19th September 1964. In one of lifes great ironies, this particular session was broadcast whilst "You Really Got Me" was at number one. Fortunately three of the four tracks recorded at this session have survived Along with an electrifying version of the Kinks seminal recording "You Really Got Me" is a punky-white-boy rave up of Bo Diddleys Cadillac. "Cadillac" was to feature on the Kinks recently recorded debut album "Kinks". The version of You Really Got Me that is included here comes from the later October 1964 session. Barring the more aggressive and confident drumming of Bobby Graham on the very early Pye recordings over Mick Avory's more reticent early style, and the luxury of carefully overdubbed backing vocals on the commercial recordings over the sometimes dicey singing under the gun at the BBC, the classic early sound of the Kinks as heavy metal innovators is essentially intact, especially on the two initial hit singles.
In the interview that straddles "You Really Got Me," note how Brian Matthew introduces the Kinks as "five representatives of the shaggy set" (possibly alluding to the presence of one Rasa Diepetris - soon to be Davies as she would have been present to provide backing vocal) and Pete Quaifes sarcastic riposte about growing his eyebrows long! But what really comes across is how assured/philosophical Ray Davies sounds during the course of the interview, particularly with regard to the longevity of the Kinks. Ray obviously didnt see this as a career that would last into the next century!
Sadly nothing of any substance exists from the second and third visits to the BBC studios. However, these sessions were heavily biased towards covers, reflecting the Kinks stage act at the time. The sessions are known to have featured, among others, Chuck Berrys "Bye Bye Johnny" (otherwise unrecorded by the Kinks) and unfortunately this unique BBC performance is now deemed lost without a trace.
The fourth session represented a change of venue from the first three sessions, the band relocated to the Piccadilly Theatre this time round. These particular performances hint at the first perceivable change of musical direction with the inclusion of softer-edged tracks. However, the attention grabber here is a faithfully reproduced and confident slab of prototypical heavy metal, Kinks style, with their second world-wide smash, All Day And All Of The Night. This particular version reinforces Ray Davies assertion that "All Day..." is pure FM rock, albeit prior to the invention of the term and via the BBCs hazy medium wave!
While their fifth session, likely a broadcast before an invited audience, was possibly never committed to tape and is seemingly lost. The sixth session recorded at the BBCs famed Maida Vale Studios in April 1965 was also thought lost until recently. This session included the then new single "Evrybodys Gonna Be Happy" plus songs from the recent Kinda Kinks LP. Also thought to be from this same session is the only in-studio workout of the third hit single Tired of Waiting or You. By the time of this session, The Kinks were firmly established behind the Stones and Beatles as one of Britains hottest chart acts.
The BBC version of "Evrybodys..." has a definite edge over the original Pye recording (which was learnt as the band were recording it in the studio!). The version included here shows the benefit of repeated live performances, as it is looser and more energetic than the "original," perhaps closer to obtaining the Tamla Motown sound that the Kinks had sought on the original. In contrast to the previous session, all six tracks plus an illuminating Ray Davies interview recorded at Aeolian Hall on Aug. the 6th have been saved for posterity. This session was broadcast over the August Bank holiday of 1965 as a part of a Kinks special entitled "You Really Got...". This session undoubtedly represents an early turning point in the bands career, as can be witnessed by the ground breaking See My Friend. Note the clarity of this recording eclipses that of the (some what "hissy") Pye recording. This session further produced the only known Kinks performance of the minor classic This Strange Effect, which was a massive hit throughout Continental Europe for Dave Berry.
Less than a week later the Kinks were back in the BBC studios, this time at the Playhouse Theatre to record a session for Saturday Club. This was notable for an adrenaline-driven version of "Sleepy" John Estes Milk Cow Blues, a song the Kinks had almost made their own via dynamic stage performances. "See My Friend" was still riding high in the charts so not unsurprisingly that featured again, along with Kinda Kinks album "stomper" and Euro single, Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight.
The Kinks returned to the Playhouse Theatre again on December 13th. This was notable for a number of reasons: it was the first session to feature completely self-penned tracks, and it was amazingly the eighth session the band had recorded in little over a year for the BBC, hinting at the prodigious workload that was being heaped upon the group. It was also to be the last Kinks BBC session for over a year and a half. The highlight of this particular session was undoubtedly the B-side classic Where Have All The Good Times Gone and the recent hit single Till The End Of The Day along with Dave Davies Kink Kontroversy LP track "I Am Free" which only exists as a dubious "Off Air" recording.
This last session more or less draws a line neatly under the first phase of the bands career. The Kinks were to give R n B influenced recordings a back seat in favour of beautifully constructed Ray Davies vaudevillian character sketches. The "Face to Face" album was the first to fully reflect this new direction, followed by the 1967 long player "Something Else" on which Ray Davies honed his observational songwriting skills to a tee. One can only speculate why the Kinks did not venture near a BBC studio during this crucial phase of the bands development, but the hole it leaves in this collection is conspicuous by its absence and somewhat baffling as well. Particularly as the Kinks were "banned" from touring America during this period and would have been forced to concentrate on the domestic and European markets. Exposure via the BBC at this juncture would have been useful to say the least, and perhaps this was a contributing factor in the bands first period of commercial wane. Though ironically, artistically the Kinks canon was in the ascendancy.
The Kinks next entered the BBC radio studios in August of 1967 albeit in the guise of brother Dave, no doubt induced by Death Of A Clown racing up the charts, which Dave dutifully performs here. The real gem from the August 4th session was Daves cover of the previously unreleased version of blues man John "Spider" Koerners Good Luck Child, which Dave had altered the lyric and title to Good Luck Charm and probably hoped to include on his ill-fated 1967 solo album. Very few artists of this era produced more recorded work than the Kinks (producing 14 albums and 30 singles in little over 10 years). Dave Davies alludes to how busy the Kinks were in the studio in this particular interview when he states "the next Kinks single could be any one of a hundred," suggesting the Kinks were recording at a prolific rate at this point in time. This session is notable for the inclusion of Nicky Hopkins, the Kinks unofficial studio member, tinkling the ivories as only he could. Hopkins had been playing on Kinks records since 1965. This was his first BBC session with the group. He would join the Kinks at the BBC studios regularly through his association with the band, through the summer of 1968.
The Kinks visited the BBC studios for a second time in October 1967, where they belatedly recorded a very relaxed and confident version of Sunny Afternoon. The session also featured Mr. Pleasant, the B-side to the then-current 45 "Autumn Almanac" which was effortlessly heading up the charts. The curio from the October 1967 session was a quirky rendition of the Something Else album track, and ode to the ills of smoking(!), Harry Rag.
The thirteenth session for BBC took place at Piccadilly Studios on July 1st 1968. The Kinks took the chance of somewhat belatedly recording a trademark hit for Auntie. Waterloo Sunset was over a year old by the time this particular session was recorded and interestingly features a Hopkins piano part absent from the more familiar Pye recording. The standout track from this session was Daves Love Me Till The Sun Shines, a gorgeous organ-drenched slice of garage-land pop complete with killer drum break courtesy of Mick Avory. This was from a period when the Kinks were more noted for pioneering softer "music hall" influenced work. Yet the Kinks proved in one fell swoop they could stand toe to toe with the likes of Standells in terms of 60s punk energy. A unique and beautifully relaxed version of Days completed the session. This was at odds with the unique version of Monica which was recorded (at the fourteenth session) some four months in advance of its official release on the Village Green Preservation Society LP.
As the sixties started to draw to a close, the restrictive practice of "needle time" was slowly being eroded, no doubt helped by the launch of the BBCs own pop station Radio One in September of 1967. Around the same time recording acts started to show a reluctance to re-record tracks specifically for the BBC in favour of simply overdubbing or merely remixing existing recordings. This was a ruse that manoeuvred around the musician union ban on miming.
The Kinks next entered the BBC studios the week of release of the Village Green Preservation Society album. So unsurprisingly the November 1968 session exclusively presented tracks from this masterpiece, although only the title track proved to be a brand new recording (the rest are overdubbed/remixed versions of the original Pye recordings). The BBC recording of the Village Green Preservation Society adds a completely unheard dimension to this acclaimed classic: note how Rays piano work (as opposed to probably Nicky Hopkins on the album) provides a stunning counterpoint to Daves guitar pure Kinks genius! The Ray Davies interview that accompanies this session is virtually unique, in that it is one of the few times Ray has spoken candidly about the concept of one of the Kinks most enduring albums.
Ray Daviess burgeoning song writing talent came to the notice of the producers of the BBC television series "At the 11th Hour". The series was described at the time as "an experimental series which combined comedy, poetry and pop". The show screened from December 1967 to March 1968, and Ray wrote songs for 9 of the 10 shows in the series. This was Rays first experience in "writing to order." Ray commented at the time he often drew inspiration from newspaper headlines, and enjoyed the pressure of working to a deadline. Did You See His Name, was performed on the show itself by singer Jeanie Lamb backed with an orchestral arrangement. The version featured here is the Kinks version recorded in the Spring of 1968. The Kinks probably thought it was too good a song to waste, and it would benefit from a Kinks-style reworking. This song was certainly was as good as anything else the Kinks officially released during the period.
In late 1968 Ned Sherrin offered Ray an acting part in his (film) production of Leslie Thomas best selling novel "The Virgin Soldiers." Ray turned this down in favour of providing the title music ("The Virgin Soldier March"). This association led to Ray providing the music to the Ned Sherrin produced BBC television satire programme "Where Was Spring." Ray wrote 5 songs for the 6 shows aired (Jan-Feb 1969), one of which was When I Turn Out The Living Room Light. The Kinks did record these for broadcast though only the music was aired. They did not appear on the show, but rather the music played beneath cartoon featurettes by Klaus Voorman.
Tantalisingly both tracks were due to feature on a Ray Davies solo album ("The Songs I Sang Auntie/The Ray Davies Song Book"). This album was briefly slated for release in 1971. While it is clear Ray was planning to round up and re-record the songs he had written for these various television projects, the plan unfortunately remained unrealised.
The next three sessions for Auntie, April 1969, December 1969 and May 1970, mainly produced minor reworkings of records, and as such are not included as part of this collection. Although interesting, these BBC recordings lack the dynamics that made the earlier Beeb versions so compelling. But without doubt the highpoint of these sessions was an all new "gutsy" recording of Daves Mindless Child Of Motherhood. Quite why this B-side classic was the only track that was deemed suitable for a complete rework is unclear. But it does give some idea of the harder edged sound that the band had developed via recent concert performances, particularly during the renaissance tours of America during late 1969 and early 1970. This heavier style was much in evidence on the Kinks next LP, "The Kinks Part One: Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround."
Kinks BBC recordings from this point in time became a more spasmodic affair, no doubt reflecting the groups choice to direct their attention to finding an American audience that was so cruelly denied them between late 1965 and early 1969 due to the imposed touring ban for alleged unprofessional conduct!
The Kinks did take time out in-between their now heavy US touring schedule to record two sessions for legendary BBC radio jock John Peel. The first one dates from May 1972 which coincided with the release of the then-current single "Supersonic Rocket Ship." Curiously the version of "Supersonic " that featured in the session was a reworked version of the record. However, the band took time out to completely rerecord three tracks from the previous years acclaimed long player "Muswell Hillbillies." Perhaps it was seen as a good opportunity to plug Muswells in the UK, as promotion had been focussed on the US market and as such the album had gone largely unnoticed in the Kinks homeland. The versions of Skin & Bone and Holiday featured here do exude a confidence bourne of numerous concert performances. The horn section (The Mike Cotton Sound) added on the second leg of the US Muswell Hillbillies tour feature prominently on these recordings. It is interesting to note that the Mike Cotton Sound at this stage still retained their own identity and a degree of autonomy and was introduced as such, for in-concert performances. Though ironically for this sole session Mike Cotton himself was absent and replaced by Michael Rosen instead.
The second Peel session dates from June 1974 and tied in with the UK release of Preservation Act II. The Kinks perform three "spiky" cuts from the Preservation opus (one from Preservation Act I, and two from Preservation Act II). By the time of this session the Kinks had a considerably expanded line up and regularly featured a 3 piece horn section and a pair of female backing singers. These extra musicians had a most notable effect on the Kinks sound as witnessed on these particular recording. Unlike the previous session, the horn section had now lost its own identity and had merely become an extension of the Kinks. Money Talks and Demolition feature here and ably demonstrate the Kinks new direction.
A few days later the Kinks where back in front of BBC microphones, this time in full cry at the Golders Green Hippodrome. In the early part of the 70s artists started to see the live concert as an art form in itself, and as such more readily accepted offers to perform "in concert" specials for the BBC. The Kinks first foray in front of a specially invited BBC radio audience was at the aforementioned venue on July 14th 1974. This particular concert is a great time capsule, and is particularly representative of the Kinks live sound circa 1974 (this was not always the case with these BBC concerts). This show produced some truly wonderful moments, six of which are presented here. Victoria opens proceedings and benefits from the Kinks much expanded sound, particularly the way the brass section punches out the chorus. The traditional Kinks show opener from the period, Here Comes Yet Another Day (an "Everybodys In Showbiz" album track), was relegated to the "follow up" song for this particular show. Not unsurprisingly several tracks from the groups then-current album "Preservation Act II" were performed as well. The in-concert favourite Money Talks and a "honky tonk" styled version of the then-current single Mirror Of Love prove that Preservation Act II has far more light and shade, and is a far better album than the critics of the time suggested. The lost classic Celluloid Heroes has always been a highpoint of any Kinks show, and this version does not disappoint as the band turn in a majestic sweeping version of this should-have-been-a-hit.
The "Muswell Hillbillies" album spawned two tracks that had become inextricably associated with Kinks live performances during the 70s: "Alcohol" (which was sadly/strangely not performed at this concert), the other being Skin and Bones/Dry Bones which is included in a gloriously extended form. It is interesting to compare this longer in-concert workout with the earlier Peel session version to demonstrating just how it had developed in the intervening years.
It was another three years before the Kinks were again caught in concert by the BBC. This time around, the Kinks performed live for the prestigious Old Grey Whistle Test/Sight n Sound 1977 Christmas Eve concert broadcast live on Radio 1 and BBC 2 TV. This broadcast caught the Kinks in fine fettle, just off the back of a heavy US touring schedule (it was the 1977 "Sleepwalker" album that was largely responsible for reacquainting the Kinks with the "lost" US audience), presenting highlights from "Sleepwalker" along with old favourites. In true Kinks tradition they camped up the occasion and performed resplendent in fop regency outfits! There is probably no finer way to draw this collection to a close than with a superbly reworked version (complete with understated guitar work by Dave Davies) of the rarely performed paean to underdogs everywhere, Get Back In The Line. The Kinks where augmented for this particular concert performance by percussionist Ray Cooper (better known for his association with Elton John) and future Childrens TV presenter Kim Goodie on backing vocals. Though only Ray, Dave and John Gosling feature on this particular track.
This draws a line under this anthology, since it would be another 17 years before the Kinks would stand in front of those famed BBC microphones (thats almost a different story!). The Kinks were distracted in the intervening years by major commercial success in the land of Milk and Honey, via a series of big selling albums (Low Budget through Word Of Mouth) and the requisite heavy touring schedule that such success requires.
Who would have thought these two diametrically opposed British institutions would be able to boast a long and fruitful association, not many? I bet! I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into the BBCs Kinky closet! All that is left is to revel in the uniqueness of two of Britains best.
Russell Smith (January 2001)
Remastered By Ray Davies and Andy Pearce @ Masterpiece: Jan 2001
Release coordinated by: Steve Hammonds
Research for this compilation: Russell Smith, Doug Hinman and Andrew Sandoval
Annotations: Doug Hinman (with thanks to Keith Badman)
Liner Notes: Russell Smith
Additional assistance: David Emlen
Quoted recording information in both the annotations and liner notes have been extracted from: You Really Got Me : An Illustrated World Discography of the Kinks, 1964-1993 by Doug Hinman (with Jason Brabazon)For further and required reading on Kinks activities past and present contact:
The Official Kinks Fan Club
PO Box 30
|BBC Sessions 1964-1977
|20 Mar, 2001
|Sanctuary Records 06076 84504-2
|2 CD set
|The Kinks At The BBC - Radio & TV Sessions And Concerts: 1964-1994
|13 Aug 2012
|Sanctuary Records/Universal Music 279 721-8
|Multi CD box set
E-mail Dave Emlen