The Ray Davies Songbook
Release info:Produced by: various
Release date: Oct 1997
Record label & catalog #: Connoisseur VSOP CD 244
Release type: Tribute album
Description/Notes: Compilation of previously released cover versions
|1. Stop Your Sobbing
|stereo mix, by The Pretenders, recorded 1979
|2. You Really Got Me
|stereo mix, by Robert Palmer, recorded 1978
|3. Set Me Free
|stereo mix, by Graham Bonnet, recorded 1981
|4. Tired Of Waiting For You
|stereo mix, by Little Angels, recorded 1992
|stereo mix, by Andy Taylor, recorded 1990
|6. Waterloo Sunset
|stereo mix, by David Essex, recorded 1993
|stereo mix, by Eddi Reader, recorded 1994
|8. Sunny Afternoon
|stereo mix, by Bob Geldof, recorded 1992
|stereo mix (4:13), recorded late 1990 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
|stereo mix, by Elvis Costello, recorded 1991
|11. Rosy Won't You Please Come Home
|stereo mix, as "Rosie, Rosie" by Marianne Faithful, recorded about 1966
|12. I Bet You Won't Stay
|mono mix, by The Cascades (2:20), recorded Jul 1965 at Los Angeles, California
|13. Who'll Be The Next In Line
|stereo mix, by Sir Douglas Quintet, recorded 1981
|14. She's Got Everything
|stereo mix, by The Romantics, recorded 1980
|stereo mix, by The Fall, recorded 1988
|16. All Day And All Of The Night
|stereo mix, by The Stranglers, recorded 1987
The RAY DAVIES SongbookBorn on 21st June, 1944, Raymond Douglas Davies formed a band in 1963 with his brother Dave on guitar and vocals. The pair had previously been working as a trio with Peter Quaife on bass who also joined the group. The early years saw John Start on drums who was soon replaced by a thirty plus man named Mickey. Ray himself played guitar and piano as well as taking on the role of lead vocalist. Known then as the Ray Davies Quartet, they changed their name several times including calling themselves The Bo Weevils, The Ramrods and finally settling on The Ravens after Dave got hooked on the Vincent Price movie 'The Raven'. The band established themselves as part of London's ever growing R&B scene, replacing their drummer with Mick Avory and changing their name to The Kinks. Their debut single was their own arrangement of Little Richard's 'Long Tall Sally', which they performed on 'Ready Steady Go'. Although the record failed to make any real impact at the time it later became a sought after collectors item. Touring with The Dave Clark Five and the Hollies, they performed established hits by other acts until one night they slipped in one of Ray's originals which almost got them sacked from the tour. It was Graham Nash of the Hollies who persuaded the others to keep them on. The follow up single was one of Ray's own songs, 'You Still Want Me' that sold even less than '...Sally' but it was the third release 'You Really Got Me', the song they played on the tour that set The Kinks on the road to fame and fortune, giving them a number one hit and establishing Ray Davies as a successful songwriter. Now, over thirty years later, Ray Davies is being named by acts such as Blur as a major musical influence.
Now let's look at this impressive collection of Ray Davies songs in more detail! The band who took their name from The Platters' hit 'The Great Pretender' made their chart debut in 1979 with 'Stop Your Sobbing', an obscure Kinks track from their debut album. More than two years later, the Pretenders successfully recorded another Ray Davies song, 'I Go To Sleep', which has also been covered by Peggy Lee and The Applejacks, a group in which Ray's sister, Megan played bass. [Incorrect: Megan is not Ray and Dave's sister. -dte]
It was suggested to Ray that he should write a song with a similar feel to 'Louie Louie', a hit for the Kingsmen. The result, heard here by Robert Palmer, was, 'You Really Got Me' which not only became the Kinks' first hit, reaching number one in the UK, it also became a million seller.
Former Rainbow frontman Graham Bonnet is perhaps best known for his solo hit 'Night Games'. Here he takes on the Kinks 1965 hit 'Set Me Free'. 'Tired Of Waiting' became the Kinks' second number one hit, a song that Ray composed whilst travelling on London Transport's Metropolitain Line. (I didn't say a word about him having plenty of time due to delays). The version here is by Little Angels.
Andy Taylor (the one from Duran Duran) performs his version of 'Lola', based on a real life experience which looks into the world of tranvetitism and a song that initially gained the wrath of the BBC, who refused to play the Kinks single because the Iyrics included a reference to a popular soft drink. Ray Davies agreed to change the words to Cherry Cola and everyone was happy.
The final track on what is considered by many fans to be the Kinks most influential album,'Something Else', which was their response to the Beatles 'Sgt Pepper'. 'Waterloo Sunset' was inspired by Ray's observations watching the movie, 'Far From The Madding Crowd', in which Terence Stamp and Julie Christie take a romantic walk across London's Hungerford Bridge which crosses the River Thames to Waterloo Station. David Essex's version comes from his 1993 top 3 album of his favourite cover versions 'Cover Shot'.
Once the lead singer with Fairground Attraction and now pursuing a solo career as well as being recognised as a promising actress, Eddi Reader gives her own treatment to 'Wonder Boy', which in 1966 proved to be the unlucky 13th hit for the Kinks as it only just scraped into the top forty.
'Sunny Afternoon', is the song that knocks the upper classes and the lifestyle of rock stars. It was also the song with which the Kinks also knocked 'Paperback Writer' by the Beatles off the number one position in 1966. Asked to record his favourite Number One for the NME's 40th Anniversary album, Bob Geldof chose this track and it is his version that appears here.
The Kinks are included on this album with a more recent Ray Davies song, 'Scattered', a single release from their 1993 album 'Phobia' which they recorded for Columbia Records.
A hit in 1966 for the Kinks which was successfully revived twenty one years later by Kirsty MacColl. Oddly, both versions peaked in the charts at number 12. More recently, 'Days' has been given yet another lease of life in this version from Elvis Costello's 'Kojak Variety' album and as a chart single for Cathy Dennis. Not only has she recorded Ray Davies' 'Rosy Won't You Please Come Home' but over the years Marianne Faithfull has covered material by Jackie De Shannon, Shel Silverstein, Kurt Weil, Van Morrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger and Keith Richard.
A little gem for collectors, The Cascades (best known for 'Rhythm Of the Rain') version of 'I Bet You Won't Stay', was previously only to be found on an American album released in the late sixties.
Sir Douglas Ouintet, led by singer Doug Sahm are probably best remembered in the UK for their 1965 hit, 'She's About A Mover'. Here they perform 'Who'll Be The Next In Line', a minor American hit for the Kinks and the B side of their British release, 'Everybody's Gonna Be Happy'.
The Romantics had a huge hit in the States with 'Talking In Your Sleep', but were virtually unknown in Britain. They released four albums between 1980 and 1983, after which drummer and vocalist Jimmy Marinos quit and the band broke up. The first album included Ray's 'She's Got Everything'.
'Victoria' was another less successful Kinks hit from the beginning of 1970, which was also included on their concept album, 'Arthur Or The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire'. Mark E. Smith chose this track for one of The Fall's more commercial outings and got their version to number 35 in 1988.
We close the album with 'All Day And All Of The Night', the Kinks second hit and in 1968 The Stranglers last (for the time being) UK top 10 hit.
Phillip Swern, September 1997
E-mail Dave Emlen