After massively successful career spanning more than 40 years, Ray Davies, the legendary lead singer of The Kinks, is back with creative and unusual interpretations of songs from his extensive catalogue. Often referred to as “almost indisputably rock’s most literate, witty and insightful songwriter,” Davies had the ambitious idea to collaborate with the 65-strong Crouch End Festival Chorus at the 2007 BBC Electric Proms in London to create The Kinks Choral Collection. This masterful CD will be in stores November 10th on Decca with a nationwide tour scheduled to coincide with the release. (U.S. dates to be announced soon.)
Produced by Davies himself and with uplifting, sometimes epic, choral arrangements by David Temple, Steve Markwick and Davies, this union casts a fresh light to some of The Kinks’ timeless compositions including striking new versions of classics such as “You Really Got Me”, “All Day And All Of The Night”, “Waterloo Sunset” and many more. Ray said of his Crouch End vocal colleagues; “With a song like ‘Waterloo Sunset’, I feel as if the people I wrote it for are singing it”. And they display an ingenious palette of choral techniques. Hearing ‘See My Friends’ recast as an acappella gospel hymn is instantly striking, hugely magnifying the impact of Ray’s life-after-death lyrics.
A fascinating feature of the program includes a six-song suite from the 1968 album The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. Although not as well known as some of the bigger hits, this collection is now widely regarded as The Kinks’ masterpiece, with songs like “Do You Remember Walter?” which is a poignant memoir of a vanished childhood world.
Overall this inspirational new album offers so much to explore and admire from fans who own the entire Kinks catalogue on vinyl or to complete newcomers. This is a great introduction to Davies’ idiosyncratic, delightful world. A slice of pop history revived: “Thank you for the days . . . Days I’ll remember all my life”.
2. Waterloo Sunset
3. You Really Got Me
5. See My Friends
6. Celluloid Heroes
8. Working Man’s Café
Tracks 9-14 Village Green Medley:
9. Village Green
10. Picture Book
11. Big Sky
12. Do You Remember Walter?
13. Johnny Thunder
14. Village Green Preservation Society
15. All Day and All Of The Night