The Kinks’ leader’s mu­si­cal eu­logy to Amer­ica con­tin­ues.

Q (UK) - - Contents - ANDREW PERRY

The ex-Kink and song­writ­ing supremo con­cocts an ex­quis­ite trib­ute to the US.


On top of get­ting knighted last year, Ray Davies is hav­ing a pro­duc­tive decade, work­ing on the theme of Amer­i­cana. In 2013, he pub­lished a book by that name, re­count­ing his experiences State­side. Af­ter get­ting banned from tour­ing there with The Kinks in the ’ 60s, his band were a sta­dium-sized success in the ’ 70s and ’ 80s, and Davies later moved to New Or­leans un­til he got shot dur­ing a mug­ging in 2004. Par­al­lel to the mem­oir, he pro­duced a splurge of new mu­sic, the first batch col­lated on last year’s sur­pris­ingly great Amer­i­cana. Act II comes care­fully wo­ven to­gether by nar­ra­tive from the singer, who, soon to turn 74, warms to the role like a gran­dad wheel­ing out war sto­ries. The first few songs amus­ingly ro­man­ti­cise the Bri­tish In­va­sion’s as­sault on the US in af­fec­tion­ately satir­i­cal genre pieces which ren­der Nashville coun­try and west­ern (Our Coun­try), ’ 50s doo wop (Back In The Day) and even a bit of martial drum­ming (The In­vaders). Cov­er­ing Davies’s mid­dle ca­reer, The Take, mean­while, de­liv­ers a mem­o­rable portrait of an un­stop­pable tur­bogroupie. But Our Coun­try re­ally gets go­ing once its au­thor ar­rives in New Or­leans. Hazy evo­ca­tions such as Louisiana Sky give way to some blar­ing – and rol­lick­ingly comic – tracks about his shoot­ing, in­clud­ing The Big Guy, where he wishes he’d kept em­ploy­ing a min­der to keep him out of trou­ble. With back­ing from The Jay­hawks, as well as his UK band, pro­vid­ing a rich back­drop of rootsy genre-hop­ping, it’s a hugely en­ter­tain­ing al­bum. A mu­si­cal trav­el­ogue whose breadth of styles fits the vast na­tion it eu­lo­gises. ★★★★

Listen To:

Back In The Day | The Take | March Of The Zom­bies

Ray Davies: set­ting the bench­mark for mu­si­cal trav­el­ogues. The singer, soon to turn 74, warms to the role like a gran­dad wheel­ing out war sto­ries.

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