1966 was a transition year in music and many artists released
albums that signalled a change of direction. The Kinks can be
included in this as they moved from the R&B style of their
earlier releases to the trademark social commentary of Ray
Recording for the LP took place over several months due to Ray Davies having
a nervous breakdown and bassist Pete Quaife left the band at one point to be
replaced by John Dalton. Dalton plays on on Little Miss Queen of Darkness only
but would rejoin the band later in the 1960s after Quaife left. The release of
the album was held up for legal reasons and conflict over the cover design.
The LP comprised 14 tracks with additional tracks included on later CD
releases and the Deluxe edition. The only UK single on the album was Sunny
Afternoon although Dead End Street was one of the additional tracks on this
deluxe reissue. However, Hermans Hermits had already had a hit
with Dandy in some markets.
Party Line is a great opener with the telephone call later reprised by the
Jam with Girl on the Phone. Younger readers may not know that a party line was a
shared fixed telephone line from the days when lines were in short supply. The
song is sung by Dave Davies rather than Ray and he co-wrote the song. There are
references to interruptions when someone is listening on the shared line. Who
can it be?
Rosy refers to the Davies' sister Rosy who emigrated to Australia with her
husband Arthur. Ray, in particular, was upset by this and it shows in the song's
lyrics. Arthur became the subject of a later Kinks album.
House in the Country may have already been familiar as it had appeared
on the Pretty Things LP Emotions and released as a single. It was
however a Ray Davies song and the Kinks' version was released on Face
to Face after the Pretty Things' track.
Sunny Afternoon marked a change in style for Kinks singles but it still
reached the number one spot in the UK. The single Dead End Street is
included on the Deluxe edition. This continued the style of social commentary
for which Davies was becoming well-known. A promotional film for the single, the
forerunner of videos, showed the band dressed as undertakers.
All in all this is a great Kinks album that probably does not get the
attention it deserves, possibly as it was up against some serious competition in
1966. However, it retains its freshness and the consistency of the songwriting
marks this as possibly one of the first concept albums.
CD Release: 20 June 2011
Original release: 28 October 1966 Pye NPL 18149
- House in the Country
- Party Line
- I'll Remember