Today sees the release of the 50th Anniversary of their eighth album, ‘Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneygoround, Part One’. With that in mind, I thought it was time I brought out a what-if album but this great British band.
The band had enjoyed some success in the USA in the mid 60s, but due to a ban on them performing in concerts that lasted from 1965 to 1969, their popularity waned. It was during this period that Ray Davies moved away from the American infused R&B of the bands earlier records to something a little more English. The lifting of the concert ban in the US was just in time for the release of Lola which would give the band their biggest hit Stateside since ‘Tired of Waiting’ in 1965. Reprise, the record company that had released The Kinks since ‘You Really Got Me’ were no doubt expecting the band to be a good money earner for them from this point on, but this was not to be. That was because in 1971, the band left Pye, their British label for RCA and they also did not renew their American distribution contract with Reprise. Like a good many other labels that have lost a potential cash cow, they decided to delve into the Pye vaults to pick out some songs from the bands late 60s output including music that had not been released in the USA before.
First up was the compilation The Kinks Khronicles, which focused on the band’s 1966-71 output. Considered a classic of the genre, it contained ‘Did You See His Name’ which was completely unreleased beforehand and five other songs which made their US debut on this album. The rest of the songs were made up from singles and albums tracks. It most probably helped that Reprise did not release any old cash grab compilation, but asked music journalist John Mendelsohn to not only supply the sleeve notes but compile the record. Being a fan of the band, Mendelsohn showed a level of care and attention that would be sorely lacking from the majority of Kinks compilations released down the years.
Reprise decided they were on to a good thing here and Mendelsohn came back to write the sleeve notes for the follow up which was called ‘The Great Lost Kinks’ album. I have not been able to find out what Ray Davies thought about the Kinks Kronicle, but it was clear that he was not happy about the songs on this follow up record. None of the songs had been released before and some would not see the light of day again on any official Kinks releases until 2014. Legal action was taken against Reprise who withdrew the album from sale by 1975 which lead to it being a collectors item. One of the songs was included in the 25th episode of the podcast http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/podcast/episode-25-skeletons-in-the-cupboard/.
Even though this compilation was left as one of the holy grail of Kinks collectors, Pye, did not compile their own version of this album. The aim of this What-If post is to think what Pye would have done if they had compiled their own Great Lost Kinks album for the UK market. Up until the mid-90s, the band’s back catalogue was treated quite badly. Any re-issues of material tended to focus on the hits from the Pye years and little else. This all changed with expanded CD sets of all of the Pye records in 1998, a three disc set of the Village Green Preservation Society in 2004 and then a set of deluxe editions that were released between 2011-2014. There has even been a 50th set of ‘Village Green’ and ‘Arthur’ containing a number of demos and other hard to find or unreleased material (as well as the just re-released ‘Lola’).
What all these showed was how much quality material was written and recorded by the band that did not see the light of day at the time. If Pye had raided their archives, there was enough rare or unreleased songs too compile a double album covering the same time period as the Reprise album from 1973. Not everything is top notch, as it does include a couple of studio jams but on the face of it, this would have been a rather good compilation. Would it have seen the light of day if Pye had thought about it in 1973. Unlikely, judging by Ray Davies reaction to the Reprise compilation of the same name. Time has allowed us to see this glimpse into The Kinks achieve and it is a shame that it took so long for their fans to hear the material contained on this record.
I have tried to keep the songs in a rough chronological order from when they were recorded, and also to keep the sides of the LP at roughly the same amount of time. All songs are stereo unless stated otherwise. I have shown where these songs were originally released under the track listing for Side 4.
- Where Did My Spring Go (Mono) – 1
- Rosemary Rose (Previously Unissued Mix) – 2
- Lavender Hill (Mono) – 1
- ‘Till Death Do Us Part (Mono) – 1
- Misty Waters (Previously Unissued Mx) – 2
- Afternoon Tea (Canadian Mono Mix) – 3
- Mick Avory’s Underpants – 4
- Village Green (No Strings Version) – 4
- Do You Remember Walter (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
- Spotty Grotty Anna – 4
- Berkley Mews (Stereo) – 6
- Days (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
- Mr. Songbird (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
- Did You See His Names? (Stereo with Alternative Ending) – 2
- People Take Pictures Of Each Other (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
- God’s Children (Mono Film Mix) – 7
- The Way Love Used To Be #2 (Mono Film Mix) – 10
- Dreams (Mono Film Mix) – 8
- The Good Life – 7
- Easy Come, There You Went (Stereo) – 4
- Plastic Man – 9
- Australia (Australian Single Mix) – 10
- Moments (Mono Film Mix) – 8
- The Way Love Used To Be #1 (Mono Film Mix) – 11
- The Virgin Soldiers March – 12
- Apeman (European Single Mix) – 13
- Drivin’ (Alternative Mix) – 12
- Soldier’s Coming Home – 12
- When I Turn Off The Living Room Light (Mono) – 1
- The Way Love Used To Be #3 – 11
- Anytime – 7
- God’s Children – End (Mono Film Mix) – 7
1 – The Great Lost Kinks Album (1973)
2 – The Kinks Anthology 1964-1971 (2014)
3 – David Watts Single B-Side. Canadian Single Exclusive Mix (1967)
4 – The Village Green Preservation Society – Special Deluxe Edition (2004)
5 – The Village Green Preservation Society – Original European 12 Song Version (1968)
6 – Then, Now & Inbetween (1969)
7 – Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneyground/Percy – Deluxe Edition (2014)
8 – Percy – Reissue (1998)
9 – Star Parade Mix (1969)
10 – Australian Single A-Side (1969)
11 – Percy (1998 Reissue)
12 – Arthur Or The Decline Of The British Empire – 50th Anniversary Edition (2019)
13 – European Single A-Side Mix (1970)
The album cover was adapted from sheet music for Lola.