One of my favorite songwriters since high school has been Ray Davies. I saw the Kinks in concert back then and my love of his songs has grown since then. The songs are like great books that you’ve read and reread and each time you find different meaning in them. The songs evoke images of a different but timeless part of history. Every time I hear Waterloo Sunset it sends me to this mythic, romantic place. I feel like he has grown with the songs also, because on songs like “Days” when he says “thank you for the days” I feel like he really is thankful for the days in a deeper way than when he first recorded it. Ray Davies’ new album “See my Friends” features duets of Kinks’ songs performed with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Mettalica, and Alex Chilton. On first listen the song that stands out for me is the title track, “See My Friends” with Spoon. Another standout is “Waterloo Sunset” with Jackson Brown.
One of my favorite albums of all time is Lola Versus Power Man, and this album has two songs from that album, “This Time Tomorrow” with Mumford and Sons and “Long Way From Home” with Lucinda Williams.
His last album, the Kinks Choral Collection has been a mainstay on my virtual “turntable” since I first downloaded it. It’s wonderful to hear all the different versions of his songs. How many artists can have their songs performed at different times with both a choir and Metallica?
I’m hoping that next time Ray Davies comes to the U.S. (with or without the Kinks) that I will be able to catch him in concert.