May 15, 2007

The Kinks at San Francisco’s Winterland – 1977

Winterland in San Francisco was a legendary live music venue in San Francisco in the ’70s, converted into a concert hall from an old ice-skating rink at Post & Steiner Streets. Along with nearby sister-venue The Fillmore, Winterland welcomed some of the most amazing musicians of the day.

The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Ramones, Tom Petty, Springsteen, and The Band (their Last Waltz tour movie was shot there by Scorsese) all played here. The Sex Pistols rocked their last show ever at Winterland in 1978.

And on February 19, 1977 (my parents’ 5th wedding anniversary, incidentally. I doubt they were in attendance, although they did see Bob Dylan once), The Kinks took the stage for this awesome two hour show. It’s filled with some fantastic renditions of their best songs — and great audience participation (“Lola” becomes the singalong it always wanted to be). This show was broadcast on the beloved KSAN progressive-rock station (before they became “107.7 The Bone”) and as such is a widely-cherished boot from the Kinks.

Enjoy the show –

Winterland, San Francisco, CA, 02-19-77

You Really Got Me (intro)
One of the Survivors
Rush Hour Blues
You Make it All Worthwhile -> Ordinary People -> Everybody’s a Star
Lola (snippet) -> Banana Boat Song
Well Respected Man
Sunny Afternoon
Waterloo Sunset
Celluloid Heroes
Hard Way
Stormy Sky
Life Goes On
Full Moon
You Really Got Me
All Day and All of the Night
Life on the Road


God save the Kinks indeed.

[Winterland img credit]
November 29, 2006

Elliott Smith covers The Kinks: August 3, 2003

I recently stumbled across a nice little repository of live Elliott Smith and I am loving this little 4-song set of Kinks covers that Elliott performed 8/3/03 at the famed Derby in Los Angeles, just a few months before he sadly died. It would be one of his last shows.

Sound is just a little bit fuzzy, but it’s so cool that I count it as worth it. One often thinks of Elliott with breathy whispered tunes, rich in that lovely sadness, but he could also bring the rock. Details of the show (which was a multi-artist affair) are quite sketch, but it doesn’t sound like he’s singing on all of these; some he’s merely playing on I think. But he’s definitely singing on Big Sky, and I enjoy the loose vibe to all of these:

Do It Again (Kinks cover) – Elliott Smith
Dead End Street (Kinks cover) – Elliott Smith
Here Comes Flash (Kinks cover) – Elliott Smith
Big Sky (Kinks cover) – Elliott Smith

September 1, 2006

This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies and The Kinks

So if you find yourself out and about this weekend near a record store, and you are tempted to duck in and browse the bargain bin (as I am wont to do), here’s one of those great tribute CDs that you should definitely pick up:

This Is Where I Belong: Songs of Ray Davies and The Kinks (2002, Rykodisc) is an excellent little collection of covers by many artists that I enjoy. The variety of folks selected to contribute to this CD serve to illuminate the literate and consistently superb songwriting of Ray Davies, regardless of the musical lens you choose.

The great Pete Townshend is quoted as saying: “The Kinks were . . . quintessentially English. I always think that Ray Davies should one day be Poet Laureate. He invented a new kind of poetry and a new kind of language for Pop writing that influenced me from the very, very, very beginning.”

It’s a treat to read the liner notes, as they are written by Davies himself; join him as he talks about his recollections of each song, when it was written, who it was written for. He also muses on the artists covering the songs with interesting results (“I haven’t eaten a lambchop since 1975 but I really miss the mint sauce.”)

1. “Better Things” – Fountains Of Wayne
(Davies writes, “Who is Wayne, I wonder?”)
2. “Starstruck” – Steve Forbert
3. “Stop Your Sobbing” – Jonathan Richman

(a ha! In a recent interchange I had about Jonathan Richman, I knew I had seen his name somewhere very recently. This is spirited rendition from Jonathan; Davies shares, “I nearly produced The Modern Lovers years ago, but unfortunately our schedule did not allow it. I hope Jonathan Richman has forgiven me.”)
4. “No Return” – Bebel Gilberto
(an interesting flamenco-tinged interpretation; Davies writes, “‘No Return’ with Bebel Gilberto is quite ironic because I certainly wrote the song with her mother in mind to sing it.”)
5. “A Well Respected Man” – Josh Rouse
6. “Victoria” – Cracker
7. “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” – Queens Of The Stone Age
8. “Big Sky” – Matthew Sweet
9. “Art Lover” – Lambchop
10. “Picture Book” – Bill Lloyd & Tommy Womack
11. “Muswell Hillbilly” – Tom O’Brien
12. “Get Back In Line” – The Minus 5
13. “‘Til The End Of The Day” – Fastball
14. “This Is Where I Belong” – Ron Sexsmith

(Davies writes: “I did get a sneak preview of [this track] and hearing it helped me rediscover it for myself.”)
15. “Fancy” – Yo La Tengo
16. “Waterloo Sunset” – Ray Davies & Damon Albarn (of Blur)

The Yo La Tengo track is a completely new invention, the Josh Rouse tune has that sly smoothness to it that I love about him, and the Lambchop (needs no mint sauce) version of “Art Lover” is fuzzy and melodic and extremely enjoyable. Matthew Sweet turns in an expansive cover of “Big Sky,” and Cracker rocks on “Victoria,” a la their best Kerosene Hat-era material. Overall this is a solid, quality album (and highlights really the best of the tribute album genre — how adventurous and diverse it can be).

As Davies also says in the notes: “Some of you may be discovering these tracks for the first time. In a way, as I listen to it I will be re-discovering part of myself.”

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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