Monday, November 24, 2003

The Kinks – The EP Collection (Essential, 1998)

The Kinks were one of the most criminally underrated bands in the history of rock and roll. Part of the problem in the United States was that much of the band’s music focused on traditional English themes and could be seen as conservative during their greatest period, the late 60’s and early 70’s. Most of the rock bands of the era were promoting revolution, while the Kinks longed for a return to the village green of yore. Also, The Kinks were banned from performing live in the United States due to a dispute with the musician's union.

This collection of ten EP’s put out by the band covers their most productive period of 1964-74, before Ray Davies decided to start writing music hall operas (but that’s another story.) Blasting off with the quintessential garage anthem “Louie Louie” the band sets the tone for their raucous early recordings. Their most well known work follows “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night” and the ominous “Sunny Afternoon” put The Kinks at the forefront of the British invasion on both sides of the Atlantic.

Then The Kinks became more album oriented and singles became less a part of the band’s overall concept. Which isn’t to say that the band couldn’t spin off an amazing stand alone song. “Waterloo Sunset” which is found on this collection and also as the final track on the Something Else album has competition only from R.E.M.’s “Nightswimmng” as the most beautiful pop song ever written (ahem… Todd and Matthew.) Also from the same album is “David Watts” a blasting up-tempo send up of the beautiful people in a high school setting.

For those who have most of the records from this period, there are some obscurities that can make this collection attractive, non-album tracks like “Milk Cow Blues” and “Gotta Get the First Plane Home.” This is an excellent supplement to the overview records Greatest Hits and The Kink Kronikles both of which have been released on Reprise.

Rating: 10

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