If you are a Kinks fan, this is your year, because UME recently reissued three of the band’s early records containing not only the original album tracks, but collectively carry an overwhelming amount of bonus tracks: mono versions, demos, outtakes and BBC performances. Certainly the 1964 self-titled debut album by the original lineup of Ray and Dave Davies, Mick Avory and Peter Quaife is a product of the music scene at that time: very Mod and steeped in the type of blues-influenced British rock of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. That album consists of covers of songs, including those by Chuck Berry (“Beautiful Delilah”) and Bo Diddley (“Cadillac”), as well as originals (Ray Davies’ “So Mystifying”). Ironically, the standout is the one track that doesn’t sound like any of those type of songs: the immortal classic “You Really Got Me, which still burns nearly 50 years later; the subsequent reissue contains another memorable rocker, “All Day and All of the Night.”
Kinda Kinks (1965) doesn’t depart stylistically that much from the first album (the bluesy “Naggin’ Woman,” the poppy “Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight”); but a few of the tracks show the Kinks breaking away from the blues influences and forging their own distinct sound, such as “Nothin’ in This World Can Stop Me,” a lovely ballad “Something Better Beginning,” and another Kinks classic, the gorgeous pop song “Tired of Waiting for You”; the reissue also tacks on another familiar Kinks tune, the very English-sounding “A Well Respected Man.”
The Kinks Kontroversey find the band further establishing their own musical identity with Ray Davies’ witty and insightful songwriting—its notable tracks include the lean and soulful “Where Have All The Good Times Gone,” the loose and spirited rocker “Till the End of the Day” (later covered by Big Star on their Third album), the tropical-like “I’m On an Island” and “The World Keeps Going Round.” These early Kinks albums are essential time capsules of British Invasion rock.