Sunday, June 21, 2009

“I’ve only written about 200 good songs. The rest are B sides.”

Throughout the years, Ray Davies has proved to be one of rock music's most talented and prolific lyricists.His songbook is one of rock’s greatest treasures.

Raymond Douglas Davies was born on June 21, 1944 in Muswell Hill, London, ENGLAND.
Davies is best known as the chief songwriter-singer and guitarist for The Kinks, one of the most influential bands of the '60s British music scene.
Davies' songwriting has often been called more mature, sophisticated, and subtle than that of many of his peers.

Observing light, life and human nature with superhuman focus is Davies’ stock-in-trade. His best songs feel photorealistic and sound suspended in time. They are sometimes nostalgic and beautiful, and other times they are cynical and brutal. Davies himself is just as contradictory: combative and sensitive, a shy, self-examining middle-class hero from north London who’s had no problem indulging in rock ’n’ roll excess and showmanship. He’s often called a creative genius and a control freak, which are both compatible and necessary traits for the life he’s led.~Ira Kaplan

The Kinks (formed with younger brother Dave Davies) first gained prominence in 1964 with their third single, the hit "You Really Got Me".The band's early hard-driving singles set a standard in the mid-1960s for rock and roll, while albums such as Face to Face, Something Else by The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur, Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One and Muswell Hillbillies are highly regarded by fans, critics, and peers, and are considered amongst the most influential recordings of the sixties rock era.
Ray Davies spent the early Seventies composing a series of concept albums (Preservation, Soap Opera and Schoolboys in Disgrace) that made for entertaining stage theater.

Since the demise of the Kinks in the mid-90s (reunion rumors persist), Ray Davies has embarked on a solo career as a singer-songwriter.His new songs provide a striking contrast to anything he's written before. While he has long been known as the great chronicler of British working class woes, this time American workers have earned his gaze. The inspiration came from his U.S. tours over the last decade.Davies got the see a darker side of this country directly, when he became a victim of violence a few years ago. He was shot during a robbery in New Orleans, where he was living at the time.

In 1994 Davies published his "unauthorized autobiography", X-Ray.

Ray also runs a a week-long, residential songwriting course.My friend Bill Richard attended one of these workshops a while back (the thought of this, for me, conjures up images of Kramer at the Yankees' Fantasy Camp).Bill has some great photos from the experience.
Most recently, Ray Davies has completed The Kinks Choral Collection, a collaboration with the Crouch End Festival Chorus, to be released this month.
I've posted a few videos below for your enjoyment.There's a couple of solo performances, and one with the Kinks.


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