Music Review: “The Essential Kinks” CD

Pat FrancisAlbum Review, Music1 Comment

kinks-essentWhen a band has 40 years of recorded history under its belt it is almost impossible to whittle that amount of music down to a definitive 2 CD collection but the just released “The Essential Kinks” comes pretty close.

Boasting an impressive 48 tracks from the years 1964 – 1993  this two disc set starts off strong with Disc 1 being absolute perfection! From “You Really Got Me” through “Celluloid Heroes” this disc of 27 songs spans an incredible 8 years in “Kinkstory.”

Classics such as “All Day And All Of The Night,” “Waterloo Sunset” and “Picture Book” prove why The Kinks are revered by musicians and music fanatics all over the world.

Ray Davies’ lyrics and Dave Davies’ riffs are just as vital today as they were four decades ago and you can literally drop the digital needle anywhere on Disc 1 and hear a rock’n’roll masterpiece.

While Disc 1 is perfect there are a few missteps on Disc 2 that keep this package from being the perfect Kinks collection.  For starters, live versions of “Lola” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” and “Till The End Of The Day” are featured instead of the original studio versions. The live versions are great but for me the original studio single versions are much better and should be included when compiling a greatest hits style compilation.

Other omissions include “The Hard Way,” “Art Lover” and “Better Things” plus non of the songs from the band’s two albums recorded for MCA are represented. In the end “The Essential Kinks” is not the definitive Kinks collection but the fact is I don’t really think there can be because The Kinks just have too much great material!

There is another selling point to this collection and it is the liner notes written by David Bowie. Bowie starts by saying “he’s never heard a Kinks song he didn’t like” and then in that perfect David Bowie humor he admits that he hasn’t heard them all either. The Thin White Duke isn’t the only musician who gets to weigh in on the band as the liner notes also include quotes from just about every notable rock artist you can think of. Pete Townshend, David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Ann Wilson, Iggy Pop, Roger Daltrey, Robin Zander and many more fill the pages with quotes about  how important The Kinks were to them personally as well as to the musical landscape of yesterday and today.

If you don’t own any music by The Kinks then you owe it to your heart and soul to buy “The Essential Kinks“and if you’re like me and own everything the band has ever done this is still a great collection to keep in your car or pass along to one of the uninitiated.

God save the Queen and long live The Kinks!

Drumroll please… 10 out of 10 drumsticks!!!

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Pat FrancisMusic Review: “The Essential Kinks” CD