Ray Davies

Americana - Legacy Records 2017

Tracks: 1. Americana / 2. The Deal / 3. Poetry / 4. Message from the Road / 5. A Place in Your Heart / 6. Mystery Room / 7. Silent Movie / 8. Rock 'N' Roll Cowboys / 9. Change for Change / 10. The Man Upstairs / 11. Heard the Beat Before / 12. A Long Drive Home to Tarzana / 13. The Great Highway / 14. The Invaders / 15. Wings of Fantasy


It took three to four crawls for me to discover how amazingly beautiful an album Ray Davies' "Americana" really is. At first I believe that only "Poetry" and "The Invaders" really caught me. I must have been very unfocused, because this is really a great collection of wonderful songs that bear Ray Davies’ characteristics in different ways; the intelligent and relevant lyrics put in music with elegant and fine melodies.

In addition to "Poetry", which both melodically and lyrically appears in close association with the "The Village Green Preservation Society" album, and "The Invaders", which briefly describes The Kinks’ first meeting with The USA, I will highlight songs like "The Deal”, ”Message From the Road”, ”A Place in Your Heart”, ”Rock'n Roll Cowboys”, ”The Great Highway” and”Wings of Fantasy” while the remaining seven tracks are definitely worth a listen, too.

"The Deal" is a nice and catchy song with references to "How Are You" from the "Think Visual" album. A nice and different song is "Message From the Road" where vocalist Karen Grotberg from the fine backing group, The Jayhawks, perfectly complements Ray Davies. Grotberg is also singing on the charming song "A Place in Your Heart" that brings my thoughts back to the excellent but somewhat overlooked "Preservation Act" project. There is ,not unexpectedly, a lot of western feel on "Rock'n Roll Cowboys" that follows a little tale about how one day Ray and Alex Chilton sat and philosophized over the magic of songwriting. "The Great Highway" is a fine example of Ray still being able to deliver rockers with both bite and melody. The album ends perfectly with the upbeat and catchy "Wings of Fantasy".

All Ray Davies’ solo albums are strong, but I believe this must be the most comprehensive.

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