Ray Davies

Working Man's Café - V2 - 2007

Tracks: 1. Vietnam Cowboys / 2. You're Asking Me / 3. Working Mans Café / 4. Morphine Song / 5. In A Moment / 6. Peace In Our Time / 7. No One Listen / 8. Imaginary Man / 9. One More Time / 10. The Voodoo Walk / 11. Hymn for a New Age / 12. The Real World


"Working Man's Café" is Ray Davies' second solo-release in two years; but it actually could be called his first real solo album. "Return to Waterloo" from 1985 was a soundtrack-album, "Storyteller" was mainly a live-recording and last year's "Other People's Lives" was recorded over a 3-4 years period.

It been more than ten years since Ray last recorded with brother Dave as the Kinks, so maybe it's irrelevant to compare his present music with his legendary band. But as his vocals and songs were such a big part of the band's profile, it's really hard not to do so; especially as his new album has so many ingredients that were also typical of the Kinks.

The raw unpolished sound that characterised the Kinks' early recordings for Pye is more or less reinvented on this new album; and this without losing Ray's unique melodic touch. Actually this new album features most virtues of the best Kinks albums. Great songs, lots of energy, great vocals and a lot of variation - without losing consistency.

"Other People's Lives" was not a bad album at all, but it did not really work as well as an album as this new release. Several songs deserve to be brought forward, and a good handful of them are already among my Davies favourites.

There some very beautiful ballads; several with moving melancholy lyrics. The closing track "Real World" is a great song in the vein of "Don't Forget to Dance". "Imaginary Man" is another ballad - just as strong. "One More Time" is a great midtempo song, very much sounding like the Kinks of the late 70's.

More bluesy is "Working Man's Café" and "Morphine Song" has some female harmony vocals that make you think of "Preservation Act" - both fine tracks. "You're Asking Me" is Ray at his wildest - great melodic rocker - with a "Sunny Afternoon" bridge - it's almost as if Dave Davies singing the harmony vocals; an obvious live-favourite.

A great album from an artist who has neither lost his powerful voice nor his unique writing skills.

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