The Kinks

Muswell Hillbillies - RCA 1971

Tracks: 1. 20th Century Man / 2. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues / 3. Holiday / 4. Skin And Bone / 5. Alcohol / 6. Complicated Life / 7. Here Come The People In Gray / 8. Have A Cuppa Tea / 9. Holloway Jail / 10. Oklahoma U.S.A. / 11. Uncle Son / 12. Muswell Hillbilly // 13. Lavender Lane / 14. Mountain Woman / 15. Have A Cuppa Tea' (Alt.) / 16. Muswell Hillbilly' (1976 remix) / 17. Uncle Son' (Alt.) / 18. Kentucky Moon / 19. Nobody's Fool / 20. 20th Century Man' (alt.) / 21. 20th Century Man' (1976 remix) / 22. Queenie / 23. Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues' (BBC) / 24. Holiday' (BBC) / 25. Skin And Bone' (BBC)


"Muswell Hillbillies" was the first Kinks album that I bought in 1973 when I actually simultaneously bought "Preservation Act 1" and for that reason, these two albums for me pretty much belong together. The albums would mean extremely much for me and during the following years I spent a lot of time looking up the Kinks’ Pye back-catalogue, which at this time was no easy task. I was also lucky enough to experience the group live several times during the 70s, including one cocert here in Denmark and I was also one of the lucky few who got to see the group perform Preservation Act at the Royalty Theatre in London in December 1974.

In retrospect , I accept that "Muswell Hillbillies" to a greater extent than the "Preservation Act 1" is a musical milestone, although the album lacks catchy "hit songs " like"Sweet Genevieve", "Sitting in the Midday Sun" and "One of the Survivors" .

My first favorites were originally "20th Century Man" , which I still think has everything a good rock song should have. Moreover, it was not "marred by" horns which at this time I had a little trouble coping with. Also the quiet songs "Oklahoma USA" and "Uncle Son" quickly became favourites, but over time, of course, I had to surrender to the whole album, because the songs quite simply were so good . Lile always Ray Davies 's lyrics have by both humor and bite, and there's plenty of food for thought .

The album now has the status of a one of rock history's biggest albums, which of course is fully deserved, while it is for me is incomprehensible that "Preservation Act 1" did not obtain a similar status, but on the contrary often referred to as one of The Kinks’ weaker albums. hope that posterity will correct this error. In addition to the three already mentioned "Preservation" songs, I shall also mention the "Where Are they Now" and "Daylight " as songs which have all the best of the Kinks .

The deluxe edition of "Muswell Hillbillies", endowes you with four outtakes that never found their way to the final album. "Kentucky Moon" and "Mountain Woman" were previously released as bonus tracks , while "Lavender Lane" and "Nobody's Fool" is out for the first time. You can understand that the first two were opted out by the group; competition really was great, while both "Lavender Lane" and "Nobody's Fool" are fine songs that really deserve a release.

I thought from the first time I heard " Mountain Woman", that the song could have fitted nicely into "Misfits" while "Kentucky Moon" , with its demo sound never really made any impression . "Lavender Lane" has the " authentic" "Muswell Hillbillies" sound, and it is a fine song, which the group perhaps felt borrowed a bit from too much from "Waterloo Sunset" . " Nobody's Fool" is a nice quiet song that fine could have fitted well into the mood of "Percy".

"Queenie" is an incomplete number, without vocals, and not really interesting. The alternative mixes of "Muswell Hillbilly" and "20th Century Man" from the compilation album "Celluloid Heroes" are the logical choices , while there are fine alternative versions of "Uncle Son" and "Have a Cuppa Tea". An undeniably great album in the Kinks catalog.

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