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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare and very special event!
It's not every day you get the chance to buy a new album from Ray Davies. This is his first ever solo album of new material since the Kinks released their last new album of new material some 12 years ago. Davies is one of this country's finest modern day songwriters. If he had only written Waterloo Sunset and nothing else, he would have gone down in rock...
Published on 1 Feb. 2006 by John K. Gateley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Really Get Me Going!
Not over impressed with this album, considering it is Ray's first proper solo work.
There are one or two good songs, but nothing that stands out really. It took a long to come out, as he was working on it for years (5 or 6 maybe)?
I am confident that his second album 'Working Mans Cafe' will have a great deal more to offer, hope so.
Just to finish, I think...
Published on 23 Sept. 2007 by Hickers


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare and very special event!, 1 Feb. 2006
By 
John K. Gateley "johngateley" (Bracknell, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
It's not every day you get the chance to buy a new album from Ray Davies. This is his first ever solo album of new material since the Kinks released their last new album of new material some 12 years ago. Davies is one of this country's finest modern day songwriters. If he had only written Waterloo Sunset and nothing else, he would have gone down in rock history as a great songwriter. But we all know he has achieved much more and is a cornerstone of modern rock and pop music. This new album contains a dozen little masterpieces including the classic Stand Up Comic (which would be a hit if it was released), The Tourist and many more. When most, if not all, of his peers have forgotten how to write a great tune and lyrics, Ray has proved he can still cut it. Mixing great and wry lyrics plus excellent arrangements, this is a must have album for Kinks fans as well as anyone who has loved the Kinks over the years. If you read this Ray, thanks Mate from all of us, this is very special stuff; a different league.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dedicated follower of Ray, 28 Feb. 2006
By 
Mr. MG Lock (Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
Ray Davies seems to have been around an awful long time -so to call this his first solo album is almost misleading. from his Storyteller and X-Ray shows and spin-off albums he's been creating music mainly by himself, with Phobia marking the last Kinks get-together. Those years have been spend honing and refining solid musical compositions and road-testing them before live audiences. Where he has let himself down somewhat has been in his production technique-till now! OPL is stunning from the outset -the brass, choir and guitars etc mixed throughout in an amazing and ever so subtle way. The classic 60s Ray is evident in Next Door Neighbour -a beautifully crafted, amusing song in Dedicated Follower of Fashion mode, but much more musically sophisticated, if not always lyrically. After the Fall, features angst with a fantastic glimpse of optimism, Better Things style, Stand Up Comedian and Thanksgiving Day (hidden track) both feature superb orchestrations, and Life After Breakfast breaks the rules of chorus structure in a novel way whilst providing the best audience participation type track I've ever heard (should he play it live). Listen through headphones to the sheer complexity and beauty of this album, or sing along. With one exception this is truly a masterpiece, both modern and retro without ever sounding dated or tired. If it wasn't for the occasional swear word these songs have top 10 written all over them. Ray is in the finest voice I've ever heard him, and the performances are fantastic. An un-missable album -and a beautiful cover too! Thank you Ray, for the Days!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Legend Returns - A Kink Alone, 6 April 2006
By 
David Gallagher "a_band_apart" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
Well, I saw Ray live last September and he played some of the tracks to be featured on this long-awaited album then, The Tourist and Stand-Up Comic amongst the set. I loved these new tracks and looked forward to the February launch, hoping that live memories wouldn't taint the album for me.
I needn't have worried. The album is spectacular. The sound is not far away from The Kinks later material, and in passion, not far away from the mid-60s work. There are songs reminiscent of the legendary Kinks Village Green album (Next Door Neighbour) as well as songs unlike any in Davies' oeuvre (Other Peoples Lives, with its Latin sound). Ray is 61 years old but still has the passion of a younger man (not to mention the voice) on tracks like After The Fall and Things Are Gonna Change. The hidden track at the end of the last song, Thanksgiving Day seems like a tribute to the USA, where he has spent many of the last few years and is a jaunty pop song.
If you like this, check out The Storyteller, with its acoustic setting and its crazy narration. At 61, Ray Davies is finally, a bona-fide solo star.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blindin' mate .. absolutely bloomin' blindin'!!, 4 Mar. 2006
By 
Jason Walker (Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
This CD is astounding. Several of the songs should be hits, if there's any justice in this world. Ray Davies's lyrics are still oblique, sardonic and full of biting reality that make him one of the truly great song writers of our time - alongside Dylan, Steve Earle and Jackson Browne, to name a few. I always get the feeling that he manages to say directly what people are thinking but are too afraid to voice, or are ready to deny about the world and themselves (... I humbly include myself in all that too). The best tracks are The Morning After, Next Door Neighbour, The Stand Up Comic, Life After Breakfast .. but all the songs are very strong lyrically and melodically. This album is not to be missed and I hope it doesn't get dismissed or ignored, as a lot of worthwhile music is these days. It says a lot about the times we're living in ... and maybe we should be listening very hard. Nice one Mr Davies. Very nice indeed :o)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solo stardom, 21 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
It is amazing to think that this is a Ray Davies first, it is unbelievable that this man has never made a solo album until now. There's lots to enjoy on this CD - Things Are Gonna Change, The Tourist, Is There Life After Breakfast and the 'hidden track' to name the ones that spring to mind first. Davies's voice is superb and his musicianship combine to make one supreme CD. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait, 28 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
In the decade or so since the Kinks finally called it a day, their reputation has grown and grown. They are now acknowledged as one of the select bands who set the direction for rock. And Ray Davies, their tunesmith, singer and musical guiding light, has assumed his rightful place as one of the three or four most important songwriters this country has ever produced. So Ray's solo debut at the age of 61 - having written his first number one more than forty years ago - really should be something of an event. It does not disappoint.
All the elements that have made Davies such a unique and influential voice are present. Wry, insightful lyrics, melodies that instantly lodge in the brain and a unique musical range that touches on everything from heavy metal to music hall add up to a mix that could only come from the Muswell Hillbilly himself. Ray has deliberately avoided the Kinks' trademark powerchords - although they are present on one track, After the Fall, Ray knows that they really belong to brother Dave. Lyrically, however, Ray is on his best form for years. The songs are deceptive: the words may seem simple but, as always with Davies, there's an intellectual and emotional depth that few other popular songwriters have even attempted. At least half of these songs will find a place amongst Ray's very best. Not bad for a debut.
'Is there life after breakfast?' Ray asks in one of the songs. 'Yes there is' he chimes back. Is there life after the Kinks? Oh yes!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait, 28 Feb. 2006
By 
Eddy Knasel (Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
In the decade or so since the Kinks finally called it a day, their reputation has grown and grown. They are now acknowledged as one of the select bands who set the direction for rock. And Ray Davies, their tunesmith, singer and musical guiding light, has assumed his rightful place as one of the three or four most important songwriters this country has ever produced. So Ray's solo debut at the age of 61 - having written his first number one more than forty years ago - really should be something of an event. It does not disappoint.
All the elements that have made Davies such a unique and influential voice are present. Wry, insightful lyrics, melodies that instantly lodge in the brain and a unique musical range that touches on everything from heavy metal to music hall add up to a mix that could only come from the Muswell Hillbilly himself. Ray has deliberately avoided the Kinks' trademark powerchords - although they are present on one track, After the Fall, Ray knows that they really belong to brother Dave. Lyrically, however, Ray is on his best form for years. The songs are deceptive: the words may seem simple but, as always with Davies, there's an intellectual and emotional depth that few other popular songwriters have even attempted. At least half of these songs will find a place amongst Ray's very best. Not bad for a debut.
'Is there life after breakfast?' Ray asks in one of the songs. 'Yes there is' he chimes back. Is there life after the Kinks? Oh yes!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Other People's Lives - Ray Davies. More please!, 7 Aug. 2009
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
Having been a huge Kinks fan I approached this with a little trepidation -would it be Ray at his best (as in Village Green Preservation Society) or his over-indulgent worst (Preservation Acts 1+2)? When the Kinks were good they were untouchable, when they were bad they were dire, where would Ray Davies' first solo album fall on this spectrum?

First of all, it's really unfair to compare it to any Kinks albums. It's pretty much unlike anything the group ever made (and considering the range of styles they embraced, that's quite an achievement!) so any review should discuss it on it's own merits.
And Merits it has aplenty. Great song writing - the old storyteller is in cracking form here. As the title suggests, this is a set of stories of other people's lives. Most of them are interesting and draw you in. Fans of albums like Mark Knopfler's Shangri-La would probably find much to enjoy here.

This is pretty good musically as well. Some great hooks and tunes that stick in the mind, my favourite being 'All She Wrote', a really great track. Ray's had 10 years to bring this project to fruition, so you might expect things to be perfect after all that time honing everything. I do hope that he keeps up this standard in future releases.

An excellent album, not to be regarded as a 'solo Kink' album, and one that has left me eager to get his next release, Working Man's Cafe, in the hope that it is as good as this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Really Get Me Going!, 23 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
Not over impressed with this album, considering it is Ray's first proper solo work.
There are one or two good songs, but nothing that stands out really. It took a long to come out, as he was working on it for years (5 or 6 maybe)?
I am confident that his second album 'Working Mans Cafe' will have a great deal more to offer, hope so.
Just to finish, I think it's about time that Ray should really think about puting out a DVD of his live performances (come on ray hurry along)
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Reminder of how Great The Kinks Are, 27 Mar. 2006
By 
IWFIcon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Other People's Lives (Audio CD)
It's 13 years since the last Kinks studio album...in fact it's over 40 years since You Really Got Me (a tune I once rather foolishly attempted at Karaoke in Ibiza) hit the top of the UK Charts. But in all that time Ray Davies has never released a "proper" solo album. There was Storytellers (covered with Kinks songs) but as for a brand new collection of new songs...nothing (unless you are counting the TC soundtrack to Return To Waterloo-which I'm not). Which is all the more surprising when you consider that Davies is legitimately one of Britain's greatest songwriters, but is perhaps not surprising at all when one considers the wealth of The Kink's back catalogue.
In an ideal world a listener could arrive at this blissfully unaware of Davies' history and judge it on its own merits, but before you've even got the CD out of it's case you are raedy to compare the result to the Kinks, and the comparison can never be a good one for his 2006 release.
The immediate thing to notice is that for all intents and purposes, musically this is as if the last 30 years have never happened, but its not a bad thing, especially when the lyrics are as strong as ever in some cases. It seems almost fitting that this album is released in the slipstream of the Arctic Monkeys success, sharing that wonderfully eccentric, thoroughly English vernacular that makes the Monkeys stand out so much.
Next Door Neighbours is a Davies' classic, serving up a wry slice of suburban life in a way that no other songwriter could possibly match up to, whilst Is There Life After Breakfast is just as good. The Tourist, with its vaguely flamenco backbeat, is another entertaining set piece as well. All this proves that, in places, Davies is still peerless lyrically, although sadly he doesn't always hit such heights. Stand Up Comic is crude and somewhat heavy handed, which is a disappointment to say the least; the old (or should I say younger) Davies would have rustled up something with a bit more subtlty and class for sure.
Ironically, the same critiscims that can be tossed towards the Arctic Monkeys can be levelled here. The lyrics are (mostly) superb, but the music is less so. But whilst in some respects this is a patchy album, there are plenty of touches that remind us just what a national treasure Ray Davies really is. And in the end, whilst this is certainly no The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, you can't help but feel glad that Davies is finally back amongst us, even if it will still be the Kinks songs that I think I'll still be listening to 40 years from now.
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