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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Halleluja Rosie lea.
I decided to write this review as a means of helping other people discover this wonderful album the same way that I did.
I'd bought "Village Green" and was just browsing through the site and I noticed all these rave reviews for "Muswell", I thought at the price it was worth a chance and am I glad I took it.
A bitter-sweet look at life in England at the time this...
Published on 19 Jan 2005 by fizz buzz

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much to add to the original
I've had the original muswell hillbillies for years and thought this might have been more but as much as I have enjoyed the Kinks since (you really got me) really the original is all you need. God bless the Davies brothers.
Published 9 months ago by William Burstyne


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kinks best album, 11 Jan 2008
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
After I discovered Ray Davies' two recent solo albums, I've done a lot of digging in the Kinks catalog. Muswell Hillbillies is by far the most consistently good Kinks album I've found. Most albums by the Kinks seem to have 2 or three strong tracks, this one has at least 8 or 9 truly excellent ones.

Muswell Hillbillies has a strong album feel to it, despite the variation in musical styles (rock, country, blues, jazz, theatrical vaudeville). The approach is melodic, yet powerful. The themes in the lyrics are a bit depressing, but treated with a lot of humour. Most of the lyrics stand out as very literate and original.

I can't believe I've missed out on this classic for so long!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20th Century Men on the edge of the abyss, 9 Aug 2008
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
I agree with Jervis's comments about the musical influences. The music here was unfamiliar to me the first time I heard it, being very slightly country rock. However, it is a very English form of country, and, compared with American country and country rock, it is hardly country at all.
I know this album isn't everyone's favourite, but I do find it enjoyable. It takes the listener on a rollercoaster of emotions.
I find "Holloway Jail" too depressing to listen to, but other tracks have a bitter-sweetness. The drunkard bemoans his fate in "Alcohol", but this song is catchy and I can imagine drunks leaving the pub singing it. I love "Have a Cuppa Tea", a joyous knees-up salute to England's favourite drink (hallelujah rosie lee). "Uncle Son" is "an ordinary man", who is not interested in others' political ideals, especially those that have to be fought for. He just wants life to be comfortable.
"20th Century Man" makes me think of the poem "5 ways to kill a man" by Edwin Brock Touched with Fire: An Anthology of Poems. The 20th century is too complicated; people want simple, good lives, but they get mental illness, alcoholism and other addictions, eating disorders, pollution, governmental espionage on the populace, which causes paranoia, and officialdom taking away everything that folk hold dear. In short, this album is just as relevant in the 21st century.
We see the usual Davies nostalgia. Just as in "Celluloid Heroes" Everybody's in Show-Biz ,film always seems better than real life. For me, "Oklamhoma USA" sums up this attitude best. The movies portray the myth of the freedom of the Wild West, so familiar to small children of Ray's generation. Compared with that simple, free world that never really existed off screen, all modern life seems complicated and dictatorial, a view Davies would later take to extremes in Preservation Act 2 Preservation Act 2 +2 Preservation: Acts 1 & 2.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem from Mr. Davies & Co., 3 July 2000
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
Ah yes, there's something about the music of the Kinks that just grows and grows on you. Muswell Hillbillies, released in 1971, is by no means like the music of the mid sixties that the Kinks tend to get labelled with, however, give this album a couple of listens and you'll realise this is not a bad thing. I'd like to pick a couple of favourites from the album, but that's too difficult, just buy it..you won't be sorry. Nice one Ray..(again). Kevin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars North London Country Music...And It Works!, 9 Nov 2009
By 
Og Oggilby "Og Oggilby" (North London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
As others have mentioned, the Kinks new record label - RCA - must've been rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of a new Kinks album in 1971. They'd revitalised their chart status in 1970 with hit singles in the shape of 'Lola' and 'Apeman' (and how did Ray get away with using the F-Word in 'Apeman', a top ten UK singles chart hit, when he had to to change 'Coca Cola' to 'Cherry Cola' in 'Lola'?), and were finally allowed back in the USA to tour. However, 'Muswell Hillbillies' was a hit-free zone. Not that it isn't one of the finest albums released under The Kinks name, though. For a band whose 1960s status was based on the oft-used phrase 'Quintessentially English' lyrical themes, 'Muswell Hillbillies' saw Ray Davies re-cast the band's musical base by utilising a set of predominantly American styles - including Dixieland Jazz, Bluesy themes, and horror of horrors (for the time) - Country Music. However, the lyrics couldn't be more English, or, more pertinently, London-centric. Davies looks to his own experience - being moved out of King's Cross to leafy Muswell Hill as part of the post-war 'Urban Renewal', and then considers all sorts of social issues that arise - alcoholism, urban paranoia, depression, 'fallen women' (the wonderful 'Holloway Jail'), even excessive slimming, and the escapism that Hollywood provides ('Oklahoma USA' - "with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae"). It's a frequently mordant collection, littered with sardonic and bittersweet humour, and some of Ray Davies' finest songs. He said that the album was partly informed by seeing Irish Country groups performing in the Archway Tavern pub (the band are depicted in the pub on the cover), and it was their failed, if noble attempt to replicate that sound and style that influenced the album. Or so he says! Anyway, 'Muswell Hillbillies' is a wonderful, wonderful record, with the band musicianship and Davies' lyrical excursions on tip-top form. You may have to give this album a little time to grow on you, but when it does, it reveals new things with each play. It's a fine record, and one of the most 'London' albums you'll ever hear. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars En français s'il vous plait!!!!!!!!!!!!, 9 Sep 2012
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
Oui les Beatles sont le plus grand groupe de tous les temps!!!
Oui les Rolling Stones sont le plus grand groupe de Rock 'n' Roll du monde!!!
Oui les Who sont le groupe le plus bruyant du monde!!!
Oui les Pretty things sont le groupe le plus chevelu du Monde!!!
Oui les Small faces sont le groupe le plus Soulful du monde!!!
Mais.......Les Kinks sont le plus grand groupe britannique, eh oui !!!! c'est l'avis d'un connaisseur français.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant!, 22 Mar 2009
By 
Turpin13 "turpin" (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
...that's really all there is to say- one of the best albums EVER! Containing some of the best songs ever... as usual spot-on lyrics and great tunes. All the songs are great but "Alcohol" is hauntingly beautiful... But really- you should just sit down and listen to this album! And then you should move on to all the other Kinks Klassiks- any one is a good plece to start!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but nothing like the 60s stuff., 11 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
This is a storming album, but not one to start with if you're not totally into the Kinks. The beauty of the mid/late sixties which would be a better starting place) stuff has been substituted for a much more personal emphasis, tinged with country & western idioms, and once you've got over the initial shock of how unlike, say, Waterloo Sunset, it sounds, you'll love it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Muswell Hillbillies remembered, 20 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
I had had this LP on vinyl from the 70's, and had forgotten all about it. The bizarre thing was that, as soon as the tracks started, I remembered them and pretty much sang along. For that to happen the songs must have made a stronger impression on me than I had thought. And this album is all about the songs: the genius of Ray Davies is that he writes real songs about real things - dieting (twenty years before it became fashionable), alcohol consumption (ditto), and urban dissafection, plus the wonderfully whimsical "Have a Cuppa Tea".

Possibly the most underrated songwriter the UK has ever produced, this 40-year old collection of Ray Davies' songs stands up remarkably well. Thoroughly recommended to anybody who likes to sit and listen to music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Muswell Hillbillies writes ....., 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
Great Country and Western song - the song of the album title. I have always liked it and it's a classic. Good strong songs on the rest of the album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Muswell Hill meets the mid west, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
A wonderful and typically quirky Kinks ( Muswell Hill meets the Mid West!) album which is a joy to listen to after all these years - and like all good music does not feel dated. Ray Davis is understandably proud of this album - and I have one thing to say to him - Have a cuppa Tea!
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