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37 of 39 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

versus
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Kinks become more serious (and less enjoyable)
This album's title 'Muswell Hillbillies' in many ways perfectly reflects its contents - a strange brew of english vaudeville mixed with a little country rock and an occasional jazzy brass accompaniment. Lyrically this album seems to reflect well the working class life of the Kinks youth with all insecurities that tends to go with it. It's almost like a whole album based...
Published on 30 May 2007 by Jervis


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinks Greatest, 13 Aug. 2004
By 
C. Whitworth "juliehill87" (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
Wow! I picked this cd up a couple of days ago out of curiosity and it's not come off my ipod. This stands up against anything else Ray Davies has ever done. You can sing along,laugh or cry and then feel like Ray is having a laugh at you or take it seriously. I think He genuinely has great affection for his characters and great understanding.The songwriting/music is fantastic and next to Preservation society is their greatest achievement.Paul McCartney? Pete Townshend? Nah.....Ray's the man.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Englishness at its paranoid best!, 16 May 2015
By 
AGC2070 (Ashford, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
The Kinks were on fine form again with this album, following a slew of under-appreciated classics (Village Green, Arthur, Lola v Powerman). This album reminds me of Travis's first album (Good Feeling) in that at the beginning of each song I tend to think 'This isn't going to be much,' before it soars off to melodic and rousing heights. I can't believe that none of the first half a dozen songs became singles hits, but I guess Benny Hill and Clive Dunn were the nation's chart luminaries around this time.

Firstly, I love the way the first track begins as a downtrodden mumble and builds up to a defiant shout of 'This is the twentieth century, I don't wanna die here.' Thankfully for Ray Davies, he won't.

Much of the first half is like an 'A to Z' of mental disorders: anxiety, alcoholism, anorexia - and that's just the As - but always delivered in a humorous, sing-along way so that it never gets depressing, but rather that you can celebrate that we are not like the cloned 'people in grey,' perfectly adjusted to modern life.

My personal favourite is Have a Cuppa Tea which would be a far better national anthem for the UK than God Save the Queen. Imagine that belting out while the latest Formula 1 champ stands astride the Grand Prix podium!

Following this one, 'Everybody's in Showbiz' is well worth a stab, as are 'Soap Opera' and 'Schoolboys in Disgrace,' although the 'Preservation Act' discs never quite grabbed me in the same way. Perhaps this is my loss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gem!, 31 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
I had never heard this album before, but being desperate to hear something 'new' from the Kinks, gave it a punt. I am so pleased I did, it's fantastic, with not a dud to be found anywhere on either disc. The Americana feel makes a refreshing change to the oft used musical theatre stylings. As usuall Ray Davies turns the mirror on us all and life in Britain to produce an album rich in memorable songs with insightful lyrics. Have a cup of tea!
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Not kwite klassic Kinks, 2 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
Great songs and performances, but I find the mix a bit muffled. Ray's voice is often buried and I am puzzled by the choice of effects they used on the vocals. I miss Shel Talmy's mixing and production. A klassic in the Kinks' kanon musically, but not up to snuff in the sonics department.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more Dynaflex! - so you can hear all the instruments, proving yet again what a great band they always were., 15 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
Superb album, as relevant today as it was then (it's East London's turn now!).
To hear new (as in unreleased) tracks recorded at the time is an added joy - Why hasn't he got a knighthood?
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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 Sept. 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great album from the Muswell hillbilly boys, 20 Jun. 2013
By 
Tim "Tim" (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Muswell Hillbillies (Audio CD)
On their last proper studio effort Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, The Kinks exhibited a mild country rock influence for the first time. With Muswell Hillbillies, they make a full crossover to this sound. Despite the adaption of this most American of genres, Muswell Hillbillies still sounds oddly English - a "distinctly British, cabaret take on Americana", as perfectly described by the AllMusic Guide. Ray Davies himself described it as a "comedy album" which isn't hugely off the mark when considering, for example, the amusing Have A Cuppa Tea but songs such as the harrowing Alcohol and the stark Oklahoma USA refute that statement. Nonetheless, it's mostly a fun goodtime album and although the lyrical territory of urban renewal and fear of an ever-changing modern world is one that Davies would revisit time and time again, this is probably his definitive statement on the theme.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Muswell Hillbillies remembered, 20 Sept. 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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