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The Last & Finest of The R&B albums
on 15 June 2009
In late October 1965, The Kinks went back into the studio on the back of ever increasing infamy due to continuing onstage feuding between siblings, riots in auditoriums at Kink shows and of course the well documented issues with the border authorities of the United States, so to call their latest release The Kink Kontroversy was amusing but also putting the band's issues mildly. Produced by the ever present and approaching godlike genius, Shel Talmy, the album was the beginning of a six year golden period for The Kinks but at the same time marked the end of an era.
The Kink Kontroversy was released in November 1965 on Reprise, it was really the last of the hard edged R&B albums that The Kinks produced, ultimately marking the end of Dave Davies' influence over the group, tipping the balance over in favour of Brother Ray. But here with this LP the razor sharp guitar style of Dave is still in place, nowhere more so than on the opening track, a thumping version of Sleepy John Estes' Milk Cow Blues, marvellously gritty and brutal, this is a fine opener with the brothers Davies sharing vocal duties.
But by track two, the more retrospective side of The Kinks begins to emerge from the savagery of the opener, Ring The Bells is a gorgeous little song, the same can be said of track five also, I Am Free is a beautiful song with both brothers using lovely Kink styled harmonies to give a wonderful depth and feeling to this number.
Track six is one of the singles recorded during 1965, Till The End of The Day has one of those Dave Davies thunder chords which littered all the hits for The Kinks during their early years, a marvellous song which delivers what you would expect it to effortlessly. The B-Side to this single can also be found on this LP, Where Have All The Good Times Gone is just fabulous, seriously. Not a single but certainly sharing similar values to these two songs is What's In Store For Me with Dave on vocal duties, adding to the wealth of quality to be had on this LP.
My favourite song on this album has to be track number ten, Its Too Late is a relatively simple song, but has all the elements that made The Kinks the band they were, bitchy and resentful lyrics, a glorious progressive guitar, a reserved rhythm section and a cheeky piano bit, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, man I love this band!
Like with all the great Kink albums, this has been reissued in recent years to include other memorable moments from the year of its initial release, and 1965 was a good year for The Kinks, especially with the creation of cracking songs like Sittin' On My Sofa and of course the tremendous Dedicated Follower of Fashion.
True to form, with all Kink albums from 1965 to 1971, this release is a little Bobby Dazzler, a stunning creation with limited if any flaws. With The Kink Kontroversy we have the backdrop of a band struggling with itself and with the authorities, going into the studio and coming out the other side with an album which shows a band on the up and freeing up room for itself so it can prosper and develop further in later years.
This moment was where it all began.