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Americana: The Kinks, the Road and the Perfect Riff Hardcover – 3 Oct 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (3 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753555220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753555224
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Davies is candid and honest about his personal and creative struggles." (New York Times)

"A memoir of certainties rocked by the melodic patterns and syncopated beat of American popular culture." (Guardian)

"This is no tired rock story but something far more profound, funny and disturbing. " (Irish Times)

"A frank account of his own love/hate relationship with America." (GQ Magazine)

Book Description

A frank and revealing Rock and Roll memoir – welcome to Ray Davies’s America

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book is a page-turning stroll through Ray's recollections of stateside music, tours, lovers, buddies and periods of living there, including his shooting in New Orleans in 2004, it mostly covers the 70s, 80s and 90s as as is well known the Kinks were banned from the US for a large chunk of the late 60s. Of course he also touches on his domestic life, family and his relationship with his brother. It's not chronologically written but jumps forward and back in time which I found helped retain my interest.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Obviously I'd recommended this to any fan of the Kinks, but it's a fab book which deserves a larger readership. Quite deliberately it focuses on Ray's relationship with America so it's not a real autobiography in that it isn't complete. It weaves in and out time, frequently returning to Ray getting shot in New Orleans.

The Kinks, in particular brother Dave, loom large in the book but while he acknowledges the differences and arguments it's not about their relationship and there's very little dishing of dirt. An excellent read which is entertaining and interesting throughout.

More please Ray.
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Format: Hardcover
During his book talk at Norwich Playhouse on Saturday 10 May 2014, Ray Davies says, ‘I didn’t use a ghostwriter, I could have done.’ This isn’t news to me because I’ve read it, and there’s no doubt in my mind he weighed and wrote every word.

There is nothing inherently wrong with rock stars using ghosts for their memoirs. These books, composed from hours of recorded interviews, are filled with pleasing anecdotes captured in the speaking voice of the ‘author’ and are often eminently readable. Keith Richards virtually shared credit with his ghost, James Fox. The problem with the ghost-written conceit is that when an artist comes along who actually does write their own book – and in doing so creates a work of dignity worthy of being read – there’s no way of telling the difference by looking at the cover.

In ‘Americana’, Davies tells two stories about his life and work in the United States. The first narrative spans three decades, beginning with the Kinks’ arrival as part of the British beat invasion in June 1965 and subsequently getting banned due to ‘bad management, bad luck and bad behaviour’. What follows is the slow rehabilitation of the Kinks’ credibility through years of touring and some 20+ studio albums until, in 1990, they are officially accepted back into the hearts and minds of America when they’re inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The second story is more recent, recalling the dramatic events surrounding a day in January 2004 when Davies was shot by a mugger in New Orleans. When news filtered back across the Atlantic that the lead singer and songwriter of one of the most influential bands of the twentieth century was hospitalised with a gunshot wound, the obituary writers must’ve been ebullient . . .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Found the beginning a bit tedious but couldn't put it down once I became hooked. Sadly most folk only know about the Kink's Pye singles and nothing about Ray's best album work on RCA & Arista. I hope this book helps them explore Muswell Hillbillies, Misfits, etc.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book interesting and very personal, so I am happy to have read this part of the story about Ray and The Kinks. I had a little difficulty with the - missing or anyway camouflaged - chronology in the book, but anyway very well written. Ray is probably going to write even more in the future, I guess, because he has to write songs and stories to keep "living". With all that said, I have read biographies by ian McLagan of Small Faces, Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Keith and Clapton and more, that was at least just as good and interesting, some of them even better in my opinion. The strange thing is I lost The Kinks after the first 3 or 4 years of their existence, maybe because they focused so much on USA and also because they lost some of the raw bluesy rock'n roll attack to the music (wonder if not Dave Davies will agree with me?). But in all fairness and to sum up, I can easily recommend this book, and I will soon go on reading Ray's book X-Ray.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ray writes with humour, sensitivity and a degree of candour in his illuminating autobiography. The book is cleverly written with a non-linear narrative allowing the reader to dip into different stages of Davies' life story. Therefore the writing is not predictable or mundane and remains interesting and informative throughout. In true Davies style the highs are understated and the lows treated with a concise understanding of the situation and its relationship to the bigger outside, comercial picture. This is documented especially during the America unions ban and the Clive Davis Arista years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good insight to the formation of the Kinks and how the young Ray Davies coped with fame and his older self eventually touring America. The hospital scenes are vivid after he was shot. There are good descriptions of friends he made on tour and excellent excepts from his songs.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Overall I found this book hugely disappointing. I have always liked the Kinks and appreciated Davies' songwriting and the numerous classics that have dripped from his pen over the years.

This isn't really an autobiography (that has gone before) but more of a series of vignettes about travel and Americana. And that's where it fails for me as it moves all over the place. There is no chronological order and it is very episodic and at times I juist wondered what the author was trying to achieve. The book doesn't hang together very well and the writing style is at times rather simple. He refers to the Kinks as though we , the readers, have never heard of them.

Overall a disappointing read that could have been a valuable insight into America and its musical traditions and the pitfalls that the Kinks came up against
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