Who would have thought that by adding a little bluegrass twang, the Kinks would produce what is (in my opinion at least) their finest album?
In fact, even though they laid on some very rootsy instrumental touches, this may be one of their most British albums, content-wise -- it's all about labor unions, slum clearance, and popping round to the pub. And there are just as many music hall touches as there are country-and-western accents.
Maybe it was only by adopting a musical foreign identity that Ray Davies could feel free to write such personal songs about his own family and his North London roots.
Although tired of 20th century man, I agree with you holly. It is a great Under-produced recording that lives up to ray's vgps quote "play intimately as if among friends". I get the feeling of listening to the band in a small bar with 20 other people there when I play this album(the original track list). on ray's last tour here in the u.s., he briefly mentioned touring a full album set. I would suggest he hire the david bromberg band as the band to play muswell hillbillies with him if it were to happen,or mumford and sons
Yes, that feeling of being in a bar -- or the local pub -- is part of this album's enormous charm. It's got that boozy, loose, singalong quality.
I would love to know the order in which Ray wrote these songs. Which song came first? "Complicated Life" would be my guess. It's such a typical Ray sentiment -- always trying to find some escape from life's stresses.
I'd also love to know at what point in his songwriting the concept album really took form. It's not entirely a story like Arthur, but in some ways it's a continuation of VGPS, only less of a pastoral fantasy.
I don’t think that „Muswell Hillbillies“ is The Kinks’ greatest album ever but it stands out as one of their very best.
It shows Ray Davies at a new creative songwriting peak as are the band themselves. The Kinks are in full flight and their first collaboration with the brass section The Mike Cotton Sound is exceptionally good muting into a fantastic blend of British and American roots music. The whole album is definitely very British and very personal too. The Kinks had a new, fresh and promising start - one can sense the new lease of life that their hit „Lola“ had given them.
Does Ray Davies have to adopt a musical foreign identity to write personal songs about his own family and his North London roots? Guess not. He was real in everything he did before and after the release of „Muswell Hillbillies“.
Favourite tracks – all of them! I never grow tired of listening to „20th Century Man“. All the songs are so good that they should not only be played intimately to friends but to the whole world! No false modesty here please!
„Muswell Hillbillies“ is one of the best musical statements by a British band of the 70’s!
Post by FrankDanTheFanLima on Dec 15, 2015 22:04:42 GMT -5
I agree with all the above said Muswell Hillbillies is Great in fact even more than Great it is a statement about the times we are living in much like Village Green Preservation Society was a statement bridging the past and forecasting the future and it is doing to this very day, that is why I call the village green preservation society the most important and relevant album ever recorded in pop and rock culture history, it is a prophetic piece of work that set the stage for Preservation act one and two but Muswell Hillbillies fits right in there with that concept - it is just too bad when both these album are studied hundreds of years from now as I predict they will of course that if there are any human lives around hundreds of years from now, to study where our world went wrong and people were too hell bent on going over the top of the mountain of technology forgetting the pure and simple ways of life - they went and built a master race To live within their artificial world.
Post by lorendavies on Jul 4, 2016 10:14:25 GMT -5
For me "Muswell Hillbillies" is not the best album of The Kinks. True it is among the top 5. For me the best is the album "Lola Vs Powerman" here the group reaches its highest level by both the creativity of Ray Davies, for variety and especially maturity. In my opinion these are the elaborate, creative and importance of The Kinks best albumnes.
1. Lola vs. Powerman (1970) 2. Village Green Preservation Society (1968) 3. Arthur (1969) 4. Muswell Hillbillies (1971) 5. Preservation "Act 1 & Act 2" (1973 & 1974) 6. Something Else By The Kinks (1967) 7. Face To Face (1966) 8. Misfits (1978) 9. Sleepwalker (1977) 10. Everybody's A Showiz, A Star (1972)
o There are so many good it is not easy to give an actual list of his greatest masterpieces. greetings and God Save Kinks !!!!
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2017 11:15:11 GMT -5 by lorendavies
Post by lorendavies on Jul 4, 2016 10:27:06 GMT -5
Para mí "Muswell Hillbillies" no es el mejor album de The Kinks. Es cierto que está entre los 5 mejores. Para mi el mejor es el album "Lola Vs Powerman" aquí el grupo alcanza su nivel mas alto tanto por la creatividad total de Ray Davies, el aporte creativo también de Dave, por variedad y sobre todo por la madurez en todo lo que le engloba al trabajo. En mi opinión estos son los albumnes mejores elaborados, creativos y por su gran importancia.
1.- Lola vs Powerman (1970) 2.- Village Green Preservation Society (1968) 3.- Arthur (1969) 4.- Muswell Hillbillies (1971) 5.- Preservation "Act 1 & Act 2" (1973 & 1974) 6.- Something Else By The Kinks (1967)
o Hay tantos y tan buenos que no es fácil dar una lista real de sus grandes obras maestras. saludos y God Save Kinks!!!!
Viva los The Kinks y er Betis!!!!
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2017 11:10:48 GMT -5 by lorendavies
I've been listening to Muswell Hillbillies over the past few days and here are my thoughts about it.
I think that it's a really cohesive album. The lyrics are strong and give the record a unique atmosphere that HollyH described very well. If there's still some humor thrown in there, the lyrics still seem to be a slight departure from the smirk inducing ones of the Face to Face era.
Musically, the LP also has its own and consistent sound. It's a mixture of different genres and I like the elaborate arrangements. I primarily look for clever and catchy but slightly unusual melodies in songs and I feel Muswell Hillbillies has fewer of those than the other Kinks records I have listened to (the songs are very good though). I also dislike the use of the accordion (it's an instrument I've sadly never been fond of...).
Three of my favourite tracks on the album are Here Come the People in Gray, Holloway Jail and Holiday (I must add 20th Century Man in there too).
To conclude, Muswell Hillbillies is not the Kinks' LP I like the most. I prefer Face to Face to it for the time being. It's nonetheless a really good album and my preferences are constantly evolving anyway !