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article imageReview: The Kinks – 'Sunny Afternoon, The Very Best Of'

By Adrian Peel     Oct 7, 2015 in Music
One of Britain's most popular acts, an influence on countless others that followed and known for a series of 'firsts,' are to release a brand new compilation album on October 16. Digital Journal put it in and pressed play.
When discussing the most quintessentially English pop bands, The Kinks is usually one of the first names mentioned. Sunny Afternoon, The Very Best of The Kinks is being put out to tie in with the success of the award-winning musical of the same name currently taking the West End by storm.
This theatrical extravaganza that looks at the early days of the group, formed in London in 1963 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory, is a showcase for many of their best known hits and unsurprisingly all are presented here (nine UK Top 5 hit singles and three number ones included) on this 48-track, two-disc collection.
Beginning with the non-charting "You Still Want Me," this CD doesn't follow the standard song order that fans have come to expect from Kinks retrospectives - ie. it doesn't kick off with one of the better known tracks such as "You Really Got Me" or "Waterloo Sunset" - but follows the order in which they appear in Acts One and Two of the stage production.
"I Gotta Move" is also a lesser known piece, but is a powerful burst of '60s power pop. It is followed by more tunes with which I was not too familiar, and I had to wait until track five to hear a song I recognised: "A Well Respected Man."
I also love "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" and the aforementioned - and timeless - "You Really Got Me," the riff that arguably kick-started heavy metal. "All Day and All of the Night" is of course equally iconic.
One thing that is interesting about this all-encompassing album, apart from the song order, is the inclusion of demos, BBC sessions and (on the second disc) interviews. Disc One has a stripped-down demo version of "I Go to Sleep" and the hazy "This Strange Effect" recorded live at the BBC.
I have to say that although I greatly admire and respect The Kinks, they are not my favourite band of the era (I prefer The Who and The Stones, to be honest) and some of their songs actually strike me as being pretty average.
When they are good, they are really good, however, and I was reminded of this on the title track, the opening number on Disc Two. The video also highlights the fact that Dave Davies was one of the first musicians to use - and therefore help popularise - the then-fairly new Gibson Flying V guitar.
"Days," "Waterloo Sunset" and "Lola" are three further favourites from the second CD, while the songs from the BBC archives this time around are "You Really Got Me," "Tired of Waiting for You" and "Death Of A Clown."
To round things off, there are some entertaining and rather amusing interviews (the group fields questions very much of the time like "Why do you wear your hair long?") featuring each member of the original lineup and taken from both sides of the Atlantic.
An essential release, then, for fans of The Kinks, '60s music and the new West End musical.
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon, The Very Best Of can be pre-ordered here.
For more information on the band, visit their official website.
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