Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ray Davies: A Well Respected Man, at last?

Maybe I'm just taking the time to dissect my Ray Davies Google Alerts, but it seems like my man is finally getting some of the long-elusive respect he so rightly deserves.

First, his musical comedy Come Dancing, the one my daughter and I took off on a crazy cross-Channel weekend to see, won the What's On Stage award for the best off-West End production of 2008.

Now, his name is suddenly popping up all over the press. To wit, take a look at the high-flung praise that just the last three days has brought through my wires:
  1. [In 1968] "There was terrific music wherever you turned, including The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society - Ray Davies' concept album about pastoral England...", February 28 2009
  2. "As a kid, Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger would listen to Kinks records and dream about the places they describe.

    One of his favorites, 'Waterloo Sunset,' may be about a dirty London subway station, but songwriter Ray Davies finds a way to romanticize the ordinary...

    Since the mid-'90s, Schlesinger and his songwriting partner, singer and guitarist Chris Collingwood, have upheld Davies' proud tradition." Hartford Courant, February 26, 2009
  3. "Brooklyn's Mitch Friedman has just released his fourth album of idiosyncratic, funny, original quirky pop - GAME SHOW TEETH...Even Ray Davies, song-writing legend and lead singer of The Kinks [Am I really reading this? "Even" Ray Davies?], has become a fan of Friedman's unique skills as a wordsmith. Having attended a Davies song-writing course in England, Friedman took the advice of the sixties legend that every song must have a clear structure and composed 'This Is a Song' - an amusing tribute to the simple formula that can be found in so many beautiful pieces of pop. (, February 26, 2009)
  4. "'There have been a million records that tell you a straight story and, really, is anybody going to do it better than Ray Davies?'" he [Bryan Poole, guitarist for Of Montreal] says."(, February 27, 2009)
Kinks fans, be of good cheer. Our day has come!


aaron s said...

Wow, how can I sign up for a Davies songwriting course?

Betty C. said...

Aaron, I guess it can be done. You should check it out on Internet. But I think it would involve going to London -- which is a good thing!

Randal Graves said...

How much does Ray actually pay you to be his publicist? ;-)

Betty C. said...

Randal -- in my dreams!

Mitch F. said...

Yes, "Even" Ray Davies. It was meant as a huge compliment, not as an afterthought. As in "the song is good enough for someone as amazing as Ray Davies to admit to liking it."

Betty C. said...

Mitch, thank you for your visit.

Yes, duh...I understood the sense of the phrase. It's just great for all Kinks fans to see Ray finally getting his due... So the "am I really reading this?" meant "WOW! I'm really reading this!" It was not ironic in the least.

Holly A Hughes said...

Taking that songwriting course would be like a dream come true, wouldn't it?

And it is no coincidence that these bands who claimed to be indebted to Ray -- like Fountains of Wayne and Of Montreal, and of course Mitch Friedman :D -- are themselves some of the brightest younger artists around.

Betty, you'd make Ray a great publicist. And I bet he wouldn't even have to pay you much!

Betty C. said...

Holly, back when I was a college DJ and considering working in that field, or in music journalism, my dream was to write his biography. But now it's been done -- by himself -- and I think there's another one out there. And I feel like I took so much time off from following music closely that there's no catching up. But I can still write my blog posts!

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised the Fountains Of Wayne are guys of taste. I am sure you know their contribution on the Kinks Tribute Album (nice cover of Better Things).

Betty C. said...

Yes, I do have that album and like the cover -- I actually like most of them.

Le laquet said...

I love the song Come Dancing - makes me want to do just that. **wanders off singing**

Betty C. said...

Yes, it is a great song. The song inspired the musical, which is good but needs a bit of fine-tuning. We really enjoyed it though, especially the fact that Ray narrated it!

David said...

Hello Betty,

Ray is actually going to be releasing a Kinks Choral Collection record on the 15th June inspired by the recent Crouch End Choir performances which you might be aware of. You can already watch and listen to previews of this new material on his MySpace page, and his official site has lots more information too, including some tour dates and promotional videos that might interest you.

Hope you find these enjoyable!


Anonymous said...

Oh, and for those of you in London at the moment, in case you haven't yet heard, Ray will actually be performing a "secret gig" tonight (11th June) at 17:30 just next to Waterloo Bridge in front of the National Theatre along with Ian Gibbons and the Crouch End Festival Choir. He'll be playing "just a few songs", but the scene will be amazing, and for those that turn up the performance will not cost a single penny.


If you're going, make sure to leave early because of the tube strikes!