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Author Topic: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver  (Read 6918 times)

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In Blue Hawaii

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Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« on: May 16, 2005, 11:20:15 AM »

-quite amusing, here's the link:

http://kinks.it.rit.edu/misc/articles/beatles.html


Ray Davies reviews the Beatles LP
'Really, it's a load of RUBBISH'

    BEATLES and Brian Epstein were so delighted with "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yellow Submarine", two of the tracks on teh new "Revolver" LP out next Friday (August 5), that they're also being issued a single for the same date.

    But if that celebrated songwriter Ray Davies is a reliable judge, the Beatles have made a big mistake. Ray thinks Miss Rigby was definitely dedicated to John and Paul's music teacher back in primary school; while "Submarine" should sink into a dustbin. "It's a load of rubbish, really", remarks Ray.

    Disc and Music Echo decided to turn over the task of reviewing the "Revolver" album - and the Kink certainly spoke his mind.

    Here's the album, track by track, with Ray's inter-round summaries:
    Side One: "Taxman" - "It sounds like a cross between the Who and Batman. It's a bit limited, but the Beatles get over this by the sexy double-tracking. It's surprising how sexy double-tracking makes a voice sound."

    "Eleanor Rigby" - "I bought a Haydn LP the other day and this sounds just like it. It's all sort of quartet stuff and it sounds like they're out to please music teachers in primary schools. I can imagine John saying: 'I'm going to write this for my old schoolmistress'. Still it's very commercial."

    "I'm Only Sleeping" - "It's a most beautiful song, much prettier than 'Eleanor Rigby'. A jolly old thing, really, and definitely the best track on the album.

    "Love You Too" - "George wrote this - he must have quite a big influence on the group now. This sort of song I was doing two years ago - now I'm doing what the Beatles were doing two years ago. It's not a bad song - it's well performed which is always true of a Beatles track."

    "Here There and Everywhere" - "This proves that the Beatles have got good memories, because there are a lot of busy chords in it. It's nice - like one instrument with the voice and the guitar merging. Third best track on the album."

    "Yellow Submarine" - ""This is a load of rubbish, really. I take the mickey out of myself on the piano and play stuff like this. I think they know it's not that good."

    "She Said She Said" - "This song is in to restore confidence in old Beatles sound. That's all."

    "Good Day Sunshine" - "This'll be a giant. It doesn't force itself on you, but it stands out like 'I'm Only Sleeping'. This is back to the real old Beatles. I just don't like the electronic stuff. The Beatles were supposed to be like the boy next door only better."

    "And Your Bird Can Sing" - "Don't like this. The song's too predictable. It's not a Beatles song at all."

    "Dr. Robert" - "It's good - there's a 12-bar beat and bits in it that are clever. Not my sort of thing, though."

    "I Want To Tell You" - "This helps the LP through though it's not up to the Beatles standard."

    "Got To Get You Into My Life" - "Jazz backing - and it just goes to prove that Britain's jazz musicians can't swing. Paul's sings better jazz than the musicians are playing which makes nonsense of people saying jazz and pop are very different. Paul sounds like Little Richard. Really, it's the most vintage Beatles track on the LP."

    "Tomorrow Never Knows" - "Listen to all those crazy sounds! It'll be popular in discotheques. I can imagine they had George Martin tied to a totem pole when they did this."

    So, after listening to each track three or four times, the Ray Davies verdict:
    "This is the first Beatles LP I've really listened to in it's entirety but I must say there are better songs on 'Rubber Soul'. Still, 'I'm Only Sleeping' is a standout. 'Good Day Sunshine is second best and I also like 'Here, There and Everywhere.' But I don't want to be harsh about the others. The balance and recording technique are as good as ever."
    
Disc and Music Echo Magazine, August, 1967



- does anyone have other Beatles album reviews from the 60's? I collect them
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Kevin

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2005, 11:37:19 AM »

I spend a bit of time at the National Archives - I'll see if I can dig up some reviews from The Times. I'd like to see any others you've got - I think its really interesting to get a contempary view of what poeople thought at the time.

ps Ray Davies can go F***k himself.
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Mairi

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005, 07:42:03 PM »

hahaha! Until the end, I thought it was a joke!
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Wayne L.

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2005, 07:44:25 PM »

Even though I disagree with Ray Davies opinion of Revolver it's cool to find out what their 60's contemporaries thought of the Beatles at the time, positive or negative.  
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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2005, 07:58:25 PM »

Quote from: MagicAlex
"Love You Too" - "George wrote this - sort of song I was doing two years ago"

Really? I don't think The Kinks sounded ANYTHING like this in 1964!!!!

adamzero

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2005, 10:39:53 PM »

I have to confess that I've been on a bit of a Kinks' jag lately so I can see where Ray's coming from.  "Do you remember Walter" is as great a song in its own way as "In my life".  And "Waterloo Sunset" stands up to "Penny Lane" or "Strawberry Fields".  The Kinks problem was Pye Records and their poor recording quality.  

"Village Green" "Arthur" and "Something Else" are masterpieces as far as I'm concerned, but while the Beatles were blowing apart the charts, The Kinks were in the gutter commercially.  

I think Ray wrote better songs than "Eleanor Rigby"--on the same theme (hell, it was practically his major theme).  It's telling that he likes "I'm only sleeping"--again another Kinkish theme.  

I think he's a bit too hard on George, though, because I think George is a major creative force on Revolver--as singer/songwriter and guitarist.  It shows you what the Beatles could do if they gave George a little more room.  
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Lostio

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2005, 11:09:18 PM »

It's a fair review. Everyone's got one, and I think this one is acceptable.

I disagree with him, but he does point out special aspects of it.

I do think Yellow Submarine, And Your Bird Can Sing and Eleanor Rigby are amongst the greatest songs of this album, though. That's the main thing I disagreed with him.
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lennonlemon

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2005, 11:45:11 PM »

I think my main disagreement is his opinion of 'Eleanor Rigby' which most of us seem to disagree with. I like Ray, though, and manages to be witty and critical at the same time. It's great to here a contemporary's review.
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TurnMeOnDeadman

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2005, 05:58:58 AM »

his favorite tracks on the album are the best of the album so its fair...but wheres "For No One"?
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In Blue Hawaii

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2005, 10:02:55 AM »

I'm always interested in reading Beatles reviews from the period, because they hadn't yet been deified to the point that you just couldn't say anything bad about them and be taken seriously. I mean, can you imagine if some rock critic from Rolling Stone or wherever had written that review of Revolver today? He'd be thrown up against a wall and stoned by an angry mob. And although I adore The Beatles myself and disagree with most of what Davies wrote in the article, I still find it refreshing to see somebody offering an honest, personally formed opinion of The Beatles' work that hasn't been influenced yet by the overriding critical view of them as THE LORDS OF ALL MUSIC.

My favorite article like that, by the way, was one of the original reviews of Sgt. Pepper's, (I think it was in the New York Times, but I'm not sure. Anybody?) in which the reviewer called the album out as being (aside from "A Day in the Life") mainly substandard material that had had all the production bells and whistles attatched to SEEM more revolutionary than it really was. He even correctly prophesized that, although most of the things on Pepper's had already been done by others, The Beatles would be the ones who would eventually get the credit for innovating them. Although, as I said, I'm a huge Beatles fan, that review struck me as being spookily prophetic when I read it.
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adamzero

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2005, 05:00:38 PM »

I agree, Blue Hawaii.  And I think that's what Ray's sensing too.  The Beatles were such great performers they were able to transmute the occasional so-so material into seeming masterpieces.  The Kinks had Shel Talmy (and later Ray himself) as producer, not George Martin.

Nobody sounds as well recorded in the 60s as the Beatles.  So fresh.  Immediate.  The early Stones stuff sounds like it was recorded in a garage.  The Kinks isn't much better.  I guess EMI staff just knew what they were doing--better than the competition.
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Ydoll Gwyn

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2005, 10:59:40 PM »

August, 1967!? Sixty-SEVEN? I don't think so.

It's unlikely Ray Davies actually wrote that stuff. Much more likely that a staff member of D&ME rang him up, and asked him a few questions, and Davies responded "off the cuff". No way what's given here would be a considered opinion of Revolver. In fact, a lot of this "review" may be sheer invention, with Davies name being used (with his permission) to give it cred.

I got the distinct feeling that whoever was giving his opinion hadn't listened to the songs at all, or very briefly at best.
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lennonlemon

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2005, 11:12:58 PM »

Sounds very Ray to me, but i can see where you're coming from.
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adamzero

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2005, 12:34:35 AM »

Ydoll brings up several good points.  I don't doubt that Ray was responding "off the cuff" and somebody else wrote it up.  The date certainly seems problematic.  (It'd actually be more cool if this was some kind of internet hoax.)  

I can see Ray liking "Good Day Sunshine" with its romping piano--so often used in Ray's vaudevillean style melodies.  I can also see him liking "I'm Only sleeping" since it's the similar to the "I'm not like everybody else" songs Ray specialized in.

It's odd he doesn't like "Eleanor Rigby" but maybe he felt threatened by it--it being (or going to be) such a big hit just at a time when Ray felt like that was his territory ("Sunny Afternoon", "Dead End Street", etc.)

The sexy double-tracking comment is weird enough to be Ray (who else would think of that).  Ray didn't have to double-track since he had Dave.  But it's pretty weird.

The George Martin tied to a totem pole is a pretty good line too.  I'm sure somebody lesser than Ray could come up with it.  But he seems very aware of the shifting roles between producer and artist.  Only somebody who'd worked in a studio at that time and tried to play with the existing technology would have thought to make such a comment (I think).

I wonder what anyone could do to substantiate this.  It's on the Kinks website as legitimate.  Also, maybe this could be a beginning of a series of articles listing Ray's takes on famous albums.  
Are you listening, Ray?
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lennonlemon

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2005, 12:52:37 AM »

Yeah, only Ray could come up with those witty lines. He was good at that sort.
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Kevin

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2005, 06:54:42 AM »

Is he being sarcastic when he says Tomorrow Never Knows will be "popular in discoteques"?
I'm probably showing myself up here, but does Got To Get You Into My Life have jazz backing? I always thought it was a nod to mowtown and Staxx kinda guys.

ps - some great analysis on this thread.
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In Blue Hawaii

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2005, 10:30:27 AM »

Quote from: Ydoll_Gwyn
August, 1967!? Sixty-SEVEN? I don't think so.

Just a typo. "Revolver" came out in Aug. 66. The article mentions the release as "out next Friday."
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adamzero

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2005, 07:21:52 PM »

I did notice that Ray used the word discoteques in at least one song (Dedicated Follower of Fashion: "His world is built 'round discoteques and parties") and maybe others.
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andyec

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2005, 04:20:04 PM »

Was Revolver well received at the time? I know Sgt. Pepper got much more critical praise when it came out. I think Revolver was somewhat dismissed initially,but got better and better reviews as time went on. It's aged much better than Pepper as far as reviews go.
Revolver and Let It Be were the first two albums I ever owned. My Grandmother bought them for me as Christmas presents. I loved them both,but for a long time I liked Let It Be better. I especially liked all the Lennon jokes and the live feel to the music. Now I prefer Revolver,but I still rate Let It Be higher than most people do.
I think Ray was right about I'm Only Sleeping and Here,There,and Everywhere. They're two of my all time favorite songs. I don't care for Goodday Sunshine that much,but it does sound alot like The Kinks.
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Kinks' Ray Davies' review of The Beatles' Revolver
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2005, 08:15:21 PM »

Ray davies is to appear at this years Isle of Wight festival...Wonder what he'll play and who is band is? I may have to go after all. lol
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