Covering The Kinks
Frontman Ray Davies Applauds a New Tribute Album
Listen to Lynn Neary's interview with Ray Davies.
April 21, 2002 -- Most British Invasion bands cite American blues music as their most direct influence. The Kinks are no exception, but leader Ray Davies, as is his wont, adds a twist.
Not only was Davies influenced by the likes of folk bluesman Big Bill Broonzy, but he cites English Music Hall acts such as Harry Champion as having an equally powerful effect on his songwriting.
"The folk blues was the thing that really inspired me about American music," he tells Lynn Neary for Weekend Edition Sunday.
And Music Hall acts -- some of them from the early part of the last century -- affected The Kinks' sound and some of the themes the group employed.
"The marriage of these two in a strange way (created) a sort of fusion of these two cultures, and became The Kinks, really," he says.
A new album of Kinks cover songs -- This is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies -- shows that the cycle of oddball confluences continues.
So we have punky quirkmeister Jonathan Richman showing us, via his rendition of "Stop Your Sobbing" that he was influenced by The Kinks as well as by '50s rock and roll and The Velvet Underground.
We have the avant-country band Lambchop showing through their rendition of "Art Lover" that The Kinks blend right into their Mulligan Stew of influences.
And we have bluegrass interpreter Tim O'Brien proving with his remake of "Muswell Hillbilly" that no two genres need necessarily be estranged.
Davies likes the compilation because, he says, the artists are "very loyal to my version, but they also give it their own flavor."
And, he says, he likes the fact that "they didn't cover the obvious hits" such as "All Day and All of the Night," "Lola" or "You Really Got Me."
On the other hand, he says, "I find it odd talking about a tribute record. I really should be dead before this thing's done."
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