MUSWELL HILLBILLIES - THE KINKS
TRACK LISTING: 20th Century Man, Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues, Holiday, Skin & Bone, Alcohol, Complicated Life, Here Come the People In Grey, Have A Cuppa Tea, Holloway Jail, Oklahoma U.S.A., Uncle Son, Muswell Hillbilly
BONUS TRACKS: Mountain Woman, Kentucky Moon
IMPRESSIONS: Described by Ben Eisen as probably the Kinks' last "great" album of their golden age, MUSWELL HILLBILLIES is relatively unknown compared to such other famous Kinks albums as SOMETHING ELSE, VILLAGE GREEN..., ARTHUR..., LOLA AND... etc. After the phenomenal success of "Lola", this album seems more laid-back and less flashy. It does share something in common with most of the previous Kinks albums in that it's something of a concept album if only obliquely; the subject matter of all the songs seems to be about working class lives. The album is also, as Stephen Thomas Erlewine points out, "...a skewed, distinctly British, cabaret take on Americana..." with a pronounced bluesy, sometimes New Orleans feel combined with British music hall stylings Kinks fans are familiar with. Apparently the album was also recorded using ten year old microphones in order to play up the "antique" feel and sound of it. And "Holiday" must be Adam Sandler's favourite song? While the album does illustrate the struggles of modern life, it never leaves its protagonists defeated. I like that.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: 20th Century Man, Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues, Skin & Bone, Alcohol, Complicated Life, Here Come the People In Grey, Have A Cuppa Tea, Holloway Jail, Oklahoma U.S.A., Kentucky Moon
FACT SHEET: MUSWELL HILLBILLIES is the Kinks' ninth album. This is the first album the Kinks released on RCA records after leaving their previous record label Pye. Muswell Hill is a section of North London in which Ray & Dave Davies grew up. The cover photo was taken at the Archway Tavern two miles from Muswell Hill. The album only went to #48 in the US and didn't chart in the UK making it a significant failure after the success of "Lola". However, critically it was a success winning "Stereo Review" magazine's "Album of the Year" in 1972 and called by "Rolling Stone" magazine Ray Davies' "signature statement" as a songwriter. Allmusic.com's Stephen Thomas Erlewine calls MUSWELL HILLBILLIES "...one of the Kinks' best albums."