For The Kinks’ first album with RCA Records, Ray Davies didn’t stray too far from the style which he had perfected. Muswell Hillbillies, the band’s ninth studio album, was named after Muswell Hill, the area of North London that Davies and brother Dave once called home. Like The Kinks’ classic Village Green Preservation Society before it, Muswell concerned itself with themes relevant to British life, wryly addressing working-class conditions and the changes affecting the populace. Sanctuary Records is planning an expanded 2-CD edition of Muswell Hillbillies, with its release currently scheduled for October 7. (A July date seems to have evaporated from the calendar.)
Muswell Hillbillies touched on many of the musical styles which had fascinated Davies, from tough R&B-influenced rock and roll to country and British music hall. The Kinks – Ray on guitar and vocals, Dave on guitar and vocals, John Dalton on bass, John Gosling on piano and Mick Avory on drums – were joined by brass section The Mike Cotton Sound, led by trumpeter Cotton. Yet despite naturally continuing themes previously explored on Kinks records, Muswell Hillbillies wasn’t an auspicious debut for the band at RCA. Acclaim from publications like Rolling Stone and Stereo Review appeared to have a negligible impact on sales. The 12-song LP failed to chart at all in the United Kingdom. It fared better in the United States, reaching a peak of No. 48. The biting album opener, “20th Century Man,” was released as a single in the U.S. only, backed by “Skin and Bone.” Ray Davies’ sharp condemnation of the modern world’s ills missed the Billboard Hot 100, hitting No. 106.
Hit the jump for more details, plus the full track listing and pre-order links!
This latest Kinks reissue, helmed by producer Andrew Sandoval, continues Sanctuary’s acclaimed series of Kinks releases, though much has changed for the label since the last entries. As part of the deal which allowed Universal to take over EMI, Universal was obliged to sell Sanctuary to BMG Rights Management. It’s unclear how this change has affected the reissue program, or whether further changes will occur down the road. The new Muswell carries over the two bonus tracks from the album’s previous CD reissue (“Mountain Woman” and “Kentucky Moon”) and adds another eleven tracks to the second disc. These odds and ends include demos, alternates, remixes and live tracks related to the originally album.
Sanctuary is planning Muswell Hillbillies for October 7 release in the United Kingdom, and one week later in the United States. You can pre-order below at both Amazon U.K. and Amazon U.S., and watch this space for further information as it develops!
- Twentieth Century Man
- Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues
- Skin and Bone
- Complicated Life
- Here Come the People in Grey
- Have A Cuppa Tea
- Holloway Jail
- Oklahoma USA
- Uncle Son
- Muswell Hillbilly
- Lavender Lane
- Mountain Woman
- Have A Cuppa Tea (Alternate Version)
- Muswell Hillbilly (1976 Remix)
- Uncle Son (Alternate Version)
- Kentucky Moon
- Nobody’s Fool (Demo Version)
- 20th Century Man (Alternate Instrumental Take)
- 20th Century Man (1976 Remix)
- Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues (Live At Kensington House – 1972)
- Holiday (Live At Kensington House – 1972)
- Skin and Bone (Live At Kensington House – 1972)