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111 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 2, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Kinks' 1969 concept album takes on war, politics and suburban malaise it also features two out-and-out classics- Victoria and Shangri-La -plus Arthur; Drivin'; Australia , and more!

Written as the score for a never-aired BBC television drama, Arthur is the story of late-'60s English working-class exhaustion. Perhaps not the most attention-grabbing subject for a rock album, but in Ray Davies's hands it's rich in texture and stylistic possibility. From the rousing ode to Britain's glorious past ("Victoria") to its less-than-glamorous present (that being the late '60s), Davies portrays a life of cautiously reduced expectations. Arthur once dreamed of owning his own business but has settled for a car and an indoor bathroom ("Shangri-La"). One of his sons spends his time complaining about the system ("Brainwashed"), the other dreams of moving to a new land of opportunity ("Australia"), and when they get together for Sunday dinner there's simply "Nothing to Say." The Kinks at their mighty and surprisingly tender best. --Percy Keegan

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Victoria
  2. Yes Sir, No Sir
  3. Some Mother's Son
  4. Drivin'
  5. Brainwashed
  6. Australia
  7. Shangri-la
  8. Mr. Churchill Says
  9. She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina
  10. Young & Innocent Days
  11. Nothing To Say
  12. Arthur

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002KON
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Like many fans of this great British band, I've watched the release of 6 Kinks 'Deluxe Editions' since the beginning of 2011 with a certain amount of scepticism. Haven't these albums been done to death already and isn't this just more monetary milking of it? But then several of our customers began to rave about the great new remastered sound on these doubles - so I took the plunge on "Face To Face" (see review), "Something Else" (see review) and "Arthur..." - and they were right. They're better than previous 2004 single issues - and how. But along with the gains (there's 5 'previously unreleased' tracks), there are some minor omissions too...

Here are the details first - "Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire DELUXE EDITION" was released 20 June 2011 in the UK on Universal/Sanctuary 273 227-4 and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (78:24 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are the MONO version of the LP "Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire" released 10 October 1969 in the UK on Pye Records NPL 18317 (no Mono version was released in the USA - only Stereo - see Disc 2)
Track 13 is "Plastic Man" - the non-album Mono A-side of a UK 7" single released 29 March 1969 on Pye Records 7N.17724 ("King Kong" from "Village Green..." is its B-side)
Track 14 is "This Man He Weeps Tonight" - the Mono non-album B-side of a UK 7" single released 12 September 1969 on Pye Records 7N.17812 (the mono A-side is "Shangri La" from the album)
Track 15 is "Mindless Child Of Motherhood" - the Mono non-album B-side of a UK 7" single released 20 June 1969 on Pye Records 7N.17776.
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By David Kinney on April 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This recording was, and is still, the Kink's finest hour. Composed by Ray Davies as the score for a 1969 British TV series that never got off the ground, it, in it's own humble way ushered in a spate of lesser concept albums. It is neither a rock opera, nor a portentious retelling of the history of England. Rather, it's a collection of postcard perfect scenes of everyday life in the suburbs of post-war England. Yawn,right? Wait a minute, this thing rocks harder than the Kinks had in 5 years! As critic John Mendelsohn points out in the original liner notes, "...there's not a song in the lot, start they with harpsichords or slow military drums, that ends up anything less than great bopping rock." Ray Davies never quite matched this tiumph, though the Kinks' most successful years were still ahead of them. And what about the content? Well 'Victoria','Drivin', 'Australia', the brilliant 'Shangri-La' and the title tune all deserve to stand along Ray Davies' earlier masterpiece 'Waterloo Sunset'. That's quite an achievement and this CD would merit 10 stars if I could give 'em. I'm givin'them 5 stars. Times two. Cheers.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Monkey Knuckle Asteroid on April 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I've struggled long and hard to decide which Kinks album would qualify as my favorite. There are quite a few to choose from. There's the lovely quietude of 'Village Green' and 'Something Else' and there's the strangeness of 'Percy,' the transition of 'Face to Face' and the last good gasp of 'Lola'
But Arthur crushes them all in its giant maw...
From the first song, where you hear Dave whooping with joy in the background to the last defeated rave-up, this album is pure greatness and it should be requisite law that every house should have it.
What makes this album their best, other than it being a concept album (and we all know that concept albums make the best albums), is that it is a album of 20 songs, most of them songs within songs. It's rare for an album to cover so much terrain and still come in under an hour.
Besides which, this is the Kinks at their shining hour of greatness, all their successes and defeats behind them and nothing as good as this in their future. Ray's writing is more genius than its ever been before. The Kinks' playing has never been so tight and together.
Plus it has 'Shangri-La.' Which is possibly one of the 10 best songs ever written...
So share with the Kinks the joy of conquering the muscial frontier and weld your CD player shut as soon as you put "Arthur" in it....
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
The Kinks didn't get much respect for a long period of time. In the U.K. they were always seen as being in the shadow of most of their contemporaries but history does a nice job of adjusting things in favor of the underdog; The Kinks have gotten their due for a series of great albums produced during their peak of creativity when they couldn't get into America to tour due to a ban from the Musician's Union.

"Arthur" remains one of Ray Davies' masterpieces. It didn't sell well in the U.S. but it gained a cult following among everyone who cared about music.

This deluxe edition helps redress some of the issues that blocked this great album from receiving its due back in 1969.

Andrew Sandoval went back to the original master tapes, dug around in the archives and done a splendid job of remastering what he found (with Dan Hersh)for this latest CD edition. Audiophiles should note that this is louder than previous editions but Sandoval has done a nice job of balancing the needs of the marketplace to that of the music listener; these are NOT brickwalled and have nice dynamics.

Disc one and two consist of the original (respectively) mono and stereo versions of the album. Which one you prefer will probably depend on which one you heard first but both have some minor, subtle variations in their mixes that make them both essential for hardcore Kinks fans.

PLEASE NOTE: On the mono version of "This Man He Weeps Tonight" there appear to be clicks and pops as if the digital file was corrupted somehow. Just be aware of it and hopefully Universal will fix it in the next pressing.

EDIT: 11/14 Reportedly the reissue has had this problem fixed.

Both discs are rounded out by a variety of single b-sides/alternate takes/backing tracks and outtakes.
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