Irony laced the career of The Kinks how else to describe how during their most creative period they were banned from playing in America causing their impact to be a shadow of what it had been when "You Really Got Me" broke.
This deluxe edition supervised and remastered (with Dan Hersh)by Andrew Sandoval features both the mono and stereo versions of this classic album as well as single tracks, bonus outtakes and previously unreleased BBC sessions recorded by the band in support of this terrific album.
The sound is exceptionally good--yes, it is louder than the previous version but the album still sounds quite dynamic and Sandoval was able to locate the best sounding tapes for these reissues. The mono sounds particularly good--very punchy with a lot of presence.
Disc one features the entire mono album as well as the single tracks "Act Nice and Gentle", "Mr. Pleasant", "Susannah's Still Alive", "Autumn Almanac". The remainder of the album is fleshed out by the following BBC tracks; "Sunny Afternoon", "Autumn Almanac", "Mr. Pleasant", "Susannah's Still Alive" (duplicating the singles included), "David Watts". We also get previously unreleased alternate mixes/versions of "David Watts", "Harry Rag" and the rare "Afternoon Tea" from the Canadian mono mix of the album.
The previously released BBC tracks also appear--"Love Me Till The Sun Shines", "Death of a Clown", "Good Luck Charm" and "Harry Rag".
Disc two consists of the entire album in stereo as well as the single tracks "Susannah's Still Live", "Autumn Almanac". "Sand in My Shoe" an early working version with completely different lyrics and a different musical performance of "Tin Soldier Man" as well as alternate mixes of "Afternoon Tea", "Mr. Pleasant", "Lazy Old Sun", "Funny Face" all remixed by Andrew Sandoval for stereo. We also get the rare German stereo mix of "Afternoon Tea" and an alternative backing track of "Tin Soldier Man" discovered by Andrew and remixed for stereo.
There's a great booklet included that discusses the making of the album, the various tracks and includes the recording dates (where known) for the various tracks on the album.
This deluxe edtion of "Something Else" puts the original U.S. version on Reprise to shame and is a step up for Kinks fans.
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" and "Arthur..." - and they were right. They're better than previous 2004 single issues - and how. But along with the gains (there's 12 'previously unreleased' tracks), there are some minor omissions too...
Here are the details first - "Something Else By...DELUXE EDITION" was released 20 June 2011 in the UK on Universal/Sanctuary 273 214-1 and breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (79:46 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 13 are the MONO version of the LP "Something Else By The Kinks" released 15 September 1967 in the UK on Pye Records NPL 18193 and January 1968 in the USA on Reprise Records R 6279 [Mono Variant Was Promo-Only in the USA]
Track 14 is "Act Nice And Gentle" - the Mono non-album A-side of a UK 7" single released 5 May 1967 on Pye Records 7N.17321
Track 15 is "Mr. Pleasant" - the Mono non-album A-side of a UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N.17314. Released 21 April 1967, it pressed up for export issue to Europe. It was also issued in the USA on 24 May 1967 on Reprise Records 0587. Its non-album B-side is "That is Where I Belong" - that track is 'not' available here - it's on the "Face To Face Deluxe Edition"
Track 16 is "Susannah's Still Alive" - credited to Dave Davies, it's the Mono A-side of a UK 7" single released November 1967 on Pye Records 7N.17429 - it was issued in the USA on 31 January 1968 on Reprise Records 0660
Track 17 is "Autumn Almanac" - the Mono A-side of a UK 7" single released 13 October 1967 on Pye Records 7N.17400 - it was also issued 29 November 1967 in the USA on Reprise Records 0647
Tracks 18 and 19 are "Harry Rag" and "David Watts" - Alternate Takes, both are 'Previously Unreleased'
Track 20 is "Afternoon Tea" - An Alternate Mix - It was originally issued as a Canadian 7" single on Pye 828 in October 1967
Tracks 21 to 29 are "Sunny Afternoon", "Autumn Almanac", "Mr. Pleasant", "Susannah's Still Alive", "David Watts", "Love Me Till The Sun Shines", "Death Of A Clown", "Good Luck Charm" and "Harry Rag" - all are BBC Recordings (August to October 1967) with 21 to 25 being 'Previously Unreleased'
Track 30 is "Little Women - Unfinished Backing Track" - first released in 1998 on the "Face To Face" CD reissue
Disc 2 (69:42 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 13 are the STEREO version of the LP - Pye Records NSPL 18193 in the UK and Reprise Records RS 6279 in the USA
Tracks 14 and 15 are "Susannah's Still Alive" and "Autumn Almanac" - these 2 STEREO versions were first slotted for release on the 1968 "Four More Respected Gentlemen" UK LP, but withdrawn - they finally saw release in the USA on the 2LP Reprise Records retrospective "Kinks Kronikles" in March 1972.
Tracks 16 to 20 are "Sand On My Shoes", "Afternoon Tea", "Mr. Pleasant", "Lazy Old Sun" and "Funny Face" - all are Stereo and 'Previously Unreleased'
Tracks 21 is "Afternoon Tea" - a German Stereo Mix released on the German LP version in December 1967 on Pye Hitton HTSLP 340044
Track 22 is "Tin Soldier Man" - and is 'Previously Unreleased'
The 24-page booklet is as tastefully laid out as the "Face To Face" issue is - they all have the same generic look - liners notes by noted writer PETER DOGGETT (Record Collector magazine), photos of both the UK and US LP artwork along with many rare Euro and US 7" single picture sleeves, trade adverts, newspaper clippings, memorabilia and input from fan sites etc. The breakdown of the tracks is very well done too - what came from what and why. Both of the discs are also themed - the CDs reflect the purple colouring of the original UK Pye Records LP label - with Side 1 pictured beneath the see-through tray of CD1 and Side 2 beneath the tray of CD2 - all nice touches.
ANDREW SANDOVAL, DAN HERSCH (of Digiprep and Rhino fame) and ANDY PEARCE carried out the remasters - and the sound quality is exceptionally good. The STEREO mixes in particular are superb and so fresh, not just separated two-channel reprocessing, but a cohesive whole - very warm and beautifully clear. The difference between the MONO and STEREO versions in fact is acute (as it is on "Face To Face"). Some prefer the stark power of the MONO, but I think this is one of those 'Deluxe Editions' that actually benefits from the presence of both - they different beasts for sure - but equally admirable.
To the record itself - with "Sgt. Peppers" thrashing everything in sight from 1 June 1967 to the end of the year, that goliath's presence perhaps goes some way to explaining why an album as brilliant as "Something Else..." was virtually ignored by the public on both sides of the pond. It made number 35 on the LP charts for 2 weeks in the UK and barely scraped 153 in the USA for 1 week. Talk about lost masterpiece...
The album opens with a double-whammy - "David Watts" (lyrics above) and "Death Of A Clown" - a duo of lyrical and musical brilliance. "Situation Vacant" is another gem - with lyrics like "...to keep his Mama satisfied, he went and bought the weekly classified...". Few bands excepting maybe The Beatles and The Stones had their finger on the pulse of Sixties society like The Kinks did - the light and the dark. The sonic punch out of both "Afternoon Tea" and the beautiful "Waterloo Sunset" is fantastic too. I love the even-more-trippy vocal on the Alternate "Lazy Old Sun" while the 'Alternate Backing Track' on "Tin Soldier Man" sounds like it will turn up on some retro TV program soon (it may be vocal-less, but it's fully-formed and ready to use). And as with "Face To Face", the keyboard flourishes of ace sessionman Nicky Hopkins can now be heard clearly throughout. Again - the whole thing feels like an embarrassment of riches.
Niggles - couple of B-sides left off (but they're on the "Face To Face" double if you really want them) and I find these new card-digipaks easy to dent and mark without the outer plastic wrap that was on all initial Deluxe Editions. But these are minor points - at a whopping 52 tracks, there's genuinely little to moan about.
To sum up - a superb new remaster on both mixes, properly upgraded packaging and liner notes and extra tracks that actually warrant the title 'bonus'. Very nice indeed.
Recommended like gazing on a fine Waterloo Sunset...
on July 18, 2011
Thank god the deluxe edition remasters of the Kinks' catalogue are among the finest I've ever seen for any band, considering how legendary the group are to rock history in general. "Something Else" has always been a masterpiece--turned into an enduring cult classic due to its curious lack of success when initially released in spite of containing two top 5 UK hits--but the initial Reprise CD possessed terrible sound and the late 90s Castle remaster a better sound and some decent bonus cuts, but there still seemed room for improvement. Just how much room was still left for improvement is proved by this deluxe edition, which I happily paid an exorbitant price for and thankfully, was not only not disappointed but utterly overwhelmed.
Since the stereo and mono versions differ so greatly, it is great to have both available in one package for the first time. The first thing that immediately leaps out upon playing the discs is the amazing sound quality, which cuts the earlier Castle remaster--which I considered decent at the time--to shreds. And unlike the recent round of remixes/remasters for various groups that have sacrificed EQ subtlety for loudness, "Something Else" is an absolute textbook model of how to do make a remaster sound loud and clear, without compressing the music to a sterile din. All of the original peaks and valleys of the music are still there, only sounding warmer, brighter and clearer than ever. With this truly deluxe edition the album sounds epic, which befits the epic nature of Britpop classics like "Lazy Old Sun", "Waterloo Sunset", "Two Sisters" and "Situation Vacant".
The lengthy accompanying booklet is well-researched and informative, with much in-depth detail on the creation of the songs. The bonus tracks are outstanding; the BBC sessions material includes a superb version of "Sunny Afternoon" inexplicably not included on the earlier BBC release, with more prominent vocal harmonies between Ray and Dave. There's a wealth of outtakes and alternate mixes, all worthwhile; the outtakes feature the songs in different but equally entrancing arrangements to the familiar versions. Additionally, while four songs on disc two ("Afternoon Tea", "Funny Face", "Lazy Old Sun" and "Mr.Pleasant") are listed as "alternate mixes", they are actually all superb alternate takes. The alternate take of "David Watts" on disc one is also quite interesting, as it features a more acoustic arrangement and a different vocal approach from Ray. With the addition of all the relevant non-album a-and-b sides to boot (with only "This Is Where I Belong" appropriately appearing on the "Face To Face" remaster instead, seeing as how it was recorded during those sessions), this is a truly complete picture of this peak period in The Kinks' career, which yielded one of pop's all time greatest songs, "Waterloo Sunset", and a brace of others (although why no alternate take or mix of that song, I wonder?) which makes "Something Else" one of rock's greatest albums.
on December 29, 2006
As I write this review of Something Else I am sitting under the framed album cover autographed by Ray & Dave Davies. I'd waited outside their hotel, sometime early '70's, hoping they'd pop out. I brought my favorite Kinks album, and as Ray signed it, he said: "I don't think even I have a copy of this record." I assumed he was kidding. In any case, he wasn't about to get mine!
My favorite period for the Kinks was part of the least popular in America - that period that encompassed Face to Face, Something Else, and Village Green Preservation Society. Record sales had slunk so low that Reprise Records famously advertised a compilation for one penny with the slogan - "God Save the Kinks!" I have that compilation in my record closet. For my money, everyone should own Face to Face, Something Else, and Village Green, a tryptich of classic songs perfectly delivered. With this era, the Kinks solidified their position as one of the most creative, adventuresome, and accomplished of all their peers.
Something Else opens with David Watts, a wonderful tale of adolescent jealousy and envy. Everybody has known a David Watts - someone who walks on water, someone who always gets their way, for whom everything in life comes easy. Death of a Clown follows this - a song that always makes me sing-a-long with it, even if I haven't been drinking. Something Else includes songs (for the first time?) written by Dave Davies - in addition to Death of a Clown, Dave penned Love Me Till the Sun Shines and Funny Face.
There are songs that harken back to music hall music, like Harry Rag or Tin Soldier Man. A gentle ambiance of nostalgia, bittersweet longing for simplicity, old traditions, times gone by. Afternoon Tea. Lazy Old Sun. End of the Season. Themes that become fully realized on Village Green, but this is the interlude. The transitional album inbetween. It's as much of a concept album as Sgt. Pepper or Tommy or Forever Changes. It's just different. And very British.
But the best is saved for last, Waterloo Sunset. It's been described as the most perfect pop song ever written. A song for the centuries. That's not just my opinion - it's been described that way by Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, David Bowie. It's breathtakingly beautiful. The perfect end to the perfect album.
on July 15, 2001
Okay...even in this "original format", this is probably the best Kinks album, but I must lead you to the remastered & expanded import. However, even its original format you get:
David Watts: The famous "fa fa fa fa" song. Great driving rhythm. Blueprint for the Jam (and covered by the Jam in the 70's).
Death of a Clown: over-rated, as far as I'm concerned, but most folks find it to be a classic.
Two Sisters: a transparent metaphor for the rivalry between brothers Dave & Ray. Dave was the rave-up sex toy, and Ray was the jealous domesticated husband/father (at the time).
No Return: absolutely BRILLIANT shuffling, jazzy ditty. Yo La Tengo does a nice cover of this...
Harry Rag: Music hall sing-along tune about everything being okay as long as you've got a smoke.
Tin Soldier Man: another song disparaging the middle class (such as "Well Respected Man"). Great horny section (I mean, section with horns).
Situation Vacant: an organ jiving 60's rocker about giving up everything to keep your mother in law happy (and being miserable as a result).
Afternoon Tea: one of several Ray Davies songs espousing the merits of tea (like "Have a Cuppa Tea")...great Beach Boy'esque harmonies.
Waterloo Sunset: probably Ray Davies single best song...poignant lyrics about love and love's ability to make a substandard environment (have you ever been to Waterloo station?) seem like paradise. Harmonies like melted gold boulion.
The album also includes several other second rate numbers (Lazy Old Sun, Love Me till the Sun Shines, Funny Face, & End of the Season), which are also good/great but pale next to their neighbors.
Finally, the import contains EIGHT bonus tracks included the marvellous "There is No Life without Love" (sounds cheesy, but it's sublime). Do you yourself a favor and get ANY VERSION of this album...even a stretched out 8 track tape. These songs represent, in my opinion, the pinnacle of rock's potential. The Kinks have MANY great albums, and made great songs as late as 1976 (I personally adore the "Soap Opera" album), but this one has the highest number of A+ tracks, and also the greatest stylistic variety.
In a three-year span (10/66-10/69), the Kinks succeeded in releasing four classic albums: Face To Face, The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur, and the crown jewel Something Else. Unfortunately this creative peak of Ray Davies and Co. coincided with problems with a U.S. musicians' union and the band did not perform in the United States during this time. [Note: During this three-year period only two Kinks songs charted in the U.S.--"Dead End Street" (#73) and "Mr. Pleasant" (#80).]
And in the fickle world of rock 'n' roll, the Kinks never really regained their momentum with their fans. And that is our loss. While I still enjoy going back and listening to the early sixties Kinks' hits like "You Really Got Me" and "All Day And All of the Night," it was only after Ray Davies began writing more introspective and personal songs that the band set themselves apart from all of the other British Invasion Bands.
Something Else brims with such songs. The wistfullness of "David Watts," the touching "Two Sisters," the emotional "Death of a Clown," and perhaps Ray's best song ever "Waterloo Sunset."
Back in the Sixties when I was a teenager, my allowance barely allowed me to keep up with purchasing all of the Beatles' output. But when I came across a cutout version of Something Else on vinyl for 99 cents, surely the gods were smiling on me that day. What a terrific album! I, of course, was hearing all of these songs for the first time since the radio long ago quit playing the Kinks. This has got to be one of the best Kinks albums no one has ever heard--it peaked at #153 on the album charts.
Now on CD we get the added treat of eight(!) bonus tracks, including the UK singles "Autumn Almanac," "Wonderboy" and "Susannah's Still Alive," along with a couple tracks that I don't think have shown up before on a Kinks' CD or vinyl album before: "Act Nice and Gentle" and Dave Davies' "Lincoln County." The other three bonus tracks are "There's No Life Without Love" from The Great Lost Kinks Album, "Polly" from The Kinks Kronikles and an unreleased stereo alternate take of "Lazy Old Sun."
The Kinks' late 60s and early 70s output deserves a closer look by a wider audience. After you pick up on this and the other three albums mentioned above, move on to Lola vs Powerman and the Moneygoround and Muswell Hillbillies and find out why Ray Davies should be mentioned in the same breath as John Lennon, Paul McCartney or Brian Wilson.
on May 16, 2000
I will skip the babbling about how great The Kinks are. Here is the order in which I recommend buying their albums:
1. Something Else By The Kinks (5 stars)
2. Face to Face (5 stars)
3. Village Green Preservation Society (5 stars)
4. Arthur... (5 stars)
5. Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneygoround (4.5 stars)
6. Misfits (4 stars)
7. Muswell Hillbillies (4 stars)
The first five are masterpieces. "Something Else" and "Village Green" are cohesive ensemble pieces; "Face to Face" is a fabulous collection of songs. Note that this is not a ranking; this is just the order in which I recommend buying these gems.
on February 8, 2001
Hard to argue with any of the reviews here - even the negative ones. This is a great Kinks album, no doubt. But the Kinks sound in the late 60s early 70s is a bit of an acquired taste. It's at its most commercial on the pop hits of the albums ("David Watts" and "Waterloo Sunset") but the rest of the album is a mixed bag of different styles. There are music hall numbers ("Harry Rag", "End of the Season" and "Tin Soldier Man"), bossa nova inspired love songs ("No Return") real 60s rockers ("Situation Vacant" and "Love Me 'Till the Sun Shines") and obligatory olde-fashioned psychedelia ("Two Sisters" and "Lazy Old Sun"). There is no easy way to classify this album. It really does grow on you but you MUST have a great sense of the absurd. If you can't handle feeling silly while listening to rock, then stay away!
Lead singer/songwriter Ray Davies never shied away from his dislike of modern progress and glorification of a Victorian Utopian England. He mixes his love of the old with the drive of a 60s rock band and the result is "Something Else" indeed. They are the most English of the English invasion bands and if you are simply looking for straight ahead Britpop from the 60s, this is not it. If you are looking for a unique voice and vision from a Britpop band, then check this out. Really fun and different.
on June 7, 2008
When I was in my first semester as a Freshman in college, I was alienated, lonely, going through some terrible trauma and depression. I had loved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Who since I was little, and they had helped me through such times. Wandering into an record store (this was 1984!) in Boston, I rifled through albums, and saw this one. I had only known the Kinks at that point for You Really Got Me, and a few others, but the cover art and then the titles of the songs made me realize I might be holding a gem I had never discovered.
As I played the album that night, I had one of many revelatory experiences I had only experienced with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and one of many I would have with the Kinks. This is a masterpiece. And you simply cannot try to interpret or criticize it in the context of the Beatles. They are working with material and ideas very different from most anyone else. There is something both very coy and detached, but intimate in a way that speaks to a wistful mentality, one that knows that life can be terribly painful and lonely, but in the middle of it life can also be beautiful and precious. The Kinks present this shade of life in a manner that is not pretentious. Think of all the groups (the Kinks included) who have made melancholy, whimsy and wistfulness pretentious! This album, along with its precursor Face to Face, and it subsequent Village Greene Preservation Society are three of the quiet but wonderful monuments not necessarily to rock music, but just plain great music in general. The album will never tire on me.
on June 30, 2002
This UK mini-LP CD is not only a faithful reproduction of the Japanese version of the album, but it's in full, glorious stereo. Anyone familiar with the Castle remasters will know that they made a huge mistake by releasing this Kinks klassic in mono. This CD, done in conjunction with Sanctuary, is the remastered album in stereo... the way it always should have been.
This CD stands heads and shoulders over the Castle remaster for several reasons. First of all, it's in stereo. Second, "Love Me Till The Sun Shines" once again starts with a thunderous, pounding rhythm capable of blowing out your speakers. Third, the first two notes of "Tin Soldier Man" have been restored. Oh... and this CD is in remastered stereo.
The only place where this release falters is in the song "Situation Vacant". On the original it faded out, faded back in, then faded out to the end of the song. On this CD, it fades out, and then ends. No reprise. No nuthin'. This makes the track about 40 seconds shorter than on any other CD that's been released. But hey... it's in stereo!
If you love The Kinks, you need this CD. Did I mention it's remastered? In stereo?