Working Mans Cafe a new studio album by legendary musician and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame member Ray Davies (founder, singer, songwriter of The Kinks), features 12 new songs written by Davies, and co-produced with Grammy® Award winning producer/engineer Ray Kennedy (Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle) and 4 bonus tracks. Recorded in Nashville, Working Mans Café is Davies second solo album, following his solo debut Other Peoples Lives, released in 2006.
The deluxe CD/DVD contains a limited edition DVD entitled Ray Davies Americana A Work In Progress. Filmed and directed by Ray himself, it features footage from the fall 2001 Storyteller Tour. Ray narrates over the post-9/11 landscape of airports, freeways, hotels, soundchecks and performances, with songs from Working Man s Café as the soundtrack. It all culminates in New Orleans, the city that inspired many of the songs on the new album. The film is a fascinating glimpse into life on the road with one of rock n roll s most legendary artists. It is filmed and directed by Ray Davies.
Working Mans Café, focuses on the plight of the worker, the every day man around the world. It is Davies American record (many of the songs were written and all produced in the US) describing the changes he s seen in this country since he first started visiting in the 60s. In a recent four star Mojo Magazine review Davies is described as having a tourist s blend of enchantment and bafflement when writing about the United States
2008 must be an interesting year to have an outsider's view on the US and its role in the world, and when Ray Davies sings "everywhere I go it looks and feels like America," it's hard to miss a bit of the bitterness in the observation. His second studio solo album in three years, Working Man's Cafe
feels like exactly the album a 60-something rocker would craft--assured and direct yet searching and restless, a glimpse into the head of a man who's comfortable in his skin but still wonders how he fits into a world that seems to be turning faster and stranger as the years pass by. Davies has cultivated this contraposition of bitter and sweet, of intertwining comfort and conflict throughout his years leading the Kinks, and now continues into what looks to be a fruitful solo career. There's a bit of George Harrison in the melody and sentiment of "One More Time," acknowledging the widening gap between powerful corporations and the overtaxed little guy, while still envisioning the possibility of a brighter future. And the title track's half-acidic, half-nostalgic take on modern homogenization follows the classic Davies approach of reporting what he sees around him with one eye toward a fading past: "I bought a pair of new designer pants where the fruit and veg man used to stand." It's nice to note that, 40 years on, the songwriter that skewered '60s Brits with "A Well-Respected Man" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" still wields a sharpened pen and pulls no punches. --Ben Heege