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Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story Hardcover – October 15, 2013
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Unlike the clever gimmicks employed in Ray's excellent first autobiographical book, XRay, Americana gives us a pure first person account, in amazingly comprehensive and honest detail, of Davies' experiences in America. There is rich detail about his life after the millennium in New Orleans, leading up to the shooting incident and recovery, with lots of information about that crime that has never before been disclosed. This recent history is told on a parallel track with the amazing history of the Kinks in America, beginning with their ill-fated 1965 tour and the subsequent ban that kept them out of the States until 1969.
The detailed anecdotes of how the Kinks gradually re-introduced themselves to America and eventually became one of the few hugely successful touring bands from the British Invasion period in the States during the 1970's and 1980's is fascinating, and filled with many priceless anecdotes about interactions with American music business giants like Bill Graham and Clive Davis. But Ray's loving memories of lesser-known figures who played roles in the Kinks' saga are perhaps the most touching. There is no mean-spirited score-settling material in this book...no fuel for the infamous feud between Ray and Dave, or invective toward anyone else.
Ray's writing here is characteristically sharp, incisive, and beautiful. As I got closer to the end of the book I found myself slowing down, because I did not want the book to end. Americana is indispensable to any fan of Ray Davies and the Kinks, and will make a surprisingly good read even to the uninitiated. Spectacular.
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