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See My Friends

4.0 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 5, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ray Davies, one of the UK's finest songwriters, releases 'See My Friends', an album of classic Kinks songs turned into unique collaborations. On this one of a kind album, Ray collaborates with a formidable selection of artists on tracks from his incredible songwriting career, revisiting his back catalogue and crafting new versions of his classic songs. Everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Metallica features on this diverse collection of material. Highlights include 'Days'/'This Time Tomorrow' with Mumford & Sons, 'Better Things' with Bruce Springsteen, 'You Really Got Me' with Metallica and 'Tired of Waiting For You' with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody. Paloma Faith, Jackson Browne, Black Francis of the Pixies, Lucinda Williams, Amy MacDonald and Spoon also feature on the record.

From the Artist

"This project came about almost by accident," noted Davies, which was kick-started when he recorded a version of "Till The End Of The Day" in the summer of 2009, with Chilton. The idea of collaborating with a larger group of artists really gained momentum when Davies performed "You Really Got Me" and "All Day And All Of The Night," with Metallica in New York City at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Anniversary party in October 2009. That same evening, Davies met Bruce Springsteen, and the idea of recording together excited both artists, fueling the project further. "With some tracks I had to appreciate the style of the other artists, otherwise it would have sounded unbalanced. I wanted the album to work as an entire listening experience but each track had a life of its own," explains Ray.
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Digital Booklet: See My Friends
Digital Booklet: See My Friends
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 5, 2011)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Records
  • ASIN: B0043VCPV4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,056 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Noel A. Hodda on November 16, 2010
I love the music of Ray Davies, both alone and with The Kinks. Seminal music, seminal band, a fact borne out by the issue over the years of several tribute albums by other artists celebrating the music of this English pop genius. See My Friends is another in that line with the notable and somewhat strange exception to the tribute album rule in that Ray Davies himself appears on the album. It's a bit like attending your own funeral. These are, for the most part, unnecessary joint performances that add nothing to the songs. In fact, on several of these cuts the original song is flailed to within an inch of its life. I'm referring specifically to Bruce Springsteen braying all over the normally beautiful Better Things; Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora turning Celluloid Heroes into an emotionally empty arena-loud bit of nothing; Paloma Faith presenting an insipid Lola and Metallica (Metallica?!?!?) murdering You Really Got Me. And I do mean murdering. Awful to listen to. Shame Ray, shame. On the positive side, Mumford & Sons deliver a lovely version of Days/This Time Tomorrow where their harmonies and Ray Davies' plaintive voice meld into something worthwhile. Similarly, and perhaps surprisingly, Ray's duet with Jackson Browne on Waterloo Sunset finds something new in that song, especially since the arrangement moves to the left of the legendary original. Spoon and Ray give us a See My Friends that works but adds nothing to the original and it's the same with Gary Lightbody and Amy Macdonald on Tired Of Waiting and Dead End Street respectively. 'Til The End Of The Day with Alex Chilton carries an inherent sadness, a feeling that may be the song and may be influenced by his recent death.Read more ›
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Format: MP3 Music
Each track presents great Ray Davies compositions in a unique but familiar setting. The pairings with Ray are a cross-section of the musical spectrum:
1. Better Things (Ray Davies & Bruce Springsteen)
2. Celluloid Heroes (Ray Davies, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora)
3. Days/This Time Tomorrow (Ray Davies & Mumford & Sons)
4. Long Way From Home (Ray Davies, Lucinda Williams & The 88
5. You Really Got Me (Ray Davies & Metallica
6. Lola (Ray Davies & Paloma Faith)
7. Waterloo Sunset (Ray Davies & Jackson Browne)
8. 'Til The End of The Day (Ray Davies, Alex Chilton & The 88)
9. Dead End Street (Ray Davies & Amy Macdonald)
10. See My Friends (Ray Davies & Spoon)
11. This Is Where I Belong (Ray Davies & Black Francis)
12. David Watts (Ray Davies & The 88)
13. Tired Of Waiting (Ray Davies & Gary Lightbody)
14. All Day And All Of The Night/Destroyer (Ray Davies & Billy Corgan)

The Mumford & Sons, Lucinda and Alex Chilton collaborations are works of art. The Metallica remake of "You Really Got Me" is less so. Perhaps the world does not need another version of this classic. How appropriate for Bruce to be on "Better Days." The mash-up (Days/This Time Tomorrow and All Day & All of the NIght/Destroyer) are inspired. But don't cherry-pick the tracks, download the entire album. I love the originals and I love these interpretations. You will find yourself thinking about these songs long after you remove your earbuds.
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"See My Friends" is tough to categorize or rate. There is no doubting the underlying quality of Davies' songs performed by an extremely eclectic group of people. For a musical luminary of Ray Davies' stature I would have liked to have seen some more A-List artists and better efforts from those who did appear here. I was excited to hear this CD, but much was overwrought, particularly "You Really Got Me" with Metallica (!) and "Better Things" with Bruce Springsteen (I must confess to not being a Springsteen fan, but his voice has rarely sounded coarser.) Some of the songs surprised me: the "Days" and "This Time Tomorrow" medley with Mumford & Sons is a strange combo platter; I liked the latter much more than the former. Paloma Faith's spin on "Lola" works fairly well, though Ray's vocal contribution to the track is less ideal. For artistic pairings, Jackson Browne's appearance on "Waterloo Sunset" is perhaps the best choice on the CD, though the "All Day and All of the Night"-"Destroyer" duet with Ray and Billy Corgan worked effectively, while my least favorite performance on the CD is on "David Watts" with Ray Davies and The 88.

I have listened to this album several times now and have really tried to give all the tracks an opportunity to grow on me; in some cases they did, in others they didn't. While I am grateful to get a new Ray Davies CD, I can't help but think that this is an album that could have been so much better. It's generally pleasant (with a few exceptions) but in all cases the originals are better, and in most cases much better.
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This is a great collection of Kinks songs done by great non-Kinks musicians. Ray and his brother and the Kinks never got the full credit they deserved in the rock n' roll revolution. They had a unique sound that evolved with their innovative efforts. I listen to them these days with a more appreciative ear (now in my sixties!) than i did way back in those great 1960s. Thanks goes out to Ray and his musical collaborators on a great album.
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