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This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies & The Kinks

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 2, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

At his best, the Kinks' Ray Davies is one of the cleverest writers in pop, managing to wring universal appeal from a wholly and unapologetically English perspective. Most of the artists featured on This Is Where I Belong are American, and most acquit themselves admirably. Hosannas must be directed at Fountains of Wayne's giddy reading of "Better Things," Cracker's rousing "Victoria," an intricate working of "Art Lover" by Lambchop, and a spectacular, turbocharged "Who'll Be the Next in Line" by Queens of the Stone Age. The decision to close the album with Davies himself performing one of his finest songs--"Waterloo Sunset"--with one of his able heirs, Damon Albarn of Blur, is a neat touch. --Andrew Mueller

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Better Things - Fountains Of Wayne
  2. Starstruck - Steve Forbert
  3. Stop Your Sobbing - Jonathan Richman
  4. No Return - Bebel Gilberto
  5. A Well Respected Man - Josh Rouse
  6. Victoria - Cracker
  7. Who'll Be The Next In Line - Queens Of The Stone Age
  8. Big Sky - Matthew Sweet
  9. Art Lover - Lambchop
  10. Picture Book - Bill Lloyd & Tommy Womack
  11. Muswell Hillbilly - Tom O'Brien
  12. Get Back In Line - The Minus 5
  13. 'Til The End Of The Day - Fastball
  14. This Is Where I Belong - Ron Sexsmith
  15. Fancy - Yo La Tengo
  16. Waterloo Sunset - Ray Davies & Damon Albarn

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 2, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B000062V5B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,497 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It seems to be a requirement for music snobs to have their favorite neglected genius, the one who wrote better songs than Lennon and/or McCartney and/or both but never got the credit he or she deserved. Typically most of said snobs tend to pick Lou Reed. Well, I say good choice, no harm in that one, but I am going to have to go with Ray Davies. Sorry Lou. Ray's songs seem a bit more universal, a bit more touching, a bit easier to connect to. As much as I love "Heroin" and "Sweet Jane," I more often find myself with "Big Sky" or "This is Where I Belong" on the player. I guess it's just a matter of taste.

When I discovered this compilation, the name tipped me off that it would be good. If Ryko had called it "All Day and All of the Night," for example, or "You Really Got Me," it would have conjured up images of Van Halen or some other inane, dated hard-rock group grinding out yet another cover of the earliest stuff. "This is Where I Belong" is not only a great song from the classic mid-period years but it is also an obscurity. Somebody knew what they were doing over at Ryko, so I had to invest the $14 it cost at the time to find out whether it was any good.

And it was. These artists show exactly why Ray's music is so is completely timeless. The glory of "Big Sky," my favorite Kinks song, is captured magnificently here by Matthew Sweet. Jonathan Richman shows us exactly why "Stop Your Sobbing" hasn't lost any of its charm- its simplicity allows the message- one of coping with sorrow of any kind- to come through clearly. Fountains of Wayne take another obscurity, "Better Things," and maintain its feel as a powerpop gem while making sound like it was written yesterday. None of the wit or wisdom is lost in any of these translations.
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Format: Audio CD
Remakes shouldn't be pointless carbon-copies of the originals, nor should they differ so much from the originals that they upset fans of the band or artist being saluted. For the most part, the 16-track CD This Is Where I Belong: The Songs Of Ray Davies And The Kinks avoids making those mistakes, as a who's who of indie and alternative rock figures pay tribute to the underrated British Invasion band and its gifted chief songwriter. Most of the bands and artists here infuse Ray's songs with their own unique styles: Hooky power-pop (Fountains of Wayne's "Better Things", "Big Sky" by Matthew Sweet); haunting balladry (Lambchop's "Art Lover", "Fancy" by Yo La Tengo); pure country (Tim O'Brien's "Muswell Hillbilly"); bossa-nova (Bebel Gilberto's "No Return"); mid-tempo folk-pop ("This is Where I Belong" by Ron Sexsmith), etc. Davies himself shows up on the closing track, a lovely live recording of "Waterloo Sunset" featuring Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
A few tracks do adhere a little too closely to the originals; Fastball and Cracker just don't sound like themselves on "'Til the End of the Day" and "Victoria," respectively. (As much as I love the originals, I just wish these guys could've brought something new to the table.) On the other hand, you'll either love or hate the radical changes made by singer-songwriters Josh Rouse ("A Well Respected Man") and Jonathan Richman ("Stop Your Sobbing"); personally, I think they improve greatly on the originals. With a few lyrical adjustments and a complete overhaul of the arrangement, Rouse turns the twee, silly "Well Respected Man" into a sober character study.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD of new recordings of Ray Davies songs is really a pleasure to listen to. Great variety in sounds and style but great songs all the way through - though it loses a little steam towards the end.

Some tracks are very true to the original whereas others are treated in new and different ways - in some cases in very exciting ways.

The opening track "Better Days" from "Give the People What They Want" is a great song, but it always sounded a little rough and demo-like to my ears. Very interesting to learn from Davies own well-written liner-notes that it really was only demo that was included on the album. A great opener here given a power-pop treatment by Fountains of Wayne.

Steve Forbert's version of "Starstruck" from Village Green P.S. is just as great. Musically more polished than the opener, but Forbert's raw vocals give this fine song a new edge.

"Stop Your Sobbing" is given an acoustic treatment by Jonathan Richman. Very nice, which is also Bebel Gilberto's version of "No Return", which is probably the only bossa-nova song Davies ever wrote. Ray reveals that the song was written with Bebel's mother Astrud ( the girl from Ipanema ) in mind.

"A Well Respected Man" originally was a raw half-acoustic recording. This new version by Josh Rouse has been given a completely different more polished feel - the satire may not be quite as obvious as on the original but great to hear the song interpreted so differently.

"Victoria" is probably too true to the original "Arthur" version to make it really interesting.

"Who'll Be the Next in Line" is good but no more.

Another stand-out is the overlooked gem "Big Sky" from Village G.P.S.
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