Working Man's Cafe
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Working Man s 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
Top Customer Reviews
"Working Man's Cafe" is a strong follow up to his superb, meticulous first true solo effort "Other Peoples Lives" released in 2006. I have been listening to the import version of WMC for a few months now but also purchased the U.S. release because it contains two additional excellent new songs as well as alternate versions of other tracks. The music on this collection feels quite visceral and spontaneous. It would be well suited for live performances. The sound is clearly 21st century, yet there are scattered shards within that make one reminiscent of the classic Kinks albums such as "Arthur" and "Something Else". This CD is smooth listening from start to finish and your favorites are likely to shift with time. Vocally Ray Davies is as strong as ever and much attention has been given to the sound quality and arrangements. The title cut along with: "Imaginary Man", Vietnam Cowboys and especially "In a Moment" get honorable mention but all the songs are memorable in their own way. Uninitiated listeners not familiar with this performer's body of work should find this collection very enjoyable even if they lack the proclivity to ruminate over the lyrics like some of us might.Read more ›
It seems incredible that a songwriter as respected and acclaimed as Davies should only be releasing his second solo record in 2007.
That said, "Working Man's Café" is not likely to disappoint generations of Davies fans.
Lyrically speaking, all his trademark wry and sardonic observations on life are present. As one of rock music's most lauded social commentators Ray peppers the majority of these new songs with nicely-honed and bang up-to-date assessments of the world as he sees it today: a conflicted, contradictory and globalized shopping centre mired in double standards and creeping 'Americanisation'.
You only have to listen to "Waterloo Sunset" to realise that Ray Davies has always had a tendency to wrap his disillusionment in the flag of nostalgia. He hankers for the past on this new album too, but with a brusqueness which would have embarrassed his younger self - before finally dragging himself back towards something approaching contentment.
The album captures Davies's revulsion with Tony Blair's Britain, his relocation to New Orleans, and the reflections on mortality which followed his shooting in the Crescent City (after chasing a mugger). Some of the material is mined directly from his experience.
This could be judged as the grumpy old man of The Kinks indulging in some nostalgia-driven baby-boomer whingeing.
Instead, Davies, who remains an engaging and energetic performer at 64, pinpoints the concerns of the moment from the perspective of a man who has seen England and the world beyond it change almost beyond recognition... and as far as Ray is concerned, not for the better.Read more ›
By the end of the day, I have come away quite joyous over the album and its content. As you might expect from any Kinks and/or Ray Davies set of songs - really one and the same, I guess - the message is of an intensely personal nature. It's one man's view of the world and its events. However, at the same time, because of Mr. Davies' amazing, transcendent ability to view both the one and the whole at the same time, it is a work that will resonate with almost anyone.
And, coming, as it does, in the midst of what could well be a profound sea-change in the body politic of the United States, it is eerily prescient that this album is quite likely the least English of any that Davies or the band has done with only two or three songs addressing that little island across the pond. But, despite the US-centricness of the album, Mr. Davies still mourns and rails against those wishing to destroy "little shops, china cups and virginity." But, this time many of the attacks are directed against entities far more tangible and, in point of fact, much more risky. Davies takes on - as he has many times in the past - the duel-headed leviathan of corporate disdain and bureaucracy.
The former is addressed in the first cut, a melodic tirade about the movement of jobs offshore and portrayed against a backdrop of New Orleans. It could have just as well been an attack on the Queen Mary II having to be built in France. There are also other references to lost jobs and lost dreams on other cuts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The vocals are a bit muddy on this album but the instrumentation is solid. Understandable since live recording in 1980 wasn't quite what it could be, although that isn't the case... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Why do I always feel like I am a character in a Nick Hornby novel when I read album reviews on Amazon? Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by Steppenwolf
Ray Davies was one of the leaders of the classic British band, The Kinks.
It's been a while since he's released anything new but this is a really good album that didn't... Read more
Thinking of the great British bands of the sixties who is left standing? I love the Beatles, but what McCartney has been warbling out since 1976 does nothing but tarnish his... Read morePublished on May 13, 2011 by MACLEAR
Ray has been at it. This album is really good, and the words to these are important too.( and true),although I did prefer a couple of the tunes from his album before this... Read morePublished on October 16, 2009 by Clement R. Kaye
Great album by a great artist. I wish there were more real artist in the music industry that could actually write songs. Read morePublished on May 26, 2009 by S. Sabeh
This is a really great disc from Ray Davies. When it was first released I read a couple of local reviews which said it was just ok, so I was a bit apprenhensive before I put my... Read morePublished on June 18, 2008 by B. D. Schlup
I decided to give this CD over 50 listens before writing my review. The good news is it never got boring over the course of 50 plus listens. Read morePublished on May 18, 2008 by IJEFF