Tag Archives: Ray Davies

See My Friends

10 Apr


Neat idea – take the composer of some of the finest pop songs of the 1960s and get him to re-record them paired up with a bunch of admirers. ┬áIt did take a few listens before I warmed to this collection, which came out on Universal in 2010, because I kept thinking “how can this add something to the original?”. But after a while I found myself enjoying it – or at least most of it.

The opening track (‘Better Days’) with Bruce Springsteen sounds as if it could have been written by the Boss himself! The mash-up of ‘Days’ and ‘This Time Tomorrow’ with Mumford and Sons work really well as does ‘Lola’ with Paloma Faith. Sadly ‘Waterloo Sunset’ with Jackson Browne doesn’t work so well and ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ isn’t a patch on the original Kinks version.

One of the reasons I buy CDs more than download is because I am an obsessive reader of sleeve notes/booklets. Knowing who plays what on each track can really enhance listening as you can see if you can detect the differences between drummers or bassists or whatever. Similarly, good – or witty – notes also help and a nice part of this package are the paragraphs by Ray Davies on ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ reflecting on the origins of the song and its first recording and on the new collaboration.



9 Apr


It’d be a shame if the only lasting memory of the late Kirsty MacColl were as guest vocalist on the Pogues’ Fairy Tale of New York’. There was so much more to her than that.

Kite (1989, Virgin records catalogue CD KM1) was the first thing by by her that I ever bought. I’d enjoyed those of her early singles which I’d heard (especially the wonderfully titled ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’ and a great cover of Billy Bragg’s New England’). I also I knew she’d written ‘They Don’t Know’, a single which charted for comedienne/actress Tracey Ullman.

I suppose the things that clinched it as a purchase though were (1) that it featured guitar and co-writing credits for Johnny Marr fairly shortly after The Smiths, (2) because it contained a cover of the Ray Davies song ‘Days’ which is so damn good it’s better than the original by The Kinks and (3) it also covered the French-language song ‘Complainte Pour Ste. Catherine’ by Anna McGarrigle – a sure sign of good taste in my book!

This is one classy album. Fifteen tracks, produced by then-husband Steve Lillywhite and not a turkey among them. While ‘Days’ is the outstanding track it’s a close run thing with the opener ‘Innocence’ and the poignant ‘Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim’ in contention also with ‘You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby'(a Morrissey/Marr cover) which, again, is as good as the original.

Apparently, Ms MacColl suffered from stage fright and didn’t perform live very often – which makes me treasure even more the fact that I managed to see her play a few years later (at what was then Northampton’s Irish Centre and is now a lapdancing club) before her untimely death stopped the music.