Lost In The Stacks: The Kinks The Great Lost Kinks Album

posted Wednesday Feb 12th, 2014

The Kinks were doomed from the start. The minute they signed on the dotted line, they cursed themselves to a record contract that would leave them poverty-stricken and drug addled, despite releasing some of the finest pop music (and arguably, the heaviest rock and roll) in their first decade as a band. Their tale of squandered opportunities, booze-fueled brawls, mismanagement, and their legendary banishment from America following a disastrous first tour are the stuff of legends. What isn’t so well known is just how insanely good every last scrap of their music is. And just as unknown is the ultimate symbol of their lesser-known work, The Great Lost Kinks Album.

While The Kinks’ proto-garage rock workouts like “You Really Got Me,” and “All Day and All of the Night” were a full-on nuclear assault of fuzzed-out guitars and beastly drumming that set the standard for all bad ass riffs to come, the majority of their 1960’s output would revolve around leader Ray Davies’ pop sensibilities. As he combined his unbelievable songwriting skills with socially and politically aware lyrics, The Kinks embarked on a decade-long hot streak, releasing flawless material each year like mere mortals breathe air.

Combining outtakes from their essential mid-to-late ‘60s albums and rare B-sides, The Great Lost Kinks Album is a mythic beast, boasting several versions and becoming a touchstone for those digging deep into The Kinks’ discography. Issued by former record label Reprise Records after their departure to RCA in 1973, Ray Davies was unaware the album was even released, and was understandably none too pleased to learn of it, after the fact. This original issue, featuring songs recorded between 1966-1970, was recalled and has been out of print for years.

Fortunately, there are many different bootleg versions readily available that combine most of the original version with other sets of rare outtakes. A bootleg of The Great Lost Kinks Album released in 2000 by German label Neue Revue is one of the best. Rounding out most of the original issue’s track list are some of The Kink’s most obscure tracks, like a rowdy cover of “I’m A Hog For You Baby” and “A Little Bit of Sunlight,” an early demo featuring a gorgeous melody and lyrics that hit you square in your chubby gut. Instrumentals, one offs, and made-for-TV tunes show the bands versatility even at their young age, and offer a glimpse into their increasingly desperate situation as they tried to augment their pathetic income from recording and touring with more legitimate session work.

The Kinks trademark roar is all over forgotten tracks like “She’s Got Everything” and “Don’t Ever Let Me Go,” but the real stunners are the mellower tracks. Running with his newfound songwriting confidence in the mid-60s, Ray Davies kicked out gorgeous songs like the Waterloo Sunset-inspired “Lavender Hill,” the lonesome and sweetly stark “Pictures In the Sand,” and the pure pop bliss of “Rosemary Rose.” “Misty Water” is an anthemic ode to kicking back some brewskis, and “Where Did My Spring Go” is simultaneously the most bitchy and hilarious track about middle age anyone has written before or since. The Great Lost Kinks Album is required listening for anyone who worships at the alter of Rock and Roll, and even the greasiest garage rockers and scuzzed out freak will agree that this is some excellent music to fuck and fight to.

Pick up a collectible copy at Amazon or dig for a bootleg version at your favorite record store.

Choice Cuts: She’s Got Everything, Misty Waters, Pictures In the Sand, A Little Bit of Sunlight

STREAM the entire album HERE: