RAY DAVIES - Other People's Lives (2006) & Working Man's Cafe (2007)
As the leader of one the most vital and volatile bands of the British Invasion, Ray Davies may also have been one of the genre's most underappreciated, often playing second fiddle to the likes of Lennon, McCartney, and Jagger, but never failing to reignite the flame on a now-legendary songwriting caldron. More than a decade since the Kinks' last release, Davies makes his virgin foray into solo artistry with 13 songs that reverberate with the wistfulness and introspection that have forever been his trademark. It doesn't take long to detect, as the guitar/bass crescendo and tomorrow-will-be-better lyrics make "Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)" a singalong halfway through its 4:21. And then the world once again is put under Davies's uncanny surveillance: his pal Mr. Brown in the country-singed "Next Door Neighbour," "The Tourist" hobnobbing in New Orleans (where Davies makes an American home), and eras of lost acquaintances in "All She Wrote," a Kinks-ish acoustic rocker. They are reminders of what we've missed - and hopefully what's yet to come - from a remarkable artist whose return is undoubtedly being celebrated from the streets of a restored Big Easy to the barstools of Muswell Hill.
Recorded in Nashville, Working Man s Café is Davies second solo album, following his solo debut Other People s Lives, released in 2006. 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.