There is something really amazing about the RCA Victor label I just realized. Every time I look at it I am 12 or 13 opening that Columbia record club box with my Dad to see what was inside, usually it was Shirley Bassey or Tom Jones or even John Denver. One fateful day however we opened it up and inside was a copy of The Kinks Preservation Act II.
In no way is this even close to being considered a classic Kinks album. It is a strange musical concept that I still to this day have no idea what it is about, gangsters, molls, politics and big brother watching is as close as I can ever get.
I have no idea how this strange record got ordered by my Dad but he never sent it back, maybe it was just too much trouble. I cannot recall any of the songs on the album, I can however picture that lurid cover with it’s purples and pinks and slightly deranged Ray Davies on a billboard. It was part two and it took about 20 years before I heard Part I. Part I is a better album and contains one of the Kinks great lost songs in Sweet Lady Genevieve.
The point of all this was I was trying to decide how to pack for my return visit to the UK this year. How much stuff do you need to bring really was going through my head. No I haven’t begun to pack, this was just the getting myself ready mentally to do the act.Yes sometimes I have a tendency to overthink this stuff.
In order to calm down I thought some music would do it. Reaching into the pile of to be played records I pulled out Mussel Hillbillies, it has after all one of the most English album covers ever, inside however is a strange blend of musical genre’s from music hall to, jazz to country and rock, a melange of sounds to blow your mind.
However what blew my mind was that RCA Victor label staring back at me.
Once again I was 12 or 13 stood next to my Dad, smelling his after shave and Old Holborn tobacco as he opened that box and placed the album on the Philips radiogram. The days when your turntable was a piece of furniture that was likely to become an heirloom.
Yes it is a better album than Preservation Act II but for a moment it may as well have been that album slipping onto the mat and spinning. I shall have to ask my Dad why that album and not a Greatest Hits compilation. It’s likely he will not even remember the album unless it is up in the attic space for me to discover.
This was a nice grounding album after the week I have had listening to Dick’s Picks 10,11 and 12, but more if that later, unless I am up at some god forsaken time again.