Ray Davies continues his journey through Americana

Photo: Dave Brolan

The quintessential English songwriter Ray Davies has had a long fascination with America, and the USA in particular.  His 2013 autobiography was entitled “Americana,” and he went on to release an album of the same name about the country that has fascinated him, that was the dangled jewel swung before the eyes of British bands with ambition and which, famously, didn’t let The Kinks tour for many years due to an incident on the Dick Clark show. Rowdy behaviour was blamed. Despite these tensions, or perhaps because of them, this fascination hasn’t diminished and Ray Davies will release a follow-up album ‘Our Country: Americana Act II’ at the end of June.

‘Our Country’, like its predecessor, was recorded at the legendary Konk Studios in London with guitarist Bill Shanley and The Jayhawks once again serving as Davies’ backing band plus a group of UK musicians. The album is a mix of new songs and older material re-imagined with the likes of ‘Oklahoma USA’ (first heard on The Kinks’ ‘Muswell Hillbillies’), ‘The Real World‘ (from 2007’s solo album, ‘Working Man’s Cafe’) and ‘The Getaway‘ (from 2006’s ‘Other Peoples Lives’).

Track listing for ‘Our Country’ 

  1. Our Country
  2. The Invaders (spoken word)
  3. Back In The Day
  4. Oklahoma U.S.A.
  5. Bringing Up Baby
  6. The Getaway
  7. The Take
  8. We Will Get There
  9. The Real World
  10. A Street Called Hope
  11. The Empty Room
  12. Calling Home
  13. Louisiana Sky
  14. March Of The Zombies
  15. The Big Weird
  16. Tony And Bob
  17. The Big Guy
  18. Epilogue
  19. Muswell Kills

The title track is available to hear now, and it’s reflective on ageing and change and whilst it clings to an optimism for the future for a country which once took “different cultures, race and creed building a society” it also acknowledges a step back in that idealism “gone is the land I used to know so well”.

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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