Ray Davies

Working Man's Café (New West)

Phases & Stages

Ray Davies

Working Man's Café (New West)

As game as Other People's Lives seesawed, Ray Davies' 2006 solo debut cranked up ancient machinery sure to warm up slowly. Co-produced by Ray Kennedy in Nashville, Working Man's Café wipes up the studio sheen of its predecessor with a comfortable roots groove that Davies' Kinks helped perfect in the early-1970s. Opener "Vietnam Cowboys" traverses 40 years of Brit-rock on global industry; the title cut blue collars the Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society; and harmonies on "Morphine Song" puree Dave Davies. "You're Asking Me" answers quintessentially Ray Davies: witty lyrical melodies crisscrossing his pastoral sigh and curmudgeonly growl. That's when Working Man's menu goes on auto pilot with clunkers ("Peace in Our Time"), unconvincing rockers ("No One Listen"), and halfhearted realizations ("The Voodoo Walk"). Davies' trademark softer delivery saves "Imaginary Man," but convincing vocalizations remain a major problem at the Café. Two steps forward, one step back.

**.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Reddening West
Deltas (Record Review)

Hannah Wisterman, Dec. 14, 2018

Texas Platters
Aaron Stephens
Focus (Record Review)

Clara Wang, Dec. 14, 2018

More by Raoul Hernandez
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

The Best Albums of 2018 by Genre
The Best Albums of 2018 by Genre
Hip-hop, metal, pop, and more picks from our critics

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ray Davies

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle