Ray Davies

Thursday

SXSW Records

Ray Davies

The Kinks Choral Collection (Decca)

Shouldn't that be The Kinks Khoral Kollection, as in Kinda Kinks and The Kink Kontroversy, both 1965? Their kreator, Raymond Douglas Davies, revisits the era with surprising sincerity and success, the first lines of opener "Days" acting as prologue to a celebration of the Kinks (sorry, last one) kanon: "Thank you for the days. Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me. I'm thinking of the days. I won't forget a single day believe me." The essentially a cappella vocal proves Davies' voice still lithe with nursery-book vulnerability, and when joined by an acoustic guitar and Elizabethan chorals pitting dueling female and male choruses, "Days" nearly reaches the Rolling Stones' sanctified "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The angelic lift into another sonically naked vocal from Davies on "Waterloo Sunset" next offers its pew in 3:33, with a similarly (Jack) Nitzsche-ian gravity that plays like a full eight minutes. "You Really Got Me" runs under three minutes of thumpy gospel rock that peaks with an equally lean yet infinitely more grandiose dose of Christian rock in "Victoria." "See My Friends" dawns the Age of Aquarius, and the Church of England translates into Tinseltown period piece "Celluloid Heroes," perfectly segued into "Shangri-La," which, as extended pieces, paints the heart of this Choral. Recent solo Davies title track "Working Man's Cafe" benefits from contemporary energy that's unfortunately dissipated by the "Village Green Medley" bloating after its titular intro where otherwise the proceedings have adhered to the originals' brevity. Like 1994's Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones by the London Symphony Orchestra, The Kinks Choral Collection swells decades after the fact but still sings eternal. (Thu., 10:30pm, La Zona Rosa.)

***

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