Part 1. Lola Versus The Powerman and The Moneygoround
The opening riff on the Kink’s “Lola” made a milestone in rock and roll production. A trip to America and a few bucks landed Ray Davies a shiny new dobro. It gave his already surprising story song of a bar pickup named “Lola” a new pizazz. “Lola” shocked and delighted the music scene of 1970, and it vaulted the “Kinks” them to top of the pop charts and made them Rock Gods. The song opened the album, which included other successful songs including the provocative “The Money Go Around”, the bubbly “Top of the Pops” and a novelty number “Apeman.” Over the years they released over two dozen albums, all good, but none like this oddly named album.
Along with the original release there’s a second disk packed with out takes and alternate arrangements. You get three version of “Apeman” and three of “Lola.” The changes are subtle but noticeable: “Powerman” gives us a grinding attack on capitalism with working class roots, and “Top of the Pops” captures the joy of climbing the rankings. No one stays there long, but if you done it once, that’s what really counts.
The CD’s arrived in a nifty little book including interviews of Ray Davies by Andy Neill. Davies talks about the timeless struggles of musician: agents and mangers stealing the money, endless lawsuits, sex and drugs and a feeling that this band isn’t quite good enough. Self doubt and poor accounting skills keeps this trade alive. The Kinks provide the sound of an era long gone but still relevant. Their tunage pulses with energy, their imagery and lyrics relevant remain fresh, and their music loveable. Yes, this is an oldie, but it still is a goodie.