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Our Country: Americana Act II

Ray Davies

Sony Legacy 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

If Ray Davies had only written one song, he would still have made a mark on the history of rock music. His 1964 classic, “You Really Got Me,” with his band The Kinks and the opening chords played by his brother Dave, helped establish the foundations of hard rock. The Kinks remained active until 1996 and were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990.

He began his solo career in 1985 and his newest release is his sixth studio album. Our Country: Americana Act II is the follow-up to his 2017 release. It continues his reflections about his American experiences.

Our Country: Americana Act II is a concept album similar to his early 1970 releases. The album contains narration, which can be both positive and negative. They are interesting the first couple of listens but become repetitive with additional exposure.

The music has a flow and when taken together is better than the individual parts. The songs are not the gritty rock of the early Kinks but has a laid back style to it. It is Ray Davies the story teller rather than Ray Davies the rock musician.

He has had a long and sometimes tempestuous relationship with America but ultimately the country formed a part of who he is as a person and musician. That songs such as “Back In The Day,” “The Take,” “Louisiana Sky,” “The Big Weird,” and “Tony and Bob” are able to chronicle his journey musically is extraordinary.

Ray Davies is now one of the grand old men of sixties rock and roll. Old Country: Americana Act II is a reflective album of a person looking back. It is ultimately an album of soothing and reflective music.

Rating: ***

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