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Muswell Hillbillies Import, Hybrid SACD

4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 24 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, Import
  • Label: Velvel Records
  • ASIN: B0002IQI7E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
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1. 20th Century Man
2. Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues
3. Holiday
4. Skin & Bone
5. Alcohol
6. Complicated Life
7. Here Come The People In Grey
8. Have A Cuppa Tea
9. Holloway Jail
10. Oklahoma U.S.A.
11. Uncle Son
12. Muswell Hillbilly
13. Mountain Woman
14. Kentucky Moon

Product Description

Product Description

The roots, blues and music-hall styles of this 1971 masterpiece have never sounded so sweet: 20th Century Man; Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues , and more.


The first album in the Kinks' RCA phase, this 1971 aggregation stands as one of the pivotal titles in the group's extensive oeuvre. Check out the cover for a sense where this collection is rooted: the five longhaired lads mill about at a sunlit working-class pub where the regulars go about their libationary affairs. The album's keynote tracks--"20th Century Man," "Holiday," "Here Come the People in Grey"--focus on proletariat proceedings that were familiar to frontman Ray Davies and his guitar-slinging sibling, Dave. Indeed, the title track's name is concocted from of the name of the north London community where the Davies brothers grew up and the then-popular Beverly Hillbillies TV show. Musically, Muswell Hillbillies draws on country and pub-jazz elements; check out the trad-band brass that adorns the intoxicating "Alcohol." Ray Davies called this album his "existentialist-type record," noting that he resisted the temptation to design a radio-friendly single to succeed "Lola" in favor of devising a conceptual collection of tunes. For better or worse, it would be some time before he'd abandon his predilection for plots. --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When you first listen to Muswell Hillbillies you might be taken aback. Here is one of the greatest bands in rock putting out what seems to be a country/folk album. But give the album a second and third listen and you'll be glad you did. As with all albums, it has it's ups and downs but each song is solid and the album has a sense of continuity that sometimes eluded the Kinks. The album starts out with Ray bemoaning the 20th century ("I was born in a welfare state, ruled by bureaucracy, controlled by civil servants and people dressed in gray"), one of the greatest protest songs ever written and even though it is from the last century, it has even more relevant today. Don't miss the harder version on One for the Road. The theme is picked up again in "Here Come the People in Grey," another great number. The second song goes right into a Dixie land jazz number, Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues, a hilarious ditty about a man so paranoid he can't leave his front door.
The humor throughout the whole album is some of the Kinks best, Ray even teases himself as he sings about places he's never been to. The album also stresses Ray's favorite theme, getting back to a simpler life, while echo's are heard throughout the album (as well as many Kinks albums) nowhere is it more pronounced as in Complicated Life, just try singing the la de da chorus without smiling. Oklahoma USA reminds us that dreaming is one of life's true pleasures.
I could on but suffice it to say, there is not one weak song on this album, which makes Muswell Hillbillies, in my opinion, the best album the Kinks ever made.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite a couple of dated references, Muswell Hillbillies stands up incredibly well in this 21st-Century man's opinion. As improbable as this may sound, some of the lyrics work better now than they did in the 70s (tell me "Skin And Bones" isn't talking about the Atkins Diet). Of course, the album's timelessness is only one facet of its greatness. The playing is excellent, with slide guitar and brass augmenting the arrangements. Ray Davies layers his themes even more deftly than usual, resulting in a tasty lasagna of cultural parallels. Always wistful for ways gone by, Ray introduces the concept that American and English "folks" are not so different, using blues, country and even Salvation Army band sounds to make his point. No song illustrates this better than "Have A Cuppa Tea"... except perhaps the title track itself. The lyrics are replete with stuff you'll want to quote at any opportunity. And what seems at first like run-of-the-mill escapism, on repeated listenings, reveals itself as a complex yearning for freedom from a place one loves but can barely endure.
I can't say enough about this album, and have tried too hard already. Get it! I can't imagine you'll be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD
Throughout the 20th century, we saw 2 world wars, one VERY unpopular one in Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA and KGB, political scandal and societal change and conflict. It's no surprise that Ray Davies felt the urge to let us all know about his discontent with modern life. Throughout "Muswell Hillbillies" Davies scorns the arms race, pompous new age literature, fashion and diet trends, bureaucrats, intelligence agencies, war, and the repo man with his trademark biting wit and paranoia. Of course, the thing about Davies its that he doesn't rely completely on doom and gloom to get his point across. He's also faithful that someone out there understands and dammit, he's going to keep his job, succumb to the demands of the government and dodge the repo man just long enough to aquire the funds needed to run away to West Virginia!
I suppose the saddest thing about "Muswell Hillbillies" is that we DO understand Ray Davies' contempt. It's the 21st century now and things really havn't changed that much...I think we could all use a little time in the hills of West Virginia.
Anyway, great album. Everything you would expect from the Kinks and more
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By A Customer on Feb. 12 2002
Format: Audio CD
Many fans and critics say that the Kinks' decline began after Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, but those who make that claim have not given this album a serious enough listen. It may not quite be on par with Village Green Preservation Society, but it is every bit as good as Lola, if not better. It is a noticeable change in sound, though, as the Kinks shift to a counrty-ish style. That change works entirely for the better, and the new sound fits in the with the often melancholy feel to this album, in much the same fashion as on the Rolling Stones' album, Exile On Main Street, and that is certainly a fair comparison in my mind. Indeed, the high points of this album are almost on par with those on the Stones classic, and they sound better here -- the production never detracts from the album's impact, while the muddy sound on Exile is sometimes a boon, but a hinderance at others. Also, this album is more concise, because the Kinks do here what the stones do in an collection that's a half-hour longer. This album is one of the most under-appreciated records of its era.
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Format: Audio CD
One of the Kinks' best, but quite different from the rest of their work. To me it's the last consistent album they ever did - the playing is quite tight by the standards of most of their work in the 1970s, and the songs have a depth which was gradually lost as the decade progressed and never really recovered.
The album has a theme - rather than a story line - and this helps. When rock musicians have to follow a storyline you often end up with songs that are there to advance the story, rather than because they are any good. This affected the Kink's later concept albums in the 1970s, and it also, in my opinion, marred the 1969 work, 'Arthur' although most Kinks fans would disagree with me there.
The theme is the impact of change from outside on a small north London urban community, one which the Kinks co-founders Ray and Dave Davies grew up in. Thus it starts with '20th Century Man', a defiant manifesto of opposition to change, and this runs right through songs like 'Complicated Life', and 'Here Come the People in Grey'. It also contains vingettes of the characters of the community - 'Uncle Son', the singer's "baby" who has been taken to 'Holloway Jail' and his grandmother in the rousing 'Have a Cuppa Tea'. Great songs. As is 'Alcohol' - even if it did give leader Ray Davies an unfortunate excuse to act a drunken fool on stage. The song works on several levels: the slurred vocal is only a little too hammy; the rhythm of the piece both mimics and mocks that of a drunken stagger; while in the background a horn section plays, sounding rather like a Salvation Army temperence band.
The split from the Kinks' earlier work can be over-emphasised.
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