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Dave Davies

Somewhat overshadowed by his more charismatic older brother RAY DAVIES, fellow KINKS co-songwriter and lead guitarist DAVE DAVIES (born David Russell Gordon Davies, 3rd February 1947 in Muswell Hill, London) was still regarded as an integral and creative part of the 60s Brit invasion band.
Not identified as a great singer (at least in terms of his brother Ray), Dave side-lined his KINKS curricular work with a handful of solo platters in 1967; `Death Of A Clown’ and `Susannah’s Still Alive’ far reaching expectations when they both hit the UK Top 30, the former weighing in at No.3. A solo album already in the pipeline, DAVIES had to abandon all thoughts of individual stardom when the set was shelved due to a couple of flop 45s (`Lincoln County’ and `Hold My Hand’); the folky THE ALBUM THAT NEVER WAS {*7} finally surfaced in 1988.
Save for a handful of early 80s solo albums, the plaintive tones (and multi-instrumentation) of DAVE DAVIES went unheard for the masses. Of these sets, the eponymous DAVE DAVIES (1980) {*5} – titled in the States after its catalog number AFL1-3603 – was a fresh post-new wave pop-rock record that had its moments via `Imaginations Real’, `Run’ and `Where Do You Come From’. Album two GLAMOUR (1981) {*4} was predictable and out of its depth among the alt-rock elite, songs like `Telepathy’ and `Is This The Only Way’ saving it from a trip to the bargain-bin section. 1983’s CHOSEN PEOPLE {*6} seemed to put him back on track, but he couldn’t break free from being in Ray’s uncompromising shadow-line. A stalwart behind his enigmatic big brother Ray until The KINKS disbanded in the mid-90s, DAVE DAVIES would plot his eventual comeback after he published his autobiography, Kink, a sort of postscript to Ray’s semi-fictional X-Ray.
DAVIES’ solo career was belatedly called upon with the release of ROCK BOTTOM: LIVE AT THE BOTTOM LINE (2000) {*6}, a record of a double-dozen songs all the more surprising for their return to his roots. Recorded at the New York club in winter ‘97, the set was a robust summary of his KINKS heyday, while keeping solo-keen fans happy.
Even more surprisingly, it was followed by an album of all-new material, BUG (2002) {*5}, his first for two decades and – save for the Moroder-pulsing sound-clash of `De-Bug’ –
unrepentantly in the 70s rockist/conspiracy theorist/lovelorn vein he signed off with twenty years earlier.
TRANSFORMATION (2005) {*6} was another live set, while KINKED (2006) {*5} was a best-of, gathering material from the latter day albums as well as re-recorded KINKS tunes, tempting diehard fans with his GEORGE HARRISON tribute `Give Me Love, Give Me Peace On Earth’, as well as the newly recorded `God In My Brain’, frazzled boogie-rock conceived in the aftermath of a stroke he suffered in 2004; a year that also nearly took the life of his brother Ray when he was shot in the leg. FRACTURED MINDZ (2007) {*5} picked up where his last left off, the almost meditative `The Blessing’ and the spiritual `Remember Who You Are’ both poignant and introspective as he’s ever been.
Together with a raft of guest group spots from the likes of The BLOODY HOLLIES, The OLI BROWN BAND, The JAYHAWKS, CHRIS SPEDDING, et al, DAVIES was back in full romanticised rock territory on 2013’s I WILL BE ME {*5}. Despite its potpourri of worthy hardcore-rawk and KINKS-like banter on the likes of `Little Green Amp’ (with ANTI-FLAG), `Erotic Neurotic’ (with The A.R.T.) and `Livin’ In The Past’ (with TY SEGALL), the dogged singer/guitarist seemed like a fish out of water in the set’s self-indulgent punky-pop pairings.
Identifying with ragged rockers everywhere, RIPPIN’ UP TIME (2014) {*4} was Dave’s spiritual foothold in the past – aka his pastiche number `King Of Karaoke’. It’s all too easy to criticise the idiosyncratic hard-rock heart of DAVIES, but with croaky cuttings by way of everything except the title track and possibly the adventurous `Semblance Of Sanity’, the singer/songwriter was lost in some twilight time-warp.
© MCS 1994-Dec2011-Nov2014

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