Got The Fever

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Kinks

I’ve long wanted to put up a few by The Kinks. More specifically I’ve wanted to showcase the magnificence that is ‘Sleepwalker’. The album brings back long glorious nights of hanging with the mates and the heady effluvium that accompanies so many of us teenage boys while driving around with no particular place to go - cheap beers between the knees, an old worn out smoking device and the occasional long haired, tube topped, micro short-shorted, sandal wearing girlfriend with a crisp heady giggle. Now, you’ve got memories that may be one of the last that you’ll remember as your gasping, flickering ember is wheezing and finally extinguished long into the future.

So, I lay claim to squatter’s rights where 'Sleepwalker' will occupy a blog somewhere ahead of me.

However, amazed by the alarming and precipitous rise of the cost of gas brought yet another of my favorites by The Kinks, the album “Low Budget”, to mind. To me, this is another, among many, of the album pinnacles that the long and storied career of the Kinks have graced us with.

If my mind is right, at the time I was also listening to Herman Brood, Kiss ‘Dynasty’, Roxy Music, Ry Cooder, The Babys, Clash, Lena Lovitch, Undertones, XTC, Little River Band, Elvis Costello, Ramones, Nazareth, Stranglers, Patti Smith … at least those are the ones that leap with excited, raised hands. And wasn’t that around the time of Dave Edmunds? BTW, see the great AM, Then FM for Dave Edmunds.

The Kinks drop of ‘Low Budget’ was one of the Titans among the gods of music for me around that time. A return to their garage ways, it sounded edgy, raw and angry. But, the album also kept in line with the contemporary, adding a few tracks that were put out as 12” long playing singles that so many of the bands of the era were doing to keep pace, and expand their popularity, with the disco singles that so proliferated those years.

Gallon Of Gas
When I think back of how much gas was back then, and the worry of affording it as a teen, I wonder how the heck the legions of cruisers of today are able to come up with the fold to travel the aimless miles that we used to.

A simple I-IV-V blues riff, Ray and band mates squeeze it red and blue at the windpipe. Dave Davies on lead is always imaginative, and he allows a guttural quality to the fill-ins.

At the time this was written, Davies was referring to the gas shortage. But, one can easily make a leap of faith and with imagination attach the lyrics to the outrageous cost of the gas itself.

I've been waiting for years to buy a brand new Cadillac
But now that I've got one I want to send it right back
I can't afford the gas to fill my luxury limousine
But even if I had the dough no one's got no gasoline!

Low Budget
Squeals and moans right from ‘Go’, this is a head knocker with balls and venom. They talk of how their clothes and shoes don’t fit, but they can’t afford anything better that has a higher price tag. Even where they can buy is important – Woolworth’s instead of the higher retail outlets. Doesn’t it sound familiar in these times of rising fuel that keeps stretching its tentacles through everything we now purchase?

I'm not cheap, you understand
I'm just a cut price person in a low budget land
Excuse my shoes they don't quite fit
They're a special offer and they hurt me a bit
Even my trousers are giving me pain
They were reduced in a sale so I shouldn't complain
They squeeze me so tight so I can't take no more
They're size 28 but I take 34

I'm on a low budget (What did you say?)
I'm on a low budget (I thought you said that.)

The Kinks: A Gallon Of Gas
The Kinks: Low Budget
From: Low Budget [1979]

Damn, I just can't let this go without one of their 12" extended play singles. Here's "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman [Disco Mix Extended Edit] ". Get it while it's hot.

Addendum: Get yourself over to Feel It for (as always) supreme quality tracks that are eclectic and powerful. He continues to wrestle with boulder heavy personal issues, and yet he still has time to keep up his own blog and write comments on other blogs? A towering inspiration as a blogger and an undeniable humanist, our prayers at WZJN continue to be with him and his family.


  • Much thanks! I've only just discovered the Kinks but without the money to truly delve into their discography, I depend on the kindness of strangers such as yourself to pick out the must hear tracks.

    And that disco remix is insane :D

    By Anonymous Kiley, at 2:37 AM  

  • Glad you liked it kiley. There's plenty more of Kinks to get through. Do yourself a favor and look around some more. You'll be richly rewarded and deeply happy that you did.

    By Blogger wzjn, at 6:03 AM  

  • In case it slipped my mind last week, thanks for stopping by and leaving a kind note. It was a bright spot in a tough couple of days.

    By Blogger whiteray, at 12:34 AM  

  • No thanks required at all whitray. You've been there for me. I derive a great deal of pleasure from your blog and that's thanks enough. You hang in there.

    By Blogger wzjn, at 6:07 AM  

  • Nice post, wzjn. I am a keen admirer of Ray & Dave, but I respect the fact that you've chosen their later and less fertile shit.

    Some might say (unkindly) it represents the "fag-end" of their career, but I always like to consider; "where there's muck, there's brass..."

    Cheers! And thanks for stopping off at my place, partner.

    By Blogger ib, at 5:49 AM  

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