With the ‘Sunny Afternoon’ stage musical going great guns in London’s West End, here comes the accompanying two-CD ‘greatest hits’
The Discogs entry for The Kinks lists no fewer than 188 compilations, as well as a further 26 ‘unofficial’ ones. With that in mind, does the world really need another? Well, ‘need’ might be over-egging the pudding… but this two-disc set proves surprisingly interesting anyway.
Released off the back of the Sunny Afternoon musical’s success in the West End – the autobiographical show is now some 18 months into a sell-out run – Sunny Afternoon the album obviously includes all the songs featured in the stage production, which means that yes, the big hits are all present and correct. In the unlikely event that someone’s only just discovered the band through seeing the show – or in the far more likely event that seeing the musical inspires someone to replace a boxful of scratched old 45s in the loft – this will sort ’em out nicely. But as stated above, it’s hardly the first album that could do that.
What’s more interesting is what else has been included. This is one Kinks comp that – unlike a hundred cheap cash-ins – has been compiled by Ray Davies himself, which means it’s effectively the songwriting legend’s own personal ‘best of’. And what’s most interesting about that is that, as well as including a number of tracks such as I Go To Sleep that have latterly become more famous via covers by other artists, he’s also opted to showcase a surprising amount of material from the band’s early 70s ‘theatrical’ period, when they ran largely to concept albums that met with a muted critical and commercial response.
Several of these songs feature in the musical, so whether the rest are included simply because they fit with the theme or as a statement of Mr Davies’ personal regard for those somewhat unloved long-players, we may never know. But it does mean this collection is worth checking even if you already have several Kinks best-ofs lurking on your shelves – with a clutch of BBC session recordings and vintage interview clips merely sealing the deal.
Verdict: An oft-revisited catalogue can still throw up a few surprises