The artists on the new tribute album Jem Records Celebrates Ray Davies stayed away from some of the Kinks frontman’s best-known songs. There is no “You Really Got Me” here, no “Celluloid Heroes,” no “Waterloo Sunset,” no “Tired of Waiting for You.” But the album’s first single — released today, along with the album itself — is, perhaps, the Davies song that most people would think about first, when they think of him: “Lola.” And it’s done well, with an unexpected hint of twang, by The Weeklings.
You can listen to it below.
The Midnight Callers also tackle a signature Davies tune — “Come Dancing” — and bring something unexpected to it: some heavy guitar riffs that take the song into hard-rock territory, even though it remains as catchy as ever. But Lisa Mychols & Super 8 deserve credit for the album’s most thorough reinvention, stripping “Days” of its melancholy and making it unreservedly upbeat — which fits some of the lyrics fine, but others not so much. It does, though, make you think of an old song in a new way, which is a good thing for any classic-rock cover to do.
The 13-track album’s 10 contributors, all of whom are signed to the Jersey-based Jem label, focus on Kinks songs released between 1965 and 1970 — everything except “Come Dancing” is from that six-year span — with 1968’s The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society providing three of the songs (The Gold Needles’ “Village Green Preservation Society,” The Airport 77s’ “Picture Book” and The Anderson Council’s brawny reinvention of “Do You Remember Walter”).
Three songs were originally released by The Kinks as B-sides: The Anderson Council’s “This Is Where I Belong,” The Cynz’s “I Need You” and Johnathan Pushkar’s appropriately propulsive “I Gotta Move.” Pushkar also embraces the gleeful bounciness of “David Watts,” resulting in another one of the album’s top-notch power-pop moments.
The Grip Weeds make “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” sound like a bold rallying cry, and also contribute a psychedelically intoxicating “See My Friends.”
Jem previously has released multi-artist tribute albums honoring John Lennon, Brian Wilson and Pete Townshend. All have — no pun intended — had their fair share of gems on them, and No. 4 in the series is no exception.
For information, visit jemrecordings.com. Here is The Weeklings’ “Lola”:
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