For years the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who have had their full recorded catalogs on compact disc for fans and subsequent generations of music fans to buy again and again and appreciate the greatness of their music. While the catalog from the Kinks has lagged hopelessly behind all the rest of their British Invasion contemporaries (except for the Animals). This year that's all about to change!
On March 22, the injustice will be rectified with the first three albums starting the reissue program: the Kinks 1964 self-titled album, and Kinda Kinks (1964) and The Kink Kontroversy(1965). Later in the spring (May) and summer (July) their later 1960s and early 1970s work gets the same treatment as Face to Face (1966) and Something Else (1967), Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969), Muswell Hillbillies (1971) will hit the shelves.
Word on the street is that each album will receive a double-disc treatment with plenty of outtakes, rarities, in-depth liner notes and other tasty bits.
For a band so prolific, so important to the British Invasion and with so many artists citing their work as influencing their own it's almost criminal that the Kinks back catalog isn't more accessible. The Beatles full catalog, first released on compact disc in 1987, received a major reboot a year and a half ago with each album beautifully remastered in both Stereo and Mono. The Who and the Rolling Stones have remastered and reissued their respective catalogs a couple of times since originally being issued on the compact disc format in the late 1980s. So why not the Kinks?
The Kinks catalog received a reissue program in 1998 from Castle Records. However, most albums only included a few extra tracks; nowhere close to another disc worth of material that's being offered here. As a reminder, the Kinks released their last official studio album, Phobia, in 1993 so maybe they were not yet ready for a full-fledged expansive reissue program.
In 2004, Sanctuary Records reissued a special deluxe edition of The Kinks 1968 masterpiece, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. The album received a beautiful 3 disc treatment that presented the album and singles of the timeframe in both stereo and mono mixes plus a third disc of outtakes, rarities, and BBC session material over 62 total tracks! At that point I thought that the reissues would keep on coming, but the process seems to have taken a bit longer than expected.
In case you're interested (and really you should) in the track listing details for the first three albums you can find them here.
If you just can't get enough of the music of the Kinks the band's leader and prolific songwriter, Ray Davies, releases a new album this spring. See My Friends sees the light of day on April 5. For the album Davies re-recorded classic Kinks songs with a list of guest stars including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Metallica, Black Francis, Mumford and Sons, Spoon, Lucinda Williams, the late Alex Chilton and more playing and singing along.
Davies, now 66, continues to stay busy and will curate London’s Meltdown festival from June 10-18, 2011. Past curators have included David Bowie, Morrissey, John Peel, Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Jarvis Cocker.