Kinky Boots, Kinky Clothes, Kinky Sounds on The BBC

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How do you write -- in 400 words -- a review of a 5 CD and 1 DVD boxed set tracking an exhaustive, remarkably detailed account of one of the most influential bands in music history? Well... you don't. But, I will say this about the beautifully packaged "The Kinks At The BBC" set:

The sound is wonderful given the recordings were made (likely on 2 or 3 track tape with minimal overdubs) for radio as early as September 1964. BBC required performers to re-record their hits to reduce the airtime given to "records" vs. live performances (due to problems between broadcaster's and musician's unions). These recordings largely come from radio transcription discs used to syndicate the shows (original tapes were not saved in the early days). The live recordings from the 70s onward are pristine.

The DVD is a gem, compiling in best (known) quality, now-legendary-among-fans TV appearances on Top of the Pops, The Old Grey Whistle Test and the 1977 Christmas special. Image quality is remarkable given the age of these clips. In particular, it gives us relative late-comers (I became a fan in 1977) a great idea of what the band was like in 1971 after it's big come back hit, "Lola." At that time, the Kinks were re-inventing itself as entertainers more in line with vaudeville than the FM radio rock of the period. Today, this music sounds timeless.

Disc 3 & 4 feature audio of the two full concert TV broadcasts (the shows found on the DVD). Its wonderful to hear these in pristine quality  -- recordings long exchanged between hard core Kinks fans over the years via hissy multi-generation cassettes. 

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The live performances are excellent. Drummer Mick Avory and (on the early 60s material) bassist Peter Quaife shine bright with clarity sometimes overshadowed on studio recordings. Contrary to common belief, the audiences seem into the mid-70s theatrical material. History would have us believe this stuff fell completely flat on audiences. Not so. They like it.

As you should be. Are you a hardcore fan? If so, get this. If not, the two-CD "BBC Sessions" set from 2001 is still available and a good place to start.

And, there you have it: a Kinks box set review in 400 words or less.

Anyone want to by my old used CD?

 

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