12/15/09

Kinks - Lola 7" French/UK and US versions (1970)



When I bought this single of the Kinks, not at the time of its release, cos I was too young, but 2 or 3 years later, my preference was for the B-side, "Berkeley Mews" (in France, since in USA it was "Mindless Child of Motherhood", both tracks featuring in this post). "Berkeley Mews" and not "Berkeley Men" as written on the UK sleeve, had been recorded 2 years prior to "Lola", in the wake of the Village Green Preservation Society sessions (one of the future posts, in its original version), but was more 70's than 60's and finally was not out of place as a B-side of "Lola", a song announcing the new Kinks sound, not the one than most Kinks addicts like but still exceptionally palatable. "Lola", everybody knows that by now, is about a wo-man that Ray says to have met in a discotheque and the rest of the song is not without reference to the Billy Wilder's masterpiece Some Like It Hot, a way for Ray Davies to be "in" whilst staying in his fantasy world of Hollywood cinema. It is sometimes said (i got no proof but it's an interesting hypothesis) that this transvestite was Candy Darling, the gorgeous creature that was in the Andy Warhol circle and that he may have actually met (but not slept with). Candy is the one that Lou Seed will sing about 2 years later in "Take a Walk on Wild Side", the one also on the sleeve of the "Sheila Takes a Bow" Smiths single, and the one on the album sleeve of Antony & the Johnsons (on her deathbed, sometimes before dying from leukemia at 29). From the funny side of the Ray approach to the morbid side of her tragic end, the destiny of a comet, doom at its best. But back to "Berkeley Mews". It is often said that "Days" is one of the rare true love songs of Ray Davies, but listening to "Berkeley Mews" lyrics, it seems that his sentimental difficulties inspired him some bitter sad commentaries on his past love at this period of his life. The mellotron is fantastically well used here (don't forget not many bands were using it in 1968). Last, "Mindless Child of Motherhood", the US single B-side, also recorded years before, is a bitter sad love song too, by Dave Davies this time, and although it is a nice one, the text is quite ordinary compared to the Ray one. Historically, this single probably precluded the Kinks to disappear since they had faced failure after failure for the 3 previous years. Enjoy this salvation 3 tracks single here. The above sleeve is the French one (mine) and the below one the UK one (did not find the US one).


Lola. Met her in a club down in old Soho Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola [LP version: Coca-Cola] See-oh-el-aye cola She walked up to me and she asked me to dance I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said Lola El-oh-el-aye Lola la-la-la-la Lola Well I'm not the world's most physical guy But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola Well I'm not dumb but I can't understand Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola Well we drank champagne and danced all night Under electric candlelight She picked me up and sat me on her knee And said dear boy won't you come home with me Well I'm not the world's most passionate guy But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my Lola La-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola I pushed her away I walked to the door I fell to the floor I got down on my knees Then I looked at her and she at me Well that's the way that I want it to stay And I always want it to be that way for my Lola La-la-la-la Lola Girls will be boys and boys will be girls It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola La-la-la-la Lola Well I left home just a week before And I'd never ever kissed a woman before But Lola smiled and took me by the hand And said dear boy I'm gonna make you a man Well I'm not the world's most masculine man But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man And so is Lola La-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola

Candy Darling by Andy Warhol

Candy Darling on her deathbed (1974) by Peter Hujar

Berkeley Mews. The leaves of brown came falling through the view, In Berkeley Mews, I first met you, I staggered through your chilly dining room, In Berkeley Mews, I first met you. Your kitchen sink was cluttered up, So I put the shutter up forlornly I brewed another cuppa up And tried to sneak out early in the morning. I thought you had much better things to do, In Berkeley Mews, I first met you, Drowned my conversation with champagne, In Berkeley Mews, was not listening. I thought you were an intellect, But now that I reflect, you left me reeling. You made me drink a toast And when you finished I was looking at the ceiling. The floods of tears I've wept thinking of you, Remind me of that night in Berkeley Mews. You know that you left me broken hearted, In Berkeley Mews.

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