The Kinks: One for the Road (1980)

This is one of my favorite live albums. There was about a decade where the best live albums were made, from 1970 to 1982.

This was before most live recordings were sweetened to the point of being studio- produced works. Yes, so clunker notes were replaced and maybe some background vocals cleaned up, but most of what you heard on the vinyl was from the live performance. There were some landmark live sets. The Who Live at Leeds, Yessongs, Frampton Comes Alive, CSNY 4-Way Street, Little Feat Waiting For Columbus, Wings Over America, Derek and the Dominoes In Concert, Deep Purple Made in Japan, Cheap Trick at Budokan, Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East.

A lot of great music arrived in 1980. The punk scene was happening, but the post-punk wave of The Police, The Pretenders, U2, Elvis Costello and the Talking Heads were influencing the contemporary rock sound. Linda Ronstadt (Mad Love), Alice Cooper (Flush the Fashion), Yes (Drama), Billy Joel (Glass Houses) and even Genesis (Duke) rocked harder. Hard rock was was transitioning from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple to Van Halen, Motörhead, Whitesnake, AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The times were changing.

The Kinks were the original punks, influencing generations of bands. The Who got more of the attention as they looked more the part and Pete Townshend gathered a significant following on the London scene with his slashing guitar power chords and The Who’s raw sound.

The Kinks had Ray Davies writing smart, trendsetting pop songs with brother Dave’s roaring guitar, complete with distortion and guitar feedback. The Kinks were tough on the outside with a nostalgic, English working class center.

In 1980, The Kinks were enjoying a commercial and critically successful period. The first half of the 1970s was a low point, in my opinion, the themed albums were somewhat forgettable and did not sell. Concept albums, the mix of rootsy genres of music, and attempting the same theatrical approach as The Who, was not a recipe for success. The Kinks were also trying to come back from a four-year ban from performing in America, from their behavior on a mid 1960s tour. Not being able to tour and promote your music, in addition to the lost income, hurt the band in the biggest market.

Ray Davies said. “That ridiculous ban took away the best years of the Kinks’ career when the original band was performing at its peak.”

For me, it took about five years for The Kinks to reestablish their mojo and build a sound for that period. By the time the band toured and recorded One for the Road, The Kinks sounded better than ever. As a five-piece band, these are great performances, lively and rocking.

The Kinks are not a jam band, so you don’t hear extended solos in every song, no “stop the show” drum solo extravagance, but Dave Davies does air it out a bit. There is freshness in the songs, yet this is not a 1970s reefer album. The tour was recorded and filmed. The Kinks were back.

“Opening” – 1:43 recorded at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 4 March 1980
“Hard Way” – 2:42 recorded at The Barn, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 3 March 1979
“Catch Me Now I’m Falling” – 4:49 recorded at Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1979

“Where Have All the Good Times Gone” – 2:16 recorded at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, 6 March 1979
Intro: Lola – 0:54 recorded at Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1979
“Lola” – 4:47 recorded at Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1979

“Pressure” – 1:31 recorded at Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1979
“All Day and All of the Night” – 3:45 recorded at The Barn, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 3 March 1979

“20th Century Man” – 6:19 recorded at The Barn, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 3 March 1979
“Misfits” – 3:57 recorded at Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1979
“Prince of the Punks” – 3:52 recorded at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 4 March 1980
“Stop Your Sobbing” – 2:38 recorded at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 4 March 1980
“Low Budget” – 5:57 recorded at Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1979
“Attitude” – 3:52 recorded at The Volkshaus, Zürich, Switzerland, 11 November 1979
“(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” – 6:29 recorded at The Volkshaus, Zürich, Switzerland, 11 November 1979

“National Health” – 4:08 recorded at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 4 March 1980
“Till the End of the Day” – 2:42 recorded at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 4 March 1980
“Celluloid Heroes” – 7:22 recorded at The Volkshaus, Zürich, Switzerland, 11 November 1979
“You Really Got Me” – 3:35 recorded at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, 6 March 1979

“Victoria” – 2:34 recorded at The Volkshaus, Zürich, Switzerland, 11 November 1979

“David Watts” – 2:05 recorded at Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 4 March 1980


3 thoughts on “The Kinks: One for the Road (1980)

  1. While I really dig the Kinks, especially their ’60s music, believe it or not, I’ve only listened to bits and pieces of this live album – damn, this sounds so good! The original punks truly show those other punks what rock & roll is all about.

    I feel I have to listen to the entire album ASAP. The only thing that’s going to be painful about it is it will make me even more desperate to go to a rock & roll concert!

    Liked by 1 person

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