The Kinks – Arthur (Or the Decline of the British Empire)

ARTIST: The Kinks                                     220px-the_kinks_arthur_album

TITLE:  Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #105 US

SINGLES: Drivin’, Shangri-La. Victoria (#62 US, #33 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Yes Sir, No Sir

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, John Dalton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Another concept album from Davies and the Kinks, this time about the struggles in post-war Britain.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Written for a television show that never got off the ground, this Kinks album is a straight forward concept album about Arthur, who emigrates from the UK to Australia, and his thoughts about life in the past and the future.

The music covers all sorts, from music-hall, to anti-war protest songs, to straight rock-and-roll, led off by the great single “Victoria”. The Kinks and Davis do a good job in presenting the story, with its various moods and themes of each song changing rapidly.

While some songs aren’t as strong as some of their previous records (“Australia” goes on way too long, and some of the arrangements seem overblown a bit) it got the Kinks back on the charts and set them up for their next success. It’s a worthy album in its own right.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Original bassist Pete Quaife left the band early in 1969, before this album was recorded.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with singles not from the album and some from Dave Davies’ solo album

GRADE: A-: Decent concept album which stays on point for the most part.

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