The Kinks are a legendary band, no question about it, and I could have chosen any number of their albums for my list, but I picked Muswell Hillbillies (1971). My reasoning for this was the fact that I bought the vinyl from a bargain bin for $1.99 from a music store in the mall, and they had a sale where if you bought one, the second one was only a penny! For my penny album I picked up my first Jimi Hendrix album, Rainbow Bridge. Pretty good haul for a 13 year old kid on a crash course of discovery in the vast halls of rock music! Anyway, The Kinks caught my imagination with their playing and singing, but even more so with Ray Davies’s vivid storytelling style and evocative lyrics. He made an American kid see through the eyes of all these very English characters he populated his songs with. Other British bands sounded British, but Ray made ME feel British, if that makes any sense. From the opening track, the absolutely glorious 20th Century Man, all the way to the final notes of Muswell Hillbilly, I had a kind of “out of body” experience listening to this album. I have heard plenty of Kinks records since then, but for me this one is still the most special. Sometimes that first time is magical, and magic is pretty damn cool!
Written By Braddon S. Williams