The Kinks - Percy (Vinyl)

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Percy is a 1971 film soundtrack for the British comedy film Percy performed by English rock group the Kinks with additional orchestral arrangements conducted by Stanley Myers. It was released as the band’s ninth official studio album. The songs were written by Ray Davies and include both standard rock/pop songs and instrumental numbers. "Willesden Green" is the only song released by the Kinks to feature lead vocals by a band member other than a Davies brother. Bassist John Dalton sings lead vocals on the track, doing an impression of Elvis Presley. Never released in the US, this album was by far the most commonly imported to the US of all of the Kinks' Pye albums. Both Jem and Imports Unlimited kept this album on their import lists throughout the 1970s.


The album "Percy" marked probably Ray Davies' most unusual and perhaps ambitious project so far. Percy was of course, the title of the film that Davies had been asked to write the soundtrack for. He duly obliged and Percy became The Kinks' ninth studio album. The story is of a young man named Edwin Anthony who suffered serious injury to his penis via a man falling from a towerblock onto a set of chandeliers and onto Mr Anthony. This results in him undergoing the groundbreaking surgical procedure of being given a dead man's penis which is affectionately named Percy by the nurses. If the film sounds to you like a questionable attempt at replicating a Carry-On film then you're quite correct. However, that doesn't mean that their aren't some exceptional songs on "Percy". The only downside being the lack of consistency particularly on the instrumental tracks, many of which are, at best forgettable. This is probably The Kinks least consistent album since their flawed debut but when considering the staggering quality of their output during the sixties then that's no great insult.

The story unfolds with the song "God's Children". This could be described as Davies' version of John Lennon's "Imagine" by crying out for what he sees as an idealistic world. "Preserving the old ways from being abused" could describe this, but I think we've heard that line somewhere else before. However, this song is of a similar theme by demanding that we call a halt to a modern technology that appears to be altering our very beings. Next is the instrumental version of "Lola" which works pretty well. This isn't exactly the same as the original as the melody is minus the "And we drank champagne..." part. This comes across particularly well in the movie as when Anthony has recovered from his operation, the Doctors hire a female stripper to see if his new part is in working order and the track is played during her striptease. The most outstanding moment is with "The Way Love Used to be" which is simply stunning. The key to this is the marriage of the piano and strings which make this immensely moving. The song describes a seemingly broken individual in search of a place of haven amid the mayhem of London and make no mistake, this is one of the alltime great Kinks tracks. It succeeds in being both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

The two instrumental tracks which follow are less impressive. The first one, "Completely" is as unremarkable as its title. It may make decent background noise but as an album track it's very disappointing. With a strong blues feel, it initially features some lead guitar improvisation from Dave Davies but he even seems to get bored or simply run out of ideas as the electric organ latterly comes to his rescue. "Running Round Town" begins more promisingly but soon fizzles out with some delicate piano chords which follow on from the lively harmonica sound. "Moments" is another track of a very high standard. I for one, tend to be able to listen to this again and again and it never loses its magic as Davies admits to his own personal failings. "I say I'll never do you wrong but I go and do the same again" emphasizes the point. "Animals In The Zoo" examines the similarity between the captive animal and the human being. While feeling sympathy towards the animal's predicament, this shows the human as being trapped in the zoo of life with the pressures and stresses that the animal is blissfully free from. A decent number.

The next three tracks all begin very similarly with a gentle piano intro. "Just Friends" describes the loneliness and longing that we can all feel and "Whip Lady" is another ordinary instrumental that excels better in the film. When re-tracing the steps of his donor, Anthony visits a middle class lady who transfers into an whip wielding dominatrix, sending the shocked visitor stumbling out of her house. Her whipping motions match the pace of the track. "Dreams" is probably the best of the trio. When Anthony is wondering who could have been his donor, he fantasizes on a more exciting existence and "Dreams" compliments that perfectly. "Helga" is the most impressive of the instrumental tracks. Named after the vamp that is played by Elke Sommer, this features a more Spanish sound despite its more Germanic sounding title. The final track is "Willesden Green" which is followed by the rather pointless reprise of "God's Children". The former doesn't feature in the film surprisingly but is a nice enough creation and invokes memories of "Blueberry Hill" with its swaying rhythm. "Percy" may not have the overall quality of its sister albums but it's an album that should never be overlooked.

By: Pigeonhead

A1 God's Children
A2 Lola
A3 The Way Love Used To Be
A4 Completely
A5 Running Round Town
A6 Moments
B1 Animals In The Zoo
B2 Just Friends
B3 Whip Lady
B4 Dreams
B5 Helga
B6 Willesden Green
B7 God's Children - End


From Hype sticker: "50th Anniversary Picture Disc. 2021 Remaster from the Original Tapes. Original Textured Sleeve Replicated. Produced in Association with The Kinks."

Record Store Day 06-12-2021 exclusive limited to 5000 copies