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One for the Road ()

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The Kinks' scattershot U.S. career never fully flourished like that of their British Invasion peers. The most quintessentially British of British bands -- especially in the increasingly nostalgic songs of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Ray Davies -- the Kinks enjoyed a spike in popularity in America in the late '70s and early '80s. The gold-selling 1980 double-live album One for the Road is a fascinating document of trailblazing elder statesmen who paved the way for heavy metal and punk, but never felt a glorious pop song was out of their grasp. It also proves that Dave Davies is a criminally underrated lead guitarist. Brothers Dave and Ray Davies, bass guitarist Jim Rodford, drummer Mick Avory, and guest keyboardists Ian Gibbons and Nick Newell recorded One for the Road at several concerts in 1979 and 1980. "Lola" is the best-known track from this album, and this live reading was a minor hit single; Ray Davies' teasing intro shows his playful side. "The Hard Way," "Low Budget," a raw, stripped-down "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman," "Celluloid Heroes," and "You Really Got Me" are the other standouts. [The Konk/Velvel enhanced two-CD reissue is fantastic. It includes all the songs from the original double album; "20th Century Man" was cut from Arista's U.S. CD but is restored here. The extremely detailed, photo-packed liner notes feature an enlightening essay and complete recording information -- an appropriate approach given the historical importance of the Kinks. Surprisingly, overdub information is mentioned; most live albums are doctored and sweetened in some way, but bands usually aren't eager to reveal this fact. Among the extras on the second CD are 20 minutes of footage from the September 23, 1979, show in Providence, RI. All similar reissues should aspire to this level of quality.] ~ Bret Adams, Rovi Hide synopsis

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