The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon: The Very Best of (2015)

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In the years since their quiet mid-1990s disbandment, certain Kinks songs have become ubiquitous — while others remain as anonymous as brothers Ray and Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory seemed in the post-grunge era.

Sunny Afternoon: The Very Best of, while still duly making room for the Kinks’ nine U.K. Top 5 hit singles, dives deeper into that legacy over the course of a 48-track journey. The first hint that this won’t be the typical Kinks compilation, of which there have been quite possibly a countless number, is the opening “You Still Want Me” — Ray’s first original song, and a non-charting single.

In a loose sense, Sunny Afternoon follows the running order of a similarly named hit U.K. musical based upon the group’s early years. But the two-disc compilation goes well beyond that show’s 29-song core, adding in bonus tracks personally selected by Ray Davies — many of which are deep, indeed — as well as select BBC content, including sessions tracks and interviews.

And so that often-overlooked sophomore single is joined by lesser-heard cuts like 1964’s “I Gotta Move,” from Kinks-Size, and “Just Can’t Go to Sleep” from the Kinks’ self-titled U.K. release of the same year, a rare demo of the initially unreleased “I Go to Sleep,” the U.S. flop “Days,” “Maximum Consumption” from 1972’s Everybody’s in Show-Biz, and so on. Even the Kinks’ biggest, most familiar songs are enlivened in the BBC studios, as they set fire to “You Really Got Me” and “Tired of Waiting.”

It is enough to lure in those with a stack of other Kinks compilations — including, perhaps, a 1967 U.K. set also titled Sunny Afternoon? Hard to say, but it should be. This is the compact, early-career overview the Kinks have deserved for some time, one that builds upon their familiar successes rather than simply relying upon them.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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