#303 the kinks – big black smoke


Ray Davies has written his fair share of veritable pop masterpieces, and here’s a lesser-known but no less compelling number that really gets under the skin of this inveterate Kinks fan – must be something about how the distant dreaminess of church bells on “Big Black Smoke” set the scene perfectly for Davies’ typically sardonic observations on suburban boredom. Released in 1966 as the B-side to The Kinks’ working-class depression anthem “Dead End Street”, “Big Black Smoke” is pretty much written in the same vein and is backlit by the aching tenderness in the song’s portrait of a runaway teenager who cannot go home no more to the country life she once knew, the music jangling along to the forlorn recognition that “she knew no sin and did no wrong ‘til she walked the streets of the big black smoke” – and that there’s nothing in this world to stop us worrying about that girl. – keith.

mp3: the kinks – big black smoke

Ray Davies will be releasing See My Friends, a Kinks tribute album of sorts featuring collaborations with a host of his famous friends in November.

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