This Is Where I Belong: the Songs of Ray Davies and The Kinks – various artists
Let's face it, the majority of tribute albums suck. Period.Something goes wrong along the way. Either the record company shoves its own artists on to the track listing or the artists are too respectful of the content and do little more than regurgitate the original tune or the songwriter/artist has such a distinctive manner that few can overcome the aura of the past. Still, I must admit that the music addict in me continues to be intrigued by such releases just for the opportunity of the possible gems contained inside. (See the pros and cons of "Good Rockin' Tonight: the Legacy of Sun Records".) All this vitriol towards tribute albums has changed to showers of joy upon listening to the great, yes great, This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies & The Kinks.
What makes this a wondrous rarity in the collection of numerous tributes
And the artists who tackle Ray Davies' work on This Is Where I Belong
seem to embrace the inherent possibilities. The mix of indie and major label
acts coupled with the variety of styles offers a wealth of revelations (i.e
Lambchop's creepy then sad take on "Art Lover"). While artists make a
connection with the tunes, they also hold on to their own musical
The hopeful outlook on Fountain of Wayne's take on "Better Things" contained
added depth when I heard it for the first time on Late Night with
Conan O'Brien a little over a week after September 11th. On a lighter
O'Brien's version of "Muswell Hillbilly" playfully moves the song from its
English location to a Nashville recording studio.