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My Life and the Kinks

Part 4

By this time I was getting settled into my life and its routines, including my little music collecting hobby.  And don’t the Kinks have some fast ones up their sleeves as I stumble across some more great, lost music of theirs.  First was the Dave-penned track “Mindless Child of Motherhood” which I heard on the BBC live collection released in 2001.  There was something about that opening riff, then Dave’s lyric which got into my head.  Pawing through my other material I found that the studio original was on Kinks Kronikles but my copy was so scratched that the track wouldn’t play.   I later learned that it was the B-side to the US “Lola” single.  Anyway, in the song Dave appears to be singing to a long lost love, or more accurately a child left behind:

I've been traveling a long time,
To be just where you are.
In dreams I have seen you,
But you are so very far.

How long must I travel on,
To be just where you are?
How long must I travel on,
To be just where you are?

I was your friend,
I was a fool,
I feel for you, though we're far apart.
I see your face,
Lost without trace,
I see your mind, just an empty space.

Mindless child of motherhood,
You have lost the thing that's good.

Mindless Child of Motherhood MP3

Now Dave has always had a secondary songwriting role to his brother, but I love his songs, sung in that reedy voice of his.   When I think about the albums I listened to as a teenager, many standout tracks are Dave numbers (“Living on a Thin Line”, “Dear Margaret”, “Strangers”).  And looking at his song output during the Golden Era, a recurring theme appeared of love lost long ago (“Mindless Child”, “Suzanna’s Still Alive”, “Strangers”, “Love Me Till the Sun Shines.”) This past summer I came across a Kinks stash at a yard sale (more on that later) that included Dave’s Autobiography, Kink, wherein he explained this lyrical obsession.  Apparently very early in the band’s career Dave fell madly in love with his schoolgirl sweetheart, got her pregnant, and was kicked out of school and pushed out of her life by her family.   His lost love, estranged child, and snuffed passion surely provided for solid songwriting fodder, and the theme haunted him through his adult life until he finally some thirty years later connected with the former girlfriend and most significantly his daughter.  Now I can’t say I have that kind of baggage from which to relate to Dave’s songs, but his theme of lost love and reflection on a past life is universal and I can relate in my own way. 

It was at that aforementioned yard sale that I found a copy of the 1995 Castle Records 3 cd box set The Kinks Remastered.  This collection pulls from the band’s early years when they were produced by Shel Talmy and managed by Larry Page. During this period they were getting screwed, like most young bands, but they were producing some great garage rock with hints of Ray’s songwriting to come.  The Remastered collection has the standard hits including “You Really Got Me”, “All Day and All of the  Night”, etc., but it also has some unreleased bits, B-sides, and other extras.  Even though publishing deals keep  the brothers from seeing any royalties, I’d recommend the disc if only to show that these boys really had something on the Beatles from the start. 

On other oddities disc that I have to mention would be the Great Lost Kinks Album.  Released in the early 70’s in not large numbers, this set has some stellar tracks on it.  I received a cd burn in a trade a couple of years back, but still need to get the vinyl, which isn’t terribly hard to track down. Never properly released on cd, most of the songs have come out as bonus tracks on the late-90’s Castle reissues.  With such tracks as “There is No Life Without Love,” and its toy-piano sound, and “When I Turn Off the Living Room Light” it’s fun to imagine record company execs scratching their heads wondering what the hell to do with these boys.  Dave has a standout here, “This Man He Weeps Tonight”:

I wish that you could see
All the things that I have seen.
This mind of mine is making life worthwhile.
I wish that you'd have know
Of all the plans I had in store for us,
Laughing, dancing, traveling the world on our own.

And this man, he weeps tonight,
And his head is bowed with sorrow,
But what can you do, sitting there,
And you let him cry tomorrow,
Yes, you'll let him cry tomorrow.
Yes, you'll let him cry tomorrow.

I thought our thing would last,
'Cause it said so in my horoscope,
The days have gone and past while dreaming away.
The lighting here is dim,
And the room closes in around me.
Your picture's hanging loose on a rusting nail.

And this man, he weeps tonight….

This Man He Weeps Tonight MP3

And how could I not include a little bit of “There Is No Life Without Love…”?

Truly, oh truly,
There is nothing in this life without your love

This is a story of my true love,
There is no life without love,

Truly, oh truly,
There is nothing in this life without your love
Truly, oh truly,
There is nothing in this life without your love

This last one I dedicate often to my wife Julie, and until just now when I lazily copied the lyrics from lyricsondemand.com I always thought he was saying “Julie”, not “Truly.”  Oh well, since this is about how the Kinks have fit into my life I’ll continue to personalize this song.


The Kinks, and particularly Ray and Dave Davies, have been with me for most of my life now.  While the band is on (permanent?) hiatus, the brothers are still active, although maybe slowing down a bit.  Dave released some solo material in the late 90’s and early 00’s, then had a stroke last year and is recovering well but I believe has been woodshedding since.  Ray was shot a few years ago during a mugging in New Orleans, made it out okay, and released the very solid solo album Other Peoples Lives in 2005.  And I keep plugging along, settling into my middle years with my wife and baby girl, poking around in my orchard and living in the country. Life goes on, and I will continue to find inspiration, reflection, and even a little release in the great music that these guys have put out over the years.  If they never put out another bit of material than that’s okay, because the trove that is theirs now is arguably untouched by any in pop music.  Thank you Ray, Dave, and all the other Kinks for being there.


Terry B

December 30, 2006

Well the road's been rocky along the way
It's been a long hard haul on the motorway
And if it gets too smooth it's time to call it a day....

I think about the friends I've left behind on the road...

And there's gas in my tank and and I've still got a ways to go...

Super Sue, I've been working on this for 17 years.  RIP.


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All sound samples are of a crappy quality for a reason.   You should listen, learn, and buy the damned albums.  Don't be cheap!



All material Copyright Terence Bradshaw 2006-2013

terryb at lostmeadowvt dot com