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The Kinks Prep Unreleased Tracks for ‘Arthur’ 50th Anniversary Box Set

Four-disc set will feature demos, outtakes, remixes and a lost Dave Davies solo LP from the time period

UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 01:  Photo of Ray DAVIES and Mick AVORY and KINKS and John DALTON and Dave DAVIES; L-R: Mick Avory, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, John Dalton - posed, group shot  (Photo by Ivan Keeman/Redferns)

Mick Avory, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, John Dalton in 1969.

Ivan Keeman/Redferns/Getty Images

The Kinks groundbreaking 1969 LP Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) is being re-released on October 25th as a four-disc deluxe edition to commemorate the album’s 50th anniversary. It will feature a remastered edition of the original album in stereo and mono, bonus tracks, demos, rehearsals, remixes, BBC performances and a lost Dave Davies solo LP from the era.

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) is an ambitious concept album about a British carpet-layer, who moves to Australia after World War II. It was a followup to The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, which also took the innovative step of telling a story across an entire album.

“I started Arthur before the end of Village Green,” Kinks frontman Ray Davies says in a statement. “The albums piggyback one another because they are joined. I’d already written the song ‘Arthur’. I think I wrote ‘Australia’ when I was still living at 87 Fortis Green so it was quite early on. I remember taking it over to Dave, he lived in Cockfosters at the time, and playing it to him. We were laughing at the irony in the line, ‘Nobody’s got a chip on their shoulder’.”

Dave Davies began recording his first solo LP during the original sessions for Arthur, but he never finished it. “One of the reasons the album wasn’t finished was because I felt The Kinks’ management and record company were forcing me too much,” Dave says in a statement. “I felt very comfortable being in The Kinks and it seemed fulfilling to be part of a band. I didn’t really want for more. I couldn’t see the point.”

The Arthur box set contains 12 complete tracks from the Dave Davies solo album along with ten alternate takes and mixes from the sessions. “Hearing Dave’s songs again after all this time,” Ray said in a statement, “I found them quite moving because they were like the back story of what The Kinks were going through at the time.”

The box set will contain a 68-page book with essays about the Kinks, new interviews with the surviving members of the group, photos from the time period and the script for a proposed Arthur play that never got off the ground.

The process of assembling this Arthur box set forced Ray and Dave to spend time together in the studio. Along the way, they began the tentative step of recording new songs and finishing off old ones. It might lead to their first LP since dissolving in 1996 and possibly a tour, but right now they are taking things very slowly. “Interesting question,” Dave told Rolling Stone earlier this month when we asked about a possible Kinks tour. “I really don’t know. I think its possible. It’s not out of the question. But at this stage, it’s far too early to say. It would be fun though, wouldn’t it?”

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) Deluxe Box Set Track List

Disc One – ORIGINAL STEREO ALBUM, 2019 REMASTER
1.        Victoria (Stereo)
2.        Yes Sir, No Sir (Stereo)
3.        Some Mother’s Son (Stereo)
4.        Drivin’ (Stereo)
5.        Brainwashed (Stereo)
6.        Australia (Stereo)
7.        Shangri-La (Stereo)
8.        Mr. Churchill Says (Stereo)
9.        She’s Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina (Stereo)
10.       Young And Innocent Days (Stereo)
11.       Nothing To Say (Stereo)
12.       Arthur (Stereo)

Bonus Tracks
13.      Plastic Man (Stereo)
14.      Victoria (Alternate Stereo Mix)
15.      Yes Sir, No Sir (Alternate Stereo Mix)
16.      Drivin’ (Alternate Stereo Mix)
17.      Brainwashed (Alternate Stereo Mix)
18.      Australia (Alternate Stereo Mix)
19.      Shangri-La (Alternate Stereo Mix)

Disc Two – ORIGINAL MONO ALBUM, 2019 REMASTER
1.         Victoria (Mono)
2.        Yes Sir, No Sir (Mono)
3.         Some Mother’s Son (Mono)
4.         Drivin’ (Mono)
5.         Brainwashed (Mono)
6.         Australia (Mono)
7.         Shangri-La (Mono)
8.         Mr. Churchill Says (Mono)
9.         She’s Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina (Mono)
10.      Young And Innocent Days (Mono)
11.      Nothing To Say (Mono)
12.      Arthur (Mono)

Bonus Tracks
13.      Plastic Man (Mono)
14.      King Kong (Mono)
15.      Victoria (Alternate Mono Mix)
16.      Australia (Alternate Mono Acetate Mix)
17.      Shangri-La (Alternate Mono Mix)
18.      She’s Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina (Alternate Mono Mix)
19.      Australia (Australian Mono Single Mix/Edit)

Disc Three  – THE GREAT LOST DAVE DAVIES ALBUM PLUS
1.         This Man He Weeps Tonight (Stereo)
2.         Mindless Child Of Motherhood (Stereo)
3.         Hold My Hand (Stereo)
4.         Do You Wish To Be A Man? (Stereo)
5.         Are You Ready? (Stereo)
6.         Creeping Jean (Stereo)
7.         I’m Crying (Stereo)
8.         Lincoln County (Stereo)
9.         Mr. Shoemaker’s Daughter (Stereo)
10.      Mr. Reporter (Stereo)
11.      Groovy Movies (Stereo)
12.      There Is No Life Without Love (Stereo)

Bonus Tracks
13.      Lincoln County (Mono Single Mix/Edit)
14.      There Is No Life Without Love (Mono)
15.      Hold My Hand (Mono)
16.      Creeping Jean (Mono Single Mix/Edit)
17.      Mindless Child Of Motherhood (Mono)
18.      This Man He Weeps Tonight (Mono)
19.      Mr. Shoemaker’s Daughter (Alternate Stereo Mix)
20.      Mr. Reporter (Alternate Stereo Mix)
21.      Groovy Movies (Alternate Stereo Mix)
22.      Lincoln County (Acoustic Mix)
23.      Hold My Hand (Alternate Take)

Disc Four – DEMOS, REHEARSALS, BBC & REMIXES
Part 1
1.         Arthur’s Journey (Introduction)
2.         Australia (2019 Mix)
3.         Home Demos Medley, 1969: Arthur / Victoria / Some Mother’s Son / Drivin’ /
Brainwashed / Mr. Churchill Says (TV Premix)

Part 2
4.         Shangri-La (2019 Mix)
5.         My Big Sister (Theatrical Version)
6.         Stevenage (Theatrical Version)
7.         Space (Theatrical Version) (Full Version)
8.         The Future (Doo-Wop Version)
9.         Arthur (Doo-Wop Version)

Part 3
10.      The Virgin Soldiers March
11.      Soldiers Coming Home (Instrumental)
12.      King Kong (BBC Mix)
13.      Victoria (Ray Davies & Band With The DR Symphony & Vocal Ensemble) (Stereo)
14.      Arthur (BBC Mix)

 

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