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My mom was a music teacher here in NYC in the early 1970s, before I was born, and she tells a story of how one of her students came up to her excitedly and said "Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?"

I bring this up because tonight I am having my first real experience listening to The Kinks - not in compilation form or as part of Wes Anderson soundtracks, but in context, in album form - and I'm feeling a bit sheepish at having been so incredibly ignorant for all these 32 years. 

I listened to "Lola v. Powerman..." at work this afternoon, because I was desperate to hear "Powerman" again, and as a result I was utterly blindsided by "Strangers", "The Contenders", "Got To Be Free".  Earlier tonight I was listening to "Arthur..." and finally heard "Shangri-La" in its proper context, as well as "Victoria" and the startlingly San Fransiscan "Australia"... and now I'm listening to "Village Green Preservation Society" and am just getting my brain's ass kicked left and right. 

When it comes to The Kinks, everyone pretty much just talks about Ray and Dave, but does anybody talk about the rhythm section?  Holy Christ.  It could be argued that one of the reasons why The Kinks remain so friggin' awesome 40 years later is because they groove so incredibly well.  These songs are impeccably arranged and they just feel so right.  Charm and wit aside, as a band, they are absolutely top-notch.

But enough about me telling you what you already know.  I just wanted to say that I GET IT NOW.
How else could I do it? I needed at least 4 albums from their classic period, especially now that I'm about to go to London for the first time, otherwise I'd be worried that I hadn't heard all that I needed to hear. And I haven't even gotten to "Something Else" yet.
Dude this is wierd. I bought a few Kinks albums a few weeks back and have been discovering them too. "Village Green" was the album I was digging and Kinks Kontroversy...

This takes me back. I had almost the same introduction in '98 to them. Lola, Arthur, Village Green, Something Else, Muswell... all in the span of a couple of days and my musical landscape was changed entirely.

Mick Avory is the most underrated drummer in rock history. He's just perfect. Anyone who questions this should be forced to listen to "Wicked Annabella" on a loop for an hour.

I may be the only person to defend these records in their (near) entirety, but after you pick up Muswell and the VERY crucial Kontroversy (Face To Face too I suppose, though it is one of my least favorites just behind Kinda Kinks) do pick up Preservation Act 1 (which is part 2 of the Village Green trilogy) and Everybody’s In Show-Biz. Those albums are vibey as hell and incredibly under-appreciated in my opinion. "Sitting in my Hotel" may be Rays best song.
Re: Mick Avory - you know who he reminds me of? A restrained Mitch Mitchell. Mick's right foot is one of the best things about The Kinks' sound - his kick drum makes everything better.
The recurring joke on Mick is that he only knows one beet, but it's always right. :)

I think he's 10 times the drummer Mitch Mitchell is. And I do really like Mitchell, but he doesn't know what "play for the song" means.

For whatever reason, I always think of Mick as a combo of Ringo's solid backbeat with a bit of Moon's fearlessness.
It could be argued, though, that if you're playing in Jimi Hendrix's band, you're not really playing for the song - you're playing to support the solos. I absolutely agree with you about the Moon comparison - and there's something about that "one beat" you speak of that also reminds me a bit of Bonham, except not as heavy. (Can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but I heard it this morning as I listened to the end of Arthur.)
True enough regarding Jimi. And I will say that "May The Be Love" is not only a wonderfully structured drum part, but one of the most distinctive beats ever. I could pick that song out with drums alone in an instant. And "Manic Depression", while an absolutely a tumbling mess, couldn't be more appropriate for the song.
As long as we're throwing out our favorite Mitch/ell beats, let me hold up the first 10 seconds of "Little Miss Lover". Is that too obvious? Nevertheless, it's fucking ferocious.
Yeah, totally. And with both of them, their fills are rhythmic necessities, not superfluous decoration.