Classic Music Review: The Kink Kontroversy by The Kinks

Kink-Kontroversy

Updated May 2016

I am always thinking ahead. It’s one of my worst tendencies, and it while sometimes it prepares me for the future, I usually wind up getting virtually fucked in the ass (without lube).

Even before I started the Great Broads series, I was thinking about what to do once I’d completed it. The idea that most appealed to me was to do a series on great garage rock. Garage Rock is a very loose genre, but in general it implies high-energy rock with little attention to polish. The first bands I thought of were Them, 13th Floor Elevators, The Seeds and The Leaves. Once my dad found his Them album, they shot to the top of the list, but when I listened to the others, I realized they were pretty much one-hit wonders.

The Leaves were a real disappointment. I love their version of “Hey Joe,” and was excited about having the chance to explore them further. I should have been tipped off to the band’s limitations when I saw there were three different versions of “Hey Joe” on The Leaves Are Happening: The Best of the Leaves. Except for that one song, they filled most of the space on the record with knock-offs of The Beatles and The Byrds.

So the idea of a garage rock series foundered on the beaches of L. A., but I still held hope that I could find at least one other great garage band to pair with Them. Two reviews don’t add up to a series, but at least it’s a gesture.

My dad solved my dilemma. “You’re forgetting the greatest garage band of them all!” he observed.

“Who’s that?” I asked, miffed at the possibility that my knowledge of musical history might have a noticeable gap.

“The Kinks, of course!” he smiled.

“Which one?” I sighed, unhappy about the possibility of doing yet another Kinks review.

“Oh, it’s gotta be The Kink Kontroversy. The deluxe version.”

“Yep, you’re right,” I said with glum submission.

My reluctance to do The Kinks had everything to do with secondary considerations and nothing to do with their music. I love The Kinks! It’s just that Kinks fans make a big deal out of The Kink Kontroversy because they claim it contains the first seeds of Ray Davies’ shift from Top 40 to modern rock poetry. I think “A Well-Respected Man” is much stronger evidence, but I will concede that a few of the songs do hint at the future breakout, much like side two of Help! anticipated Rubber Soul. Personally, I think what’s more important is that The Kink Kontroversy is the last album where The Kinks did what we now call garage rock, and if you imagine a world where they had dropped out of sight before Face to Face, you could make a very compelling case that The Kinks were the best garage band of all-time.

The Davies brothers weaned themselves on blues and R&B, a stage of development that I consider an essential prerequisite to creating great rock ‘n’ roll because it gives you heightened awareness of the importance of groove and the feel of a song. Most great blues recordings are terrible recordings from a technical standpoint, but the magic still shines through. Attempts to smooth out the rough edges through overproduction pretty much kills the thing that makes blues sound so vibrant and alive. The Kinks early recordings reflect those values: they’re raw, noisy, sloppy and bursting with energy.

“Milk Cow Blues” opens with a nifty little guitar duet, but what I love about it more than the technique is the sound: it sounds like they walked into the studio, said hello, plugged their guitars into their amps and let ’em rip. Dave Davies takes the vocal on the first verse and chorus, and there’s a moment when he raises his voice enough to create mike distortion while the guitars raise their intensity to create overload and the result is a heavenly burst of pure energy. Ray takes over the vocal on verse two, slurring his words and riding the guitar waves in a wonderful example of—I need to create an oxymoron here—dissonant synchronicity. Here they cut to the instrumental break, where Dave’s stinging licks are joined by an exceptionally muscular bass run from Pete Quaife that probably shook the crap out of the primitive speakers of the day. What’s amazing about the track—and something that characterizes nearly all The Kinks’ rockers—is (another oxymoron) their tight looseness (or their loose tightness, if you prefer). They never lose the groove, they hit all the right dynamic cues, but the result is not the mechanical sound produced by anal retentives, but a cool, energetic bash. Toward the end of the song when they let it all go for a few measures before bringing it down is one of those delightful moments of excess that defines rock ‘n’ roll energy.

Scaling it way, way down, next up is “Ring the Bells,” a pleasant acoustic number that opens with the sustained chord pattern that was in vogue at the time (The Byrds’ “Feel a Whole Lot Better,” Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone”), supplemented with some clever chord shifts midway through the verse. This is still a boy-loves-girl, song, though, and while a nice tune, it’s not next-level material.

The Kinks get back to the garage with “Gotta Get the First Plane Home,” a more impatient rendering of the goddamn-I-hate-touring theme than Mick Jagger’s psychological treatise in “Goin’ Home.” “When I See That Girl of Mine” begins with what sounds like a false start—a single unadorned note on the bottom guitar string. We finally get a three-note guitar intro that opens up to a solid mid-tempo rocker.

The first sign that The Kinks were moving away from testosterone-estrogen interactions comes not from Ray but from Dave Davies, in the form of “I Am Free.” Although Dave slurs some of the words to the point of unintelligibility, this flowing number in 6/8 time does express the need for a resilient frame of mind in the face of society’s attempts to deny the dignity of the individual. “I Am Free” is also a lovely song with a melody that sticks in your head for days. “Till the End of the Day” follows, a song I’ve already covered in my review of The Kinks Greatest Hits.

Side two opens with “The World Keeps Going Round,” a geez-will-you-grow-up message from Ray that opens with a highly distorted chord. There’s a microscopic connection to Ray’s future in the image of the “big old sun,” and you could make a case that the song deals with the impact of modern life on folks like Arthur, but it’s not as clear a break from the past as “I’m Free.” Ray will need to connect with his sense of humor before that happens.

And voilà, he does just that in the very next song! The story line on “I’m On an Island” may have its roots in girl-abandoning-boy but what Ray is describing through both lyrics and his tongue-in-cheek, poor-me vocal is the childish absurdity of taking rejection to the limit and whining, “I’m not going to play with you anymore!” The narrator has a brief moment of lucidity when he realizes the nonsensical situation he has created for himself:

I’m on an island
And I’ve got nowhere to run
Because I’m the only one
Who’s on the island.

We’ll hear the theme of escape again, most memorably in “Apeman,” and both songs have a Caribbean feel.

Having taken the first step, Ray takes a more sizeable leap in “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” a precursor of the preservation theme central to his work. The song is full of ironic passages where the narrator longs for the return of a happier past that in reality was anything but:

Ma and Pa look back at all the things they used to do
Didn’t have no money and they always told the truth
Daddy didn’t have no toys
And mummy didn’t need no boys

Won’t you tell me
Where have all the good times gone?
Where have all the good times gone?

While Ray references The Stones’ “Time Is On My Side” in the second verse, the more interesting citation is of McCartney’s “Yesterday,” released a couple of months before the recording of The Kink Kontroversy. He uses the line to temper the narrator’s desire for a return to a mythical past:

Well, yesterday was such an easy game for you to play
But let’s face it things are so much easier today
Guess you need some bringing down
And get your feet back on the ground

Ray’s ambivalence about past-and-present continues all the way through Other People’s Lives, so it’s not surprising to find it in its place of origin. The song itself is a pleasant, laid back mid-tempo number with solid harmonies and a semi-cynical, sneering vocal from Ray that adds to the rich subtext of the lyrics.

The last three songs are not in themselves remarkable, but they’re good, solid songs that rise above the level of album filler. “It’s Too Late” is a thumping rocker with strong harmonies, a good groove and a clean, simple arrangement that serves as a solid backdrop for a hot Nicky Hopkins piano solo in the break. The Kinks get back to more of a garage sound with the bouncy number “What’s in Store for Me?” where Dave assumes lead vocal duties and spices up the mix with a fine solo. The original album ends with the vocal duet, “You Can’t Win,” an original R&B-influenced number with a good steady beat.

As noted, the second CD contains alt-takes, interviews, BBC performances and unfinished pieces. They certainly made a good decision not to release the sentimental and painfully traditional “And  I Will Love You,” a definite step backwards. The different version of “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” has a slightly cleaner mix than the original, but I’d be happy with either. My favorite track is the very rough Ray Davies solo demo “All Night Stand,” a reflection on the endlessly erotic life of the touring rock star. It’s a brutally honest admission of lust and greed:

All night stand,
With a different girl each night.
All night stand,
With two hundred miles to ride.

But I won’t give it up,
As long as I can make the bread.
When I do, I shall stop,
Close my eyes and go to bed.

The difference in how The Kinks and The Beatles handled the media is clarified in the song, “Mr. Reporter.” The Beatles charmed the pants off the press, even after Lennon allegedly put his foot in his mouth during the Maureen Cleave interview. Ray Davies was always skeptical of the press and kept them at arm’s length throughout his career. “Mr. Reporter” is in essence a primitive version of the brilliant “Other People’s Lives.”

In the end, the bonus tracks rise far above the low bar I’ve set for deluxe edition content, but what makes The Kink Kontroversy worth your hard-earned currency is the original album, where The Kinks bid farewell to their roots with some of their best blues/garage work, and crack open the door to one of the great musical journeys in rock history.

22 responses

  1. I know you generally don’t review v/a compilations, but how about doing the Lenny Kaye compiled “Nuggets” for garage rock?

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  2. So I hastily wrote the last comment after reading the first paragraph, and I would have done well to wait until I’d finished reading the last.
    Well, it’s been a blast reading your reviews, and I’ll be sorry to see this site go, but alas, it’s like when I think of the Beatles: its depressing how acrimoniously they split, but it was for the best. Who wants another “Let it Be?”
    So I’m glad you have the integrity to pack up and move on rather then let this blog limp on halfheartedly beyond its expiration date, if you feel that’s the point that its reached.
    I wish you all the best out there in the world, and although I don’t know you, it warms me just a little to think that there are souls such as yourself out there somewhere.

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    1. Thanks so much for all your contributions and for your validation. I think when I felt myself hitting the wall I did fear I’d be entering a “Let It Be” phase, though I didn’t have words for it until I read your comment. When you can’t give your best, it’s time to move on, and I’m thankful that you appreciate that. Bonne chance!

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  3. Glad I found the ARC blog, like many things in the journey we make
    Unexpected, and well worth It.
    Hoping the archives will be available in some way for all those
    Who enjoyed the posts..and for those yet to come.

    Acting will be a challenge , if you have the time and passion
    And some serendipity leads you to a Meisner teacher you
    Will have an experience that you stay with you.

    I will leave you with a thought my acting teacher passed on after
    I stumbled badly in class …the students and teacher hidden in the shadows
    Myself ..alone in the spotlight

    “The only thing you have to offer in class ( or anywhere ) is your humanity
    ……that will carry you through the greatest and worst times ….”

    ARC blog might be likened to that..a tightrope act performed
    Alone , the audience unseen …not knowing what the next trope
    Will take you …not easy putting yourself out there

    Thinking about the blog … And thinking there is lots of humanity there ..you did fine …really fine .

    Wishing you all the best

    Stats

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    1. Thank you—I learned a lot from you over the past couple of years, and it was our mini-discussion on Twitter that reminded me about my rarely-manifested desire to take acting lessons. I know it will be a major commitment but I love challenges like that.

      That’s a beautiful quotation and I deeply appreciate the acknowledgment that no, it’s not easy putting yourself out there. Thank you for all your support—it meant a lot.

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  4. Well, Altrockchick, I think this time it’s senseless to try to talk you out of your decision, but I’d just like to thank you.

    Thanks for your great reviews of the Kinks. I’ve been pretty seriously into them for about 40 years, I’ve listened to everything of theirs I could get my hands on and read everything about them I could find (I’ve even written a couple of things scattered around the web). Without resorting to any hyberbole, your writings on them are simply the best I’ve ever read (yes, even your review of Arthur). They are passionate, funny, well-informed, and really do justice to their great work. I thought I knew all there was to know about the Kinks, but your insights on their RCA years were all fresh. original, and insightful. I could cite many passages you enlightened me on, but by far your single best was Celluloid Heroes. I can tell that song means a lot to you, and I never fully got it before reading your essay on it. Great, great job. I will never listen to the song the same again.

    As far as history judging the Kinks better than the Beatles, I’m not so sure about that, but I’d love to believe it to be so. I’ll use the Chaplin-Keaton analogy again. Chaplin will always be thought of as the greater, iconic figure, but Keaton’s movies, goddammit, are better in every way. Kind of like Martha and Diana, huh? Oh well, I doubt it bothers the artists as much as it bothers us.

    Oh, nice review of Kontroversy, too. I loved reading about your “glum submission.” Not exactly your bag, but you handled it with grace. You actually were nicer to some of the songs on the album than I would have been, but I agree about Milk Cow Blues. The opposite of Steely Dan and why I love Rock ‘n Roll. I think there is a better clip of it out there than the one you used.

    Yeah – it’s that one. My absolute favorite Kinks clip out there.

    Well, I hope this isn’t the end – I have more comments I’m going to sprinkle around as long as you keep your page up. In case this is it, best of luck with all of your future decisions and endeavors. I learned kind of later in life that you don’t always have to play everyone else’s game, but you seem to get that already. Go play your game and have a blast.

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    1. Thank you! The site will stay open at least through March 30 and possibly through November 2015, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to comment.

      Yes, “Celluloid Heroes” is an intense experience for me, and I’m happy to hear I was able to communicate that successfully. Critical perceptions change over time; when my dad went to college, Shelley was a bum and T. S. Eliot was the man; when I went to college, Shelley was hot and T. S. Eliot a stuffy old prude. Most of the people of my generation who know music do prefer The Kinks over The Beatles, so I do think once we have no living memory of Beatlemania, sanity will be restored. Then again . . . I’ve never gotten Chaplin either.

      Thank you for all your feedback, for whether we agreed or not, you have always been respectful and insightful. And our baseball bonding has been fab! I still can’t believe the Giants pulled it off! Take care, always.

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      1. OK – since you brought up baseball and its not about music, I’d really love to hear (before you sign off forever) why you feel so strongly that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame and (presumably based on your level of enmity) that Barry Bonds should not. I laid my cards on the table about Pete Rose awhile ago. Bonds, long before he seems to have taken steroids, was already a Hall of Famer in my book. I hope I’m not provoking you but, then again, I hope I am! By the way, you never saw Gibson in a series (just as I never saw Mathewson), but I think it would be difficult for any pitcher in baseball history to be any better a World Series pitcher than Madison Bumgarner. We are both lucky to have seen him.

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        1. Pete Rose gave it his all every game and was a team player. Barry Bonds was an egocentric asshole who put himself above everyone else. Bonds chose to fill his body with steroids because he was frustrated he wasn’t getting the attention that McGwire was getting. Pete Rose suffers from a clinically-recognized condition: gambling addiction. Bonds chose his path; Rose’s choices were impacted by his condition. Yes, yes, yes, Rose is in total denial, but that’s not the same as deliberately and consciously changing one’s body in a vain attempt to achieve immortality. If forgiveness is to be extended here, I would prefer to forgive the addict over the cheater (whether what he took was illegal at the time is irrelevant).

          I’ve seen films of the 67 and 68 Series, and I would say Gibson was superior in terms of the sheer terror factor. I would never have wanted to stand in the box with Gibson on the mound. Madison isn’t intimidating, but very smart, very deliberate and almost completely imperturbable. I would have given the edge to Gibson until Game 7. I still have a hard time believing what I know I saw. I thought he’d last two innings tops. How many pitches did he throw that looked incredibly fat and tempting that turned into pop-ups? His motion is a thing of beauty.

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          1. OK, I see your point about Rose’s addiction and I do tend towards forgiveness generally, but I think you’ve over-idealized Rose a bit. By the end of his career, he was no longer a team player and was all about himself. There is no other manager in baseball that would have played him over a young Nick Esasky when Rose was 45. I seem to remember even Eric Davis rode the bench at times (to fit Esasky into the outfield) to accommodate Rose’s quest to best Cobb. That same guy was also gambling on baseball when making these selfish and questionable managing decisions. I really am torn about forgiving an addiction when the addiction is the one thing that could ruin baseball. I’ll think about it some more (I also have to take into account that you are usually right about things baseball).

            But if being a jerk was grounds for denying the Hall of Fame, bye-bye Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, etc. (two other players without World Series rings). Barry Bonds was the best player of the 1990’s by far – he didn’t have even a mediocre season that decade until 1999 when he was injured (and still hit 38 home runs – I think that injury was another thing that pushed him to steroids). Clearly, Bonds was a Hall of Famer and one of the top 5 left fielders of all-time before he took steroids (unlike McGuire, Palmeiro, and Sosa). To deny him the Hall is unsustainable; your argument seems much weaker here. You just don’t like the guy and you’re not alone.

            Thanks for responding to this! I’m going to miss your baseball mind. How about a baseball blog???

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          2. Hah! I think the baseball writer market is pretty flooded! And no, I don’t like Bonds at all, but the HOF criteria allow for that, even if they haven’t been consistent in its application.

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  5. One more thought on the 68 series. As dominant as Gibson was until late in game 7, Micky Lolich turned in an amazing performance that series that isn’t remembered as well as Gibson’s (or McLain’s flaming out). Lolich beat Gibson in a game 7 with a complete game on 2 days rest – something Lonborg couldn’t do the year before (though he was really gassed by then because of that crazy pennant race). That was Lolich’s only taste of the World Series, but probably the closest comp to what Bumgarner did. I really think there is something to be said for a left-handed pitcher matching up well with a particular team in a short series – something that the Red Sox didn’t have in 67. As important as Gibson was in 67, the Sox had no answer for Lou Brock that series. So here’s to rubber-armed Micky Lolich, who matched Wilbur Wood inning for inning in 1971 without throwing a knuckle ball. He was an extraordinarily durable and effective pitcher.

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    1. The 67 Red Sox have to be considered one of the best Series- losing teams ever. On paper they didn’t match up, but like the Giants were a team with multiple unexpected contributors. Lolich had a great series, but if Flood hadn’t turned the wrong way, who knows? I just watched game 7 on MLB-TV and his twist as he tried to read how the ball was hit is a brief painful moment to watch.

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  6. […] The Kink Kontroversy […]

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  7. All things must pass, thanks for the wonderful archive of reviews. Going out on one’s own terms is the way to do it!

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    1. Thank you! Being a student of baseball history, I’ve read too many stories of players who hung around way past their prime, so that was probably an unconscious motivation. Take care and thank you for all your contributions!

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  8. Couldn’t really find a good place to drop baseball comments, but both of our teams are back in the post-season and I have the day off, so it seems like a good time and place to write. Bumgarner took the Giants out of wildcard hell last night, and now they get to face the Cubs! A couple of observations – Bumgarner continues to amaze in the post-season. Can’t say I’m Bumgarner’s biggest fan (he really has something up his ass with Puig, who is only a marginal big leaguer these days), and the Mets had no business being in the post-season except for their absurdly easy, bottom-feeder schedule in September, but it is incredible what he keeps doing in the post-season. Good to have him on your side, huh? That being said, I think the Giants hitting is pretty abysmal (they will miss the equivalent of Sandoval’s bat this post-season) and they do not have much of a chance against the Cubs. It’s hard not to feel great for the Cubs. After all of these years they seem to clearly have the best team in the majors. Except. Maybe. The Red Sox. I’m very torn about how good the Sox really are. As good as their hitting is, the offense hasn’t really been in sync for awhile. Both their starting and relief pitching have great potential but have gone through terrible periods this year. Hard to say what team is going to show up tonight against Cleveland. If I can throw off my Red Sox fear for a moment, though, they have quite a bit going for them. Obviously, David Ortiz is an incredible X factor. Like Bumgarner, he’s an historic post-season figure whose mere presence gives you an advantage. Mookie Betts is the real deal in every way. What a tremendous ballplayer! Jackie Bradley is the finest Center Fielder in the game. Pedroia has finished the year at the top of his game. Bogaerts has slumpled but remains one of the very best at short, and Hanley, oh man, when he is in sync (and he is squared up right now!), he is an awesome hitter to behold; very reminiscent of that other Ramirez of recent Sox lore, but much more of a leader. I really can see this team going all the way. Whoever wins it will need to catch breaks, have players who come up big in big moments, and will need to be at their best against the best. This is where I really think the Sox have the advantage. Their schedule the last 50 games was 2/3 on the road against mostly the very best teams in baseball (Toronto also shares this advantage). I can’t see the Red Sox being overwhelmed by anyone, including the Cubs. Any championship requires a lot of luck, but the Sox are good enough to take advantage of whatever luck comes there way. A final word – the Texas/Toronto series is going to be VERY entertaining. Wow. Even Dodgers/Nationals is a compelling match-up. Here we go…

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    1. Oh, darn. I was going to do a baseball post before the postseason started but never got around to it. I’ve adjusted my sleep schedule to accommodate the playoffs this year—I’m watching the Indians-Red Sox right now! Pomeranz sucks!

      I don’t think there is a clear favorite despite the Cubs’ record. They’re untested in the postseason and it’s an entirely different atmosphere. The Giants can beat them if they do two things: have their starters throw complete games and approach their at-bats like the Royals do—work the count and throw the fucking bat at the pitch if you have to but keep the line moving. They have to discombobulate the Cubs and get them out of their rhythm, like they did with the Tigers four years ago. If Crawford and Posey step up, they’ll be okay offensively—they can’t depend on wild man Pence. If the Cubs get into the Giants bullpen, it’s over. Dad calls the bullpen “The Kerosene Kids.” Absolutely dreadful.

      The Red Sox have to be the AL favorites, and that’s who I’m rooting for. They finished strong, have good balance and they have the great intangible of Papi. I’m thinking he’ll do a reprise of Willie Stargell in the 1979 series and save the day. I love watching that series because the Pirates are all dressed like bananas! Farrell’s main concern should be David Price and his history of post-season collapses—he shouldn’t let him go more than six.

      The Indians are a hard team to figure: they didn’t look that good but they kept winning. That’s dangerous—four of the last five series winners didn’t look like they belonged there, including all three Giants teams, and all the experts underestimate the AL Central. I don’t think much of the Rangers: I think they’re a regular-season stats team with no heart. The Blue Jays should crush them unless their idiot manager fucks it all up by mismanaging his bullpen again.

      Dusty Baker has a habit of blowing it in the postseason, and I don’t see the Nationals getting past the Dodgers unless Harper gets back in gear. I don’t think the Dodgers are that much better; Kershaw has as bad a postseason record as Price and their manager is a rigid moron. More of a coin flip series—it depends on who shows up. It’s too bad Scully isn’t doing the postseason—I so enjoyed hearing him on the feed this year.

      What makes MadBum so great is his intense discipline in big games. He knows exactly what he’s doing and knows exactly what he needs to throw in any situation. In the 9th inning last night he knew he didn’t have the overpowering stuff but he knew that every batter that came to the plate would be trying to knock it out of the park. He played into that and took a little off his pitches and threw them at the edges of the plate and voila, three fly ball outs. He has the most graceful pitching motion I’ve ever seen, so you combine brains with natural talent and you have a great all-purpose pitcher. Johnny Cueto is almost that good, and Samardzija can bring it when he’s in the mood, so it’s possible the Giants can pull it out—but that bullpen really weakens their postseason chances.

      But with baseball, you never know! That’s why I love it—it’s a microcosm of life!

      It does look like a great postseason, though!

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  9. Tough game last night for the Sox. Their younger players looked over-matched and anxious, but that won’t last the whole series (I hope!). Francona did what he needed to do last night with the bullpen, but I think he over-exposed his to closers. Tonight they should be unavailable or gassed. More importantly, though, the Sox got a good look at Miller and Allen and should have a better approach from here on out, especially with Allen; did he ever throw a strike? Kluber is supposedly not 100%. The Red Sox better hope he does not have his best game. Price is a very interesting pitcher. I think he desperately wants to make the Hall of Fame. Now would be a good time to burnish those credentials. I can’t remember if I wrote this already in one of my other baseball comments, but Bob Gibson remains the only African American pitcher in the Hall of Fame who played his entire career in MLB (Jenkins was from Canada). David Price is the current best bet at #2 and would be the first in American League history. I’m going with him tonight.

    Cueto is one of my favorite pitchers (the most like my former favorite, Luis Tiant), so I think you are in good hands. The Cubs whiff a lot and Cueto can be very disruptive. Maybe Romo is ready to step up in the bullpen. You can always hope.

    Great comparison of Papi and Wilver (Scully always called Stargell Wilver). 70’s uniforms, like 70’s male grooming, is best to look at from a distance. The Astros and Padres also had glow in the dark/rainbow uniforms, and the White Sox even whore shorts a couple of games. Urp.

    Yes, we went ahead and hooked up to the AntiChrist Time Warner Cable just so we could listen to Vinny this year. I know it is tiresome to hear what a great guy Vin was/is in addition to the best at what he did, but he was/is a great guy. He lived in the same suburb as I did when I moved to LA in 1969. We would run in to him at church a lot and at the park sometimes when we were playing over the line; he was always kind and encouraging. He had a son my age, and we were in some classes together my Freshman year in High School. It was not easy being Vin Scully’s son, and I always felt for him and his dad because of that. Plenty of perks, but not much normalcy. His son was an EMT and died in the aftermath of the Northridge Quake in a helicopter crash. I always see that tragedy reflected in the famous twinkle in Vin’s eyes. There are all of those things, but his announcing is what I will remember until my last breath. I was a baseball fan when I moved from NY to LA in 69, but I didn’t really know the game well as a nine-year old. I also didn’t have many friends yet, as we moved in June and the school year was months away. Vin explained it all to me every night on the radio. The Dodgers had had some rough years after Koufax’s retirement, but 69 was a bit of a recovery for them, with the first of their good young players coming up, Wille Davis finally coming into his own and, most-importantly, a mid-season trade that brought back Maury Wills and, as a throw in, Manny Mota. Scully loved Mota and turned him into one of the most beloved LA Dodgers ever. He was a really good hitter and had a flair for the dramatic. Scully was at his best at conveying the excitement of the crowd, riding that wave, and making it his own. It’s hard to believe he’s done. I was watching the other night the Peter Sellers movie, “The Party,” from 1964. Very funny movie and my son wandered in to watch some of it. There is a scene where caterers are creating havoc in a kitchen, and the Dodger game is playing on the radio. Vin Scully’s voice was there for a moment talking about Ron Fairly, and my son immediately recognized it. 1964…

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    1. Hopefully Papi will sit down with the kids and sing, “Don’t worry, be happy” to them.

      Francona out-maneuvered Farrell in that game but you’re right—he may have played his hand too early. If this were a 7-game series I wouldn’t have started Porcello in Game 1 but held him back for Fenway, as the Indians have seen plenty of him during his years with the Tigers. But 5 games is tough—you don’t have as much flexibility in terms of shaking up the rotation. You go with what you’ve got in the established order.

      I’ve listened to a lot of the older announcers on cassettes (1) and CD’s and there is definitely truth in the saying, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Ernie Harrell, Red Barber, Mel Allen, Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons, Ned Martin, Scully—those guys understood the value of silence. Even though he’s a homer I do get a kick out of Ken Harrelson, but he’s more of a novelty act. Kuiper and Krakow are pretty good for the Giants, but I haven’t been impressed with too many others. The Blue Jays have the worst—constant yapping, irrelevant stories.

      One of my favorite broadcasts was Scully’s call of Koufax’s perfect game. A masterpiece of understatement.

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      1. Well, that didn’t take long. Your well-placed doubts about the Giants’ bullpen were realized in game 4 in a worst-case-scenario way. Sorry. SF made a pretty good show of things, though, and had the Cubs on the ropes for game 5, if only…
        The Red Sox, on the other hand, never got it going. Their starting pitching was a real let down and boy, were you right about Pomeranz. The Sox came awfully close to pulling out game 3 because they had Allen totally figured out, but their hitting, in general, had disappeared at the end of the season and never reappeared. The problem with putting things off until the last minute is that not all line drives fall.
        It’s hard for me to root for the NL, but I probably will root for the Cubs now just so their fans can put the century of no championships behind them. It’s weird to think that no one in the world in alive who can remember the Cubs winning the World Series. Of course if the Dodgers make it past tonight, part of me will root for them, but I still don’t think they have what it takes. Where do you think we are headed?

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        1. This is tough. The Giants gave that game to the Cubs so I’m still not sold on them yet. Dusty still can’t manage a bullpen, so the Dodgers need to get to Scherzer again. I think the Blue Jays have the best chance against the Cubs if they go that far because they’re hitting like there’s no tomorrow but the Indians have proven to be sneaky good. I haven’t a clue how it’s going to end up.

          I certainly thought the Sox would do better than they did, but Price did what he always does and the Indians showed a lot of confidence in themselves.

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