The Kinks

Everybody's in Show-Biz

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Everybody's in Show-Biz is a double album with one record devoted to stories from the road and another devoted to songs from the road. It could be labeled "the drunkest album ever made," without a trace of hyperbole, since this is a charmingly loose, rowdy, silly record. It comes through strongest on the live record, of course, as it's filled with Ray Davies' notoriously campy vaudevellian routine (dig the impromptu "Banana Boat Song" that leads into "Skin & Bone," or the rollicking "Baby Face"). Still, the live record is just a bonus, no matter how fun it is, since the travelogue of the first record is where the heart of Everybody's in Show-Biz lies. Davies views the road as monotony -- an endless stream of identical hotels, drunken sleep, anonymous towns, and really, really bad meals (at least three songs are about food, or have food metaphors). There's no sex on the album, at all, not even on Dave Davies' contribution, "You Don't Know My Name." Some of this is quite funny -- not just Ray's trademark wit, but musical jokes like the woozy beginning of "Unreal Reality" or the unbearably tongue-in-cheek "Look a Little on the Sunnyside" -- but there's a real sense of melancholy running throughout the record, most notably on the album's one unqualified masterpiece, "Celluloid Heroes." By the time it gets there, anyone that's not a hardcore fan may have turned it off. Why? Because this album is where Ray begins indulging his eccentricities, a move that only solidified the Kinks' status as a cult act. There are enough quirks to alienate even fans of their late-'60s masterpieces, but those very things make Everybody's in Show-Biz an easy album for those cultists to hold dear to their hearts.

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