By Jim Hudak “They just don’t make music like that anymore.” So goes the lament of most people who grew up with music and artists that they particularly enjoy or enjoyed. But that sentiment gets some validation when subsequent generations “discover” that music and embrace it as their own. It’s encouraging that in today’s more technologically oriented popular music scene, there are lots of young people delving into some of the artists who have endured the test of time. The Beatles, Stones, Tom Petty, The Who, Eric Clapton, and a host of other bands and solo artists continue to get airplay and attention from today’s youth. The purity of their music is real. For us “oldsters,” that’s encouraging. We probably feel like our parents did when some of us discovered the greatness of Big Band music from their generation. It’s fascinating to explore how the truly great talents in every musical genre continue to endure changing tastes. In jazz, there’s no denying the staying power of a Charlie Parker or Duke Ellington. Country singers and composers like Hank Williams have influenced over 50 years of music. Bob Dylan set the standard for singer-songwriters in the 60’s. Classical music is especially impressive, with the biggest names in that genre providing us with music from hundreds of years ago. The list goes on and on, with only the best holding our interest over time. Here, we give a short review to some of the music from two bands that enjoyed considerable success in the 60’s and 70’s, The Kinks and Little Feat. Both would be considered second tier acts compared to the biggest groups of the day. They were more apt to be found headlining shows in theatre sized venues than in football stadiums. But both bands have endured the changing tastes of time to earn their place in the hierarchy of the history of popular music. Let’s get down to their music. First, The Kinks. A young friend of mine recently gave me a disc of carefully chosen Kinks songs from 1967 to 1972. Featuring the lead vocals and songwriting skills of Ray Davies, this was a one of a kind band. Davies explores everything from politics and the social class system in England to loneliness, fallen stardom, and mental health issues. All with a wry sense of British wit. This music is priceless. Among my favorite Kinks songs are “Holiday,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Celluloid Heroes,” “20th Century Man,” and “Waterloo Sunset.” But when one takes the time to explore the extent of the Kinks catalog and body of work, plenty of other great songs and recordings are there to be found. Some of their earliest recordings sound similar to early Stones, Beatles, and early Who songs. The friendly competition between these young British bands is apparent. Little Feat takes the listener in a different direction. Less political and more soulful is their sound, with their vibe coming primarily from their musical groove rather than from social commentary. But in listening to two classic Little Feat albums recently, Dixie Chicken and Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, one is reminded that no one back in the early 70’s played music quite like Little Feat’s. The music sounds as fresh and full now as it did back then. Founded by Lowell George in the early 70’s, some of The Feat’s best known songs include “Dixie Chicken,” “Roll Um Easy,” and their medley of “Cold Cold Cold” and “Tripe Face Boogie.” Other personal favorites include “Easy To Slip” and “Willin,” along with “All That You Dream.” Little Feat combined Rock, Soul, Funk, and Blues into their own unique sound. Though Lowell George died young in 1979, the band has carried on and built upon their legion of followers young and old. It’s fair to say that the music of The Kinks and Little Feat will live on, just as it has for roughly 40 years. In the end, the cream always rises to the top, in music as well as in life itself.

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Jim Hudak

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