Tuesday, April 21, 2009

my friend on the raga

7N 15919.

Released on July 30th, 1965, the Davies brothers use of sitar here predates the release of The Beatles' "Rubber Soul" by several months. It has been alleged in some quarters that this superior Raymond Douglas Davies composition may in fact constitute the first popular release in the west to utilize Raga as a core motif.

From Wiki:

"Ray Davies has been heard to say the song is about the loss of his sister, who lived for a time in Ontario, Canada. Upon her return to England she developed a sickness and died while dancing at a night club. Just before she died he says she gave him his first guitar for his 13th birthday. Inspiration for the song came after a stopover in Bombay, where, finding himself jetlagged on a beach, Davies encountered two fishermen chanting on their way to their morning work. He wrote the song while traveling in India years later when he heard about the significance of the Ganges river in the Indian death ritual."

Interestingly, there are sufficient grounds to support the allegation that the appearance of "Friend" (singular) in the title is the result of a misprint on the single's original UK release. Kassner Music - which owns the publishing rights, apparently - officially lists the title as "See My Friends" (plural).

Misprint or not, I infinitely prefer the romantic introspection and polite air of mystery suggested by the former.

Produced by Shel Talmy.

THE KINKS: SEE MY FRIEND from "See My Friend b/w Never Met A Girl Like You Before" 45 (PYE) 1965 (UK)


HowMarvellous said...

not sure I've ever heard this before ib - it's a bit bloody good.. wish it didn't fade so soon.

ib said...

Yes. I wish, too, the song was available as an extended mix of the length of say - "Shangri-la" - but sadly this was the era of the short and oh so sweet.

I first had this one on a budget price compilation, one of "the golden hour of..." series available in the mid seventies. For such a thrown together affair it was far more comprehensive than any other compilation at that time; the only key songs missing, I remember, were "Lola" and "Apeman" - maybe "Death of a Clown". I suppose PYE were still intent on milking their 1970's premium output.

Nazz Nomad said...

I wonder if "Come Dancing" is about his sister as well.

ib said...

Ha! I like it, Nazz.

Acctually, since I detest that song, I felt compelled to key up the lyrics to "Come Dancing" online. You know; you may well be right...

"The day they knocked down the Pally
My sister stood and cried.
The day they knocked down the Pally
Part of her childhood died, just died."