The Kinks, Autumn Almanac and The Music of 1967

Three different reasons for this post about the 1967 song Autumn Almanac by The Kinks, and here is the first one – Last time I wrote about the song California Dreamin’ but also of how I had gone for a walk, on the day of the autumnal equinox, in the forest that backs onto the street where I live.  Of course we take the forest for granted, but it did cause a bit of envy when I mentioned it, and I just wanted to share a few autumnal pictures. So here it is, my forest, and one we can take a walk in every day if we feel like it (but sadly often don’t).

The second reason for the post is the obvious one – Yes I think we can all agree now, that however you define it, autumn is now with us and just to confirm the central heating is now back on and the summer clothes are being packed away for another year.

The third reason is a bizarre one but yesterday I did a bit of a review of the songs I have written about for the blog to date and it turns out, statistically speaking, that the modal class (getting all “mathsy” here) is the 1960s – Yes, although I was only a little kid then, it seems to be the decade I have gravitated towards most often when “nostalgically revisiting the tracks of my years”. I am still trying to work out why that is the case and there are probably lots of different reasons, but after looking into it further, the most written about year for songs has been 1967, that mythical year that gave us The Summer of Love. I have of course mentioned before in this blog that the Swinging Sixties, the Hippy Era and Flower Power didn’t ever make an appearance in my small Scottish village and if they had, my dad and his fellow civic-minded friends would probably have had something to say about it, but hey, always nice to dream about what could have been.

summer-of-love

Having made this discovery that I seem to have a fascination for the music of 1967, I took it upon myself to look at an alphabetical list of the most popular songs from that year – This was interesting indeed as at the top of the list was Alfie, but not the version by Cilla Black I usually mention here but a version by Dionne Warwick. Working my way down the list, the next familiar song I came to was Autumn Almanac which sounded just perfect for this time of year.

Autumn Almanac by The Kinks:

Autumn Almanac was written by The Kinks frontman Ray Davies CBE who is one of Britain’s most respected songwriters and has received many awards in the course of his long career. The Kinks most commercially successful period was 1964-1967 but it was towards the end of this period that Ray started to change his songwriting style. He became a bit of a social commentator first writing about the brave new world that was Swinging London (Dedicated Follower of Fashionbut also about his urban environment (Waterloo Sunset) and the traditional working class lifestyles he was familiar with (Autumn Almanac). These songs really are in a different league to much of what was around at that time, and have really stood the test of time.

As Waterloo Sunset is also such a wonderful song I will end by including a clip of it as well. With this song Ray has adopted the role of bystander, where he paints a picture of two lovers meeting at Waterloo Station from the perspective of someone looking on from a nearby window. He actually performed this song at the (very musically inclined) closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics, describing it as his love letter to the city.

Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks:

One last thing before I go however – I did say there were only three reasons why I wanted to feature Autumn Almanac, but here is another. I love the sound of certain words and Almanac is a great onomatopoeic one. For me, it conjures up an image of a sturdy leather-bound book with possibly a locking device that makes a satisfactory clunking sound when closed. Books like this are sadly missed nowadays and from a bygone age. Next time I have a walk in the forest however, I will think back to days gone by and will mentally record what might have been recorded, in my leather-bound autumn almanac!

Autumn Almanac Lyrics
(Song by Ray Davies)

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar
When the dawn begins to crack, it’s all part of my autumn almanac
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow
So I sweep them in my sack, yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

Friday evenings, people get together
Hiding from the weather, tea and toasted
Buttered currant buns, can’t compensate
For lack of sun because the summer’s all gone

La la la la, oh my poor rheumatic back
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac
La la la la, oh my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

I like my football on a Saturday
Roast beef on Sundays, all right
I go to Blackpool for my holidays
Sit in the open sunlight

This is my street and I’m never gonna to leave it
And I’m always gonna to stay here if I live to be ninety-nine
‘Cause all the people I meet, seem to come from my street
And I can’t get away because it’s calling me, come on home
Hear it calling me, come on home

La la la la, oh my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac
La la la la, oh my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

Bop bop bop bop bop, whoa
Bop bop bop bop bop, whoa

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

6 thoughts on “The Kinks, Autumn Almanac and The Music of 1967”

  1. Gorgeous pictures, Alyson! Your forest is beautiful, though I was a little sad to see what appears to be logging of trees going on? May I hazard an opinion about why, perhaps, you’re gravitating towards the ’60s songs? In my opinion, they’re far more interesting, melodically, than most of the songs released in later decades. (I admit there are exceptions, of course, but the majority of those aren’t nearly as “ear-wormy” as singles from the ’50s and ’60s.) The Kinks were one of my favourite British Invasion groups and I’m still puzzled as to why I didn’t join the U.K. fan club, as I did with the Who and Yardbirds.

    Like

    1. Thanks Marie – No not logging just a bit of tidying up but I liked the way they were stacked. Commercial growing around here of softwood anyway so not serious. Yes I think you are right – the ’60s produced some excellent music compared to some other decades and my next few posts are going to be from that decade as well!

      Like

  2. Hi Alyson, just looking through your lovely blog! Your musical memories are very evocative and rekindling some of my own in relation to the same songs. I totally agree about Autumn Almanac (how the song suits and that word almanac too, although I did used to get it confused with ‘armagnac’…. mind you, Autumn Armagnac sounds pretty good too.)
    The forest pics are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking a look – Unlike a lot of the bloggers I follow I’m not really a muso at all but I love all the trivia and love how songs evoke memories. Have been really enjoying revisiting songs like this from the ’60s as was just a bit too young first time around and lots still fresh for me. You are right autumn armagnac does sound nice for this time of year!

      Like

I'd Love To Hear From You And I Always Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s