The Kinks - Wonderboy/Pretty Polly

The Kinks
Wonderboy/Pretty Polly

Released 1968 on Pye
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 28/07/2007ce

If you asked me Ray Davies is the best songwriter Great Britain ever produced. During the period of 1965-1971 Davies was on such a roll that I don't think he ever produced a bad song during that entire period. Their 1967 masterpiece "Something Else By The Kinks" towers over the overrated and very dated Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper" and just about any other album issued during that great year. Then of course there was the group's magical non-album singles such as "Autumn Almanac", "Dead End Street", "Mr. Pleasant" and this non-album gem of 1968 that coupled "Wonderboy" with "Pretty Polly."

This 45 was probably recorded around the time of "Something Else" as the cover's artwork borrows the photo from that album. "Wonderboy" also employs the same magic that made "Something Else" such a memorable album. The song has the same innocent charm as many of Syd Barrett's early recordings (Barrett was obviously a big Kinks fan.) It is also known that "Wonderboy" was one of John Lennon's favorite records of 1968. Ray Davies had a style like no other writer of his era, he could make you feel happy & sad during the course of the same song, he could also transport you to another century almost at will. "Wonderboy" is a song that is just plain brilliant, just try to be unhappy while listening to it, it's impossible.

The flipside "Pretty Polly" is also very good and also never made it to official album at the time of it's release, this song could have easily fit onto the "Something Else" or "Face To Face" album. Yet sadly "Wonderboy" was not the huge hit it deserved to be (which distressed Ray a great deal at the time.) Tune in to this record it's one of this great group's best ever 45's.

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