Autumn. The nights are drawing in and the curtains are drawing shut. The heating comes on a bit earlier than normal and stays on that wee bit longer. You can smell winter coming in the air. The leaves are turning red and yellow. Conkers are on the ground and in the playground. Kids are off to the medical room for a good dose of TCP and a telling off. It’s round about now that I like to dig out ‘Autumn Almanac’ by The Kinks, a song that so perfectly sums up this time of year. You don’t even have to be quintessentially English to appreciate lines such as, “I like my football on a Saturday, roast beef on Sundays, alright! I go to Blackpool for my holidays, sit in the open sunlight.” No doubt about it, it’s one of my all-time top 5 favourite songs ever. Just behind ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s and just ahead of ‘Ally’s Tartan Army’ by the Scotland World Cup Squad 1978. Lee Mavers once lectured me on the brilliance of Autumn Almanac and Waterloo Sunset for a good 10 minutes, but that’s for another time. “I wish I’d written Waterloo Sunset,” is one of the things he said.
My computer’s playing silly buggers. Can’t get the spacing to work out. You don’t mind? Recorded for Top Gear on October 25th 1967 in BBC Maida Vale Studio 4 and broadcast 4 days later, the above 5 tracks are taken from a well-known Kinks bootleg called ‘The Songs We Sang For Auntie’, a 3 CD set that compiles most of (or all?) the unreleased BBC session stuff from 1964-1994. A must-have for any fan of a band who were matched only by The Beatles in terms of high quality output. But that’s just my opinion.
The voice between tracks is Brian Matthews (I think), who still presents the Sounds of the 60s show on Radio 2 every Saturday morning. The time really is ripe for a Kinks re-appraisal. The single version of Autumn Almanac was recorded in September 67 and released 3 weeks later. No great strategic marketing campaign with focus groups, target audiences and avoidance of any other big act’s single being released at the same time. Get in the studio, cut the record, release the record. Times being simpler then, Autumn Almanac climbed to either number 3 or number 5 on the charts, depending on which music paper you were reading. But ask anyone to name 3 Kinks singles and it’d be unlikely Autumn Almanac would feature in too many lists. It’s an under appreciated stone cold classic. Just ask Lee Mavers.
Yes, yes, yes! It’s my Autumn Almanyac!