5 Songs, 20 Minutes

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About Ravens

Just prior to changing their name to the Kinks, the Kinks were known as the Ravens, a group which got as far as recording some demos in late 1963. During 1963, the band, which included Ray Davies, Dave Davies, and Pete Quaife, went through various names, including the Ray Davies Quartet, the Pete Quaife Band, and the Bo Weevils before becoming the Ravens. They also went through drummers Mickey Willett and John Stewart before finding Mick Avory through an ad in Melody Maker.

The Ravens merit an entry of their own in a discographical database because some of their tracks have surfaced on disc. In late 1963, according to Jon Savage's The Kinks: The Official Biography, they recorded five demo songs: Slim Harpo's "Got Love If You Want It," the Coasters' "I'm a Hog for You, Baby," the Ray Davies original "It's All Right," and the Dave Davies originals "One Fine Day" and "I Believed You." Only "It's All Right" and "Got Love If You Want It" would be officially re-recorded by the Kinks (for the B-side of "You Really Got Me" and their first LP respectively). The Kinks did not release "One Fine Day," but it was covered by obscure singer Shel Naylor.

Three tracks credited to the Ravens showed up on the obscure 1997 various-artists CD English Freakbeat, Vol. 3. The liner notes, without any convincing supporting evidence, say that "Ray, apparently, wasn't even in the group when they cut these demos." That's odd, considering that it sounds a heck of a lot like Ray singing lead vocals, and because the acoustic folk ballad "This I Know" (not previously documented as having been demoed by the Ravens) sounds a great deal like the folky Kinks tunes he wrote in the mid-'60s. As the competent cover of "I'm a Hog for You, Baby" and the Merseybeat-ish "I Believed You" were previously written about as having been recorded in late 1963, the versions here are presumably from that Ravens demo. ~ Richie Unterberger

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