The Kinks released a few days ago a box set of their 1968 concept album Arthur and the Decline of the British Empire with a lot of mono-versions and outtakes that made me wanting to listen to this record once again after a very long time. Wiki tells us about the story of this album:
The story is partially inspired by the Davies brothers' older sister Rose, who emigrated to Australia in 1964 with her husband Arthur Anning.[ Her departure devastated Ray Davies, and it inspired him to write the song "Rosy Won't You Please Come Home", included on the 1966 album Face to Face.The lead character in the album, the fictional Arthur Morgan—modelled after Anning—is a carpet layer whose family's plight in the opportunity-poor setting of post-war England is depicted.] Writer Julian Mitchell detailed the story line and characters in depth, explaining in the liner notes for the album's LP release:
Davies later commented in his autobiography, X-Ray, that Anning later "told me that he ... knew it [Arthur] had been partly inspired by him ... [it] reminded him of home ... I told Arthur that I felt guilty for using him as a subject for a song, but he shrugged off my apology, saying that he was flattered." With an underlying theme of nostalgia,] the songs describe the England Arthur once knew[("Victoria", "Young and Innocent Days"), the promise of life in Australia for one of his sons ("Australia"), the emptiness of his superficially comfortable life in his home ("Shangri-La"), the resolve of the British people during the Second World War ("Mr. Churchill Says"), the privations that marked the austerity period after the war ("She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina"), and the death of his brother in World War I ("Yes Sir, No Sir", "Some Mother's Son").
This record wasn't very successful 50 years ago but filled with one of the best songs Ray Davis ever wrote and it was a pleasure to listen to them once again.
The Kinks - Victoria
The Kinks - Shangri-La
The Kinks - Australia