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Amid Kinks reunion rumors, Ray Davies covers the band (with Springsteen, Alex Chilton, Metallica, Billy Corgan, more)

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The unthinkable is being thunk: Dave Davies said this week a reunion of the Kinks -- long thought an impossibility given the acrimony between the guitarist and his singer-songwriter brother Ray Davies -- is "down to Ray."

The classic British rock band officially split in 1996 after a lengthy fade, and the always feisty brothers have not been on speaking terms since. Last year, Dave refused to take part in a tribute for the band's late bass player Pete Quaife. In a lengthy Sunday interview with Britain's Independent, Ray explained the difficult sibling relationship, concluding, "Ray is a vain, egocentric, narcissistic arsehole, I won't have anybody call him that except me. Because I love him to death. He is my brother."

But Dave added that the two have discussed a Kinks reunion when Ray curates the Meltdown Festival in London later this year. "At least me and Ray are talking," he said.

Meanwhile, Ray's new record surfaces next week -- and it's a set of Kinks covers.

"See My Friends" (2 stars) features 14 duets on Kinks hits and album cuts with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Lucinda Williams, Black Francis, Billy Corgan (recorded in Chicago) and more. The tracks with big names are clunky -- Davies and Springsteen sound like they're on opposite sides of the continent on "Better Things," and Metallica's grinding of "You Really Got Me" is surprisingly anemic -- but the younger talent is refreshing, like Mumford & Sons perfecting the acoustic amble of "Days/This Time Tomorrow" and Spoon's fluid mid-'60s drone making "See My Friends" even more pleasant. The album's centerpiece is a recording of "'Till the End of the Day" with Alex Chilton (click below), possibly the last recording of Chilton before his death a year ago, that adds a chunky new riff. A bittersweet treat.

Hopefully all this reunion chatter isn't just word-of-mouth marketing for "See My Friends," and perhaps the documentary "Do It Again: One Man's Quest to Reunite the Kinks" might actually fulfill its dream, after all.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on March 31, 2011 12:00 PM.

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