Out of all the songs in his back catalogue, Ray Davies seems proudest of his work on ‘Come Dancing’, which was his exploration of the dance halls that surrounded the songwriter as he sat near to them. More than that, the song reminded him of his sister, who died before her time. “Rene had died dancing in a ballroom in London in the arms of a stranger,” Davies recalled.
“Coming back from Canada where she’d emigrated [from the UK] to die, really, and again, being a source of inspiration,” Davies elaborated. “She gave me my first guitar, which was quite a great parting gift.”
The backbeat is elastic and electric, and the frenzied guitar hooks bend around the corner, creating a genuinely piercing, passionate display of hooks. In the middle of the work comes the sound of a crashing guitar hook, pushing the music to more sophisticated territories. The track also boasts a genuinely fanciful drum backbeat from Mick Avory, as he charges through the back, creating a soundscape workout based on pedals, cymbals and drum fills.
“Just keep Mick Avory nervous,” Davie chuckled, “And you’ll get great performances from him. He’s responsible for some of the great comedy drum parts. His drum roll into ‘Come Dancing,’ … it’s totally a beat late. It’s totally unplanned, and that’s what was so magical when we were rolling.”
The drummer delivers a thunderous performance that can come from a place of creative energy, as the drums kick from all angles of the kit.
The tune wallops along, creating a jauntiness that bounces along, bringing an aura of genuine good humour for the track in question, which might explain why the tune in question is so enjoyable in question, which creates a sense of giddy invention, ensuring a sense of bonhomie and tangible frisson. As it happens, the tune was something of a triumph for Davies, who considered it one his of personal favourites.
In the above quote, Davies claims that the tune is magical, and I’m inclined to agree with him, as it paints a portrait of an England soon to be washed over by the tide of time and memory. The tune provides a mosaic for the listeners to wash in and out of the world of the music, but it’s to the songwriter’s credit, he helps channel the flavour of memory to let the band revel up and roar out. The guitars in question burst in the middle, and the coda erupts with the ferocity of a muscular behemoth. Davies plays a chiming hook and a passionate vocal delivery.
Within the perimeters of rock, the tune held a more nostalgic flavour which is why the tune ricochets along, barrelling through the backdrop, to create a fiery backchannel that shows that nostalgia isn’t always the answer to capture resolve and resolution. The characters in the tune fizzle to the sound of the backdrop. It was Davies’ late sister that inspired the tune, and in his own way, he gives her new life in the confines of the song in question. Beautiful.