New West Records; February 2008
Working Man’s Cafe is Kinks legend Ray Davies’s second solo outing since his seminal band disbanded in 1996. As such, it is a decent follow-up to 2006’s perhaps too slickly produced Other People’s Lives. Certainly Davies’s acerbic sociopolitical observations still resonate profoundly-especially on “Vietnam Cowboys.” On the title track, Davies strolls London’s High Street, nostalgic for the old working-class hangouts of his youth that have been supplanted by ubiquitous Starbucks and Gaps. Meanwhile, the autobiographical “Morphine Song” uses a Preservation Hall sound while absurdly chronicling the aftermath of having been shot in New Orleans several years back. Now in his early sixties, Davies still comes across as a well-respected man and vibrant artist with a lot left to express-and he’s still not like anybody else.