*2.25-FANCY (Kinks)



If you believe in
What I believe in
Then we'll be the same

Just look around thee
If you will fancy
All the girls you see


My love
Is like a ruby
That no one can see,
Only my fancy


No one
Can penetrate me.
They only see
What's in their own fancy



At the inception of the album Face to Face, Ray Davies had attempted to bridge the songs together with sound effects, but was forced to revert to the more standard album format by Pye Records before the album's release. This kind of bridging between songs was a new concept at the time, and the use of sound effects had only recently begun to be used in pop music. But the tunes these sounds introduced, such as the sound of ocean waves on Waikiki or the storm for Rainy Day in June connect with rock format songs and don't, to my ear, reflect a psychedelic sensibility. I'm sorry to say they struck this listener as background theatrical props, conceived as an idea rather than as the granular effect of specific sounds and their interaction with the rest of the composition. Of course, someone might object that I included Riders on the Storm by the Doors in this collection of psychedelia, which used a "rain soundtrack" in a manner similar to Rainy Day in June. But the fact is that the keyboard work of Riders interacts with the rain soundtrack and brings the storm out of the background. I grant that Riders was recorded several years later. But by the Fall of 1966, the much more detailed and complex use of sound effects in Yellow Submarine had already made the Kink's dealings with this psychedelic technique sketchy.

The Kinks aren't thought of as a psychedelic group; in fact, their sound was usually so much out of step with the fashion of psychedelia that the sales of their records suffered terribly in the United States throughout this period, to revive in 1969. The one hit in the U.S. from Face to Face was Summer Afternoon and it would be their last one until the barroom song Lola. During the psychedelic period, the Ray Davies wrote some of his best songs, with a few psychedelic effects added, songs that would have worked perfectly well without them. Some of these have been included in the supplemental part of this collection.

Fancy is the second and last of the Kink's psychedelic masterworks, and like the first, See My Friends, released in Fall 1965, it draws on an authentic sounding Indian drone. Though electric guitars and feedback are used to approximate the sitar and tambura, the song is unmistakably Indian in its tone. Also, as in See My Friends, Ray Davies seems to have found the right subject matter for the lyric that goes with the sound. There's a meditative quality to it, as if a poem written primarily for himself but general enough for the listening public to enter. The Indian scales offer us an alternative universe, an impermeable self (No one can penetrate me), a fanciful exotic otherness that we can join together in, if you believe in what I believe in. Herein, within oneself, is the ruby that no one can see, a thing of beauty that sustains hope, though no one else in the world may recognize it. The lyric turns from that of a lover to that of a well defended loner: there's an invitation; then, a sort of sexually wandering eye (with the archaic rhyme of "thee"), followed by the poet's focus on himself; and finally, a defense against "them", with the "you", or the listener, no longer mentioned. Is the listener an us or a them? Does the listener try to penetrate the truth or accept as truth only that which the listener wants to believe?

Such are the questions that a meditative mind might be drawn to through Fancy's drone. Unlike See My Friends, there is no interruption of mood. Fancy is a brief song that can seem an "always", part of forever. Ray Davies did not develop into a further great contributor to psychedelic music, but at the start, he had the Indian tone in mind and the appropriate moods to match them. What he didn't seem to have was the assistance of hallucinogens.