I bought this album last December, but for some reason it was just released in the States. Sounds exciting, doesn't it -- the incomparable Ray Davies re-doing Kinks songs with his peers and up & coming artists. Well not really. If you ask me, most of the time duet albums aren't that great. This particular one is average at best; about half the songs are good, the rest forgettable. The bright opener Better Things features Bruce Springsteen; he's a versatile singer, but I think this particular song doesn't really suit his rough voice. And the second song Celluloid Heroes still doesn't stop me from disliking Jon Bon Jovi. You Really Got Me with Metallica, as heavy as it may sound, has been overdone to a point where it's not cool anymore.
Here are some of the high points of the record: The folked up medley of Days/This Time Tomorrow featuring Mumford & Sons; it works because they manage to retain the whole English feel of the tunes. Lucinda Williams and Ray Davis seems like an unlikely pairing, but she turns the poignant Long Way From Home into something that could've easily come from her repertoire. My favorite tune is also the simplest here -- an acoustic Waterloo Sunset, in which Ray lets Jackson Browne sings most of it; the perfect song for him. Next up is the late, great Alex Chilton doing 'Til The End Of The Day, backed by a fine band called The 88. The band also covers David Watts, always a joy to listen to. Finally check out See My Friends (feat. Spoon) and This Is Where I Belong (feat. Black Francis). Cheers!