et look again and you can see it is so much more.
Rich Man Poor Man appears to have had it's source in an original and previously lost all embracing theme that pre-figures the arc of concept albums The Kinks released from the late 60's onwards. The period was marked by relentless touring that took a physical and mental toll on the band. Poor management by upper class chancers with severe cash-flow problems exacerbated the pressure on the band to deliver hit after hit and Ray Davies found his visionary ambitions frustrated with each song either rush-released as a self-serving single, b-side or album filler.
The songs reflect what he was witnessing close at hand. The class inequalities were bursting through the veneer of swinging London and we can clearly see why he would return again and again to the recurring theme of innocents abroad. The Kinks like many other bands were regarded as no more than walking pound signs created to keep a small army of users fed and clothed. As the years passed Davies would become more explict in calling this out, but in 1966-67 this anger was largely supressed behind a facade of elaborate metaphor and satire. I would argue that had this record been released at the time it would have greatly altered our perception of The Kinks and seen them ranked on an equal footing with the progressive long-play output of their Beatle and Beach Boy peers. As such it's a remarkable discovery.
closes the End of The Season curtain like an old show tune at the end of a rain-lashed pier. "I just can't mix in all the clubs I know” he moans, “Now Labour's in, I have no place to go". And so part one ends. The swinging snapshot of the Capital city now forced to look into itself.