Aug 222023

“Dancing With the Stars” is an international cultural phenomenon. In the UK, where the show originated, it is known as “Strictly Come Dancing”, as it is based on a program called “Come Dancing”. The original show was not a reality pro-am format, but a competition between established couples and teams. It ran for decades into the ’90s. So when The Kinks released “Come Dancing” in the UK in 1982 everyone would know what the song referred to, just from the title. Tireless tourers and Cover Me favorites Less than Jake have now released their version as part of a Dead Formats EP from Pure Noise Records.

The Davies brothers from The Kinks had six older sisters. Ray wrote this song in tribute to them, particularly Rene, who Ray was close to and who gave him his first guitar. She and her sisters “would dress up in their glad rags and their dates would take them out dancing to the local Palais”, often a converted theatre. By the time of the song this culture had disappeared and the Palais themselves were either gone, or had continued their evolution to something else again. Rene, unfortunately, died young, on a dancefloor, so never got to experience being the mother waiting up for her daughters to come home.  Ray Davies has developed the song and concept over the years, and it remains close to his heart.

Less than Jake, here accompanied by their Florida buddies the Sooza Brass Band, immediately up the BPM from the original, raising it into Jive speed from the rather than the mid-tempo of the original. The main purpose here is to get the house dancing, and they succeed.  Less than Jake’s characteristic ska style is very much enhanced by the Sooza Brass line, including a horn break. The tone is less of nostalgia, retrospection and much more of the “here and now,” the title a call to arms, or feet.