Some Thoughts on Fortis Green

By Bill Crowley - November 1999

About the recordings ...

As documented in the liner notes for 1999's "Dave Davies Kronikles/Unfinished Business", Dave has always thrived when let loose to create his glorious one-man demos. On the heels of "Unfinished Business," Dave kicks off his Meta Media Demo Series with a collection of recent studio and home-studio recordings. The results are spectacular, and largely of much higher quality than the "Demo" tag would indicate.

The big news for fans of Dave's live shows is the release here, for the first time, of Fortis Green. Fortis Green comes across as an almost comedic anthem to bygone days, performed in march time. Here, Dave takes a much more wistful approach, with a bittersweet vocal performance that conjures images of the young choir boy of old.

Most of the recordings presented here date back to 1996, prior to commencement of Dave's maiden solo tour. In the earliest versions of songs like Let Me Be, one could not help noticing the vitality of his arrangements and playing - most notably on bass guitar. Happily for all you guitar worshippers out there, Dave adds some scorching guitar parts to Let Me Be (Born Innocent). The other flat-out rocker in this collection is Love In the World, a more traditional rocker that would not sound out of place with Dave's RCA solo albums.

But the songs Demo Series Volume One more often reveal a much richer texture than Dave's contributions to the Kinks would suggest. There is nothing retro about this CD at all. If you are familiar with Dave's other recent work, including "Unfinished Business, " his soundtrack work, and the Crystal Radio project, you are already prepared for the lush soundscapes of songs like Soothe Sayer (impossibly enough, even more atmospheric than the version on the Crystal Radio CD). Listen To The Spirit strikes powerful themes of spiritual liberation, and sounds unlike anything you have previously heard from Dave Davies.

Away From You, a sweeping love song, draws its power from emotions felt by separated lovers everywhere. You'll notice how Dave stacks his vocal part three high, until at the crescendo he is joined by a lone female voice. Could that be Kate, who contributed vocals to last year's recording of Death of A Clown?

Perhaps the most striking song Dave has ever written and recorded, True Phenomenon combines ritual drumming, ethereal synth lines and inspired vocals. True Phenomenon paints some of the most vivid images imaginable. ("UFO's in the Holy Bible/Every Stage they Come").

My own personal favorite among these songs is Voices. Against a wash of guitars driven right up to the point of distortion, Dave creates a multi-tracked vocal arrangement that is nearly impossible to get out of your head once you hear it. (I can scarcely think of a day since I first heard this song that it hasn't been a part of my internal soundtrack).

The music on this CD, carefully composed and constructed part by part, is a stunning example of how a single artist can take advantage of today's recording technology to accurately reproduce the music inside him. Here are vibrant, groundbreaking new sounds that one could hardly have anticipated from the godfather of metal and punk. Yet here it is. Come and enjoy.

By Bill Crowley - November 1999

Click here for the complete track listing for Fortis Green

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