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CD Review: Ray Davies

See My Friends (Decca)

There's no such thing as an excellent duets album. There are either crappy ones or ones that aren't so crappy. Ray Davies' See My Friends, which reworks 14 Kinks classics, turns out closer to the latter when the guests don't try to show up the star. Mumford & Sons join Davies on a low-key medley of "Days" and "This Time Tomorrow." And Jackson Browne kicks back on an acoustic "Waterloo Sunset." Then there's Jon Bon Jovi, grasping for significance (and mic space) on the overblown "Celluloid Heroes," and Metallica stumbling through a tired "You Really Got Me." Davies himself comes to life on the songs he hasn't sung thousands of times before, like "Long Way From Home" (with Lucinda Williams) and "Dead End Street" (with Amy Macdonald). Best to stick to your Kinks records. — Gallucci

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