Working Man's Cafe

  • Record Label: New West
  • Release Date: Feb 19, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Overall, the album's humor level is a little lower than usual for Davies, but the reflective songs are among his most intimate and touching.
  2. The mouthful from ''One More Time'' and other clunky social commentary can't mask a cache of Kinks-worthy melodies, including the aforementioned track, the gorgeous ''The Real World,'' and ''You're Asking Me,'' which could almost be a lost tune from the late '60s.
  3. Café draws Davies out just enough to refresh and reinforce his legend.
  4. Working Man's Cafe feels like exactly the album a 60-something rocker would craft--assured and direct yet searching and restless, a glimpse into the head of a man who's comfortable in his skin but still wonders how he fits into a world that seems to be turning faster and stranger as the years pass by.
  5. The net result is smart, personal and potent.
  6. Sonically, Working Man's Café is also a triumph.
  7. Despite the somewhat pessimistic prognosis, Davies is a sharp enough tunesmith to keep his darkly droll song cycle upbeat and rockin’ throughout.
  8. Singer and song shine through clearly on Working Man’s Café, another great album from Ray Davies, who had already given us so much to love.
  9. 80
    There are times when the playing of the session band is slick to the point of blandness, and the production (by Davies and Ray Kennedy) is crisply tasteful when the songs cry out for dissonance.... But when it works, it works.
  10. The songs have more bite than those on "Other People's Lives," as do the performances, which makes Working Man's Café more immediate than its predecessor, yet it benefits from repeated plays as well, as those subsequent spins reveal that these 12 songs are as finally honed as those on "Other People's Lives."
  11. Mojo
    Not every number here reaches its perfection, but 'twas ever thus with the works of Raymond Douglas Davies; warts and all, and even the warts are interesting. [Dec 2007, p.109]
  12. It could have come across as professional formalism enhancing a half-assed satirist's latest free-market nightmare, but Working Man's Café adds lyricism to the reportage and makes itself useful enough.
  13. If the lyrics occasionally seem first-draft rough, the melodies are sharper than on 2005's "Other People's Lives," and the varied musical settings--such as the rockabilly of opener 'Vietnam Cowboys' or the spooky New Orleans blues of 'The Voodoo Walk'--throw into sharper relief the classic Kinksian pop of songs like 'You're Asking Me' and the title track, which show Davies alternately snarling and sighing at the world as winningly as ever.
  14. Producer Ray Kennedy delivers the tough, guitar/keyboard/ bass/drum sound you’d expect, with no gratuitous nods toward Welcome back, old friend.
  15. 60
    This album about the seamy, scary side of Bushland, conceived after Davies was shot in New Orleans in 2004, is a mixed bag of pointed personal reflection (Good Ray) and facile social critique (Bad Ray).
  16. Some of the songs are a little dull and a few of the lyrics can be a little embarrassing, but the better tracks make up for them.
  17. Davies’ tune sense is still relatively intact, and he turns out loose melodies amid nimble bar-band grooves. Unfortunately, Davies’ feistiness fades at times, and he lapses into blandness.
  18. Under The Radar
    Musically, Davies is on track, with strong arrangements and a capable band, but vocally he often reaches too far and ends up detracting from the song. [Spring 2008, p.82]
  19. Q Magazine
    There's enough flickers of former greatness within to be glad he's stil there. [Dec 2007, p.120]
  20. Davies' trademark softer delivery saves 'Imaginary Man,' but convincing vocalizations remain a major problem at the Café. Two steps forward, one step back.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Mar 25, 2014
    One word. Hate! I just did.t understand the central plot or goal of the album at all. When I start hearing music like this, I feel bad forOne word. Hate! I just did.t understand the central plot or goal of the album at all. When I start hearing music like this, I feel bad for man-kind. I'm disgusted! Full Review »
  2. IgnacioD.
    Nov 22, 2008
    A very compassionate, complex and interesting albums from the greatest songwriter in rock.
  3. RayL.
    Apr 23, 2008
    What other singer/songwriter can produce such original material after a 40-year plus career. Each your collective hearts out, Rolling Stones.