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By Michael LaBlanc

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Extra info for Contemporary Musicians: Profiles of the People in Music: Volume 5

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Flash from the band's 1969 effort, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, for the albums Preservation, Act I and Preservation, Act II; like Arthur these were more warmly received by critics than fans. Soap Opera, the Kinks' early 1975 concept release fared slightly better, but Schoolboys in Disgrace—a set of unrelated songs that came out later that year—was even more popular. Schoolboys marked the return of Dave Davies to the Kinks; he had left the band in 1973 over disagreements with his brother.

Soon after he graduated from high school in 1980, Black hit the nightclub circuit in Houston, playing and singing covers of Merle Haggard, Loggins and Messina, Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson, and even Dire Straits. The living was meager, to say the least, and to help make ends meet he also worked in construction. "I hated that kind of work," he admitted in People. Slowly Black began to incorporate his own material into his act, mainly Haggard-esque honky tonk ballads and tales of lost love. In order to publicize his appearances, he used his own pocket money to print fliers which were distributed in the Houston area.

Ham was impressed and offered his considerable services to the band. '" Within five months Black had a recording contract with RCA Records. When he arrived in Nashville to cut his album, he had never been inside a recording studio before. Most country musicians—especially newcomers— record with seasoned studio veterans as backup. Black insisted on recording with his road band, thus preserving the intimate quality of his live work. On Killin' Time, Black sings lead and plays guitar; the album is entirely composed of songs he wrote alone or with Nicholas.

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