ARTIST: The Kinks
TITLE: The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: None (!)
SINGLES: Starstruck, The Village Green Preservation Society
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Picture Book, Big Sky, Animal Farm
LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory. Nicky Hopkins played keyboards.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks’ masterpiece. Ignored in its time, it’s grown in stature and reputation to become one of the defining albums of the 60’s.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ray Davies and the Kinks had moved away from three-chord rock to complicated, complex songs about like in the UK, and nostalgia for the old days. The record is steeped in tradition and memories of the past. Yet, Davies and the Kinks don’t make it a mere cloying homage; they make a sophisticated record that backs the wistful lyrics with melodies, arrangements and performances that fit each song and thought perfectly.
The first cut, “The Village Green Preservation Society” could almost be a Cliff’s Notes version to the album. The band wants to preserve ‘the old ways’ and protect ‘the new ways’. As the album goes on, each song tackles a different subject and puts the listener back into the time and place of the narrator.
It was a tough time for the Kinks, with Ray Davies frustrated at being a ‘hit machine’, legal issues and declining sales (and still being banned in the US). Somehow, through all of this, the Kinks come up with a masterpiece.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Ray Davies wrote every song for this record, a first for the band. Also, you may know “Picture Book” from a commercial for printers.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, bonus cuts, a full reissue in stereo and mono, and BBC cuts.
GRADE: A+: It’s was unfairly buried in the 60’s, but now it’s the best selling Kinks album. That’s fitting. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the theme and motif.