The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:10 Release Date:2018-10-26
The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

So many albums these days are touted as ‘legendary’, ‘seminal’ and are given lavish deluxe treatments, after five, ten or any number of well-round years and decades. Of course, some deserve all the luxuriousness that is afforded to them, some don’t, some do. Well, as far as The Kinks and their The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society goes and its 50 years, really deluxe, really lavish edition (double LP, 5 CD, three reproduced singles with original sleeves and a book) it is essential to get one thing out of the way first - yes, it is absolutely one of those albums that fully deserves the treatment.

The fact that this, I don’t know whether you can call it a reissue because it is more than that, comes 50 years after its original release, and that in 1968, the music was reflective of its times. Yet somehow, with all the turmoil going on in 2018, it reminds us that things can repeat itself.

Derided at the time it was released, being a commercial flop and putting The Kinks in a position of no hit single for the first time Village Green, through time, and particularly these days turns out to be the best thing Ray Davies and the group came up with album wise. At the time of tectonic changes of 1968 and revolutionary spirit that was “in the air”, it seems everybody got stuck with the ‘preservation’ and got the notion that Davis was turning into a conservative stuck in the past.

All wrong. In the time of general turmoil, as well as personal within the band (the four year touring ban for the US, and childhood friend, bassist Pete Quaife leaving the band), Davis’ course of action was not to conserve, but to reflect and take the best possible action based on what went on in the past - very sage advice, ringing even more true today. Nobody, say in continental Europe remembered Walter (“Do You Remember Walter”), or knew who “Johnny Thunder” was, but they were still able to connect to what Ray Davis was saying.

The same approach is taken to the music itself. Whether it is the ‘very English’ songs like “Animal Farm” (where did he get that one from?) and “Monica”, or roots/blues/The Band inspired “The Village Green Preservation Society” and “The Last of the Steam Powered Trains” the concept was, intentional or intuitive, makes no difference, to look forward by taking a step (or steps) back, but not to get stuck in the past but to conceive something that will take you forward. And forward for The Kinks was in a combination of loud (“You Really Got Me”) and quiet (“Waterloo Sunset”) - a combination that would produce albums like Village Green, Muswell Hillbillies and on.

A word on the additional material. Most of the time, when you get additional tracks on these deluxe editions you can find out exactly the reasons why such material was left in the bin, usually of worth to serious fans and collectors only. With this there is a double win situation - not only will the serious fans and collectors be happy, but even the more ‘ordinary’ listeners can discover something new and as enjoyable as the original album itself. I gave Village Green a true and tested listen in that respect - sitting through all five CDs in one go. The verdict - never a dull moment. Not one. Yet another confirmation of the importance of this album. Absolutely essential.

 

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