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The Village Green Preservation Society
List Price: $11.98

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Product Description

Sensing that the Beatles, Stones, and Who were radically transforming rock music by turning it literate and conceptual, Ray Davies decided the Kinks should be his vehicle to explore his unusual longing for a simpler time when the English empire was not in decline. A reliance on English music hall tradition and sentiments indicated in titles such as "Last of the Steam-Powered Trains," "Picture Book," and "Village Green" clearly show Davies's nostalgia streak. Davies's singing has always been rough and non-Kinks fans may have trouble getting past his sloppy pitch. But for those listening closely, the tales are one of a kind. --Rob O'Connor

Customer Reviews:

  • Masterpiece
    Ray Davies creates a bucolic small-town paradise--or so it would seem--on this (unfortunately) little known Kinks album. For certain, songs such as "Animal Farm," "Sitting by the Riverside," "Picture Book," and the title track muse on the traditional thoughts of the simple, quiet and pleasantries of small town life. But there are some snakes in this Garden of Eden: a witch, "Wicked Annabella," an aloof God, "Big Sky," childhod dreams that meet sad adult reality, "Do You Remember Walter?"

    Davies, one rock's greatest lyricists, is in championship form here.

    From the title track:

    "We are the skycraper codemnation affiliate/God save Tudor houses, antique tables and billiards."

    The arrangements and the musicianship--in sharp contrast to many of the better known classics of the late 1960s--are lean and bare. The melodies are first rate, enhancing the direct and effective little-old-man-sounding vocals of Ray Davies.

    Easily the greatest 1960s album no one (almost) has ever heard of. Village Green Preservation Society never cracked Billboard's top 200 chart. A shame.

    The last line from the title track: "God Save the Village Green."...more info

  • Village Green Overated Society
    A very high reconized album.Not to the mainstream public.But to any kinks fan.A lot love this album and say it's their best.And give it 5 stars.I disagree,it's a great album that is and still is very influenced from.But it's not their best work.First of all not every songs good.I can name off kinks albums that every song is good.But their to other people considered not as good.But WAIT don't think i'm trying to turn you away from it.It still is very much worth the buy.And it also has some very good songs.Such as VGPS,Do You Remember Walter,Picture Book and Village green.Those four songs are some of their best works of all time.For the rest of the songs,their o.k..But still get it.Castle version or not.It basicly only repeats in stereo So the Warner Brothers one is just as good.Just get Face To Face,Something Else and Arthur first.Their a lot better.P.S. listen to picture book on this cd by the kinks.Then listen to warning on the cd warning by green day.The guitar riff on those songs is the same!GREEN DAY COPIED OFF THE KINKS!...more info
  • This might be the one
    Out of maybe four truly great Kinks records (also Lola vs. Powerman, Arthur, and Something Else), this might be The One. It definitely exhibits Ray Davies's unique (often called quirky) world-view, with songs mourning the loss of the old ways of England. While songs like "Victoria" parody that ever so slightly, the sincerity of this album is moving at times, from the simple reminiscence of "Do You Remember Walter?" to the bizarre condemnation of photography in "People Take Pictures of Each Other." Davies creates a world that is truly his own, one that owes nothing to the rest of the late 60s, and makes you love it as your own. Bonus for the catchy guitar hook in "Picture Book," lifted note for note by alternative pop-punkers Green Day....more info
  • Journey Through the Past
    The Who's Pete Townsend once said that Ray Davies of the Kinks should be a poet laureate of England. Strong words of praise, but "The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society" is strong enough on its own to make me agree.

    During their heyday, the Kinks compiled as substantial and consistent a body of work as anyone in classic rock. Still, while the other three horsemen of the 1960s British Invasion--the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who--rode on to conquer the world, the Kinks remained relegated to also-ran status. Win, place, show--and after that, the Kinks, sadly lumped in on Starbucks compilation CDs with the likes of Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Dave Clark Five.

    As to why this happened, theories abound. Some blame the fact that they couldn't tour the U.S. during their most productive years. Others say their music is more particularly British than, say, the Beatles. Rather than singing about universal and easily translated themes like love and loss, the Kinks sang about English country life, tiny towns with village greens and quaint squares and peaceful rivers. There, to paraphrase Thom Yorke, everything was in its right place; old people maintained an air of reserved politeness while drinking their afternoon tea on lace-covered tables, and youngsters thrilled with the pleasure of a simple first kiss. Such things don't sell well in America, or in the world at large, and they didn't necessarily fit in with the anything-goes forward-thinking groupthink of the late 1960s.

    But if time is the ultimate judge, this album will ensure the Kinks are judged second to none. Ray Davies reportedly wrote it as a response to the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", as a commemoration of culture rather than a herald of counter-culture, another masterwork--besides the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"--against which the Beatles supposed high point must be compared. Because of that, this feels--at least to me--more timeless and valuable than Sgt. Pepper's. In the mind's eye, past and future alike can be made flawless, and endlessly compared with the imperfect present. But past images of the future--even the near future--always seem wrong-headed once the future gets here, whereas the past itself never returns to contradict our fuzzy memories of it. Simple pleasures often metamorphosize in memory to golden perfection.

    Of course, realities are never that simple. The future won't be perfect, and the past never was. Ray Davies doubtless understood that; this album has a decidedly tongue-in-cheek feel that shows he is in on the con. On the album's title track, he says he is "Saving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways, for me and for you." But there is a passive-aggressiveness and a futility inherent in such vigorous efforts, as evidenced by the snide second track, "Do You Remember Walter?" a timeless meditation on how the fiery idealism of youth mellows and fades into flabby middle age, and how we nonetheless often refuse to accept it when people don't play the roles they used to play in our lives. "I bet you're fat and married now and always home in bed by half past eight/And if I talked about the old times you'd get bored and have nothing more to say," Davies' narrator sings to an old friend from youth, then caps it off with a dynamite line I always wish I'd written: "Yes, people often change/But memories of people can remain."

    There are far more pleasures on this album--a harpsichord on "The Village Green" that makes me deliriously happy every time I hear it, a hilariously cynical take on God in "Big Sky" that I never agree with but never fail to enjoy, a charging little song called "Johnny Thunder" that always hits the sweet spot between sweet and sour. And like all classics, it gives new gifts with every revisiting. But that simple line in "Walter" sums up why I love this album. Even though I'm a melancholy Irish-German and this is an all exuberant Englishness, I'd probably put it on my proverbial list of five desert-island CDs. Like all great works of art, it manages to be about far more than itself, for in singing about the aforementioned particulars of English life, the Kinks uncover many larger truths--about nostalgia and longing, and the ways in which we distort the past to save it from destruction.
    ...more info
  • The 3rd best rock album of all time!!
    How else can I describe how great this album is? It's not only beautiful, it's sublime, melodic, enchanting, intelligent, ground-breaking and, simply, brilliant. The song "We are the Village Green" starts it off with a flowery, whimsical, intellectual playfulness which is both overly-naiive, yet at the same time, so profoundly moral way that you can only marvel at. 'Yes, I WOULD like a Village Green Preservation Society to exist!' you're already thinking. Next is "I Remember Walter" (which ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" brilliantly ripped off), "Picture Book", and "Johnny Thunder", 3 profound and chill-inducingly melodic songs which, as other reviewers here have so aptly pointed out, reveal the philosophy of the album (and it's pretty deep, yet, as always with Ray Davies, elegantly simple): there are people and places you love in your life which never stay the same no matter how much you will it. Some lyrics: "People often change, but memories of people will remain", "Picture book of people with each other, to prove we loved each other a long time ago", and also echoed again in "People take Pictures of Each Other": "People take pictures of the summer just in case they thought someone had missed it, just to prove that it really existed." It makes you laugh at its simple truths; but inherent in all the talk of beauty and wistful memory is an unmentioned but looming subject of death and time's alteration hanging over this album.

    Other gold star songs: "Big Sky", "Sitting by the Riverside", and the back-to-back placement of two songs that will make you cry when you get to know them: "Animal Farm" and "Village Green" (the track order Amazon lists here is ridiculously wrong). With the inclusion of the British hit single "Days", which is as perfect an example of Ray Davies' trademark melodic, profound simplicity as anything else on this incredible album, you have, in my opinion, the third best album of all time (my first 2 choices are The Beatles' "Revolver" (U.K. version) and Velvet Underground's first). This is my first review for Amazon and it's a pleasure to have it be for this album. Just buy it. Enjoy....more info
  • Heep big hick Kinks fan!
    It used to be, maybe 20 or 25 years ago, that this album could be called under rated or even unknown. But now look! As of this writing - 44 reviews and virtually all of them favorable. Am I complaining? Noooooo. Some of us have known since their first chunka - chunk power chord hits of '64 and '65 that these guys were special. The best there is! They just simply come no better! And if there were any back at that time who might have doubted that statement, Mr. Raymond Douglas Davies, who knew all along that they were the best, and that they didn't come any better, set out to prove it. And with seemingly little effort he wrote the songs for, and then got the boys together to record "Face to Face."
    Most songwriting musicians would never have been able to pull an album's worth of such high quality material out of themselves, yet Mr. Raymond Douglas Davies seemed to say "I can do better." And believe it or not, he did! Is there anyone reading this who would not in all truthfulness be able to place "Face to Face" or "Something Else" on the same shelf as this album? One thing you CAN say about Mr. Davies during that incredibly productive period of '66 - '71, he WAS consistant!
    There's really no reason to break the contents of this album down and comment on each song. If you're reading this, then it's a pretty good bet that you've already heard it. Besides, I've only got a 1000 word limit.
    My rating is somewhat slanted due to the fact that The Kinks music ('66 - '72 in particular) has been the most important music in my life since I was 3. (I'm 41 now) The same is true of the "Village Green" album as it is with "Face to Face," "Something Else," "Arthur," "Lola Vs. Powerman," yes even "Percy." ("Moments" is incredibly beautiful and moving) There is no better music to be had, anywhere. Some come close. Elvis Costello comes close. Hank Williams comes close. Love comes close. Sammy Davis, Jr. comes close. Yardbirds come close. Hoodoo Gurus come close. Focus comes close. I think at times even Golden Earring comes close. Chet Atkins certainly comes close. But if you are dying to hear GREAT music, add this and the other Kinks albums mentioned to your collection. You can't go wrong....more info
  • the greatest album ever made by the best band of all time!
    Wow, what a band!!! Far more creative and original than the Beatles or any 60's pop band for that matter. This album is simply amazing. It goes from smooth jazz, to swingin big band, from raging garage punk, to laid-back missippi delta blues. I don't know what you call it... how bout the Kinks. This is the kinks in their purest form. Pick it up, I garentee you won't be let down, and if you are you just suck....more info
  • The Village Green Preservation Society
    Is it just me or does the guitar work throughout "Picture Book" sound very similar to the ... Green Day song "Warning." I dont know, i just sort of wanted to let everybody know that. Besides that tidbit of useless and inane information I have to say that this cd is amazing. It is my first Kinks cd, but I hope to expand my cd since I am now enthralled at the lyrical proficiency of Mr. Davies. Definitely an under rated cd and group. Judging by the lyrical context though perhaps they did not want to become the huge stars that the Beatles or Rolling Stones were. Better for the rest of us who are now able to discover these cd's that have been left unheard by the masses. Highly recommended....more info
  • Picture book...
    This is the album that put Ray Davies on a par with the great Lennon/McCartney team, and all the other Brit giants that ruled the roost back in the day. For me, this album has true lasting value for its straightforward and unflinching commentary on the modernization of the world which was occurring simultaneously with the great rebellion of the 60s (and hasn't stopped since). Davies picked up this theme of old-vs-new again on "Muswell Hillbillies," another teriffic record with a bluesier feel. But while "Muswell Hillbillies" sometimes heads over the top in the type of commentary it delivers ("I was born in a welfare state/ruled by bureaucracy"), this one is a bit subtler and more ambivalent. "Big Sky" is my personal favorite song here, posing the big question-- do we all really matter in the grander scheme of things? My other favorite is "Do You Remember Walter," which is a musing on friendships past and the inevitability of "growing up" from rebellious teen to domesticated suburbanite. I guess my point is, these songs have a universal appeal that transcends the era. Which, I guess, is what puts this album into the "timeless" category for me. It's not about drugs, lava lamps, and decadence. It's about life, not just in Great Britain but in the modern (read: post-60s) world as a whole. Certainly a worthy purchase, especially if you live in tract housing and wonder where the years went....more info
  • The centerpiece of a flawless late sixties run
    Perhaps the most publically underrated album ever made, Village Green is the climax of the Kinks career. This album provides a museum of great music, genius concepts, and fantastic lyrics. It is hard to believe that almost no one my age (17) has even heard of The Kinks masterpiece. This is Ray Davies in his finest hour. He was one of the few great musicians to keep his head on his shoulders and shy away from psychedelic pop. This is certainly an absolutly essensial album to any music lovers collection. And, while you're at it, you might as well get your hands on Face to Face, Something Else, Arthur, and Lola too. All are tip-top quality albums. God save The Kinks...more info
  • You can't go wrong
    I cannot understand why the Kinks aren't up there with the Beatles, Stones, etc... The music is intelligent, cool, and simply wonderful. My husband thinks their voices aren't very strong, but from my (female?) perspective, I feel goofy just listening to Dave Davies' voice....more info
  • God Save the Kinks!!!
    Back in 1969, when Vietnam and race riots had the whole earth shaking and quaking, a little rock band from Merrie Olde England releases a quintessential album, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, which sounds a clarion call for the preservation of......merrie olde England!!! You're kidding, right? The same band which pumped out such bone-shaking rockers as "You Really Got Me," and "All Day and All of the Night," now calls on God to save "Donald Duck, vaudeville, and variety," with a sound as gentle and mellow as a Waterloo Sunset? Really? Yes, really!!! For the truth is, Raymond Douglas Davies was only saying what millions of people the world over were thinking: Please, if you have to change the world, then change it, don't destroy it! Davies and Co illustrate how truly delightful everyday life in a quaint little village can be, with wonderful song vignettes in honor of a steam engine ("Last of the Steam Powered Trains"), a country farm ("Animal Farm"), and love and marriage, small-town style ("Village Green," the album's best number, which features an oboe solo! Yes, you read that correctly!) Old friends ("Do You Remember Walter?"), various village characters ("Johnny Thunder", "Wicked Annabella," "Monica," and, best of all, a truly "Phenomenal Cat," that sounds like one all of us cat-lovers have owned; i.e., fat and lazy!), and, finally, the village itself and events which take place there ("All of My Friends Were There," "Picture Book," "People Taking Pictures of Each Other"); all are portrayed with great love and wisdom. Ray Davies sings each of these tunes in a laconic but still deeply caring style guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings, and brother Dave Davies and the other band members lend fabulous support to the album that, for most of them, remains a personal favorite. (Bassist Pete Quaife has since admitted that he considers "Animal Farm" to be Ray's best written song ever.) Only "Big Sky," with it's portrait of an uncaring deity, seems out of step with the rest. (Question: How can God possibly save the Village Green if He is too remote to care??? Hmmm???) Still, in sum, if your musical desire is to look beyond the head-banging, gut-wrenching power of the early Kink rockers for something a bit more gentle and heartfelt, then Village Green is the album for you. God Save the Kinks!!!...more info
  • A Triumph
    I have long called the three LPs starting with 'Face to Face' as the Kinks' 'Trinity'. This release was most clearly the best 'concept' album released by any band at the time of its' 1968 release. Ray Davies had already blossomed into a masterful songwriter on the two previous discs (and on singles during the period) and Dave had placed three tunes on 'Something Else' without reducing its' impact. This time, the songs again eschewed rock for a music-hall approach and similar themes recur. The "Village Green Preservation Society" is presented as a sing-along title tune, and reprised in "Village Green"; the memorable "Picture Book" is answered with the final cut, "People Taking Pictures of Each Other". "Do You Remember Walter?" "Animal Farm" and the bossa-nova-inflected "Monica" join "Picture Book" as among the most catchy all-time Kinks songs. "Starstruck", "Johnny Thunder" and several other cuts are not far off. The song that doesn't seem to fit well, a minor quibble, is "Big Sky", which uses spoken verses to convey an unconcerned deity/overseer. The lack of bonus cuts on the generous 15-cut disc is unfortunate, the inclusion of the 1968 single "Days" would have been a plus, but this album is a classic, a must for any serious fan of '60s music and the Kinks in particular. ...more info
  • greatest kinks album!
    absoulutely beautiful! i love every song, worth every penny! my first kinks cd i bought was ultimate kinks (best of cd) and then i got this. i reccommend both. ray davies is a gobsmacking genius!...more info
  • Britpop's Once and Future King
    Can we all agree that Oasis, Blur, et. al, are Britpop's (at best) court jesters and Raymond Douglas Davies is the undisputed king of the realm? By 1968, the Beatles were showing signs that "celebrity" and "image" were becoming increasingly more important than music. Don't get me started on the Sgt Pepper snoozefest. Stones? Five decent years (1968-73, aka The Mick Taylor Era) followed by an eternity of self-parody. Even the mighty Who were trying to get serious and "arty" with the bloated pomposity that is Tommy. RDD to the rescue! "Village Green" is full of tender, sincere and funny vignettes that stand the test of time. The Kinks may not have been ace musicians, but they play with a lot of heart. Be good to yourself, and check out everything from the lads' golden age (1966-1972)....more info
  • Power pop at its finest
    This is one of those albums that a lot more rock fans know about than actually have listened to it. It has an image among worshippers of 60s-era music as a very twee conception, Sgt. Peppers times 10, a mix of old English Music Hall with an assortment of silly walks.

    Not so. This is a hard rocking album with some of the most enjoyable melodies and brilliant lyrics the Kinks ever did. It is probably the most consistently entertaining album of the Kinks' long career. The first five cuts or so, including the title cut, "Do You Remember Walter," "Johnny Thunder" and "Last of the Steam Powered Trains" are each set to a driving beat courtesy of the great, underrated drummer Mick Avory, who along with Dave Davies ensure that no matter how far or fancily Ray Davies might fly, he's well-anchored to rock and roll on virtually ever cut. By the time the one truly twee number comes along, the fluty "Phenomenal Cat," you've been dancing so long it seems like a joyful diversion.

    Davies' lyrics and vocals are also at a peak on this album. He puts other songwriters of his era to shame with the diversity of emotions, thoughts and settings he is able to convey. He's a true storyteller, and his knowledge of the human comedy seems vast. Lyrically, the only album to compare this with, really, is "The Band." Like that American classic, this album is set in a specific time and place, and contains stories told by specific narrators with a clear point of view, so that in totality, it creates a three-dimensional picture of a world we may never have visited, but that we come to know as if it were our own.

    If you love his great hits "Days" and "Waterloo Sunset" this album is the closest full LP with that kind of musical and emotional resonance. I love the Kinks and so many of their albums, but if I could only take one with me, this would be it....more info

  • YES!! Timeless. Perfect. Monumental.
    I love this album. It's heartwarming....more info