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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars drawing pictures in the sand, 22 Jun 2004
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Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Kinks' The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (331/3) (Paperback)
This book is short but well worth reading simply because Andy Miller treats Ray Davies' songs for this Kinks album with the seriousness they deserve. Loss is Davies' big subject; a song like People Take Pictures of Each Other could not have been written by anyone else and the essence of the song is captured in a few paragraphs by Miller. Village Green Preservation Society has just reissued on CD with some of the recordings dating from the same time which were briefly issued on record then withdrawn - Davies saw them as demos, but some are as touching as anything else he recorded: Rosemary Rose, Lavender Hill, and the painfully funny Pictures in the Sand - if you don't know Ray Davies' songs beyond the big hits then try this conclusion to Miller's piece on People Take Pictures of Each Other: "There is something neurotic about the wordless vocal tics that punctuate the song, and something desperate about the singsong round the piano as the track fades. The summer has passed by, childhood and freedom have vanished, love has been stolen away. You used to matter to someone, but now you don't. You might as well sing. It's all you've got - that, and your photographs."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential companion to an essential album, 31 Dec 2003
This review is from: The Kinks' The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (331/3) (Paperback)
Anybody who loves 60s music should know (and therefore love) "Village Green Preservation Society", Raymond Douglas Davies' finest 40 minutes or so. This fascinating book gives the background to the tortuous creation of the album, through the supposed Ray Davies solo album and almost disintegration of the Kinks themselves. Each song is explained in full, giving context both within the album and contemporary society (who would have thought the title track was so subversive?), and there is also a chapter on the songs recorded during the same period, most of which are only available on "The Great Lost Kinks Album", or bootlegs.
All of which makes the book sound like a dry academic study which is far from the truth. The book succeeds in the best way it can - it draws you into the story of the band falling apart and triumphing through adversity, and it makes you want to play the album again. Andy Miller obviously loves the subject matter as he writes passionately and enthusiastically about the music and the people behind the music. He's also done a large amount of research - there are quotes from recent interviews and original articles. It may be a small book, but it's full of information and opinion and I've read it cover to cover three times in two days and ignored other recent CD purchases to play "VGPS" instead.
A near-perfect book about a perfect album.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book about an ace record, 30 Mar 2004
By 
Siriam (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Kinks' The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (331/3) (Paperback)
That the Kink's last LP outing by the original quartet sank without trace is well known (although I was one of the few who bought it on release it seems!)and while over time it's reputation like those of unique painters has grown in stature, it is has taken this great little tome to help me put it all into proper context.
The writer does firstly a great anlysis of the mid/late 1960s pop music period and the various forces that both produced this classic and also why it failed on release. Then in Ian Macdonald style, he covers each track in detail. However what really is the cream on the cake is his final part, with coverage of the rest of Ray Davies' output at that time, most of which sadly received none or belated release and is now largely unobtainable.
After a disappointing book in this series on Love's Forever Changes, this has re-established my hope that as the series continues it will produce gems like this - well written and observed and not afraid to point out failings of the main protagonists either.
P.S. Only point in the whole book where I think the author gets it wrong is his coverage of the track "Johnny Thunder" - he does not seem to appreciate that the 1950s film "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando had only just been released for the first time in 1967 after a crazy long ban by the British Board of Film Censors whereas he thinks it was re-issued at that time. Also while he makes the case for the song being about a "rebel motorcyclist" more in the Easy Rider mode, I recall a radio interview at that time with Ray Davies who stated it was a tribute to the ageing "motorbike rocker" which every town or village has, with their love of 1950s rock'n'roll. Against the 1960s backdrop of Mods and Rockers clashes and such bikers travelling around on their Triumph Bonnevilles, I suspect this image makes more sense in the Kink's lasting aural panorama of UK society at that time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book of the 33 1/3 series, 28 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Kinks' The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (331/3) (Paperback)
I own many of the 33 1/3 series of books but I have to say they tend to be flawed. But this one on The Village Green Preservation Society is everything one could hope for from the format. Again and again the reviewing is perceptive but there are a lot of laughs too, and, fortunately, Any Miller never falls for Ray Davies' retrospective changes so how things really were or what his motivations would have been at the time. The rare faultless 33 1/3 album companion.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate sleevenotes., 21 Sep 2008
By 
Saltburn Slim (North Yorkshire, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kinks' The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (331/3) (Paperback)
I am not going to waffle on. Other reviewers have said it all already. Suffice to say that 'Village Green' has long been a favourite of mine and this superbly written book gave me a highly enjoyable detailed insight and analysis of this wonderful record. Andy Miller's style is highly readable and not without humour. I enjoyed this book immensely.
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