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This review is from: The Village Green Preservation Society (Audio CD)
Originally released in 1968 The Village Green Preservation Society is now seen as The Kinks finest individual release. In retrospect it's easy to see why it sold so poorly as its cosy nostalgic songs were well out of place in a time when rock was just beginning to get heavy. It's only with the passing of time than one can admire the albums brilliance.
The album is all Ray Davies originals and the themes of the songs are sepia toned to a time which probably never existed, but should have. What really makes the album work is the punchy production, which is at once rhythmic and melodic, and prevents the atmosphere from being twee. The subject matter of the tracks tell stories of lost childhood friends ('Do You Remember Walter?'), old photographs ('Picture Book', 'People Take Pictures Of Each Other') cartoon characters ('Johnny Thunder'), witches(!)('Wicked Annabella') as well as snapshots of an England of old ('Village Green') being overtaken by the American tourists! Much musical ground is covered throughout from Calypso ('Monica') to rhythm and blues ('Last of the Steam Powered Train'). Each track is organically created so that you can picture in your mind each individual subject matter. It's hard to pick any stand out tracks as the standard is so high throughout, but my personal favourites are 'Picture Book' (recently featured on a Kodak advert) 'Walter' and 'Sitting by the Riverside'. You will probably find everybody who listens to the album has a different favourite!
This CD features the original UK release in mono and a shorter continental 12 track version in stereo. The stereo version includes two tracks which were not present on the UK release ('Mr Songbird' and the classic 'Days', also included in the mono single mix).
Probably the one thing missing from the original UK edition of the album was a bona fide Kinks classic, although this CD does include the aforementioned 'Days' as a bonus track. However don't let the lack of familiar song titles put you off. This CD is an essential purchase and the one original Kinks album to own!