Most of my Kinks albums are variations on their Greatest Hits. Ray Davies is one of the greatest songwriters to come out of GB. TVGPS is a different type of record...a concept album? Each song appears to be extremely different from the next...which is interesting. There are some real gems here such as the title track, Johnny Thunder, Big Sky, Sitting Down By the Riverside, Animal Farm, Village Green and Wicked Annabella. It's a good album to chill out to also. A must-own for any serious Kinks fan.
Quite agree with all the previous reviews that this is an excellent album, one of the high spots of the Kinks career and containing some of Ray Davies's finest songs.
But I have always seen the "nostalgia" for an old England in the lyrics as intended to be ironic. The title track, with its references to "God Save Mrs Mopp, vaudeville and variety" is gently parodying the British obsession with the "Good Old Days",as is the song "Last of the Steam Powered Trains" with lines like "I live in a museum". Ray continued this theme with more bitterness in the next Kinks album "Arthur".
The song "Village Green" is virtually a spoof folk song, not too far removed from the Bonzo Dog Band, and to suggest that this album is out of step with its contemporaries just seems wrong (remember that one of the most popular stage musicals at this time was "Oh What a Lovely War" and it just precedes films like "If")
There are the songs which document the passing of time without irony, usually the more personal ones such as the magnificent "Do you remember Walter?" - again a theme Ray Davies has continued in more recent lyrics.
So enjoy the gentle humour and affectionate parody of this fantastic album, but don't believe that there ever was an idyllic "Village Green".
The Village Green Preservation Society was released to complete indifference in the Sixties - it was untrendy, out of touch and out of vogue. Yet we now know better!
Time has been the judge of this album and the record buying public has re-discovered this album and found it to be a genuine classic.
The album is quintessentially English, yearning for a time when life was slower and life was more simple. It is a beautiful collection of songs with great lyrics, sweet sentiments and gorgeous melodies.
The expanded version is a treat to behold and gives the album the full treatment it deserves.
Never owned any Kinks material but after having bumped into Ray Davies in a pub in Highgate and then having told him how much I admired his work (England's greatest living songwriter, etc!) I thought I ought to buy some. Having chosen this album based on Amazon reviews it's had an inordinate amount of air-time in home and car over the last few weeks. In fact I liked it so much I've been back and ordered another three from their back-catalogue. This is exactly how I remember the Kinks as a kid growing up in the 60's - at a time when all the cool people I knew were listening to dangerously experimental substance-inspired psychedelia or uncompromising protest songs, their music seemed strangely out of step, quirky and rooted in another time and place. Underpinning it all though, even for a kid still in primary school, was a sense that these were beautifully crafted and deeply considered songs. The impression Village Green leaves now is unashamedly nostalgic and the album is shot through with a yearning for a simpler, gentler world, all the more poignant today when the unforgiving grasp of global consumer capitalism has extended beyond even the worst nightmares of those sixties idealists. There is bravery here as well though, in the hint that maybe we should at least consider swimming against the rising tide of the times. Perhaps if we'd taken more time to listen to Mr. Davies' message on albums like this, we'd have realised that some of those traditional values, the ephemera that defined our sense of Englishness, old pals, Desperate Dan, and strawberry jam in all of its varieties, were the baby we were about to throw out with the bathwater. With the baby out, Thatcher stepped in and ask anyone from the northern mining communities of the time what happened to their traditional values then. Buy this album and remind yourself of the things that used to make you happy before you owned an i-pod. Oh, and with this CD you get the album twice, once in stereo and once in mono. That can't be a bad thing can it...?
Wow, this thing completely took me by surprise. '60s pop has always let me down, yet I ended up listening to this obsessively when I was in New York; something about it just hit me hard. Ironically, it made me value the traditional aspects of England a bit more, as well as invoking strong feelings of nostalgia. Village Green Preservation Society just runs deep with memories, whether it's the physical ("Picture Book") or just recalling those who drifted away ("Do You Remember Walter?"). Despite being near-perfect pop, I'm greatly surprised that this album has so many fans, as it's just so English. This isn't even the England I'm used to either, as The Kinks are strictly down with the Sunday games of cricket, tea, crumpets and churches. These are areas of my culture that I've only had glimpses of when I've left the bright lights and violent streets of Manchester, yet, oddly enough, feel I know all too well.
It's all very quaint, yet extremely and subtly powerful. Not bad for a pop album, eh?
The Kinks were never nearly as popular in North America as they were in Britain, and what a shame. Before I bought a "best of" I'd only known songs like "You Really Got Me" and "Come Dancing." I read reviews of some of the Kinks' albums and arched an eyebrow at claims they ought to be ranked among the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who. But they really ought to be. At least if the Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society is anything to go by (and it is something to go buy). The inane "Phenomenal Cat" notwithstanding, every tune's a winner, but the songs combine to form something larger, something that isn't far away from Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper's. Not sure how I never heard songs like "Walter" and "Starstruck" on the radio. Shame, really. In Britain, the Kinks still get a lot of radio play, and so they should. They were a great band. Just one complaint. I'm don't know why the songs are in mono. Luckily, they're duplicated in stereo, which sounds much better. When buying the Kinks, check to see that songs are available in stereo. 1960s' engineering plus mono can be a bad combination. Anyway, VGPS is an absolute classic.
Troy Parfitt is author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
Ray Davies was very much swimming against the tide by 1968 (the year of 'The Village Green Preservation Society's release) when he began writing about his regret of the passing of time and his yearning for simpler days filled with village greens and lost friends - after all this was the period of rebellion, psychedelia and increased drug consumption. This is perhaps the reason this album had been so utterly neglected at the time. However, in retrospect, 'The Village Green Preservation Society' is arguably the best album the Kinks have ever released.
'Village Green' isn't too different in musical direction to the Kinks previous album 'Something Else' with its mellow sound and occasional music hall influences except that it is a lot better produced with a much richer sound and Ray's writing tends to focus on one particular theme - that of the passing of time and loss of innocence. This has resulted in many commentators referring to 'Village Green' as a concept album which is perhaps true yet unlike many concept albums which seem rather indulgent in their grand (and overblown) ideals, 'Village Green' is rather quiet and modest. I think a 'themed' album is, perhaps, rather more fitting.
'Village Green' is uniformlly strong from start to finish but if i had to pick a favourite song it would have to be the title track 'The Village Green Preservation Society' where Ray effectively lays out all the things he misses from days gone by before going into more specific detail in the songs that follow.
'Village Green' isn't self conscious like some of the concept albums the Kinks would record in the future - it's fairly measured and relaxed in tone which makes it a great pleasure to listen to. Because of this its theme is all the more effectively understood by the listener making it one of Ray Davies' most effective and enjoyable ventures.
For Kinks fans in particular and music fans generally 'The Village Green Preservation Society' is indispensible.
The Village Green Preservation Society is a curious beast. It's undoubtedly The Kinks' most famous studio album but it was a flop on release and contains no hit singles. It's where Ray Davies' very English lyrical aesthetic of afternoon tea and waterloo sunsets reached it's apex with songs largely about yearning for simpler times. The opening title track states this theme explicitly with lyrics referencing Desperate Dan, strawberry jam and tudor houses. As the album goes on there's songs about lost friends (Do You Remember Walter?), lazy, carefree days (Sitting By The Riverside) and memories induced by old photographs (Picture Book and People Take Pictures Of Each Other). The music is amongst the most gentle and pretty The Kinks ever made and although quite samey in places, it doesn't really matter because Ray Davies' songwriting was at it's absolute peak at this time.