Now regarded as their finest moment, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society is now seen as the highlight of the band's long career and certainly the high water moment of the pastoral English phase of their development. Now you can get the album in an enormous box set with 2 LPs, 5 CDs, 3 7"s a book and all kinds of memorabilia. For those with smaller pockets the 2 x CD looks quite tasty with 49 tracks altogether or you can get the standard original LP as it was meant to be heard.
Vinyl Deluxe LP box set £139.99 4050538402049
Includes gatefold stereo and mono 2LP, Swedish LP, 5 x CD in bespoke accessories holder, 3 x 7", book and reproduced original memorabilia.
Vinyl LP £18.99 4050538402216
Remastered STEREO LP on BMG.
CD £11.49 4050538402186
Deluxe 2CD set includes stereo and mono remasters plus bonus tracks. 49 tracks in total plus a 60 page book!.
CD £7.99 4050538402179
Stereo single disc remastered edition.
I'm going to sound like the biggest show off on the update this week with this next comment but I only got into this album because I was driving across America and it was one of only five CDs on my person so I basically played til I liked it. It's not a difficult album to play on repeat if bored because the lyrics are...um...unusual for their era being whimsical meditations on what it meant to be English in 1967. The moments the albums hits dizzy heights are on tracks like 'Walter' where over a clattery piece of garage rock, Ray Davies ruminates on how friendships change over a number of years and ends with the brilliant line "people often change but memories of people still remain". The fact that I'm probably 'Walter' in this conversation also gives me much pause for thought.
The subject of nostalgia re-appears on the brilliant 'Picture Book', 'Animal Farm' and 'People Take Pictures of Each Other'- the last of which closed the original LP. In between you get all sorts of whimsy some of which stops the album becoming the tour de force it could have been. I don't know how the bluesy throwaway 'Last of the Steam Powered Trains' could have got in ahead of the monumental 'Days' for example. At it's best the album has a charming, slightly cynical faded knotted hanky nostalgia to it - the sort of aesthetic they blueprinted perfectly on the earlier 'Autumn Almanac'.
It's by no means a perfect album but it's a very enjoyable listen, perhaps because of it's diversity. You aren't quite sure what is coming next particularly when the Syd Barrett-ish 'Phenomenal Cat' rolls into 'All of My Friends Were There' a preposterous laugh out loud tragi-comedy performed in oompah style. It's raggy and funny and frustrating but benefits from the re-issue treatment with a whole host of extras including the brilliant non album tracks 'Days' and 'Wonderboy'.
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- The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks
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