The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
50th-anniversary extravaganza for an enduring last stand. The Kinks were the only British Invasion band to be repelled, banned from the US in 1965 and forced to watch rivals the Stones and The Who race past them into the new rock age. Frontman Ray Davies reacted with this quixotic retreat into Englishness and childhood memories. Village Green Preservation is the album’s national anthem, but tremors of disquiet and disillusion shake the rustic calm. Touch these good old days and they turn to dust.
Andrew Sandoval’s remaster is perhaps inappropriately muscular for a record Davies recalls as deliberately underrecorded career suicide, although it punches home the songs’ strengths. The Deluxe box set version then develops the Village Green over five CDs of sometimes redundant mono, stereo, backing track and live versions, alongside artefacts, LPs and singles.
The considerable hinterland of contemporary Kinks songs, from Days down, was first rounded up on 1973’s Daviessuppressed US release The Great Lost Kinks Album, then more comprehensively on 2004’s VGPS three-CD version. Could Be You’re Getting Old and Pictures In The Sand, a song for Davies’s baby daughter, are added to the latter here, along with Time Song, a haunting, forgotten track debuted at a concert celebrating Britain’s Common Market entry. Revived as that dream dies, it typically saw trouble ahead. Most valuable and touching are a medley of home demos. At a time of crisis which all this music fought, these are the fragile foundations of The Kinks’ definitive album.