It may not be the long-awaited reunion fans have been waiting for decades to happen, but at least it’s something as The Kinks will release a 50th anniversary edition of ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ this fall. Out October 26, the set will be available in a variety of expansive configurations.
Easily one of the greatest British rock albums of all time by one of the world’s best ever bands, ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ was the sixth by the band. It failed to chart upon its release in November of 1968 and was overlooked by a wide audience, but has since gone on to be recognized as one of the defining efforts by the group. It was also the final LP to feature the original four members of The Kinks.
At its core, ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ is driven by Ray Davies’ songs and his brother Dave Davies’ power pop guitar, the latter of which became the foundation of generations of British guitar pop. The record cemented Ray Davies reputation as one of Britain’s greatest songwriters of his and any generation.
Created in difficult circumstances with The Kinks on the verge of disintegration, ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ is a snapshot of a quartet who refused to follow fashion, making an album of timeless, perfectly crafted songs about growing up and growing old, and the decline of national culture and traditional ways. Enduring and unsurpassed with its wit, sadness, quiet anger, regret and charm, the LP is generally considered the high point of The Kinks’ career and Ray Davies’ masterpiece.
“I think ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ is about the ending of a time personally for me in my life, in my imaginary village,” Ray said in a statement. “It’s the end of our innocence, our youth. Some people are quite old but in the Village Green, you’re never allowed to grow up. I feel the project itself as part of a life cycle.”
Included in the 50th anniversary edition will be many previously unreleased tracks and versions, including the previously unreleased composition “Time Song.” Despite never being included on a release, “Time Song” was performed by The Kinks at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in January 1973, celebrating Britain’s entry into the Common Market.
“When we played a concert at Drury Lane in ’73 to ‘celebrate’ us about to join what was called the Common Market, I decided to use the song as a warning that time was running out for the old British Empire,” Ray says. “This song was recorded a few weeks later but never made the final cut on the ‘Preservation Act I’ album (1973). Oddly enough, the song seems quite poignant and appropriate to release at this time in British history, and like Europe itself the track is a rough mix which still has to be finessed.”
Ray mixed “Time Song” earlier this year and it is included on ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ deluxe box set and deluxe two-disc set. The single version will also be available as a limited edition 7″ single exclusively with pre-orders of the box set via The Kinks Music Glue official store, musicglue.com/the-kinks, and as a digital download single.
The deluxe box set includes extensive sleeve notes, interviews, photography and specially created online and press content “telling the story” of the album’s production, its release and cultural impact. Also included are two essays on the album written by The Who guitarist Pete Townshend and renowned journalist Kate Mossman.
There will be several configurations of the box set, from 180-gram heavyweight vinyl to a digital deluxe edition. All of them are available for preorder at the aforementioned Music Glue site for the band.
Concurrently with the release of the album, there will be an exhibition at London’s Proud Central Gallery titled ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ launching October 4 and running until November 18. The showing will display a selection of rare collector’s items including specially commissioned artworks by members of the band and vintage memorabilia, together with a collection of photographs documenting the remarkable period in the band’s history. Each work is hand-signed by surviving band members Ray Davies, Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory.
As for that reunion of the band, which broke up in 1996? The Davies brothers have been teasing one for several years now, with the latest news on it coming in June of this year when Ray did an interview with Channel 4 in London, claiming The Kinks were indeed back together, inspired by the continuing ability by The Rolling Stones to keep it together.
“The trouble is, the two remaining members – my brother Dave and Mick – never got along very well,” he said. “But I’ve made that work in the studio and it’s fired me up to make them play harder and with fire.”
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to email@example.com. Also, check out his blog at www.thechroniclesofmc.com.