The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. It is a mouthful. And on plenty of days, my favorite LP of all time. By anyone. Thirteen of its fifteen songs clock in at under three minutes. The full flowering of Ray Davies' melodicism runs rampant throughout. Never again would his muse maintain such a consistently high level of songwriting (the pleasures of the next LP to come notwithstanding). Mr. Davies pulled a rabbit of a hat for TVGPS, for the songs were cobbled together from a solo project and the aborted Kink's LP Four More Respected Gentlemen. I have always wondered if those four distinguished Gentlemen went by the names of Quaife, Davies, Avory, and Davies.
If one includes the two splendid Kinks singles A sides released in 1968 - Wonderboy and Days - Mr. Davies gives the Beatles and the Rolling Stones their fiercest competition in that incredible year of music. But make no mistake, The Kinks at this point are about as far from a rock and roll band as they will ever get. The focus here is on the past, things that no longer exist, and our attempts to recall that past via memories and photographs. Ray Davies was fighting to keep that past alive. And I suppose that by writing about it, I attempt to do the same.
If you do not own TVGPS in some media format, shame on you. But since I know you do, go listen. There is a wonderful live performance of Last of the Steam-Powered Trains and Picture Book on YouTube, but alas no embedding. Just click the link.
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