Listen: The Village Green Preservation Society (Mono Single Version) / The Kinks
Our dear friend Nancy Rose from London recently visited New York, as always, with piles of gifts for the whole family. She has the kindest heart on earth.
We met centuries ago, well in the last one, when we were all Kinks stalkers. Those who worshiped The Kinks, by telepathy or something, all found each other, unswayable from the band’s God-like greatness. Actually, it was Corinne who first befriended Nancy, but before long, her Los Angeles Kinks circle and our east coast one were a team.
When we get together now, we reminisce stories deep and many, and truly become kids again. Yet another power that The Kinks possessed that we didn’t even know about until decades later.
So back to this batch of gifts, included was a BIG ISSUE cover story on the Ray Davies’ curated Meltdown Festival from June. The feature and interview are so, well, so Ray. If you’re a Kinks person, you’ll understand.
The event’s a multi-day, yearly happening. Ray chose to center it around the 60′s and included various acts and speakers from that period, including Vicki Wickham. It culminated with a full London Philharmonic Orchestra presentation of THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY, the infamous 1968 album that flopped on release, charted nowhere, but has gone on through the years to be rightfully revered as one of the greatest recordings of all time.
Presently, it’s The Kinks best selling album ever. Did you get that? Ever. And has been certified platinum in the US.
Ray Davies has recently referred to it as the “most successful flop of all time”. Never give up hope for musical justice.
Maybe the greatest thing the US Musician’s Union ever did was ban The Kinks from performing here for three years, due to reasons no one has ever officialized. Once the ban was lifted, and they returned in October ’69, the stalking began. The press referred to the band and their followers as a cult.
But those three years of not playing America, and not being influenced by Haight Ashbury and the Viet Nam war and all that, meant The Kinks we all now love were born or I should probably say, reborn. To quote Ray Davies from said BIG ISSUE piece: “When we realized we couldn’t go back, I withdrew into complete Englishness and quaintness.”
Thank you United States Musician’s Union.
‘The Village Green Preservation Society’, above in mono, is a different greatness than it’s stereo sister. I love both. Particularly at exactly 2:21, the way Ray sings “Donald Duck”, completely untreated by studio gimmicks, not double tracked or harmonized with Dave, is a real spine tingler for every Kinks person. This I guarantee you.
One of the all time greatest television moments ever comes at exactly :29 – :33, whether by accident or design, the shot of Ray Davies, Dave Davies and John Dalton is perfection. Despite being from a 1972 BBC televised concert, it is the only known early performance of the song to exist. I hope the copyright police don’t ever remove it