Thanks Entertainment, I always think my evaluations are rubbish, so maybe they are not as bad as I think I have been trying to work out what I am going to do about Arthur and VGPS, as I have listened to and grown to love them, but as I have bought the expanded editions of both I am going to give my thoughts on all the extras included in these editions, I deliberately have not listened to, or read anything in either of them, decided to wait until it is their turn to be reviewed.
Post by entertainment on Jun 25, 2020 22:37:03 GMT -5
You're very welcome! Yes, you do a good job explaining your views, I think!
Since so many people don't care for my favorite era - the final albums and EP - I hope you'll pleasantly surprise us, and love them! But if not, I get the impression that you'll write your views with tact, rather than "trash" them, so that's great!
I appreciate your plan to not read other reviews or the booklets of Arthur or VGPS until you listen to and review Arthur and VGPS (complete with bonus tracks) yourself. I look forward to those reviews as well!
It would be interesting if you heard Dave's solo albums right in order chronologically with the Kinks albums! See what you think, of course, but it would be very nice to have the context of what Kinks album was out when a Dave album was out.
For example, this would be the order for these three albums:
I think that is an excellent idea and I will certainly listen to Dave's solo albums chronologically in conjunction with the Kinks albums, I have only heard 2 of his singles so I look forward to listening to more. As an ex musician/songwriter myselfg I would never trash someone else's music, I know how hard it is to write and I know from personal experience that what you think is great when you write it might, in the passage of time, not be as good as you thought it was:). Must admit though that "Bald Headed Women" and "Naggin' Woman" had me having to bite my tongue. Two days to go until I can let myself loose on the "VGPS" deluxe box set, I can't wait, and then it is "Arthur". I am in heaven, my two favourite Kinks albums, up to now that is, one after the other
Thought I would share my first impressions of the "VGPS" deluxe box set. First thought is wow it is heavy. Going to look and see what is inside. A double LP and a single, the double has both the stereo and mono mixes which is good, also the original gatefold sleeve which I like a lot. The single LP is the Swedish release, which as far as I can see has "Mr Songbird" included which was not on the UK versions, not sure this was enough to warrant it's inclusion, though I do like the cover. Quick look through the book and there are some excellent pictures, looking forward to having a closer look. looking through the folder with the CD's in, the black pages that things slip into are a bit strange, maybe a band pic might have been more interesting? Having said that there are some really nice glossy band pics included, also the sheet music to "Days", i have never seen the point of this, although most box sets seem to include them. Love the 3 singles, their sleeves are great. Then we come to the 5 CD's which I am looking forward to getting to know and we also come to the thing I really really hate about the box set, which moron designed the stupid foamy rubbery things that are supposed to keep the CD's in place, you really have to press hard to get the CD to stay in place and even then they are not very secure. I know and love the original album so am going to start listening to the alternative versions, BBC sessions etc and will post again as I get to know them. I am also going to give all the songs on the original album a mark out of 10, that should cause some discussion Summing up I think it is a superb box set, not quite perfect but then again none are, but it does have one big plus, it is by The Kinks
Post by entertainment on Jul 5, 2020 21:54:58 GMT -5
I'm very happy for you, Colb! It's great that you've got this box set, and I certainly do look forward to your review! I like VGPS even better than the albums before it...to me, it's their first masterpiece! This is not to put down the earlier albums - there's just something extra special here! Enjoy!
„The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society“ by The Kinks was the first vinyl album I EVER bought in 1968 (for the sake of brevity I will now refer to this album as VGPS). I went home, listened to the record and took immediately to „The Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains“, „Big Sky“ and „Animal Farm“. But the rest of the music didn’t do anything to me. I tried with my best will to get something out of the remaining songs but again nothing happened. The tunes didn’t click. So I put the album on the shelf and I wouldn't listen to it again until 1973, THE pivotal year for me coming up with 3 events that brought the beauty, the nostalgia and the lyrics of VGPS back to my mind with a bang - the release of the fantastic compilation „The Great Lost Kinks Album“, the „White City Stadium Incident" and the release of „Preservation Act 1“. Then I realised what a brilliant masterwork VGPS was and started appreciating in retrospect the body of work to the full extent.
With its release The Kinks blossomed and they sounded like no one but themselves. It’s not so much a concept album as a collection of songs held together by the prevailing notion that the modern world (and Britain in particular) had lost the charms of a more innocent time which may or may not have been as perfect as it looked through Ray’s rose-colored glasses. The record is a sociocultural contemporary document; a sentimental nostalgic manifesto lamenting the passing of old-fashioned English traditions and comes up with a series of stories, sketches and characters about a picturesque England that possibly never really was. Ray’s affection for the past is distinctive making the album a sweet, gentle and calm dream - calm but never dull! Sometimes this masterpiece feels more like a Ray Davies solo project than a proper Kinks album; according to a recent Ray’s interview his dream of „Village Green" was to find peace or a state of mind that allowed him to live as a functioning human being in a society steeped in chaos and change just for the sake of change. VGPS is about the relative and important continuity - going into exciting new times but taking your values, your beliefs, your thoughts and your friendships from the past to the new era. That is crucial.
The Kinks' VGPS was released on the same day as The Beatles‘ „White Album“ - November 22nd 1968; a few weeks before The Jimi Hendrix Experience „Electric Ladyland" had seen the light of day. It came out when The Rolling Stones called for street fighting. Revolutionary times, culturally and socially, indeed. The record’s existence was almost unnoticed, criminally neglected and commercially ignored. Adverse! The Kinks weren't fully appreciated during their prime; VGPS is the ultimate example of just how good they were. It's rare that an album so great should rise so high in critical esteem as time passed. This was the first in a series of undeniable classic records from the band. It feels fresh even after 50+ years and multiple listens and is culturally a significant musical statement for the British.
So how can the decades of interest and the longevity of this album be explained? The music? The lyrics? The nostalgia? Or just the idea of writing about an England that probably never existed? Or is ist just Ray’s England; his personal and his very own beautiful Utopia? Draw your own conclusion. Anyway in hindsight VGPS is a Rock Masterwork which earned a gold disc for reaching sales of more than 100‘000 copies in 2018. Recognition at last!
Many of the recordings feature the keyboard work of maestro Nicky Hopkins and the backing vocals of Davies's wife, Rasa. The former contributed again significantly to the album; it would be his last collaboration with The Kinks. And the critically acclaimed VGPS was the final record by the orginal quartet Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory; Pete Quaife would leave the group in early 1969.
In his autobiography „X-Ray" Ray Davies would refer to the albums „VGPS“, „Preservation Act 1 and 2 (1973/1974)“ as his „Preservation Trilogy" confirming that Preservation is directly related to The Village Green Preservation Society.
My favourite tracks are „The Village Green Preservation Society (sets the mood for the rest of the album)“, „Picture Book“, „The Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains (one of the final tracks recorded for the album and inspired by „Smokestack Lightnin'", a rhythm and blues track by Howlin' Wolf)“, „Big Sky (such a gem)“, „Animal Farm (perfect escapism theme)“, „Village Green (inspired by Ray’s visit to Devon, a rural aera in England in late 1966 and by Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood)“, „Starstruck“ and „People Take Pictures Of Each Other (a happy upbeat song with tongue-in-cheek lyrics)“.
„The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society“ by The Kinks has aged extremely well and the fact that we are here now talking about this record is proof of its strength, its longevity and its timelessness; it's a landmark in Rock History hard to imagine without. If it didn‘t exist it would have to be invented and yet it would not be the same.
Last Edit: Jul 7, 2020 23:38:21 GMT -5 by martin53
Once again great insight into VGPS by Martin, it is great to have the thoughts of someone who knows The Kinks and their music far better than me. I have been listening to the last 3 CD's, as I know the album quite well now and I am loving the alternative versions and new songs(to me. Will write more as I get to know them more. Now, to be controversial here are my marks out of 10 for the songs on the original album, I know it is a bit of a pointless exercise but I think it might be of interest, if only to me
1 The Village Green Preservation Society 9/10. I very very nearly gave this a 10 but as I might find a Kings song I like better I thought I'd better leave a bit of leeway. 2 Do You Remember Walter 8/10 3 Picture Book 7/10 4 Johnny Thunder, this is a song I couldn't get into but it is growing on me quite a bit, 7/10 5 Last Of The Steam Powered Trains, another song that left me cold but again it is growing on me, 7/10 6 Big Sky, this is one I am still struggling to like, 5/10 7 Sitting By The Riverside, I think this song encapsulates a bygone age superbly, as do a lot of these songs, 8/10 8 Animal Farm 8/10 9 Village Green 8/10 10 Starstruck, I love this song 9/10 11 Phenomenal Cat 7/10 12 All Of My Friends Where There 8/10 13 Wicked Annabella 7/10 14 Monica 7/10 15 People Take Of Each Other 8/10
Of course if I marked them in a week some scores would be different but there are very few albums whose songs would get such consistently high marks.
Been listening to the "Village Green At The BBC" CD and I love all the little interviews, very interesting. PS think I was a bit harsh with my 5/10 mark for "Big Sky", I was listening to the album yesterday and I am slowly getting to appreciate it, never be my fav but it is yet another good Kinks song.
I have quite a few box sets by various artists, mainly Genesis related and the "VGPS" is up there with the best I have seen. Apart from the stupid CD storage system, everything in the set is great. I love all the music on the extra CD's but I always end up going back to the original album, it is one of those albums that gets better with every listen and never gets boring. I love the book, it is a really good read, sadly not something I could say about Ray's "X-ray" autobiography, I just cannot get my head round the way it is written, will keep trying though
Here we go again. Another month and another album, this time it's "Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire" to give it it's full title. Again, like VGPS it is an album I am very familiar with but I am going to be exploring the Deluxe box set. On opening the box I see there are 4 7" singles, 3 Kinks one I know and a Dave Davies one called "Hold My Hand" which I have never even heard of, look forward to listening to that. There are a few nice glossy pics as well and a couple of small posters. With both the pics and posters they will I suspect be looked at once and then left in the box never to be disturbed again. An interesting book which I look know I will enjoy reading. There are 4 cd's included, a stereo and mono mix of the album. "The Great Lost Dave Davies Album" which I am very much looking forward to get to know. The fourth CD is a demos, BBC and rehearsals CD which I am sure will be interesting listening. I know everyone on here will know what is in the box but I thought I would list what is in it for any newcomers. I will as usual post again when I have listened to the new stuff. Oh, and there is a "Kinks Logo Badge" which is destined to be lost soon as it drops out of the box with alarming regularity.