THE KINKS Are The Village Green Preservation Society (3CD Special Deluxe Edition 1968)

Are The Village Green
Preservation Society

3CDs Of Ray Davies’ Spectacular Failure

No less an authority than Pete Townshend calls it “Ray Davies’ masterwork… his Sgt. Pepper.” It took two years to complete and was released in Europe, withdrawn, then re-released with different songs a month later. Unfortunately, it came out around the same time as Beggar’s Banquet, Electric Ladyland, Led Zeppelin and The White Album, and was just plain out of step with the times. To top it off, The Kinks were still “barred” from playing in the USA, so promotion in the States was almost non-existent. All of this explains why the liner notes for this 2004, 3CD Deluxe Edition refer to The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society as “pop music’s best kept secret.” It’s daring, folky, very British, non-commercial, off-kilter and – with its use of nostalgic themes – even a bit experimental. Of more concern to fans, however, Village Green was a distinct departure from the band’s hit single/garage band roots. In retrospect, it’s not all that surprising it failed to chart anywhere in the world. Still… it remains one of The Kinks’ great works. While this 3CD re-issue is a might overblown (with the requisite rarities and both stereo & mono mixes), it’s still a treat to get lost in the details of the elaborate world Ray Davies stitched together from his memory and imagination. It may take a few spins to appreciate its strangeness (it did then, too), but it’s well worth the investment. We’ve got more Kinks in the archives, including, The Kinks At The BBC (5CDs HERE), To The Bone & To The Bone – The Rehearsals (HERE), DAVE DAVIES’ The Aschere Project: Two Worlds (HERE) and debut solo LP, AFL1-3603 (HERE). This 2003 version of Village Green (HERE) is out of print, but the same music was reissued as a different “Deluxe Edition” (HERE) in 2009.

#1 (Stereo Mix + Bonus Tracks)
The Village Green Preservation Society
Do You Remember Walter
Picture Book
Johnny Thunder
Last Of The Steam Powered Trains
Big Sky
Sitting By The Riverside
Animal Farm
Village Green
Phenomenal Cat
All Of My Friends Were There
Wicked Annabella
People Take Pictures Of Each Other
Mr. Songbird [from 12 Track Edition]
Days [from Single]
Do You Remember Walter [Original Stereo Mix]
People Take Pictures Of Each Other [Original Stereo Mix]

#2 (Mono Mix + Bonus Tracks)
The Village Green Preservation Society [Mono]
Do You Remember Walter [Mono]
Picture Book [Mono]
Johnny Thunder [Mono]
Last Of The Steam Powered Trains [Mono]
Big Sky [Mono]
Sitting By The Riverside [Mono]
Animal Farm [Mono]
Village Green [Mono]
Starstruck [Mono]
Phenomenal Cat [Mono]
All Of My Friends Were There [Mono]
Wicked Annabella [Mono]
Monica [Mono]
People Take Pictures Of Each Other [Mono]
Mr. Songbird
Berkeley Mews
Village Green [No Strings Version]

#3 (Rarities)
Village Green [orchestra overdub]
Misty Water [stereo]
Berkeley Mews [stereo]
Easy Come, There You Went [stereo]
Polly [stereo]
Animal Farm [alternate stereo mix]
Phenomenal Cat [mono instrumental]
Johnny Thunder [stereo remix]
Did You See His Name?
Mick Avory’s Underpants
Lavender Hill
Rosemary Rose
Spotty Grotty Anna
Where Did My Spring Go?
Groovy Movies
Creeping Jean
King Kong
Misty Water [mono]
Do You Remember Walter? [BBC session remix]
Animal Farm [BBC session remix]
Days [BBC session remix]



  • zandar
    October 3, 2007 - 18:16 | Permalink

    I dunno, it was obvious to me from the first time I heard it (in high school) that it was Ray's sixties masterpiece. It quickly became one of my top five albums and has remained there ever since. I don't understand what's so elusive about it- the songwriting is superb, the performances are electrifying, the sound is not great but that's true of most great albums from the period. How this got overlooked is utterly amazing.

  • Anonymous
    October 4, 2007 - 21:50 | Permalink

    Thanks for this one Willard. I wasn't should about this one–this is a rare case of OVERKILL by a music label–but I'll give it a listen anyway. The Kinks, for some damn reason, gets overlooked for the likes of The Doors or The Stones so I hope their time will come.


  • Capt. Willard
    October 7, 2007 - 11:01 | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments guys. Only problem with Village Green was few knew about it. I know it wasn't until 71 or 72 that I caught up with it. Distribution for non-charting albums in the 60s certainly wasn't like it is today.

    October 7, 2007 - 23:04 | Permalink

    GREAT … this one too… not found anywhere else… greatly appreciate… cheers

  • nanshe
    November 4, 2007 - 10:53 | Permalink

    thanks willard – i have kind of gotten into the kinks very late (pops steered me way out of the way of rock music, towards pure soul/jazz) so i know just the obvious songs that everyone knows… was recently amazed by an album (cant remember the name!) of theirs that came my way and to know that ray davies had his own 'masterwork' in the vein of the other great masterworks of the time… quite interested to hear this! funny, even my stones, beatles, beach boy fanatic friends have never mentioned this album….

  • Capt. Willard
    November 4, 2007 - 16:12 | Permalink

    Personally… when it comes to The Kinks, I'm a Muswell Hillbillies disciple. But, I'm not about to argue with Pete Townshend. Thanks for commenting.

  • Jacko
    May 31, 2008 - 07:40 | Permalink

    I'm a huge Kinks fan. If you put a gun to my head, i'd probably give the Beatles the overall edge for nostalgic reasons. But the Kinks are right there next to them. I firmly believe that. The songwriting and pop compositional abilities of Davies are equal to Lennon/McCartney, or anyone else you care to think of. The album tracks, the B sides, the bootlegs, everything has quality all over it.

    I didn't take to Village Green right away. I had a bunch of their albums, but didn't understand that one for a few years. It sounded alien to me, like nothing else. There are a few albums out there like that. You have to get used to the sound of it, train your ears, so to speak.

    But my love affair for them kept growing, and then one day it just clicked, and I got it. And now I think of it as not only their best album, but also perhaps my favorite album, alongside What's Goin' On.

    I think it was necessary to know Ray Davies better. Once I really felt like I understood him, his heart on his sleeve, the sentimentality, the vulnerability, the self-effacing sense of humor, then the album had a proper context. And it was in that context that I could see he was at his best doing all those things simultaneously on that album.

  • Capt. Willard
    May 31, 2008 - 13:30 | Permalink

    Well said.

  • Anonymous
    May 31, 2008 - 21:14 | Permalink

    Thanks for this, the overlooked masterpiece that was the Kinks. Forget al the other Rock Operas, this was the one

  • Anonymous
    November 16, 2008 - 23:05 | Permalink

    The tragedy of the Kinks is not so much lack of distribution as lack of production. Where the other great sixties' groups were polishing their sound to a high gloss (or being wildly experimental), the Kinks production sound remained forever ham-fisted and amateurish. What this lovely album needed was Gold Star Studios, and may Curt Boettcher (sp?) behind the glass.

  • jerry
    November 17, 2008 - 04:24 | Permalink

    dont know about that but Ray certainly needed better musicians. avory and quaife are just showband plodders. listen to the rhythm section and tell me its up to scratch! no way.

  • Anonymous
    June 21, 2009 - 14:16 | Permalink

    hi guys,

    the kinks are one of those bands i still have to discover but there is one song that i found thanks to chris goes rocks' blog called "this i know". WOW, hauntingly beautiful…have they recorded anything else this good? if so, please let me know.

    thanks for the great blog, just found it and i'm looking forward to checkin' out hal willner and a few others.


  • tony O
    November 17, 2009 - 01:17 | Permalink

    Thanks for this…I have a cd of it and it sounds pretty rough. Bad re-mastering maybe? I'll check these out. It's one of those albums that goes far too unmentioned in the big picture…Muswell Hillbillies is great too!

  • MBO
    November 17, 2009 - 18:58 | Permalink

    I am saddened to see some commenters bagging on the sound quality and the rhythm section of the Village Green" era Kinks.

    I find no fault with ether . In fact I think both of these elements add to the seductive charm of this record.

    Yes WAVGPS is "odd" sounding, but it's also raw and ambitious.Most of all it's honest. This approach is something which many bands today could learn a lesson from.

    To see this record "smoothed" out with "finer" musicians would absolutely destroy the charm.

    And to claim that production value and performance had anything to do with the albums sales would be unfair if not disingenuous.

    I for one am happy to have this deluxe edition ( I love the mono version) untouched and just perfect.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 17, 2009 - 19:12 | Permalink


  • Hugo
    November 21, 2009 - 06:39 | Permalink

    Jacko = Word!

    Though I do agree with Willard that Muswell was the pinnacle for the brothers Davies, Village is surely fantastic stuff. Also very fond of Something Else.

  • Art Ducko
    November 25, 2009 - 05:24 | Permalink

    While I think all the Kinks' sixties output should be preserved in gold, my fave of faves is their "Arthur". To me, this was Ray at his finest. I still get a chill when I hear "Victoria" & especially "Shangrila". To think that this was knocked off as the soundtrack to a telly production is mind-boggling. This was a well-conceived work of genius & totally over-looked here in the states. But that's usually been the case for the Kinks (or Kase for the Kinks-there's the title for their new cd.)Be sure to check out Ray's new project, the Kinks Choral Collection, which finds Ray in fine fettle & backed by a terrific & beautiful chorus. Here's hoping the next Kinks project is as well-conceived.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 25, 2009 - 07:43 | Permalink

    Totally agree. I'm a Muswell man, but the two songs you've mentioned exceed almost anything Ray's ever done. I understand the 'chill' you speak of, because there's something transcendent about both of those tunes. And that's despite (or probably because of) the sloppy production that was referenced earlier. They just wouldn't be the same any other way. Thanks for all the comments.

  • Rick
    November 28, 2009 - 21:46 | Permalink

    this is SUCH an interesting music blog!
    thanks for the kinks village green. i've heard it's good.

  • Anonymous
    December 6, 2009 - 15:35 | Permalink

    Many thanks! Wonderful blog!

  • Spiderjeru
    December 3, 2010 - 17:37 | Permalink

    A three CD version of one of the Kinks's greatest albums is " a might overblown" but 3 CDs (each) for Jellyfish's two albums is not? Hmmmmm…

    More is better. And we are all the better for these re-ups.

    As always, many thanks.

  • Capt. Willard
    December 3, 2010 - 19:06 | Permalink

    Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of stereo AND mono releases. Not against them, I'm appreciative of completists, it's just that in the long run, I'll generally only listen to one or the other (while paying for both). Just for the sake of debate, each of those 3 Jellyfish's will fit on a CD and a half… and the extra half was never officially sold or released. Thanks for commenting.

  • MontyAlban
    February 26, 2011 - 21:44 | Permalink

    Cap: Many thanks for this truly incredible blog. I was a Kinks fan from the beginning and always thought they were the best of the British invasion bands. Their first album rocked harder than anybody else's at the time, maybe the first punk album. Certainly, they had attitude. Lyrically, they were the most British of all those bands, so that this album was not that much of a surprise, if one had been listening closely. Waterloo Sunset was only one harbinger. I got to see them when they toured the US (great show) after the release of Arthur, which, to me, was kind of Village Green Part 2. Muswell Hillbillies, then, is Part 3 of a nostalgic portrait of British society. To me, anyway. Again, thanks for all your efforts.

  • W
    February 26, 2011 - 21:47 | Permalink

    Can't argue with a word of that. Thanks, Monty.

  • W
    February 28, 2011 - 22:36 | Permalink

    Find it HERE.

  • James
    April 5, 2014 - 16:30 | Permalink

    Saw them twice….round about the time of the ‘punk’ boom, and my, but how they fitted into that scene if those who had cloth ears had taken the time to listen.

    The odd thing is, for me, the songs become a soundtrack to a lost England (and by extension, the remainder of the UK) in Ray’s lifetime, a reminder of what we’ve lost (I’m not English, I live elsewhere in the UK).

    On ‘Village Green’ we can ‘picture yourself in your birthday suit on a hot afternoon’. Nowadays, that’s probably cause to get yourself on the Sex Offenders’ Register and an ASBO (an Anti Social Behaviour Order). Then, it’s the innocence of being young, inquisitive and liberal.

    I agree with the Cap’n about ‘Muswell’, though. If ‘Village Green’ nudges at it, ‘Muswell’ soundtracks the future lost England, and none of us the better for it. Every song could soundtrack the UK as it is NOW. ‘Alcohol’ and binge-drinking (used to be called ‘social drinking’ in my day), ‘Skin and Bone’ could serve as a theme for eating disorders, bulimia that affected everyone from Princess Diana to girls in sink estates (‘projects’ for those of you in north America), to songs about ‘here come the people in grey’ -war criminal assholes like Tony Blair who ‘ruled’ us- to ‘Complicated Life’ (try making sense of 21st century Britain), to ‘Have a Cuppa Tea’ (well, we all still largely prefer it to Starbucks).

    But on ‘Village Green’, Ray’s edging toward all of that. ‘God save little shops, china cups and virginity’. Indeed. Now, every British city centre is a glass and aluminium replica of the next town, we’re drinking bilge from chains of coffee shops, and 14 year olds are on Facebook inferring ‘they need a man who….’. Look, love, as Ray might have said, you ‘need a man who teaches you History and helps you with your homework’.

    Why the author of this isn’t a knight of the realm is shocking. Arise Sir Ray. That would be a rich source of class-riven themes for a bloke from a working class background.

  • Rhod
    April 5, 2014 - 17:58 | Permalink

    The Kinks were a great band that had a lot of social comment in their songs. The songs reflected post war England,dead end street, picture book and Victoria.

    A band that deserves a good solid listen.

    Great Post Cap’n



  • VSOP
    April 5, 2014 - 19:24 | Permalink

    now,if i remember correctly, the kinks were banned cause they (i think ray or dave) simulated masturbation during the lip sync of some teen show..saw ’em a lot when they were let back in.

    • Willard
      April 5, 2014 - 20:00 | Permalink

      I never heard why they were banned.

      • Visions
        April 5, 2014 - 23:36 | Permalink

        From God Save the Kinks by Rob Jovanovic — “Just as it was never ascertained who had actually banned the Kinks, no one really knew why the bar was lifted. When asked, Ted Dreber, assistant to the President of the American Federation of Musicians, couldn’t find any paperwork relating to any ban. He could only offer that the union had the power to ‘withhold permits for a group if they behave badly on stage or fail to show up for schedule performances without good reason.’ ‘Our ban ended as mysteriously as it began,’ wrote Davie Davies in Kink.”

        For the record, the Kinks were my favorite band and for years, starting in 1972, I saw them every time they came to a New England state. Saw some mighty good shows.

        • James
          April 6, 2014 - 08:33 | Permalink

          While the ban relates to them not paying dues to the AFM, one of the Davies brothers allegedly also hit a ‘union’ official who insinuated England was already as good as communist. I’m still not clear on whether or not the union official was an AFM official trying to get them to pony up the cash they (allegedly) owed.

  • laughinggravy
    April 5, 2014 - 21:23 | Permalink

    Thanks for this. Can’t figure out why I hadn’t picked this up the first time around.

    • Willard
      April 5, 2014 - 23:17 | Permalink

      That’s why I thought I’d remind you.

  • Paul
    April 6, 2014 - 09:00 | Permalink

    I think Arthur is even better.

  • courtney
    April 9, 2014 - 17:02 | Permalink

    Though a fan of the band early on—and hearing “Sunny Afternoon” on satellite radio can still send me into a Proustian reverie—I missed this LP the first time around, likely because of the distribution issues discussed earlier, and it took a camera commercial to drag me in.
    Here in the States, in the early Aughts, Hewlett Packard used “Picture Book” to plug its digital photography capabilities. When I first heard it, I said to myself, “Sounds like the Kinks.” When it turned into an earworm, I did the research and realized it was, in fact, them. Bought the CD and loved it henceforth, but I am delighted to hear a mono mix. Thanks for the post!

  • buzzbabyjesus
    April 10, 2014 - 14:48 | Permalink

    The string of albums from Face To Face, through Muswell Hillbillies is as good as anyone has ever produced.

  • Nick
    April 14, 2014 - 19:05 | Permalink

    Thank U!!!!

  • August 23, 2014 - 14:11 | Permalink

    Got hooked into your recent Kinks post, and it took me to this. My introduction into this period of Reprise-era inks was via “The Kink Kronikles” and “The Great Lost Kinks Album”. Although I love the scope and ambition of the individual albums, hearing those two for the first time as a kid totally blew my mind in terms of how amazing Davies’ songwriting was; the strength of the melodies, the unexpected chord changes., the concision. Combined with the expressiveness (and at times fragility) of his voice, his sense of humor, and the vibe of the band, the sound were so damn unique (and soooo British) and when you pointed out what music was coming out around the time of this, it made me realize how totally singular they really were.

    As a side note: In the mid-90’s, I had to throw a very drunk and belligerent Davies out of a bar/restaurant that I managed, and as I was doing so I was consciously thinking to myself, “I can’t believe that I’ve got my arms around Ray Davies to boot him out.” I felt terrible, but his behavior was awful. He lived in that neighborhood back then and actually came back two days later to apologize. I saw him many times after that both walking around and he would always say hi and was totally cordial. The incident made me like him even more….

    At any rate, thanks again for the music, Willard!!

    • Willard
      August 23, 2014 - 15:29 | Permalink

      Cool story, thanks.

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