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The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society

In november 1968 the Kinks released their sixth album which initially failed to chart. They had big competition when it came out: "The White album" by the Beatles, "Electric Ladyland" by Jimi Hendrix and "Beggar’s Banquet" by the Rolling Stones. Ray Davies already had a song titled "Village Green" recorded during the sessions for their previous album "Something Else". He had plans for a thematic album based around the village green. It was rumoured that is was first intended for a Ray Davies solo album but that didn't happen. It would become the next Kinks album.

Ray was inspired in 1966 during a visit in Devon and the album is an ode to the countryside. It also brings back memories of his childhood. He also had plans to turn the theme into a stage show but that didn't happen.

The real village green is a combination of north London places. The Fortis Green is a little green near Ray's childhood home where he played football and stayed there till dark. "Do You Remember Walter?" is based upon a childhood friend of Ray. "Sitting By The Riverside" describes the days Ray went fishing when he was eight. Two songs "People Take Pictures of Each Other" and "Picture Book" are about photographs. Like "pictures of things as they used to be" and that people keep as a "moment to last them for ever". On "Animal Farm" they make clear that animals have more honesty than human beings. Ray was also a fan of George Orwell.

The last song written and recorded was the title track which refers to the child entertainment of his youth: comic-strips, cinema, radio and theatre. "Phenomenal Cat" and "Wicked Annabella" are about the kind of books he read in his youth besides Orwell's "Animal Farm".

Wonder Boy / (Pretty) Polly - Single cover

During the release of the album also 2 exclusive singles were released: "Wonder Boy" which didn't do much in the UK (#36) but in the Netherlands it was much more successful reaching #4. "Days" did much better reaching UK #12 and the Netherlands #6. The single taken from the album "Starstruck" again didn't impress the UK but in the Netherlands they were still huge again reaching #13.

Days / She's Got Everything - Single cover

They also recorded a lot of other songs during this time that finally appeared on the US release of "The Great Lost Kinks Album" without approvement of the Kinks. An alternative version of the album including 12 tracks instead of 15 was also released during this time wich included the single "Days" and an out-take called "Mr. Songbird".

Alternative album cover
Alternative album cover

Original album cover

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
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 / Starstruck / Phenomenal Cat / All Of My Friends Were There / Wicked Annabella / Monica / People Take Pictures Of Each Other

Sitting By The Riverside
Village Green

Wicked Annabella

Animal Farm

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