Saturday, March 01, 2014

1968 was a great year for The Kinks -- even if nobody knew it at the time

THE KINKS are my favorite "British Invasion" band, but my favorite era was the late-60s edition, when the public began to ignore the band just as RAY DAVIES was producing his most enduring music.
I love the irony, but abhor the unfairness of the contemporary indifference to such brilliant music.
Davies was busy creating the music that would become "THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE PRESERVATION SOCIETY" album in the summer of 1968 when the band's American label Reprise demanded a new album for stateside.
As ANDY MILLER describes the period in his book-length examination of "The Kinks Are the Village Preservation Society," Davies acquiesced and sent the Americans 15 tracks for an album tentatively titled "FOUR MORE RESPECTED GENTLEMEN."
Reprise never released the album, and the tracks either appeared on "The Kinks Are the Village Preservation Society," "The Great Lost Kinks Album" compilation or "The Kinks Kronikles" compilation.
In the CD era, the songs have appeared as bonus tracks on expanded editions of the officially released albums of the period.
I made a playlist based on the original tracklisting of "Four More Respected Gentlemen," as chronicled in Miller's book.
The songs offer a fascinating glimpse at the music emerging from Davies during the creative blossoming that would eventually produce "The Kinks Are the Village Preservation Society."
The tracks include "She's Got Everything," "Monica," Mr. Songbird," "Johnny Thunder," "Polly," "Days," "Animal Farm," "Berkeley Mews," "Picture Book," "Phenomenal Cat," "Misty Water," "Did You See His Name," "Autumn Almanac" and a pair of DAVE DAVIES tracks, "Susannah's Still Alive" and "There is No Life Without Love."
Listening, I can imagine a parallel universe where "Four More Respected Gentlemen" enjoyed a wide release and Ray Davies didn't have to wait 30 years to be proclaimed a pop genius.
The music is that good, you see.


Blogger bzfgt said...

"Berekeley Mews" is one of my favorites from that stuff, a mysteriously under-lauded song. VGPS is their best album. There's some other excellent stuff on The Great Lost Kinks Album, like "Lavender Hill"...

8:32 PM  
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