In 2004, the album was given two separate expansive treatments. Castle Records expanded the album to 28 tracks; the bonus tracks were primarily alternates, although the non-album single Days was among the extras. In addition, Sanctuary Records released a 3-CD deluxe edition of the album, which ballooned the album to a ridiculous 62 tracks, including a mono version of the album and plenty of alternate tracks.
The Village Green Preservation Society
This was the sixth album by the Kinks and the final one by the original foursome since bassist Pete Quaife left early in 1969. WK Frontman Ray Davies was ““Sensing that the Beatles, Stones, and Who were radically transforming rock music by turning it literate and conceptual” RO and responded with this effort. His “sentimental, nostalgic streak emerged on Something Else, but it developed into a manifesto on The Village Green Preservation Society, a concept album lamenting the passing of old-fashioned English traditions.” STE
The album’s concept grew out of the November 1966 track Village Green. The song neatly sums up what became the album’s theme: “I miss the village green and all the simple people.” WK For the subsequent album, Davies relied “on English music hall tradition and sentiments” RO to create “a series of stories, sketches, and characters about a picturesque England that never really was. It’s a lovely, gentle album, evoking a small British country town, and drawing the listener into its lazy rhythms and sensibilities. Although there is an undercurrent of regret running throughout the album, Davies’ fondness for the past is warm, making the album feel like a sweet, hazy dream.” STE
“Davies did not compose many of the songs to fit the predetermined theme of the album” WK so the “songs touch on a wide range of emotions and experiences.” WK Davies & Co. address “lost friends (Do You Remember Walter?), memories (People Take Pictures of Each Other, Picture Book), technological obsolescence (Last of the Steam-Powered Trains), bucolic escape (Animal Farm), social marginalization (Johnny Thunder, Wicked Annabella), public embarrassment (All of My Friends Were There), childlike fantasy (Phenomenal Cat), straying from home (Starstruck) and stoical acceptance of life (Big Sky, Sitting by the Riverside).” WK
“The title track, one of the last written and recorded (in August 1968), effectively unifies the songs through an appeal to preserve a litany of sentimental objects, experiences, and fictional characters from progress and modern indifference: ‘God save little shops, china cups, and virginity’. This last lyric inspired the slogan, ‘God save the Kinks’ which was used in the US promotion for the album, and was associated with the band through the 1970s.” WK
“Considering the subdued performances and the detailed instrumentations, it’s not surprising that the record feels more like a Ray Davies solo project than a Kinks album. The bluesy shuffle of ‘Last of the Steam-Powered Trains’ is the closest the album comes to rock & roll, and Dave Davies’ cameo on the menacing ‘Wicked Annabella’ comes as surprise, since the album is so calm.” STE
“But calm doesn’t mean tame or bland – there are endless layers of musical and lyrical innovation on The Village Green Preservation Society.” STE “Davies’ singing has always been rough and non-Kinks fans may have trouble getting past his sloppy pitch. But for those listening closely, the tales are one of a kind.” RO This album’s “defiantly British sensibilities became the foundation of generations of British guitar pop.” STE