On Its 50th Anniversary, Ray Davies Revisits The Kinks’ “The Village Green Preservation Society”: Draught Beer

BMG just released the 50th anniversary edition of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, hands-down one of the best and most influential rock albums ever. Nine years ago, when Kinks main man (and MAGNET hero) Ray Davies guest edited magnetmagazine.com, he revisited the LP’s title track and provided insight into its nostalgic reflection on British culture past. So for the next two weeks, we’re going to revisit Davies’ commentary on this classic album’s centerpiece. And as always, god save the Kinks.

RAYDAVIESlogoIn light of his overwhelming back catalog of songs that can stop people dead in their tracks, Ray Davies must be considered in the same breath as Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend and Jagger/Richards as the preeminent songwriters of the ’60s rock revolution. Davies refused to Americanize his sound like all the rest, remaining true to his “pint of bitter, 20 Benson & Hedges and a packet of crisps” English roots. And no Kinks album better voices that traditional spirit than The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, a record that sold poorly when released in 1968 but is now appreciated as a Kinks klassic. Davies has even breathed new life into Village Green with The Kinks Choral Collection (Decca), newly recorded versions of Kinks gems backed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Davies will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with him.

DraftBeer

“The Village Green Preservation Society”:

Davies: As “The Village Green Preservation Society” is supposed to be about things I want to preserve, I thought I would try that song. Draught beer goes down very well. The best ones, that is. There are a lot of bad copies around. I love the way the best go down so smoothly and affect the legs first. Nearly died out but was salvaged by some breweries. The best draught beer should not be served too cold.

On Its 50th Anniversary, Ray Davies Revisits The Kinks’ “The Village Green Preservation Society”: Desperate Dan

BMG just released the 50th anniversary edition of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, hands-down one of the best and most influential rock albums ever. Nine years ago, when Kinks main man (and MAGNET hero) Ray Davies guest edited magnetmagazine.com, he revisited the LP’s title track and provided insight into its nostalgic reflection on British culture past. So for the next two weeks, we’re going to revisit Davies’ commentary on this classic album’s centerpiece. And as always, god save the Kinks.

RAYDAVIESlogoIn light of his overwhelming back catalog of songs that can stop people dead in their tracks, Ray Davies must be considered in the same breath as Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend and Jagger/Richards as the preeminent songwriters of the ’60s rock revolution. Davies refused to Americanize his sound like all the rest, remaining true to his “pint of bitter, 20 Benson & Hedges and a packet of crisps” English roots. And no Kinks album better voices that traditional spirit than The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, a record that sold poorly when released in 1968 but is now appreciated as a Kinks klassic. Davies has even breathed new life into Village Green with The Kinks Choral Collection (Decca), newly recorded versions of Kinks gems backed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Davies will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with him.

desperate_dan

“The Village Green Preservation Society”:

Davies: As “The Village Green Preservation Society” is supposed to be about things I want to preserve, I thought I would try that song. Desperate Dan is a comic-strip character from a magazine called The Beano. An English version of Bluto from Popeye but the good guy. A muscle man with a big chin covered with stubble. He would eat cow pie for some reason. I forgive him because I don’t eat meat. I still wonder what Desperate Dan’s function was in the world. I still do not know why he was called Desperate.

On Its 50th Anniversary, Ray Davies Revisits The Kinks’ “The Village Green Preservation Society”: Vaudeville And Variety

BMG just released the 50th anniversary edition of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, hands-down one of the best and most influential rock albums ever. Nine years ago, when Kinks main man (and MAGNET hero) Ray Davies guest edited magnetmagazine.com, he revisited the LP’s title track and provided insight into its nostalgic reflection on British culture past. So for the next two weeks, we’re going to revisit Davies’ commentary on this classic album’s centerpiece. And as always, god save the Kinks.

RAYDAVIESlogoIn light of his overwhelming back catalog of songs that can stop people dead in their tracks, Ray Davies must be considered in the same breath as Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend and Jagger/Richards as the preeminent songwriters of the ’60s rock revolution. Davies refused to Americanize his sound like all the rest, remaining true to his “pint of bitter, 20 Benson & Hedges and a packet of crisps” English roots. And no Kinks album better voices that traditional spirit than The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, a record that sold poorly when released in 1968 but is now appreciated as a Kinks klassic. Davies has even breathed new life into Village Green with The Kinks Choral Collection (Decca), newly recorded versions of Kinks gems backed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Davies will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with him.

Vaudville1

“The Village Green Preservation Society”:

Davies: As “The Village Green Preservation Society” is supposed to be about things I want to preserve, I thought I would try that song. My father used to talk about variety shows in north London when I was a kid. They died out a long time ago. It was left over from old Victorian London. People used to come on and do what they called a “turn”: sing a song or tell jokes and juggle. Pre TV. I went once with my dad and can just remember seeing a comedian called Max Miller (pictured left). The cockney king of stand up. A big influence. Vaudeville is not purely English. They were popular in the U.S., where Bob Hope (pictured right) and Laurel and Hardy started. All before my time, I might add.

From The Desk Of Bird Streets’ John Brodeur: Chevrolet Astro Vans

Omnivore just released the self-titled debut album from Brooklyn’s Bird Streets (a.k.a. John Brodeur). In addition to self-releasing records over the past two decades, Brodeur also worked as a music journalist (poor guy). For Bird Streets’ debut, Brodeur enlisted Jason Falkner (Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, etc.) as co-writer, co-player and producer, while Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell contribute to a few tracks as well. Brodeur will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Check out the Bird Streets track we premiered in June.

Brodeur: Most people would use this space to write about some “cool” car, but I’m here to lament the late, great Astro van. Also manufactured as the Safari by GMC and Pontiac, the Astro was marketed as a minivan but sat on a truck suspension, making it feel sturdy. You could pack a band and all its gear inside and not worry about the undercarriage scraping the pavement. I owned a few of these that I rode into the ground, and I would gladly own another—if only they’d not been discontinued in 2005. It was the ultimate tour vehicle for a three- or four-piece band with compact backline—and even better as a solo vessel. (I did an eight-week tour in mine, in 2011, and found it made a pretty comfortable mobile home.) Also its stubby front end made it parkable in places like, say, Manhattan. I often joked that I could fit my Astro into the same spot as a Jetta or Corolla, but I probably did exactly that on more than one occasion. And apparently it had a big cult following in Japan! I can only hope to follow in its footsteps.

From The Desk Of Bird Streets’ John Brodeur: The Egg

Omnivore just released the self-titled debut album from Brooklyn’s Bird Streets (a.k.a. John Brodeur). In addition to self-releasing records over the past two decades, Brodeur also worked as a music journalist (poor guy). For Bird Streets’ debut, Brodeur enlisted Jason Falkner (Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, etc.) as co-writer, co-player and producer, while Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell contribute to a few tracks as well. Brodeur will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Check out the Bird Streets track we premiered in June.

Brodeur: In the heart of downtown Albany, N.Y., lies a massive government complex known as the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza. Built in the ’60s and ’70s, it’s a massive, brutalist eyesore—a series of narrow office towers arranged upon more than 300 million cubic feet of concrete and white marble, with the Capitol at one end, the State Museum at the other, a massive underground pedestrian mall and, like, 12 parking garages beneath. It’s visible from across the Hudson River and probably also from outer space. An outsider might assume it’s meant to mark coordinates for the return of our alien overlords, and so far there has been no evidence to the contrary. Its very existence is worthy of a much heavier discussion—its construction evicted an entire neighborhood of more than 9,000 people, primarily immigrants, and basically walled off Albany’s South End from the rest of the city. Fuck Nelson Rockefeller.

But I digress.

Near the center of this chilly urban desert is a huge, oblong thing: a massive, cement clamshell on a two tiny pedestals. It looks like a punctuation mark. Or a football trophy if the football were half-deflated. Depending on your vantage point, it might resemble a the Starship Enterprise, the symbol for pi or a pig’s butt. But inside—you can go inside—are two lovely, intimate theater spaces. I’ve seen dozens of shows there (including the fellows in the video below), and I can’t say I ever had a bad time. The Egg is the saving grace of the Empire State Plaza and, maybe, downtown Albany itself. It may be a big old pile of what-the-fuck on top of an even bigger pile of what-the-fuck, but it’s the first thing I look for anytime I go back to my old city.