Andy Miller's examination of The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society is a great companion to the album which will send listeners straight into a reexamination of the source material. Miller provides enthusiastic descriptions of the tracks' merits, which were not fully appreciated at the time of their release. Through research, interviews with everyone but the irascible Ray Davies - whose "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" personality shines through nonetheless - and a genuine love of the album, Miller gives a detailed representation of the music and its place in rock history. Victor Bevine performs the material with an inquisitive tone that engages the curious music lover interested in a fresh perspective on the culminating effort of one of rock's great bands.
Andy Miller is a writer living in London. His first book, Tilting at Windmills, was published in the UK by Viking in 2002.
33 1/3 is a new series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives - often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. (A task which can be, as Elvis Costello famously observed, as tricky as dancing about architecture.) What binds this series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors - musicians, scholars, and writers - are deeply in love with the album they have chosen.
Rock on: listen to more of the 33 1/3 series.
©2003 Andy Miller; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"This is the sort of focus that may make you want to buy a copy, or dig out your old one." (The Guardian)
"This detailed tome leads the reader through the often fraught construction of what is now regarded as Davies's masterpiece - and , like the best books of its ilk, makes the reader want to either reinvestigate the album or hear it for the first time. (Blender Magazine)
"Miller makes a convincing case of the Kinks' 1968 operetta of English village life as a heartbreaking work of staggering genius - Ray Davies' greatest songwriting triumph and an unjust commercial dud - with deep reserach and song-by-song analysis." ( Rolling Stone)
While I found the story behind the making of Village Green pretty fascinating, the performance on this book was grueling to listen to. I would recommend reading the book if at all possible. Major annoyances: The reader reads the acronym for the album title, for example TKATVGPS, rather than just saying, "Village Green" or something simple like that. Secondly, he verbalizes each and every quote and end quote in the book. Absolutely drives you bonkers by the end of the first chapter. The writing is quite sappy at times, and the performance overly serious -- but other than that, for true Kinks fans, it's pretty cool inside info into the making of this album.
Douglas Scott Knight's review pretty much nailed it. The narration nearly kills this one, together with quirks such as repeating TKATVGPS by rote. One reason that the narrator brackets quotations with "quote" is perhaps that his reading is so uninflected that you couldn't tell what was going on otherwise.
Not to belabor the point, but one more grating habit is that occasionally Bevine attempts some kind of generic British accent, which is so nondescript that you barely notice what he's trying to do. He doesn't sound as if he's ever talked to a Brit in his life, and certainly when he tries to speak like Ray Davies, for example, it sounds nothing like him, but rather just amorphously posh and nasal and affected. It would have been much better to have had a British narrator for this British text (or at least somebody who actually knew how to pronounce "Davies.")
As for the text, it's a matter of taste. I liked the background on the album, though since much of it was given using quotations, it was often hard to listen to. The analyses of the songs were generally astute, though sometimes a little extravagant. I don't think they made a convincing case for Miller's claim that this was the Kinks' best album, but then it's not a very plausible assertion in the first place. But yeah, if this is the kind of thing that interests you, go for it. Read the book, though.
""Quote"..."End Quote" "Quote"..."End Quote""
Great book but the constant "Quote"..."End Quote" does my head in! There surely must be a better way to narrate speech than to constantly say it within the phrases "Quote"..."End Quote". Also the constant referral to the album as "TKATVGPS" rather than just saying "Village Green" is also annoying.
Would highly recommend the book but the narrator needs to learn how to handle better such books.
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