Zumwalt Poems Online

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Recorded mostly at Abbey Road Studios during May through October 1968, the band took a freer,  less methodical, less collaborative approach to recording this album than with the incomparable Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  George Martin had less involvement, and in July, audio engineer Geogg Emerick refused to continue to work with the group.  Ringo also got frustrated with his role and treatment, leaving in August,  with the other Beatles replacing him on at least two tracks until he was successfully coaxed back from aboard Peter Seller’s borrowed yacht in Sardinia via telegram.  Yet, this album is a classic, rich with a wide variety of excellent compositions.

It was on one of my nearly-daily visits to my next-door neighbors after Christmas of 1968 that I first heard this album, and that very day they willingly loaned it to me to record on my tape deck.  Needless to say, I was impressed by this being a double album, but I was warned about the presence of a track called “Revolution 9” on side four.

I was totally unprepared for the number of instantly likable tracks, and soon realized I made the right decision to record this on a higher quality tape at a higher speed set on the tape deck.  Impressed by almost each and every track, and feeling correctly warned about “Revolution 9” which I didn’t record, this was a tape I played in the presence of my dad, who I noticed also took a liking to the music — solid confirmation of the exceptional nature of this album.  And how could he not like tracks like “Dear Prudence”, “Blackbird”,  “Julia”,  “I Will”, “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Honey Pie.” And, to my surprise, there was not a word of criticism of songs like “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” and “Helter Skelter”

I still love this album. It’s far from perfect, and I am just as annoyed today at the tapping sound on “Dear Prudence” as I was the first time I heard it (perhaps more annoyed as my audio system exposes it better.)  I do wish that George Martin had been more engaged, but on the other hand, I am also thankful for the inclusion of Nicki Hopkins and Eric Clapton.

Now having listened to the entire set of studio Beatles albums as well as most of the solo albums, and so much other music, I am more knowledgeable about the group today. At the age of 13, I thought of this group and listened to this group  as the collective “Beatles”, today I hear individual contributors, voices and instruments. I can easily pick out the individual band members’ vocals, figure out who wrote which songs (even if I didn’t know about the rule that the lead singer is generally the composer except if Ringo is the lead), and identify Yoko Ono’s voice in the chorus of “Bungalow Bill” as well as speculate on the degree of influence the album had on contemporaneous late sixties bands as well as bands of the 1980s and later.

A few years later after the release of this album, when I was a music composition major in the 1970’s, I often thought about what composers and what bands would still be listened to a hundred years later.  We are now approaching the halfway point of that hundred years, and with each passing year, it become increasingly clearer to me that Beatles will be much more popular at the end of that hundred years than the handful of mid-twentieth century composers that were listed in our 1970’s music history textbooks: textbooks which extolled the inventiveness and importance of composers like George Crumb, Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, Elliot Carter, and Karlheinz Stockhausen but omitted any mention of Paul McCartney, John Lennon or George Harrison.

Link to Track Listing and musicians

The_Kinks_The_Village_Green

The Kinks: The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society

Released on November 22, 1968, the same date that the Beatles released the White AlbumThe Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society is a concept album about preserving those elements and memories of a better world.  Due to the nature of the topic (and possibly, with the Kinks still under a ban to tour the U.S., due to not getting the erosive exposure to American culture that so many of the other top British bands were experiencing) the lyrics cover, very effectively, material directly related to English cultures and values. All compositions are by Ray Davies, and showcase the very best of his musical and lyrical abilities.

Though far from successful upon its release (the album failed to chart in either the US or the UK),  The Village Green Preservation Society has slowly been embraced over time, by both musicians and critics, and appreciated not only for the courage to break away completely from the commercial interests of its time, but for the general quality of each and every track.  Now predominately considered the best Kinks album of all time, this is a must-listen album for anyone interested in the Kinks, The British Invasion or pop-music song craftsmanship — or for anyone just looking to hear a wonderful collection of songs.

Oh, yes, like the Beatles’ White Album, we are treated to Nikki Hopkins on piano for some of the tracks.

Link to Track Listing and musicians

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Comments on: "Fifty Year Friday: The Beatles, The Kinks" (6)

  1. “Can you take me back where I came from / Brahman can you take me back?” I didn’t hear the full White Album till spring 1994 at the ripe age of 27. I was taking Japanese Religions and Poetry Writing in school, and The Beatles blended right in. What an experience. They were a hot topic on the U Oregon Campus then, and always will be.

    Hey Zum, should I trust the remasters? IMHO, the more the remasters, the farther away we get from “textual purity.” I still like my copy from 1994, the one originally intended (though who’s to say?). I do like what was done to _Revolver_, however. The bass and drums came out much beefier and bigger. So anyway, is the latest remaster of White worth purchasing?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rob, I have not heard the 50 year anniversary “Deluxe” or “Super Deluxe” reissue. It is available to us via streaming, but we don’t have the streaming hooked up to the good audio system, so haven’t taken the time to listen to — and of course, the streaming is lossy, so not the best. I might get the LP version. From the Amazon reviews, it seems the remastering by Giles Martin is something special, so at some point, I expect I will give them a listen. Please let me know if you do get a copy and what you think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If Martin did beef up the rhythm section tracks for the Deluxe, it might be worth it. The orig sounds a little tinny, and even the orig of _Abbey Road_ sounds better (IMO). I can just imagine how the bass on “Dear Prudence” would sound after having the EQ played with. Probably can’t afford it till next summer, but I’ll advise. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to confess I was never into The Beatles and still till this day I have never brought a Beatles record either but as the years flew by I got to have bit more respect for their music and just how they injected and started the biggest popular boom in history regarding how music changed back in the 60’s. I have no problem listening to them on the radio or on a Jukebox in a pub these days either.

    I have also been watching a load of documentaries about this particular album of theirs too has it’s been remixed by Giles Martin and put out in a box set and more media format releases. The other day I was actually watching an interview with Donovan who very much taught John Lennon certain guitar techniques to which Lennon plays on this album. I was even at one point thinking of giving The Beatles a go and thinking of purchasing the box set to which comes with a load of CD’s and a Blu Ray. But it was ridiculously overpriced.

    For example when I looked at the box set on Amazon for £124 I thought it included everything, and if it did I probably would of purchased it. But it was missing the very thing I wanted in the first place and that was the Blu Ray with the 5.1 mixes on. And to get that you had to buy the 2nd box set up which was priced at £209. They even have an higher priced box set at around the £250 mark that included the Master Tapes. So that’s thrown that out of the window and you certainly cannot buy me love these days :)))))))).

    Now I was more into the Kinks than I ever was of The Beatles and they to me were more rockers and I was also more of a Stones fan than the Beatles too back in those days. But looking at all 3 of them today I think they all made some really GREAT! classic records.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like Village Green better than the White Album, but both are excellent releases from a fantastic year for music.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed this – brings back memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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