Ray Davies/The Crouch End Festival Chorus – The Kinks Choral Collection

January 01, 1970

(Decca Records)



At first glance, this might appear an unlikely proposition
-a Kinks’ recap as attempted with a massive choir – or worse perhaps, simply
another excuse to milk the Kinks’ catalogue. 
Either scenario could be cause for concern.  So leave it to Ray Davies to remain true to
his muse, recreating the original sumptuous beauty of these timeless melodies
while effectively integrating the added element of these massed voices to ideal


Given the sweeping sentiment and soaring emotions inherent
in such Kinks’ classics as “Waterloo Sunset,” “Days,” “Celluloid Heroes,” “See
My Friends” and “Shangri-La,” the spiritual inferences of a 65-piece choir
prove an apt fit, particularly when Davies’ lyrics invoke the longing and
desire of an eternal upward gaze.  A
medley from the much beloved The Kinks
Are the Village Green Preservation Society
takes these wistful reflections
to their logical extreme, using the chorus as an aural metaphor for the idyllic
innocence of days gone by.  To the credit
of all concerned, Davies and the choir never appear to battle for dominance,
all participants finding their place in the mix and complementing the
arrangements appropriately.


That’s not to say all the songs work equally as
effectively.  Frankly, the idea of a
choir augmenting such trademark rockers as “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and
All of the Night” never really gels and the juxtaposition becomes an awkward
attempt at best. An a cappella “See My Friends,” newly imagined as a stirring
hymn of dreamy desire, works well, but ultimately the listener is left to
ponder as to whether these recast versions will inspire repeated listens,
especially when cast against the well-trod originals.


Then again, it’s to Davies and company’s credit that the
question is even up for consideration.


Sunset,” “Village Green Medley,” “Days” LEE ZIMMERMAN




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