People take pictures of each other in Cali – and the Ministry of Information can’t do a damn thing about it. God save the Village Green. (Above photo by Cary Baker)
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY SUSAN MOLL
The Kinks’ generation lost its childhood to the Fuhrer. Many little ones were loaded onto boats, buses and trains and sent away from their families during Operation Pied Piper, and many others cowered terrified in tube tunnels as the Luftwaffe rained fire and death upon their homes. The ones who survived the war suffered through unspeakable physical and psychic injury, hiding their bomb shock and trauma behind stiff upper lips and the Keep Calm and Carry On direction from the Ministry of Information. As adults, they pined for the youths they never had. Hence The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society, on which the band reimagined their youths in simpler, safer and happier times and contemplated, wistfully, the verdant idyll that might have been. Their love letter to England was addressed to a country and a culture long vanished, committed to the archives of history alongside the Iter Britanniarum.
The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society just celebrated its 50th (!) birthday, and the Wild Honey Foundation marked the occasion by selecting it for its annual benefit concert, proceed from which help fund the Autism Think Tank. Under the tutelage of musical director Rob Laufer, the 20+ members of the Wild Honey Orchestra (including Dr. Clem Burke bashing away behind the kit) backed the talent paying homage to the album that tanked upon release but ripened with time, as well as an assortment of other Kinks favorites. None of the surviving Kinks were able to participate. Their advancing ages make travel difficult, and the brothers Davies would have annihilated each other the minute they stepped off the plane. No one, onstage or off, minded in the least.
God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety! Former Blur guitarist and vocalist Graham Coxon delivered “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” with equal parts charm and smarm, a naughty-schoolboy glint in his eye. Cheeky! … Emerging Chapel Hill ingénue Millie McGuire teamed up with Peter Holsapple for “Monica.” Her debut, Yours, Millie McGuire, lands this summer. Chris Stamey produced… Chris Stamey, meanwhile, pussyfooted through “Phenomenal Cat” with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Debbie Shair cast as the titular feline. The former is set to release New Songs for the 20th Century, a double-disc collection of original songs influenced by the Great American Songbook, later this year… Anna Waronker and Rachel Haden performed “Two Sisters,” and there’s a new that dog record in the works as well. It’ll be the band’s first since 1997’s Retreat from the Sun …. Smithereens Severo Jornacion and Dennis Diken read everyone “Picture Book” while Derrick Anderson joined the Wild Honey Orchestra on bass…People take pictures of each other, and there was no one more camera-ready than Kristian Hoffman of Mumps fame… “Milk Cow Blues,” “All Day and All of the Night” and “The World Keeps Going Round” were absent from the set list, but we can’t have everything now, can we?… Large-and-in-charge Pugwash mainman Thomas Walsh, fresh from the townland of Ferdia’s ford: “I’m still fat!”… The incomparable Terry Reid, aptly nicknamed Superlungs (and for good reason), rode the rails on “The Last of the Steam-Powered Trains” and reminded everyone “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.” We wouldn’t have it any other way… Steve Stanley stepped away from his duties at the Now Sounds reissue imprint to serve “Afternoon Tea,” and you can tune in to his radio broadcast The Now Sounds every Monday on luxuriamusic.com … The Baseball Project couldn’t decide upon a song to play for the occasion so they played three: “Lola,” “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” and “Get Back in Line”… The night culminated in a riotous cover of “You Really Got Me” and a goodly amount of cash in the Autism Think Tank’s coffers. God save the Village Green.
Derrick Anderson, Severo Jornacion + Dennis Diken (the Smithereens)