When this album first came out, I recall there being a lot of negative critical press surrounding it. Most of the confusion probably came from the fact that this was part one of a two part concept Ray Davies had based around the group's landmark "Village Green Preservation Society" album. I believe many of the comments were that the album didn't accomplish anything in particular and as a concept, went absolutely nowhere. Now that 30 (!!!) years have passed, Part 1 and 2 can be viewed as a whole and for the wonderful music contained therein.
"Preservation Part 1" is one of my all time favorite albums. I love everything about it: the storyline, the cover art, the music, the lyrics... they all work together to make a wonderful album.
"Daylight over the Village Green early in the morning.
Daylight over the hills and valleys heralding the morning.
Daylight over the mountains, daylight on the Village Green"
This albums works on so many levels for me, but what I like best is the "small country town" feel one gets hearing songs from all the locals' perspectives. With the brass and woodwind accompanyment, it almost sounds as if it was recorded at a local county fair. Nostalgia plays a big part in my appreciation of the album; I recall hearing the album as a child and growing up with it. In a way, that's one of the themes Ray was trying to get across: growing older, feeling nostalgic and appreciating life; something that probably didn't play too well at the time to young Kinks fans. Now, we're all older, wiser, and can identify with the music!
Highlights from the album are "Sweet Lady Genevieve," "There's a Change in the Weather," "Where are They Now?," "Cricket" and "Sitting in the Mid Day Sun". Just listening to the album from beginning to end is a pleasure.
If you're a fan of the Kinks and want to see how diverse they got musically and lyrically, look no further than this album and it's sequel, "Prevervation Act 2".