Posts Tagged ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’

Released in June 1967 the same month as the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’, ‘Small Faces’ is the band’s first album for Immediate Records, recorded at IBC and Olympic Studios. With lead vocals shared between three band members it has been described as their first “grown-up” record and a “neglected gem” which saw them develop a more fully-formed sound.

The Small Faces were Mod to the core, but could also play instruments. The band members were lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, bassist Ronnie (“Plonk”) Lane, drummer Kenney Jones, and organist Ian McLagan (who replaced Jimmy Winston early on). All four stood under 5 feet 5 inches tall (Eric Clapton, upon meeting them for the first time, said they all looked like little “haw-bits”). Their short stature, mischievousness, and stylish Carnaby Street threads made them the most eye-catching band in England for a time,

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Two extraordinary Small Faces release from Immediate Records albums were requested by Sainsburys as exclusive coloured vinyl editions. Released 1st June and limited to 2,500 and in every UK Sainsbury’s that stocks vinyl. Ogdens‘ is stereo, Small Faces mono. The last five years have seen a massive programme of tape recovery and upgrading with the full co-operation and endorsement of both surviving band members. Kenney Jones has given access to his personal tape archive and many of the band’s original master tapes and session multi-tracks, previously lost for over forty years, have been discovered and re-mastered. It is thus now possible to present the Small Faces’ recordings sounding better than at any time since the 1960s. The Re-Masters series also presents a host of newly discovered tracks and alternative versions, alongside original artwork, photos, rare publicity material and memorabilia with comprehensive new sleeve-notes based around band interviews.

One of Britain’s most influential bands of the Sixties and a major influence on the new wave of Britpop bands, the Small Faces hit their creative and commercial highpoint with their psychedelic concept album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. Released in May ‘68. Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flakeis considered a classic by “those in the know,” but often overlooked when classic rock albums are bandied.

Ogdens’ was the first record released in a round sleeve, designed to resemble an old tobacco tin, and the name parodies an 1899 brand of tobacco. The sleeve unfolds to four circles with moody black-and-white pics of the band members by famous photographer Gered Mankowitz . Musically, Ogdens is equally mind-blasting. After the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, Ogdens’ was the first “concept album,” preceding both S.F. Sorrow by the Pretty Things and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society by several months. The second side is a Ronnie Lane-inspired musical fairy tale about “Happiness Stan,” who goes on a quest, assisted by a friendly fly, to find the other half of the “dangly” moon. Linking various musical snips is daft narration by English comic Stanley Unwin, who combined the Small’s cockney slang with his own nonsensical “Unwinese” speak

A bona fide classic of the late Sixties, Ogdens’ was released on the famous Immediate label in the summer of 1968 and went straight to the number one spot in the UK album chart, remaining there for six weeks. A heady blend of cockney music-hall humour, tough rock numbers, blues and psychedelia, it spawned two of the group’s biggest hit singles in Afterglow (Of Your Love) and Lazy Sunday.

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The six tracks which made up side two of the original LP are introduced by Stanley Unwin, one of Britain’s most popular comedians of the day, renowned for his inventive use of English.

The fourteen bonus tracks are highlights from the group’s time with Immediate Records from 1967 to 1969.

As well as hit singles such as Itchycoo Park, Here Come The Nice and The Universal, these include live recordings of Tin Soldier and their 1966 Decca number one single All Or Nothing, plus their memorable duet with label mate P.P. Arnold.

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The Small Faces : Steve Marriott on Vocals and Guitar, Ronnie Lane on Bass, Kenney Jones on Drums and Ian McLagan on Wurlitzer Piano and Hammond Organ were rogues and rounders,

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“The ballsiest-sounding piece of full-length psychedelia to come out of England in 1968” Released: 24 May 1968

Marking a definitive break from Small Faces’ early mod and R&B underpinnings, the two-act Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake was a bold move into the realms of stylish psychedelia and the eccentric affectation of late ‘60s English invention. Although more than a hint of Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane’s Cockney humor was inescapable—the whimsical “Rene” and “Lazy Sunday” being obvious examples—two bold anthems, “Song of a Baker” and “Long Agos and Worlds Away,” predated Led Zeppelin’s arch bombast by several months. At the time, the round album cover, made to resemble a tobacco tin, and the sidelong gibberish of “Happiness Stan,” a pseudo fairytale narrated by English actor Stanley Unwin, also garnered plenty of attention. One of the first concept albums ever envisioned (and basically unplayable live), Ogden’s remains a little appreciated musical masterpiece. Small Faces would disband the following year.

The Small Faces were such an influential band during the time when when there were great changes going on in music, especially in the UK. Listen to Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake which was the culmination of that change from a completely record company controlled ‘group’ to a band who were experimenting with the technology available and under the influence of psychedelia. Side 2 of this album featured a cockney themed story through narrative by Professor Stanley Unwin and songs which may not be to everyone’s taste. Song Of A Baker is a real highlight. The fairy tale follows Stan in his quest to find the missing half of the moon, after seeing a half-moon in the sky one night. Along the way, he saves a fly from starvation, and in gratitude the insect tells him of someone who can answer his question and also tell him the philosophy of life itself. With magic power,Stan intones, “If all the flies were one fly, what a great enormous fly-follolloper that would bold,” and the fly grows to gigantic proportions. Seated on the giant fly’s back, Stan takes a psychedelic journey to the cave of Mad John the Hermit, who explains that the moon’s disappearance is only temporary, and demonstrates by pointing out that Stan has spent so long on his quest that the moon is now full again. He then sings Stan a cheerful song about the meaning of life.

The album was originally released on vinyl in a circular novelty package of a metal replica of a giant tobacco tin, inside which was a poster created with five connected paper circles with pictures of the band members. This proved too expensive and not successful as the tins tended to roll off of shelves and it was quickly followed by a paper/card replica with a gatefold cover. There have been Two limited-edition CD releases (including a three-disc deluxe edition in 2006 that included the original mono mix of the album on CD for the first time) went even further by packaging the disc(s) in a circular tin (as the original vinyl release had). 

Small Faces
  • Steve Marriott − lead, harmony, and backing vocals, guitars, harmonica, piano on “Happiness Stan” and “Every Little Bit Hurts”, Hammond organ on “Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake”, bass guitar on “The Journey”, shared lead vocals on “The Hungry Intruder” and “HappyDaysToyTown”
  • Ronnie Lane − harmony and backing vocals, bass guitar, electric guitar on “The Journey”, upright bass on “Mad John”, lead vocals on “Song of a Baker” and “The Journey”, shared lead vocals on “The Hungry Intruder” and “HappyDaysToyTown”
  • Kenney Jones − backing vocals, drums, percussion
  • Ian McLagan − harmony and backing vocals, keyboards, electric guitar and bass guitar on “Long Agos and Worlds Apart”, lead vocals on “Long Agos and Worlds Apart”

With:

  • Stanley Unwin – “looney links”
  • Glyn Johns – recording engineer

The award-winning artwork for the album cover was done by Nick Tweddell and Pete Brown, who were art school friends of Ian Mclagan

Released: May 24th