Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ogden's nut gone flake

immediately arresting cover art.

Released in 1968 on the Immediate label, "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" saw the Small Faces move consciously away from their core mod fan base into a trippy conceptual territory more comfortably occupied by the early Pink Floyd, The Who, or even Donovan.

While "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is not strictly speaking a concept album proper, and the Who's 'opera', "Tommy" would not be released until the following year, "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" clearly showcases similar elements of social observation dressed up in psychedelic frippery. The primary difference is that where Syd Barrett drew on a rich fairy tale tradition steeped, with equal measure, in the charming and grotesque, the Small Faces opt for vaudevillian music hall shtick.

That's not to say there aren't great moments of rythym driven rock on the first side of this album - in particular the outstanding "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" - but the entirety of the second side is made over to the tale of Hapiness Stan, narrated by British comedian, Stanley Unwin, and is a huge departure for the band more commonly associated with pop classics like "All Or Nothing" or the later "Tin Soldier".

Personally speaking, I could well do without the Mockney knees-up of "Lazy Sunday". For many Small Faces fans, however, that 45 culled from this album - a huge hit for the group - remains an enduring favourite.

On the second track which follows here, it sounds like the Small Faces have been reading Bertholt Brecht's "Baal", or at least listening to the Kurt Weill adaptation.

SMALL FACES: OGDEN'S NUT GONE FLAKE from "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" LP (Immediate) 1968 (UK)

SMALL FACES: MAD JOHN from "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" LP (Immediate) 1968 (UK)



Anonymous said...

nice post. I have been trying for years to get in to this album but I think it was the "knees-up" narration that always turned me off. This is the 45? The two tracks you posted?

ib said...

No. I must've been a bit wooly signing off on this one!

The 45 was "Lazy Sunday" - as far as i know the two tracks featured here were never released as singles (although I could be wrong); the first leading off side 1, and the second the penultimate track from side 2.

The "knees-up, muvva Brown!" thing is kind of off-putting, that's for sure.

Thanks for the comment, Brendan!

ib said...

P.S. Why is it I have a tendency to misspell "woolly" ?

My spelling is often suspect, but you would think "Woolly Bully" is enough of a signpost, wouldn't you ? Damn.

Peewit said...

I have what I think was the first CD release of this album which is in an Ogden's Nut Flake tin. It's a real pain to get it out to play it so it has rather languished at the back of a cupboard for some tinme. Time to get it out and play it again I think

ib said...

I'm envious that you have the tin, peewit! Is it printed on the reverse too ? I've seen pics circulated on the web, but never one in the 'flesh'.

Not their best, but definitely still a great album.

Glad all is well with E.

Thanks for the link back!

Peewit said...

I am gonig to have to get it out of the cupboard later. The kids have come home so it's pandemonium now. You're welcome for the link as it was you that inspired me to start posting more regularly. I already have ideas for the next two posts

ib said...

Good to hear you're working on new posts.

It's pandemonium here too! Two under tens, and an eleven year old!