24 May 2013

24th May - The Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake

Artist – Album:  The Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
Released:  24th May 1968
Sounds Like: Suss out the moon

Are you all sitty comfty-bold, two-square on your botty? Then I'll begin...

On this sixties classic, The Small Faces take elements of blues rock, soul, psychedelia, music hall and blend them with a generous dollop of insanity. In fairness, the first half is more strait-laced: the funky title track has stood the test of time surprisingly well, and was used on the trailer to Grand theft Auto V; ‘Afterglow’ and ‘Song of a Baker’ are early heavy rock tracks, expertly utilising Steve Marriott’s raw, soulful vocals; ‘Long Agos and Worlds Apart’ is an understated psychedelic classic; whilst ‘Rene’ and ‘Lazy Sunday’ are big, good old fashioned Cockney knees-ups.

The second half, though, is one of the first attempts at a concept album in music history. Tied together by the nonsensical narration of the British comedian Stanley Unwin (creator of that weird introduction there), the band play through a delightful song cycle telling the tale of Happiness Stan – a naive hero who, upon seeing a half moon, sets out to find out where the other half is. His travails eventually lead him to wise crackpot Mad John, who points out that, in the time it’s taken Stan to find him, we’re back round to a full moon again. Stan understands, and what’s more, he is also told the meaning of life (life is just a bowl of all-bran), and they all have a grand old party.

It’s as daft as toast, but it also may well be the most fun concept (half) album of all time. As the closing music plays out:

“So remember these very special words: Happy day lay toyley town newspaper read it and chuckley smile-ode. They all have a lovely turn: Gnome's Cave, Huckleberry fickle tickle my fingold, Little Boy Blue lettin' his horn stuff'n it in his melodrobe and freaking 'em all out - oh, what a mind-blast! Jacky Jill, Knees-up Mother Brodie, oh, what a joy of a trickly hove there. I hope your turn up is three-quarters half as lovely wouldn't you laugh and enjoy it! Stay cool, won't you?”

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake – 2:26
2.       Afterglow of Your Love – 3:31
3.       Long Agos and Worlds Apart – 2:35
4.       Rene – 4:29
5.       Song of a Baker – 3:15
6.       Lazy Sunday – 3:05
7.       Happiness Stan – 2:35
8.       Rollin’ Over – 2:50
9.       The Hungry Intruder – 2:15
10.   The Journey – 4:12
11.   Mad John – 2:48
12.   HappyDaysToyTown – 4:17

Listen to ‘Rollin’ Over’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrdPsOBfxaM

Also released on the 24th May:
1994: Beastie Boys – Ill Communication
Also released on the 24th May:
1999: Travis – The Man Who

Also released on the 24th May:
2004: Mylo – Destroy Rock and Roll

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