The 50th Anniversary Edition of
Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake is available as a 3-LP or 3-CD+DVD set.
The LP set is pressed in red, blue and white vinyl. These
comprise mono and stereo versions of the album and a third LP of
rarities. There is also a booklet with notes by Mark Paytress,
rare photographs and interviews.
Small Faces fans have been privileged in
recent years but the superb reissues of classic material. Not only have
the remasters improved the sound quality of the original music but they
have been beautifully packaged with additional tracks and well presented
books. This is a great time to listen to the Small Faces.
The 50th Anniversary set of Ogden's Nut
Gone Flake certainly maintains the quality of previous releases or
exceeds it! Two versions are available for vinyl or CD enthusiasts. Each
version has three discs, the album in mono, in stereo and a third disc
of outtakes and rarities. The CD set also includes a DVD of the 1968 BBC
Colour Me Pop performance and the Lazy Sunday promotional film. Each package includes a book with numerous
photographs, notes by Mark Paytress and other curios. It is a great read
Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake is an iconic
album. In his recent autobiography drummer Kenney Jones said the Small
Faces were the most creative group he played in. This is where they
reached a peak of creativity. It can also be suggested that the
difficulty in following this was one of the reasons for the band's
split. After moving to Immediate Records, the Small Faces had already
had success with three incredible hit singles - Here Come the Nice,
Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier. The band had been given virtually free
rein in the studio where they could pursue more innovative directions.
The sound had already moved away from the soul and R&B of the Decca
years through the near psychedelia of Itchycoo Park. With
experimentation rife, the Small Faces brought a whole variety of sounds
and musical styles to the new LP. Listen out for more unusual
instrumentation such as Mac on harpsichord and a string section on the
title track. The harpsichord, harp and orchestral parts are very clear
on the Happiness Stan backing track.
It was almost as if the group were going in
several directions at once and this gives the album its variety. There
is the heavier sound of Rollin' Over and Ronnie Lane's Song of a Baker,
the music hall style of Lazy Sunday, Rene and Happydaystoytown. A folk
element emerged primarily on side two with songs like Mad John.
The Small Faces may have had the greatest British vocalist with
Steve Marriott but Ronnie Lane takes the lead on several songs showing
himself to be more than capable and a great partner to Marriott. Steve
Marriott himself shows his vocal versatility with his rock style on
Rollin' Over, a folkier side on Mad John, a natural Cockney
on Lazy Sunday or Rene and then there the incredible vocal
performance on Afterglow.
Side two of the album was the concept. Ronnie Lane had suggested a story
based around looking for the other half of the moon, as the moon waxes
and wanes. Songs were written to tell the story. However, they wanted it
to be tied together with a narrative. Spike Milligan was their first
choice but, when he was unavailable, they turned to Stanley Unwin who
they had heard narrating a peanut butter commercial. This was an
inspired choice and his use of "Unwinese" made the album particularly
Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake has been released in many forms over the
years. Improvements in technology have meant that the sound quality has
improved all the time. Now with digital technology allowing improvements
such as removing background noise means that this 50th Anniversary
edition takes the quality to a new level. Tapes have been resourced to
ensure that the best quality is available as the starting point too.
This tremendous improvement in sound quality is very noticeable and a
key result is that not only do all the instruments sounds clearer and
distinctive but some sounds come clear where they have previously been
muffled or even hidden. It also becomes evident that the Small Faces
were very good musicians and the quality of Ronnie Lane's bass playing
is especially audible. Check out The Journey for a very melodic
bass sound. Kenney's drums, in addition, are much clearer and more
punchy. Steve Marriott never considered himself to be much of a guitar
player. He wanted Peter Frampton to join the band so he could focus on
his vocals. However, Marriott shows that, like his vocals, he is more
than capable in turning his guitar playing to different styles from a
heavy solo in Song of a Baker to the whimsical folk of xxx.
The first two discs highlight the improvement in sound quality but the
third CD is especially interesting with different versions of the songs.
The US version of Afterglow, for example, appears to have reverb
on Marriott's incredible vocals giving the song a very different sound.
A similar effect is present on Ian McLagan's Long Agos and Worlds
Apart. There are a coupe of true curios. Every Little Bit Hurts
was a cover version that was in the live set. It is perfectly suited to
Steve Marriott's soul voice. A version is also available by the
Spencer Davis Group where Steve Winwood also showed his incredible
soul voice. (If You Think You're) Groovy was written by Steve and
Ronnie for PP Arnold. The Small Faces played and performed
backing vocals on the track and, without PP Arnold's vocals, the backing
track is 100% Small Faces. It would have been nice to hear this
with Steve Marriott singing lead vocals as that would have been amazing
too. However, listen to PP Arnold's version for a WOW performance
of the song.
The DVD is an excellent addition. The BBC broadcast Colour Me Pop
in the new colour television format. It showcased many of the innovative
artists of the day. Many clips are regularly still shown on the BBC and
on YouTube although it appears that only the Small Faces and the
Move have survived in their entirety. The band performed live
vocals to a pre-recorded backing track making the appearance semi-live.
However, the footage does capture the excitement of the Small Faces
live act. This new DVD has much improved sound quality. Starting with
Ronnie Lane's powerful Song of a Baker, the show then comprises
the whole of side two of Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake complete with
introduction by Stanley Unwin. Included in the show but not in the
"live" segment is current single Lazy Sunday for which Peter
Whitehead's promotional film is shown. Much of this was filmed in the
garden of Kenney's parents' house. There is very little of the Small
Faces live available so this set is very welcome. Just how cool is
Whether you choose the vinyl or CD versions, Charly Records has done a
superb job of updating this amazing record. The package itself is a joy
to open and hold even before a note has been played. The Small Faces
have a lasting legacy that shows they were one of the most creative
groups of the 1960s.
CD / LP Release: 19 October 2018
19 October 2018
- Song of a Baker
- Happiness Stan
- Rollin' Over