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Ogdens Nut Gone Flake

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Ogdens Nut Gone Flake- The Reviews

Q Magazine, February 1990

Where CDs seldom restore pop antiquity to new glory is, of course, in the packaging. Castle are therefore to be commended for replicating, albeit in miniature, the famous fold-out sleeve which so brightened record shops in 1968, when OGDEN'S NUT GONE FLAKE went to Number 1 in the UK. Moreover, in a highly desirable limited edition, they have housed the package in a suitably baccy-style tin. Like SGT. PEPPER, the combination of nostalgia for fustian Victorian music hall and stoned King's Road foppery is reflected in the music within. Again like a pioneering LP of the previous year-THE WHO SELL OUT-some songs are linked by spoken word, courtesy of doggerelist Stanley Unwin: this latter section is likewise whimsically Who-like-"My name is Stan and I'm on a quest"-and it's clear these diminutive EAST END mods hadn't the gift for rock mini-opera of their West London rivals. The gorblimey hit single Lazy Sunday is, however, imperishable, and the band's sound, dominated by Ian McLagan's organ, suits the psychedelic era's fondness for studio phasing better than Steve Marriott's rockney tones did such cod-pastoral twaddle as Mad John. For all The Small Faces' enthusiastic embrace of the era's visual bric-a-brac, the growing heaviosity of what was soon to be known as progressive rock didn't sit comfortably on their narrow shoulders ("Life is just a bowl of All-Bran," they singalonga; "you wake up every morning and it's there"). Tin Soldier (performed live, a bonus track) was more their style, and when the band split, it was for the laddishness of The Faces and Humble Pie.

- Mat Snow

(Issue #41)(February 1990)

Uncut magazine (UK), May 1997

THE SMALL FACES

OGDEN'S NUT CONE FLAKE

THE AUTUMN STONE

Castle Communications

CHECK out how many column inches The Small Faces warrant in rock encyclopaedias, compared to the space given to the likes of The Kinks or The Who and you'll find Steve Marriott's men fail miserably short of their contemporaries.

Granted, they knocked it on the head after less than four years but between 1965 and 1969 they were just as innovative and influential. They embraced R&B, soul and psychedelia while remaining resolutely British. The pioneering "concept" album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake pre-dated Pete Townshend's Tommy by a year and in Marriott they had the finest white voice of the decade.

And, by splitting when they did, it gave them little time to fuck up and tarnish their well-earned reputation (how many really good Kinks or Who records have you heard in the last 25 years? A lesson the band's modern day champion Paul Weller took to heart when he disbanded The Jam at precisely the right moment.

The Small Faces, originally released in 1967, is a perfect distillation of the energy of the group's live performances over the previous two years. This remastered version adds five bonus tracks including the more complex singles Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier like a statement of intent for the future, not dissimilar to how The Beatles' Revolver paved the way for Sgt Pepper.

Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, from 1968, is the recognised ground-breaker with its infamous circular sleeve design and nonsensical continuity links from professional nutter Stanley Unwin, but the novelty elements never detract from the invention of tracks like Long Agos And Worlds Apart or Happy Days Toy Town.

Only the big hit Lazy Sunday, with its cod-cockney Lionel Bartisms grates on the ears.

The Autumn Stone, originally released as a double vinyl album in 1969 is a taking care-of-business collection of the old and new which, while providing a fairly accurate snap shot of the group's career by mopping up various singles and non-album tracks, is let down by some painfully inept live tracks.

The combination of all three is nigh on a completist's dream but a considered compendium of the best bits from each album would be ideal for the more casual and curious listener, and proof enough that the namedropping Gallaghers. Wellers and Ocean Colour Scenes of this world are men of taste, rather than the Johnny-come-lately muso bores who are pulling our chains.

Terry Staunton

Sunday Times- The Ultimate Collection

 

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