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The whole of the moon

The latest reissue in BMG’s Art Of The Album series is a 50th anniversary revisit of The Small Faces masterpiece Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. Steve Harnell goes looking for the other half of the moon with Happiness Stan. Are you all sitting comftybold two square on your botty? Then he’ll begin…


Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake was very much a double-edged sword for the Small Faces – it’s their greatest triumph, but also contained within it the seeds of their ultimate demise.

The record represents the band’s entire oeuvre in microcosm. In the space of just 38 minutes, Ogdens’… is a perfect summation of the East London four-piece’s career, from feisty R&B to psychedelic whimsy, searing soulful entreaties to double entendre-laden music-hall knees-ups, it’s all here.

You’ll hear the 1968 record routinely described as a concept album, but that only applies to its second half. the opening side finds the band serving up an ambitious selection of standalone rock songs. they’re on fire throughout – imaginative, funky and, most of all, impressively mature.

Key to the genesis of the album is Rolling Stones manager and Immediate Records owner, Andrew Loog Oldham. Ather two years of chart and gigging success, the Small Faces had nothing to show from their disastrous working partnership with notorious pop Svengali Don Arden. By 1967, they were virtually penniless, despite being one of the highest-grossing acts on the scene. When the young band told Arden they wanted out, he kindly informed their parents they were a drug-addled mess. the ruse didn’t work and the quartet instead hooked up with Loog Oldham and the promise of unlimited studio time at Immediate. With their sights set on equalling the expansive creative vistas of the Beatles, Stones, Who and Kinks, it was too good an other to resist. In an interview about the original Small Faces remasters, drummer Kenney Jones explained: “Immediate Records was like the Virgin of its day. It felt so special for us not to be connected with a giant record company. This was something a bit more off the wall. Andrew realised for us to go forward creatively, we needed more studio time. And that’s what we got, endless studio time. We were very fortunate to have Glyn Johns with us, too. He was an engineer in those days. I got the greatest drums sounds of all time from Glyn. He was amazing. Without Glyn, we would have been lost. We were very creative and made a major breakthrough in our style [with Ogdens’…]. We were always desperate to lose that teenybop image, although I guess we were destined to stay with it, I suppose.”

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