Artist: Small Faces
Album: Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
“Once upon a time in a land of greens
Where the sky was silky soft
And full of colored dreams
Deep inside a rainbow
Lived Happiness Stan
In a small Victorian charabanc”
Piano Riff starts playing, a happy feeling comes over you.
“Ah-wouldn’t it be nice to get on with me neighbours?”
Guitar plays for a short amount of time.
“But they make it very clear they’ve got no room for ravers”
Guitar riff plays again
“Doodly-main. They stop me from groovin’ they bang on me wall. They’re doing me crust in it’s no good at all!
Laaaaaazy Sundaayy Afternooooon. Clooose my eyes and drift awayyyy”
Piano riff plays again, you kick back and smile at how fun this tune is and the overwhelming joy you get from it. Nothing can go wrong from this point on.
If it isn’t clear, I absolutely love their song “Lazy Sunday Afternoon”. Years ago, when I was 18, my girlfriend at the time told me I had to check out this song and the video that accompanied it. That’s right, this tune from 1968 actually had a music video and it’s pretty funny. It has the band standing around lazily (Duh!) and running around. No lip-sync involved so we get to see these four brits smiling awkwardly at the camera. We even get an old lady doing her damn best. It always felt like a novelty song, but man was I hooked from the moment I heard it, it was just beyond fun as a song. For years, I wanted to check them out, explore their discography because I loved this one song… but never did for some reason. No idea why, it just never happened. One of those things on the back of my mind that I never thought to really pursue.
But now, it finally happened. I finally got to listen to the four cockney-accented dudes, blasting their way through each song, unafraid of hiding their accents and just having a ton of fun. Was it everything I had hoped for? Were my expectations met? Was I disappointed? Was I so excited that shit blew out my ass and propelled me through the roof?
The minute that instrumental started at the top of the album, I knew I was going to take one hell of a journey (funnily enough there is even a song called The Journey). This has surpassed a ton of the albums I’ve listened to as being one of my absolute favourites. I had a feeling I’d love it and I’m so happy that feeling was right. I’m a little sad that Itchycoo Park was not on this album, another of their tunes I knew very well and love, but really even without it, this album was still a joy from start to end. I’ve talked about psychedelic music a whole lot (kind of had to since the 60s was just a non-stop psychedelic music party), but I haven’t heard a psychedelic music album that sounded like this. These guys made it fun and if more psychedelic music sounded like this, I would probably be enjoying this run of the 60s way more than I currently am. To say it was a breath of fresh air within an over-saturated genre (only because I’ve listened to way too much in a short amount of time) is an understatement. As each song passed it felt like it was getting better and better and there was no down in sight.
Once again I was faced with a half-concept album. Two in a row, my lucky day. However, unlike the last one, this time they put it on the second half of the album, to end it off rather than start it. I think that’s a much better choice as you get Side A as an opening act, a taste of what’s to come, easing the listener into the story that Side B presents to you. Rather than getting us hyped on the story and ending the album with a compilation of leftover tunes. Even then, the beginning didn’t feel like a compilation, it was well-crafted tunes with purpose that fit into the soundscape of the entire album.
Oh yes the concept! Let’s get into that. Side B tells the story of a character named Happiness Stan who one night sees a half-moon and sets out on a journey to find the other half of the moon (Because he’s clearly a moron). Along the way he encounters various characters and a wise old dude who basically goes “Idiot, the moon does that, if you’d just waited you would have seen that it’s ow full. Look!”. Happiness Stan looks, goes oh, and is back on his way home. It’s a quirky little story, but fits the aesthetic of the band very well and they ell the story with a mix of upbeat fun and trippy acid music, creating a sound that suits each part of the story. In between each song we even have a narrator telling us little parts of the story to bridge the tunes together. This whole side is apparently so complicated that they can’t play it live at all. They did get the chance a couple of times but usually avoid playing it live altogether.
Another cool thing about this album that you may or possibly may not notice is the album cover is actually a parody of Ogden’s Nut-Brown Flake, which was a popular brand of tobacco that was sold in Liverpool. They even went so far as to sell the album inside a metal tin as if it actually was a tin of tobacco. This proved to be a novel idea that was better in theory than practice. The tin constantly rolled off shelves in stores and the vinyl was incredibly difficult to pull out of the tin. They don’t sell it this way anymore and this idea would eventually be used by the band Public Image Ltd. for their album Metal Box (which I will talk about eventually as it is also on the list). I guess John Lydon didn’t get the memo.
If I ever get the chance, I probably would get the metal tin since it’s definitely a collector’s item now, plus it gives me a chance to own this album that I enjoyed way more than I had hoped for. Maybe I’m exaggerating my reaction a bit, maybe my love for this album was a result of context and not really pure joy. But I don’t need to over think that for any reason. Why ruin my experience? Why sabotage how I felt? WHY CAN’T I JUST LET MYSELF ENJOY THINGS????
I can and I will.
Song of Choice: Lazy Sunday Afternoon