ON THIS DATE (May 24, 1968) Small Faces: Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake is released.

ON THIS DATE (43 YEARS AGO)
May 24, 1968 – Small Faces: Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake is released.
RF Rating 4.5/5
# Allmusic 5/5 stars
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake was a successful concept album by Small Faces. Released on 24 May 1968 the LP became a number one hit in the UK Album Charts on 29 June where it remained for a total of six weeks. The album was featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
The title and the design of the distinctive packaging was a parody of Ogdens’ Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco which was produced in Liverpool from 1899.
The A-side is a mix of early heavy rock with “Song of a Baker”; psychedelic cockney knees-up songs “Lazy Sunday” and “Rene”, the opening instrumental title track (which resembles their second single “I’ve Got Mine”, which was a flop in 1965), and the soul influenced ballad “Afterglow (Of Your Love)”.
The B-side is based on an original fairy tale about a boy called Happiness Stan, narrated in his unique ‘Unwinese’ gobbledegook by Stanley Unwin, who picked up modern slang from the band and incorporated it into the surreal narrative.
Happiness Stan (Story)
When Stan looks up in the sky and sees only half the moon, he sets out on a quest to search for the missing half. Along the way he saves a fly from starvation, and in gratitude the insect tells him of someone who can answer his question and also tell him the philosophy of life itself. With his magic power Stan intones, “If all the flies were one fly, what a great enormous fly-follolloper that would bold,” and the fly grows to gigantic proportions. Seated on the giant fly’s back Stan takes a psychedelic journey to the cave of Mad John the hermit, who explains that the moon’s disappearance is only temporary, and demonstrates by pointing out that Stan has spent so long on his quest that the moon is now full again. He then sings Stan a cheerful song about the meaning of life.
Due to the album’s complexities, Ogdens’ was never performed live, however it was performed as a whole once on the BBC’s television programme Colour Me Pop on Friday 21 June 1968. Songs featured were “Song of a Baker”, “Happiness Stan”, “Rollin’ Over”, “The Hungry Intruder”, “The Journey”, “Mad John” and “Happydaystoytown”. Although the band mimed to the studio recordings, their microphones were left on to capture little ad libs. Playbox Theatre Company, UK, have performed the whole album as a theatre piece in November 2008. It was directed by Stewart McGill and performed by a young cast with a Small Faces tribute band, and it was narrated by Stanley Unwin’s son, John. The world’s first major concert format production of Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake was due to be staged at London’s indigO2 venue in October 2010, but was cancelled following a cease and desist notice served by Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan and the Steve Marriott Estate’s representative.
In 2000 Q magazine placed Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake at number 59 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
Highest UK album chart position: 1968, Number One (for six weeks), and a total of 19 weeks on chart.
PACKAGING
The album was originally released on vinyl in a circular novelty package of a metal replica of a giant tobacco tin inside which was a poster created with 5 connected paper circles with pictures of the band members. This proved too expensive and was quickly followed by a paper/card replica with a gatefold cover. Two limited-edition CD releases (including a three-disc deluxe edition in 2006 that included the original mono mix of the album on CD for the first time) went even further by packaging the disc(s) in a circular tin (as the original vinyl release had). However, most CD releases use conventional packaging, superimposing the circular artwork on a square booklet.[3]
The award-winning artwork for the album cover was done by Mick Swan who was a product of the sixties art school scene. Any other work by him is unknown but he is known to have worked as a fine arts tutor at Lowestoft F.E. College in 1974
REVIEW by Bruce Eder, allmusic.com

There was no shortage of good psychedelic albums emerging from England in 1967-1968, but Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake is special even within their ranks. The Small Faces had already shown a surprising adaptability to psychedelia with the single “Itchycoo Park” and much of their other 1967 output, but Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake pretty much ripped the envelope. British bands had an unusual approach to psychedelia from the get-go, often preferring to assume different musical “personae” on their albums, either feigning actual “roles” in the context of a variety show (as on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album), or simply as storytellers in the manner of the Pretty Things on S.F. Sorrow, or actor/performers as on the Who’s Tommy. The Small Faces tried a little bit of all of these approaches on Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, but they never softened their sound. Side one’s material, in particular, would not have been out of place on any other Small Faces release — “Afterglow (Of Your Love)” and “Rene” both have a pounding beat from Kenny Jones, and Ian McLagan’s surging organ drives the former while his economical piano accompaniment embellishes the latter; and Steve Marriott’s crunching guitar highlights “Song of a Baker.” Marriott singing has him assuming two distinct “roles,” neither unfamiliar — the Cockney upstart on “Rene” and “Lazy Sunday,” and the diminutive soul shouter on “Afterglow (Of Your Love)” and “Song of a Baker.” Some of side two’s production is more elaborate, with overdubbed harps and light orchestration here and there, and an array of more ambitious songs, all linked by a narration by comic dialect expert Stanley Unwin, about a character called “Happiness Stan.” The core of the sound, however, is found in the pounding “Rollin’ Over,” which became a highlight of the group’s stage act during its final days — the song seems lean and mean with a mix in which Ronnie Lane’s bass is louder than the overdubbed horns. Even “Mad John,” which derives from folk influences, has a refreshingly muscular sound on its acoustic instruments. Overall, this was the ballsiest-sounding piece of full-length psychedelia to come out of England, and it rode the number one spot on the U.K. charts for six weeks in 1968, though not without some controversy surrounding advertisements by Immediate Records that parodied the Lord’s Prayer. Still, Ogden’s was the group’s crowning achievement — it had even been Marriott’s hope to do a stage presentation of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, though a television special might’ve been more in order. As with most Immediate Records releases, it has gone through multiple reissue cycles on vinyl and CD; the original LP came in a circular sleeve in keeping with the design of the cover, and was reissued in a more convention jacket during the 1970s and early ’80s. Most of the CD versions until the 1990s were, in keeping with the poor state of the Immediate Records tape library, substandard in sound, but since 1994 or so there has been a succession of good-sounding digital remasterings.

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