Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

The Small Faces were only in existence for four years, from 1965 to 1969. During this time they released just three studio albums. Their third and final album is called Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and was released in 1968 (it got to No.1 in the UK charts). The album title is a parody of Ogdens’ Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco. The album sleeve is round, the first of its kind, and resembles a giant tobacco tin, which seems quite appropriate for a psychedelic cockney knees-up…

Here’s the title track, which opens the album…

Although Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake is definitely a ‘psychedelic’ album, and kicks off that way, Side One contains tracks which are pretty much conventional Small Faces songs. Lazy Sunday is probably the best known one. Unbeknown to the band members, the record company released Lazy Sunday as a single and it became a massive hit. Following on the heels of an earlier hit single, Itchycoo Park, it established the Small Faces as some kind of Cockney novelty act, much to their chagrin. One of the best tracks on Side One of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake was never released as an official single. It’s called Afterglow (Of Your Love)

Side two of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake consists of six songs which tell a whimsical psychedelic fairy tale: the adventures of ‘Happiness Stan’ and his need to find out where the moon went when it waned (I perhaps should point out that LSD wasn’t outlawed in the UK until 1970). Each track begins with a narration. The Small Faces originally wanted Spike Milligan to do the part, but Spike turned them down. Instead, Stanley Unwin got the job with his Unwinese, a mangled form of English. Here’s Stanley doing his stuff on a track called Rollin’ Over

Nowadays when Ogdens Side Two tracks are played, more often than not Stanley Unwin’s opening narration is left out. This seems a shame, because the Unwinese was an integral part of what the Small Faces were trying to do with Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. This next track is called The Hungry Intruder and tells the story of a fly that is saved from starvation by Happiness Stan. This is of course all a metaphor for Albanian trade union movements in the 1920s…

In gratitude the fly tells Stan that he knows someone who can answer Stan’s question about why the moon wanes. The fly is now fattened-up and rather large. Stan climbs on its back and they fly off on a psychedelic journey to the cave of Mad John the hermit, who explains that the moon’s disappearance is only temporary. Well, I suppose if you’re imbibing exotic substances all this makes sense…

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