*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 3CD 'DELUXE EDITION' REISSUE ***
"Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake". Even now - the name makes me weak at the knees. For SMALL FACES fans - the British mod band’s 1968 masterpiece (a Number 1 album in the UK) will be the jewel in a very tasty set of 4 DELUXE EDITION crowns released by Universal in May of 2012. The others are "Small Faces" (1966 Decca Records debut), "From The Beginning" (1967 Decca Records 2nd LP) and "Small Faces" (their 3rd album on Immediate Records also from 1967). Which brings us to studio album number four...
Here are the comftybold details for the 3CD "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake: Deluxe Edition" by SMALL FACES on Universal/Sanctuary 276 523-5 (Barcode 00602527652351) released May 2012 in the UK:
Disc 1 (38:30 minutes):
1. Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
3. Long Agos And Worlds Apart
5. Song Of A Baker
6. Lazy Sunday
7. Happiness Stan
8. Rollin’ Over
9. The Hungry Intruder
10. The Journey
11. Mad John
12. Happy Days Toy Town
Tracks 1 to 12 are the MONO version of "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" - their fourth studio album released 24 May 1968 in the UK on Immediate Records IMLP 012
Disc 2 (41:17 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 14 are all PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (Track 8 Previously Unreleased on CD)
1. Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake (Early Session Version - Mono)
2. Afterglow (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo)
3. Long Agos And Worlds Apart (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo)
4. Rene, The Dockers Delight (Early Session Mix - Stereo)
5. Song Of A Baker (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo)
6. Lazy Sunday (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo)
7. Happiness Stan (Backing Track - Mono)
8. Bun In The Oven (Early Session Mix - Mono)
9. The Fly (Take 4 - Instrumental Version - Stereo)
10. Mad John (Take 7 - Early Session Version - Stereo)
11. HappyDaysToyTown (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo)
12. Kamikhazi (Take 7 - Backing Track - Mono)
13. Every Little Bit Hurts (Early Session Mix - Mono)
14. Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake (Alternate Take - Phased Mix - Stereo)
Disc 3 (38:21 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are the STEREO version of "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" - on Immediate Records IMSP 012 (as per Disc 1)
[Note: in advance of the album "Lazy Sunday" b/w "Rollin' Over" was released 5 April 1968 as a 7" single in the UK on Immediate IM O64 (mono mixes above).
"Afterglow" was also released as 7" single in the UK (credited as "Afterglow Of Your Love") in March 1969 on Immediate IM 077 with the non-album track "Wham Bam Thank You Man" as its B-side.
That song is NOT on here]
Since Universal stopped using titled plastic slip-around wraps on their DELUXE EDITIONS - they've plumed instead for a bit of sticky tape at the base that you have to cut and split to get open - not the most graceful of presentations it has to be said. But once inside the detail is impressive. As fans will know "Ogdens'..." was released in the most beautiful and elaborate artwork designed by Mick Swan - a foldout five-flaps circular-sleeve based on a Victorian tobacco tin (name changed by the boys to avoid copyright infringement). Folded out in full - it featured two colour prints on the inside and 4 black and white snaps of the band on the other flaps. The Mono and Stereo CDs contain 'variants' of the gorgeous colour prints by Pete Brown and Nick Tweddell (the actual LP ones are in the booklet) while Gered Mankowitz's black and white 'spider's web' snaps of the band that filled each of the other circles are reproduced on the card flaps. Beneath the two see-through CD trays are repros of the labels for Side 1 and Side 2 of the original 1968 Stereo LP.
The booklet is lovely - 24 colour pages filled with Immediate memorabilia, rare worldwide 7" picture sleeves for both "Lazy Sunday" and "Afterglow Of Your Love" and even a battered-looking Scotch tape box. The liner notes by MARK PAYTRESS are typically informative and fact-filled (such a good writer) and give you great insights into the album's formation, Stanley Unwin's "Unwinese" gobbledygook English that fills Side 2's "Happiness Stan" suite and indeed the general creative mayhem that surrounded this most beloved of English albums. I particularly like the Immediate Records trade advert that uses a re-wording of "Our Father" (The Lord's Prayer) to sell the LP ("...and deliver us Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake..." etc) - blinding!
But the real meat for fans will be the NEW REMASTERS from best-ever sources and overseen by surviving members of the band - KENNEY JONES and IAN McLAGAN. Tape Research and Recovery is by ROB CAIGER, Tape Restoration and Transfer from Analogue is by ROB KAYLACH and Mastering by NICK ROBBINS - and man have they collectively done a bang-up job. Little will prepare fans for the sonic whack off this...
"Ogdens'..." for me has always been a two-sided production job - Side 1 is good - but Side 2 is stupendous - and that feeling continues on this reissue. The extensive use of guitar 'phasing' on Side 1 gives the tracks that evocative 60t's feel for sure - but it also sounds sonically compromised somehow - Side 2 does not. Take the strings and opening Stanley Unwin dialogue on "Rollin' Over" (his words title this review) - it's unbelievably clear and full of presence. Then when the band does kick in with that riff and harmonica blasting - it's awesome. The drums and acoustic guitars that open "Mad John" are HUGE - as is the drums and organ on the STEREO mix of "The Journey". The last remaster I had was good - but this is so much better and musically sweeter. And "Lazy Sunday" has never sounded so glorious. "Song Of A Baker", "Rene" - its all a triumph...
A "...1, 2, 3, 4..." vocal count-in gives us a stringed-up and heavily phased "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" that is fascinating - and even in its unfinished form - sounds extraordinary - like something from another world. Unfortunately you can understand why the 'Alternate USA Stereo' mixes have stayed in the can - Marriott's vocals echoed to a ridiculous degree in the mix - almost to a point where it's all you hear. Better is the 'Early Session Mix' of "Rene" which accentuates the drums and sees the piano and organ stretch out (the lyrics still make me laugh). The opening plucked strings of "Happiness Stan" sound bare without Unwin's witty vocals following - but I love the harpsichord and keyboard playing to the fore as the song progresses. "Bun In The Oven" turns out to be an early session version of "Rollin' Over" which is rougher than the finished article but just as powerful. Even in rehearsal mode Steve Marriott lays into Brenda Holloway's Motown classic "Every Little Bit Hurts" with great results and feeling. "The Fly" is an acoustic instrumental version of "The Hungry Intruder" with a count-in and along with another band-instrumental "Kamikhazi" (so-funky-Small Faces) for me are the highlights on here.
The cracking non-album B-side to "Afterglow Of Your Love" is "Wham Bam Thank You Man" - but it’s nowhere to be seen. Nor is the near 7-minute Alternate Stereo version of “Wham…” that turned up on the "Darlings Of Wapping Wharf Launderette" 2CD set in 1999 - strange omissions to say the least. Maybe they're been kept back for that other missing piece in the jigsaw - the Immediate Records double-album "Autumn Stone" from 1969? Most fans will already have "Wham Bam..." track from preceding comps of course - but it's a point worth making. And bluntly I miss the sheer visual impact of the vinyl album artwork...(vinyl is due in full repro glory soon).
To sum up - while Disc 2 may not exactly set the Universe on fire - there are some unheard nuggets worth the admission price. But for me it's the brilliantly released remasters that thrill the most. Both Jones and McLagan are to be praised for keeping the recorded legacy of Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane alive - and in such style.
What a band - and what an album. 44 years on and it still blows you away. "What up man!" indeed!
on 7 May 2012
I wasn't going to bother with these new remasters - they never sound any different do they? Until I saw this one in a store and couldn't resist the new packaging. Having only ever heard this album in stereo, the mono version on here is mind-blowing. It sounds so much getter and has much more impact. The stereo version included here is also an improvement on the previous stereo version I had as part of the Immediate Albums box set.
The second disc of bonus material is great to listen to, the sound quality is excellent considering the age of the material that hasn't seen the light of day for 44 years: really shows how the songs developed from early sessions. The USA stereo mixes are also interesting to listen to; they don't sound anywhere near as good as the standard UK stereo versions; Marriott's vocals don't seem to be timed quite right in both channels, they kind of echo. Still good to listen tho as the strength of the songs themselves makes up for this.
The packaging is great; 3 discs cased in a slipcase with the standard Deluxe Edition sticked round the bottom with a perforated edge where the gatefold is. This case folds out into 4 squares, with the booklet in the first (which is interesting to read and has some rare photos of the band and their various 45s sleeves. The middle 2 sections are where discs 1 and 2 sit in plastic 'holders'. The third disc is then slotted into the 4th square with no plastic to hold it. That lets it down a bit in my opinion, would have been nice to have another plastic holder for the final disc, but I suppose then it wouldn't fold closed the way it does and would mean redesigning the whole case.
Definitely worth buying for the mono version of the album and bonus tracks. Will check out the other remasters later on when the prices go down a bit!
on 2 September 2008
Released in 1968 on the ill fated Immediate Record Label, Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake was The Small Faces developing from their RnB routes, merging it with their new found Psychedelic side (as seen with songs like Itchycoo Park and That Man), entering the world of the concept album and producing their finest collection of songs to date, which left the band number one in the UK Charts for six continuous weeks yet ultimately cast an undeniable shadow over the band's future.
Side 1 of Ogdens Nut Gone Flake contains songs which would later become the measure for what defies a Small Faces song. Songs like Rene; a song about a London Docklands prostitute, and Lazy Sunday Afternoon; about feuding neighbours, were classic Marriott/Lane cockney cheeky chappy, bringing through influences for old London Music Halls from Marriott's childhood and merging it with the modern RnB Psychedelic influences they'd both picked up along the way to create what many people would term to be the unmistakable Small Faces sound.
There is also the other side of the Small Faces and in particular Marriott's soulful voice, this can be heard in all its glory on Track 2, Afterglow (of Your Love) is nothing short of brilliant, a love song with powerful soulful vocals from Marriott, matched as always by Ian McLagan's irresistible organ, underpinned by pounding rhythm from Ronnie Lane's Bass and Kenny Jones' Drums, classic Small Faces. Not only that but Side 1 begins with the title track, an instrumental, which it has to be said sounds remarkably fresh even for today's standards, so back then it must have been quite the tune with allsorts going on with it. Side 1 to summarise has everything you want from noise and in itself would make for a quality album, but what of side 2 and the concept behind that.
Well Side 2 is the story of Happiness Stan, a boy who one evening looks up at the night's sky to see that one half of the moon is missing. Told by comedic wordsmith Stanley Unwin who fills his narration with bizarrely structured sentences, backed by songs from The Small Faces, combined together they create an unusual yet fun journey. Far from being a boring 20 minute tale about lunar cycles, it's entertaining and most certainly trippy, Side 2 contains yet more quality from The Small Faces, the beefy Rollin Over, the knees up Happy Day Toy Town and the almost folk like Mad John all help make this album an unbelievable release, an audacious attempt to create an album that anyone who hears will treasure, something The Small Faces succeed with.
But it could have been much more then that, the band had plans to take the album on the road, to have it played in theatres across the land, just think Queen: The Musical but much, much better. However because the band had created what was a studio masterpiece, it was pretty difficult to try and recreate that sound live. Alas though the band didn't have that much longer together to fulfil this idea. Marriott's lust to be taken seriously and to take the band away from their pop persona, boiled over in early 1969, he soon left the band and formed Humble Pie with the fear in the back of his mind that The Small Faces would never be able to top Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake.
A sad end to the story of this album, but not one that should detract from what this album is, the work of pure genius and the highlight to a band's career for which we should all be thankful happened.
on 11 May 2012
I won't go in to detail about the merits of the album, suffice to say most people fall into one of 2 camps - Those that know it's a classic, and those that just don't realise it yet.
What I will talk about is this remaster, and whether it's worth investing in.
You get 3 discs - Remastered Stereo album, Outtakes and early demo versions, and the remastered Mono album.
Remastered Stereo - I did a comparison test to my exisitng stereo CD (which I bought in the 90s). At first, on low volume thorugh my computer speakers I noticed little difference, other than that the original 90s version was noticably louder. However, I've since compared both through decent quality headphones and the difference is VERY impressive. The 90s dics is a very "muddy" mix, with little separation between vocals and instruments, and is a bit of a mess. This new remaster, however, allows each component room to breathe and shine through. The bass sounds great, acoustic guitar lovely, hammond organ fantastic, vocals sublime. I felt like I was taking the journey with Stan on a first class fly!
Outtakes/demo versions - Very nice, if you appreciate hearing the development of the songs, the alternative USA mixes (quite noticably different in some cases) then you'll love this. If you're not bothered about such stuff, then this disc may pass you by a little.
Remastered Mono - I've read other reviews which talk about how this mono mix packs a serious punch and blows the stereo mix away. That's not my opinion. I listened to the mono album immediately after listneing to the stereo version (on the same volume setting) and was quite underwhelmed. Maybe that's because, in general, I love a nice bit of stereo separation, and stereo is the only way I've ever heard this album before. My biggest problem was with the soaring vocals on Afterglow, which on the Stereo version sounds great, but on this mono version seems at times almost completely lost in the mix. I can imagine if you play the album LOUD this mono mix will possibly have a lot more "oomph", but I haven't tested it at those levels. I will almost certainly play the stereo version in future rather than this.
Overall - For me, as someone who adores this album, this remaster is worth it for the stereo version, however I don't think you'll get much benefit if you're not going to be playing it through a quality hifi/headphones. If you are, don't delay, just get it, you'll love it!
on 13 May 2012
i just wanted to point out that this says deluxe edition but it is not the super deluxe round version as reviewed in record collector.
this is the standard multi fold digipack, to find the much desired round cd case go direct to charly.
ongf is not available until mid june and costs £20 plus p+p.
although with the 3cds in round sleeves you get a set of 6 coasters and round annotation cards.
limited to 5,000 worldwide.
on 21 November 2008
This is a brilliant oddity. It's a good contender for the title of first concept album, but it's also a really good one. There's a lot of great songs and some truly odd phrases - listen to it in the right mood and I bet you'll love it.
Some great singing too.
on 13 February 2006
Along with Sgt Pepper and The Who Sell Out, this is one of these momentous albums from 1967. Side one has the classics Lazy Sunday and Afterglow whilst side two is narrated by Stanley Urwin and tells the story of Happiness Stan. A fantastic swansong from The Small Faces that cries out for a delux edition. Come on children, after me, "Life is just a bowl of albran..........."
on 9 September 2011
See review below; I bought a CD player in 1993 (after years of holding out and hoping vinyl wouldn't die) because I could only get this on CD!!!! There's a version with "Tin Soldier" on one of the reissues (which is the sound of Weller being born... plus if you ever had the Dogs D'Amour on vinyl... Baby Glass... oh yeah) which is quiet possibly the best Small Faces song ever.
No, it's not Sgt Pepper... it's not the Village Green either... but it's of the same canon and calibre. Buy it now! It comes in a tin... like old pipe tobacco... it's tongue in cheek... but Marriott's got the voice of an angel... who smokes "Sus" roll ups
on 10 December 2013
CD1 and CD3 are stereo and mono mixes of arguably one of the best albums of all time and it all sounds much, much better than previous versions I've owned. So 5 stars for that. Overall, 4 stars because CD2 is non-essential alternate versions and backing tracks - good fun for a fan like me but I can see it all becoming a bit too much for anyone discovering the Small Faces genious for the first time or just wanting to hear a great LP. Like the other albums in the re-mastered series the accompanying booklet is a veritable treasure trove of photos, memorabilia and credits.
on 20 May 2012
I've bought both the previous cd releases in the tins plus other remasterd version and a Small Faces box set with the album on it, the LP pictue disc and i have the round covered Lp version and numerous square covered Lp versions, this 3cd set is by far the best cd version great sound and the outakes are great, anybody that doesn't rate this album as a classic is an idiot.