MULTI-COLOUR OF THE RAINBOLD

An opening electric guitar chord, solo-strummed, then the drums and bass kick in. It is a simple, powerful rhythm that is instantly inviting and enveloping. If it was a concert, you’d be on your feet already. You could sway to this intoxicating rhythm forever, but Steve Marriot’s voice enters,
  There’s wheat in the field
  And water in the stream
  And salt in the mine
  And an aching in me
The soulful invocation is as strong as the ancient magic of bread-making. The staff of life. And as Marriot sings, that life flows through the melody, through the grain, the water, the seasoning, the heart of man.
  I can no longer stand and wonder
  Cos I’m driven by this hunger
He’s expressing it for us all, for all time. So simple, so powerful, so patient in the longing. So human.
  So I’ll jug some water, bake some flour
  Store some salt and wait the hour
  When I’m thinking of love
  Love is thinking for me
If you know the craving for intimacy, the hunger for emotional sustenance, then you will rise to the song. If you are searching still, your heart will expand. It may crack with the breakthrough of emotion demanded by life, loss, love.
  And the baker will come
  And the baker I’ll be
This is one of the best songs of the sixties and thus, one of the best songs ever. If ‘Song of a baker’ does not move you, thrill you, energise you, comrade you need help. Fast.
All this without even mentioning the tearing guitar solo or the great outro, complete with chopping piano.

Small Faces Ogdens Nut Gone

This without even mentioning that ‘Song of a baker’ is the fifth song on the Small Faces 1968 amber-encased Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, an album that may well be the pinnacle of British psychedelia. The fifth song on side one, perhaps a perfect album side, that opens with the psychedelic title overture and flows straight into ‘Afterglow’, another superb white soul pop song.

Without even mentioning ‘Lazy Sunday’ and ‘Rene’, two classic Eastender music-hall romps, one of which is still a staple of Gold FM radio the world over and the other of which, though utterly incorrect in socio-political terms, manages to hilariously deploy the capital of Malaysia in verse, surely ultimate proof that pop lyrics can be better than any Emily Dickinson poem.
  She’s Rene, the docker’s delight, And a ship’s in every night
  Romping with a stoker from the coast of Kuala Lumpur

IMG_0405IMG_0406

Even mentioning side two can cause those of a chrome-plated modern bent to screw up their faces. Yet the Happiness Stan story is vital perhaps because it takes a little wriggling, a little psychic jiggling, to access it in the second decade of the twenty-first century. You have to regress a little, unwind a little, return to a simpler, more credulous time. In short, you have to make like a child again. Do so and the magical nonsense poetry of narrator Stanley Unwin will deliver perfect cognisance, the story will convey its un-cynical message of hope, the music will reveal as much colour and richness as any paisley overcoat Carnaby Street could gift.

  And Happiness Stan, whose life evolved

  near a femerald coloured dreamy most,


  had his pure existance and his being

  
in the deep joy and the multi colour of the rainbold.


  Oh yes.

‘The journey’ is a pleasing bridging instrumental, ‘Mad John’ touching and sincere and a wonderful expression of values we seem to have misplaced. Ogdens’, overall, is an essentialistic vinyl wandsparkle. Oh Yes.

***

Mentioning vinyl, near the tail-end of our recent sojourn in the Old Dart, I visited one of Cambridge’s most significant landmarks, Fopp Records. Exiting with a goodly haul, something niggled at the Vinyl Connection psyche. After a sandwich by the Cam I trotted back to the store and handed over my remaining sterling for a beautifully curated vinyl re-issue of Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. Sure, I have a pretty 1989 Castle CD re-issue in a proper metal tobacco tin but although it looks great, it sounds absolutely shit.

So I handed over a wad of notes, telling myself that it would certainly sound good and furthermore I would never, barring a lotto win, be able to afford an original in mint condition, assuming that such a thing even exists almost half a century on. I played it for the first time last night, and it was good.

IMG_0411
Life may be a bowl of Allbran, but regular is as regular does. And playing Ogdens’ now and then will enhance your health. Just listen to the giant fly.
  Not only will I transportnum there,
  but I will sing it a deep joy of a songload in your eardroves.

Amen.

Ogdens Nut Gone Fr + Back

 

29 comments

  1. Hi Bruce. I’m Adam Brown. It’s been pleasurable reading your last 5 posts. Sorry for lurking. I wasn’t sure what to say but wanted to stay with your images and words and have come back on several occasions for more. I enjoy the vinyl’s visual allure as well as reading about artists and listening to what some have to express. The typography of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake is wonderful to examine while I ate some sourdough for breakfast. Just the band’s name is curiously leading me to more reading. Best wishes forward!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Adam. Lovely to have you aboard and above decks!
      It is a wonderful piece of art work, certainly. The Ogdens Tobacco company was based in Liverpool I believe. This was one of a range of smoking products they produced in a time when tobacco was a way of life.
      As for the Small Faces, they made some wonderful music in their first incarnation, music that can be enjoyed with any meal! But listening to ‘Song of a Baker’ while consuming sourdough sounds just terrific.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Someone who fantasises about me buying a Porsche just subsidised my listening to Ogden’s … on YouTube. Oh to be in marketing. Cheers. VC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d buy the Porsche.

      Like

  3. Love this album. And this is a great post about it too. I love it when a review totally puts you in the mood to hear something so well done! Song of a Baker is fantastic and I always love Steve’s transition from cheeky cockney to soul singer in Lazy Sunday. It’s a great moment when he changes his singing style in that last verse. Gives me chills.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. P.S. I was sitty comftybold four-square on my botty while I read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very glad to hear that, Scott. It always sounds better that way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Another great review Bruce. I now must pull this classic out and give it a spin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Jim L. Enjoy our Nut Gone Flake!

      Like

  6. Great post, Bruce – great album and one I haven’t listened to in an age. Truth be told, despite having mad love for this one I no longer own it (CD was loaned out a long time ago and never seen again – never got round to replacing it. Shocker). I’ll need to rectify that now though, cause I really need to hear this again. Thanks for throwing back on my radar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure James. Given how crappy my fancy-pants Castle CD re-issue is, might be worth researching a bit on the doubtless myriad re-releases out there. Unless you win the lottery and find an OG, of course!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reckon a reissue would do me nicely, Bruce. Preferably on the big black disc format, but I’m thinking of having a look for a cheap CD just so I can hear it again soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I really need to brush up on my Small Faces. I’m lacking terribly. Beautifully presented album art, too.

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks J. This is the best known album naturally enough, but the earlier Decca and Immediate LPs are terrific too!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmm. I will inherit an original copy of this one day but I’m afraid it’ll be a bit wasted on me as anything other than a gorgeous object. Sorry, but Unwin is a bridge too far for me Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Channel your inner Flower Pot man, my friend. All will become clear…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice one. Unwin’s interjections still make me smile after many listens. Someone should release a psych compilation that just features spoken word stuff. Just putting that out there… I’d buy it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a neat idea. What else would be contenders, I wonder? There are some nice little spoken drop-ins on the Dukes of Stratosphere album…

      Like

      1. I’ll put forward some Moody Blues for that comp! “Brave Helios, wake up your steeds. Bring the warmth the countryside needs!”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. An excellent opening, Scott! And well spotted that Days of Future Past (I haven’t checked, but that is where the quote is from, isn’t it?) has some nice late psych material. ‘Peak hour’ is in my top 5 Moodies Moments.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Awesome. I love that album! Some of the “what a day to go kite flying” stuff gets a bit much but the music is great.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes indeed, some great ones on Dukes Of Stratosphear, mostly from ‘Alice In Wonderland’ I think? I love the Alice stuff at the beginning of Bill Bruford’s ‘Fainting In Coils’ too. ‘Days Of Future Past’? It’s long been on my wish list, am definitely gonna check it now. Another great one is ‘Smashed Blocked’ by John’s Children. Must be loads more…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. While I’m a Faces completist, saw Kenny Jones playing with the Who, Ian Maclagan playing with Billy Bragg, and think Steve Marriott’s rockin’ performance on Humble Pie’s ‘Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore’ is incredible, of the Small Faces I solely know the hits and then only passively. I’ve liked ‘Song of a Baker’ whenever I’ve heard it, but never really contemplated it. Clearly I needed help, and clearly I’ve found it here in this post. Thanks, comrade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome. As you probably gathered, side one is, I reckon, truly wonderful. The ‘story’ side is a bit of an acquired taste – the narration off-putting for some (like the esteemed 1537, who just needs to grow down). But the music is still luminous.
      Your roll call of Faces connections is impressive indeed. Hard to avoid the conclusion, though, that Steve never fulfilled his potential.

      Like

  11. […] 2) Happy to share Bruce Jenkins’ recent article on the Vinyl Connection site about the re-release of one of rock music’s most-intriguing (and perfectly round) album packages – that of the Small Faces’ 1968 release Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. So much art in a fascinating package, with artwork by keyboardist Ian Mclagan’s art school chums Pete Brown and Nick Tweddell. Now, if they could only figure out how to stop the package from rolling off the shelf.. https://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/11/17/multi-colour-of-the-rainbold/ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  12. One of the greatest albums ever in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No argument from this end! 🙂

      Like

  13. One of the albums I went back and discovered after getting into Ronnie Lane. Really dig their early stuff with Marriot.

    Liked by 1 person

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