FEATURED SONGS

Itchycoo Park (1967)

The Small Faces

single, A-side
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Steve Marriott, (died 1991), is at risk of being the greatest forgotten singer of his generation. Robert Plant learned most of his chops and directly lifted a few more from Marriott, notably “Whole Lotta Love,” which Marriott popularized in its original form, “You Need Lovin.”

“Itchycoo Park” puts the mad Mod vocalist’s abilities in a strobing spotlight. The band, the special effects, the ridiculously happy, goofy lyrics, practically made for Londoners, blokes and birds swingin’ down the street so fancy free.

Throw in “flanging,” what today is done electronically by a phase shifter, but then was done physically by manipulating the speeds of two identical tracks, and you have a dreamy acid classic.

The refrain of “It’s all too beautiful,” is endearing, kookie, laughable, typical of the moment. While most listeners associate LSD with maybe California, or the beautiful natural settings of North America, they were tripping their brains out in Great Britain. But we associate that sort of thing with The Beatles, yogis, with big, technologically advanced studio techniques.

“Itchycoo Park” was created by one of England’s hottest bands of the era – they would morph into Rod Stewart’s The Faces eventually, dropping the word “small.” Their work on their own has been obscured by that later, bigger incarnation, but a handful of their songs are period classics. “Tin Soldiers” and “All Or Nothing” stand out with “Itchycoo.”

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun
I’ll tell you what I’ll do – What will you do?
I’d like to go there now with you
You can miss out school – Won’t that be cool
Why go to learn the words of fools?

What will we do there? – We’ll get high
What will we touch there? – We’ll touch the sky
But why the tears there? I’ll tell you why
It’s all to beautiful, It’s all to beautiful
It’s all to beautiful, It’s all to beautiful

It certainly is. You just have to open your eyes and ears.

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