Thursday, 26 June 2014

Small Faces 'Lazy Sunday'

Chart Peak:
The group's 9th Top 20 Hit, 'Lay Sunday' made No.2 in May 1968. Like many of their previous Hits it was written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane. The song made a brief return to the Top 40 in April 1976.
Sorry, the audio in that original video seems to be out of phase. There's also a video for the 1976 re-issue which has better sound quality. It doesn't look quite right to see such a Sixties-sounding track performed by people who are clearly in the Seventies, but at least Steve Marriott does some good pantomiming.

A song that seems fated to be confused with 'Sunny Afternoon' throughout posterity, 'Lazy Sunday' shares that song's ironic overtones, coming over as both a celebration and a parody of British psychedelic pop of the era, and of their own cockney image; certainly no couplet seems to sum up the style better than the juxtaposition of "Here we all are sitting in a rainbow/Cor blimey! Allo Mrs Jones, how's your Bert's lumbago?". On the whole, British songwriters in the Sixties seemed a bit more grounded than many of their North American counterparts, who gave the impression of taking the hippie thing more seriously. I guess they're taking advantage of increasing permissiveness by mentioning a toilet in the song too, I'm sure that would have been taboo not long before. You can see a similar thing in their previous hit 'Itchycoo Park' as they mock-seriously croon "feed the ducks with a bun", but this ups the ante slightly by being part of the mock-concept album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, which is trailed here with the reference to the moon.

What I'd never really noticed before is that whilst Marriott starts the song in his exaggerated Cockney character, by the end he's back to the soul-oriented vocal that first made the band famous as an R&B act. Although he obviously wasn't really from Memphis, in the context of this song and their career, it feels like he's actually trying the shed the persona as he exclaims "there's nothing to stop me from feeling this way". A song that pulls into a lot of directions at once but is saved by the tight performance and arrangement, with sound effects emphasising the humour but not becoming distractingly gimmicky. As much as I'm more of Kinks than a Small Faces fan generally, I do like this one more than 'Sunny Afternoon'.

Available on: Small Faces: Ultimate Collection

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