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The hairy seeds from which plant were known as itchycoos by children in the 1940s and ’50s, due to their itching qualities?
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The closing date is 11th May
Itchycoo Park Festival to celebrate the magical and seminal music of two great British songwriters – Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane
Kenney Jones and friends to perform classic album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
For two magical days this summer (June 2-3), the open expanses of Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Surrey will be transformed into Itchycoo Park, the mythical home of four East End lads who together, were one of the biggest and most influential British groups of the 1960s – Steve Marriott (lead vocals, guitar), Ronnie Lane (bass), Ian McLagan (Hammond organ), and Kenney Jones (drums), otherwise known as...The Small Faces.
A host of bands and performers, from former band mates, collaborators and peers to close friends, family members and confirmed fans- including Bill Wyman, Donovan, PP Arnold, Slim Chance, Mike Rutherford, Joe Brown, Steve Craddock and Mollie Marriott - will join original member Kenney Jones to pay musical homage to the band, and in particular the skills of the songwriting pair that was responsible for some of the most amazing, uplifting and timeless songs of that decade, and for many years to follow –Marriott and Lane.
“I’m really excited about the festival,” said Kenney. “It’s something I’ve been trying to do for ages, and the fact that it’s finally happening in the same year that The Small Faces and The Faces are inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, is perfect timing and just so fitting.
“My only regret is that Steve and Ronnie can’t be with us in person, to see thousands of people grooving along to their music again, just like they did back in the day. But they’ll be there in spirit, that’s for sure.”
Hitting the charts as teenage mods with their very first disc ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’ The Small Faces went on to release numerous classics including, ‘Sha-La-La-La-Lee’, 'All Or Nothing', ‘Here Come The Nice’, ‘Itchycoo Park’ and ‘Lazy Sunday’.
But the band are almost as famous for their groundbreaking long player ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’, a psychedelic masterpiece which topped the UK’s album charts in 1968. Released a whole year before The Who’s ‘Tommy’, it’s widely regarded as rock’s very first concept album.
The Small Faces split in 1969, without ever playing the whole LP live, something they always regretted. But at long last, Kenney will be putting this right on the Sunday night, when he plays the album live, with a number of special guests and orchestral accompaniment.
“I’m enormously proud of ‘Ogden’s’”, said Kenney. “I really do think that it’s one of the most important albums of the 1960s, right up there with Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Village Green Preservation Society, Are You Experienced and others.
“Playing it in full, for the very first time, is going to be a very emotional and special moment for me, and for the fans I’m sure.”
After The Small Faces split, lead singer Steve Marriott – recognised as having one of the greatest ‘blue-eyed soul’ voices ever – went on to have huge international success in the 70s with Humble Pie. The rest of the band hooked up with Ronnie Wood (later to join The Rolling Stones) and Rod Stewart and had massive worldwide success of their own as The Faces.
But interest in The Small Faces never went away, and was re-ignited by Jam frontman Paul Weller’s fascination with them in the late 70s and again in the 90s by Britpop bands like Blur, Oasis and Primal Scream namechecking them in interviews as a massive influence. More recently, bands like The Arctic Monkeys and The Kaiser Chiefs have declared themselves to be huge fans too.
“The Small Faces were a phenomenon,” continued Kenney, “and in Steve and Ronnie, we had a songwriting partnership that deserves to be recognised as one of the very best of its time.
“As important as it is though, The Small Faces is only part of Steve and Ronnie’s story. They went on to write some amazing material with their new groups and as solo artists, and this festival is a celebration of all that they did in their careers, with guests like the reformed Slim Chance and Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie, getting back on stage to say ‘thanks guys’ in the best way possible – by playing their music once more.”