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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Small Faces - Itchycoo Park (1967) 0815007

Small Faces - Itchycoo Park (1967) 0815007

Another old rock & roll tune. This one is from 1967. I had been looking for 30 Days In The Hole, except I couldn't remember the name of it. All I could think of was that the lead singer had died of a drug overdose, so I did some digging in that vein, but no luck*. It popped up on YouTube after I finally I finally snapped to the name of the tune.

I remember the tune well (I was in high school when it peaked in the U.S.). The name is kind of dumb, but hey, lots of names are. Wikipedia has a couple of stories about this song.
The song was one of the first pop singles to use flanging, an effect that can be heard in the bridge section after each chorus. . . . Although many devices were soon created that could produce the same effect by purely electronic means, the effect as used on "Itchycoo Park" was at that time an electro-mechanical studio process. Two synchronised tape copies of a finished recording were played simultaneously into a third master recorder, and by manually retarding the rotation of one of the two tape reels (flanges) using the fingers, a skilled engineer could subtly manipulate the phase difference between the two sources, creating the lush 'swooshing' phase effect that sweeps up and down the frequency range. 
It's all in the fingers, man. And then there is this bit about the song's name:
A number of sources claim the song's name is derived from the nickname of Little Ilford Park, on Church Road in the London suburb of Manor Park, where Small Faces' singer and song-writer Steve Marriott grew up. The "itchycoo" nickname is, in turn, attributed to the stinging nettles which grew there.
* Wikipedia has a list of dead rock stars, and while Steve Marriott is listed, he isn't listed as having died from a drug overdose, which is what I remembered. So much for having a reliable memory bank.

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