The Universal

It’s funny how sometimes a song will creep into your mind and stay there, spinning its wheels. No conscious reason why it should be there, but there it is.

The Small Faces’ “The Universal” popped into my mind this morning and it has not let go. I hadn’t played it for months, probably years, but there it was.

So when I got to work, I found it and I played it.

It’s a prime example of 1960s genre-blending, blending the sound of a stomping trad jazz band, a little country & western, and a strident acoustic guitar. Plus extraneous sound effects, such as barking dogs. Its main strength is the melody and the conversational way in which it is sung by Steve Marriott. The lyrics are a simple celebration of doing nothing, with a swipe at hip name droppers and poseurs.

It’s a song of real charm and reflection, not striving to make any big point and in doing so coming across as more meaningful than many other more ambitious songs. A little gem.

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