Friday, 13 April 2007

The Small Faces and Beyond

The Small Faces were one of the mod bands of the '60's, but with truckloads more talent than most of their peers, except obviously The Who. Steve Marriott and the boys have so many good tunes, that most people have forgotten. All you hear these days is 'Itchycoo Park' and maybe 'All or Nothing' which are both amazing, but don't really do them justice. They started out with success in the singles charts, with 'Whatcha Gonna Do About It' and other brilliant '60's pop songs. Marriott can either do his cockney voice, which is witty and suits the pop numbers, or belt out a pre Robert Plant wail, for the harder stuff. But it was their concept album of 1968, 'Ogdens Nut Gone Flake', that really marks them out. You need this album. It's a psychedelic trip out, music ranging from gentle ballads, to full on rock and roll, complete with compering in between tracks from the legendary Stanley Unwin, which consists of words mixed up and muddled up in his own inimitable way, telling vaguely of a story about a guy called Stan. Just listen.
Eventually though, when the band realised that what they had made in the studio was unable to be played live, Marriott got disillusioned with his band, and eventually left to join Humble Pie. And this is where the story gets sweeter. Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart heard of this, and both being big fans of the Small Faces, they tried rescuing the band, creating just simply The Faces. The Faces are rock and roll. They drink booze, they shag women and they play guitar. Brilliant. With tunes like 'Stay With Me' and a fantastic version of 'Street Fighting Man', you have to hear the Faces. Whatever Rod Stewart has done since, no matter how unforgivable (four volumes of the American Songbook? Fuck off, he is from Scotland) The Faces are brilliant. John Peel thought they were the best live band he has ever seen. And I wouldn't argue with him, would you? There is also talk of a Faces reunion pretty soon, which would be cool. Ronnie Wood has said that there is a lot of red tape for them to get through first, but if he is talking about it, then it must be on the cards.

I saw a fantastic band on Wednesday night in Shoreditch, called the Daze, who if you get a chance to go and see then I strongly recommend it. They are rock and roll, the throw their guitars around, and its just fantastic. They have a myspace page at which you should check out. Listen to 'Shake' first.

Currently listening to 'After the Goldrush' by Neil Young


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