12 September 2007

Small Faces - 1967 - Small Faces

Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3 out of 5

The Small Faces were a reasonably successful group in 60's Britain, but they never really managed break into the States, and for whatever reason they haven't been particularly well remembered. As such, they have become superstars of the obscure, if you will. You'll probably run into them as soon as you start digging into the 60's and they have sort have gained some additional allure as a result of this.

The band started out as a wailing R&B influenced beat group with Steve Marriott's powerful pipes leading the charge. As we enter their more psych-period on this Immediate Records debut, we find some additional depth from vocals from Marriott's songwriting partner Ronnie Lane. He is technically nowhere near Marriott's singing level, but his somewhat happily lethargic vocals probably fit the psychedelic mold that the Small Faces were working for around this time.

Truth be told, this isn't a particularly psychedelic album. The flourishes of 1967 are certainly present, but the modus operandi are folk rock and the harder hitting mod sound. Much of this favorably compares to early-Who tracks. In fact, drummer Kenny Jones would eventually end up in the Who as Keith Moon's replacement. Much of his drumming here is very Moon-like.

This is an extremely short album at 30 minutes. Nothing here overstays it's welcome; songs like "Feeling Lonely" (at 1:37) could probably stand to be longer. It does cohere very well as an album and makes for a great blast of 60's pop.

"(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me" starts of the album with a single-worthy track with some aggressively strummed acoustic guitars and a catchy-as-hell chorus. "Happy Boys Happy" is a slightly wacky instrumental stuck in the middle of side one of the album. All in all, the first side of the album stands as mildly gritty folk rock.

The psychedelia creeps in a little stronger with side one's closer "Green Circles." We hear a little bit of a baroque arrangement and a fine chorus that the Who would rip off ten years later for "Who Are You." "Become Like You," a enjoyable psych-folk track, starts off the next side.

Side two does a fair amount more experimenting with sound. As many British bands of the era do, the Small Faces tackle music hall on "All Our Yesterdays" while "Talk To You" adds a little fuzz to the sound (and has a little musical quote that the Who would use on Tommy; it was nice of these fellows not to sue). With the album closer "Eddie's Dreaming," the band throws in some horns, flutes, and bongos for a more produced sound.

Once again, both the mono and stereo mixes are available on CD. And once again, I've got to opt for the mono myself. One of my pet peeves is sticking the drums completely in one channel, and unfortunately that was the stereo norm at the time. I think the added punch of mono does a lot for these guys too.

Small Faces is a fine album. My only real problem with it is that it doesn't seem to have much staying power for me. I'm not sure why. Marriott and Lane are a fine songwriting team. I suppose it'll all click for me someday. Maybe it'll be quicker for you.

Feb. 2010 edit: I've been listening to this one again recently - I guess it finally clicked for me and I would crank the ratings up to 4.25 for quality and 3.5 for the Trip-O-Meter. The songwriting stands out even more to me now and I love the completely ridiculous chord progression of "All Or Yesterdays."

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Small Faces - 1967 - Small Faces

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does this post (and the one above it) comprise all 40+ tracks that are on the 35th Anniversary set? Just wondering...

Dr. Schluss said...

We're missing a few alternate takes and mixes. It's five tracks in total. I feel they're disposable but I'll get them up in a day or two if your want. Maybe I was thinking it would be a small incentive to buy the thing.

Anonymous said...

Hi:
Thanks fot the reply. Yeag, if you can post the missing tracks, that would be much appreciated. I already have 2 "versions" of this album on CD, so hoping to hear the WHOLE thing before I decide whether to add a third. Thanks again!

MisterManiac said...

I left a comment about this under your Odgeon's post, so figured I'd cast my vote for the missing tracks as well. I have the Green Circles version on SFM, and was thinking of replacing it. So, like the other guy above, I'd love it if I could hear this in its entirity to see if it's worth a go. Thanks so much, and if you do post, can you keep the missing tracks as a seperate file so we don't have to download the entire thing again? Thanks for all the other great psych too...turned me on to a lot of things so far :)

progfan said...

Hey Doctor:
Awesome Small Faces posts!! Count me in on wanting those "missing" 5 tracks too...know the differences may be trivial at best, but would like to hear them anyway. Thanks and keep up the terrific work.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I check it out almost everyday to see what goodies you've turned up. And ditto on the "5 tracks" everyone seems to be bringing up on this post....c'mon, Doc, hand 'em over ;-}

Dr. Schluss said...

OK, sounds like a go. The tracks are now listed under the proper album. Having re-listened to the tracks, "Don't Burst Your Bubble" is a keeper. I was just rushing to finish the entry and get to work yesterday.

Yerblues said...

One of the best Bands from the '60s, and that says a lot. Mandatory.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the 5 remaining tracks! Going to put them in order and give ol' Steve, Ronnie & Co a listen :)

MisterManiac said...

Thanks for the rest of the tracks! Really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

http://rapidshare.com/files/55140039/Small_Faces__mono_.rar

Anonymous said...

http://rapidshare.com/files/55277895/Small_Faces_Outtakes.rar

Anonymous said...

Any cahnce of re-upping the missing cuts please??

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Actually is it possible to re-up the whole thing!!

Thanks

Anonymous said...

h**p://rapidshare.com/files/422130290/Small_Faces__mono_.rar

Dr. Schluss said...

h**p://rapidshare.com/files/422130290/Small_Faces__mono_.rar