Small Faces: Small Faces

ON THIS DATE (46 YEARS AGO)
May 11, 1966 – Small Faces: Small Faces is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5 (reissue)
# allmusic 4.5/5
Small Faces is the debut album of the Small Faces, released in 1966. It includes the hit singles “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” and “Sha-La-La-La-Lee”. The album was well received by music critics and fans alike and rose to number three in the UK album chart remaining at the top for several weeks.
In 1965, Small Faces came blasting out of England with style, wild abandon, and hits. But those hits were limited to the United Kingdom and Europe, failing to make inroads in the United States until the band’s restructuring as The Faces in 1970. Much like the early Who, Small Faces had an exuberance that threatened to detonate the band’s songs but instead kept the players rolling forward with unrelenting fervor.
Small Faces’ debut album shows a band able to both tackle tunes from the belly of American R&B and to offer up its own bracing originals. Check out “It’s Too Late,” impressive by any standards but all the more so when one considers that these guys were barely into their ’20s. Steve Marriott, a singer who could shout with the best of them, fronted Small Faces. His rasp is infectious, believable, and highly controlled, never sounding like the affectation of a young guy who wants to sound like an old bluesman. Those who are only familiar with Small Faces from the band’s later incarnation as the Rod Stewart-fronted Faces should look into Small Faces for an earful of how it all began.
REVIEW
amazon. By B-MAN “B”
The 1966 debut of the British rock group, The Small Faces, is essential British Invasion music with lots of bluesy vocals, guitar feedback, and energetic drumming. The Small Faces get a lot of comparison to The Who (ironic because Small Faces drummer, Kenny Jones, would become The Who’s drummer after Keith Moon died), but they are very different bands and the Small Faces were not as popular and haven’t received the credit they deserve. Just listening to this album, especially the soulful vocals of guitarist Steve Marriott (a sound he already had on the debut!), shows where a lot of Robert Plant’s influence came from. Honestly, at times, the likeness between Marriott and Plant is uncanny (it’s only magnified when Marriott sings “You need coolin’, baby I’m not foolin’, I’m gonna send you back to schoolin’…” (from “You Need Lovin'”) – words obviously adopted for Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”). The rest of the band is equally exciting whether it’s the inspired drumming of Kenny Jones, the bass of Ronnie Lane, or the organ of Ian McLagan, they all work together here. The album (originally 12 tracks) has been remastered and also expanded to 17 tracks (5 tracks from a French EP) that don’t match up to the recording quality of the rest of the album, but are nonetheless energetic, alternate versions of selected songs on the album. The Small Faces are probably best known for their hit “Itchycoo Park”, a song released two years after the debut. That song was released after the Small Faces began to experiment with their sound and studio space, but it’s also less raw than what you will hear on this album (both periods of their music are definitely worth while though). In 1969, Marriott would leave to form Humble Pie (with Peter Frampton) and the Small Faces would hire Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, then becoming “The Faces”. That incarnation is also noteworthy for obvious reasons, but this debut of the Small Faces is essential because of the influence it provided to several other British, as well as American bands.
TRACKS:
Side 1
“Shake” (Sam Cooke) 2:55
“Come on Children” (K. Jones, R. Lane, S. Marriott, J.Winston) 4:20
“You’d Better Believe It” (Kenny Lynch, Jerry Ragovoy) 2:19
“It’s Too Late” (Jones, Lane, Marriott, Winston) 2:37
“One Night Stand” (Lane, Marriott) 1:50
“Whatcha Gonna Do About It” (Ian Samwell, Lane, Marriott) 1:59
Side 2
“Sorry She’s Mine” (Kenny Lynch) 2:48
“Own Up Time” (Jones, Lane, Marriott, Ian McLagan) 1:47
“You Need Loving” (Lane, Marriott) 3:59
“Don’t Stop What You’re Doing” (Jones, Lane, Marriott, McLagan)
“E Too D” (Lane, Marriott) 3:02
“Sha-La-La-La-Lee” (Kenny Lynch, Mort Shuman) 2:56
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Filed under BBC, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane, small faces, Steve Marriott

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