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Raw, naked R and B.20 Aug. 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Just a note - if you're a fan of the melodic, psychedelic Small Faces that sang "Itchycoo Park," then don't buy this CD. There were actually four phases of this band - the early rhythm and blues years, the psychedelic era, the bluesy era when they shortened their name to the Faces and were fronted by Rod Stewart, and the reunion in the late Nineteen-Seventies. Before purchasing this CD, I was unfamiliar with the first era of the band. Unlike other popular British bands of the period, the Small Faces didn't have much success outside the United Kingdom. It wasn't until they signed to Immediate that they had international success. What little knowledge I had of their DECCA recordings came from cover versions, such as the Sex Pistols version of "What `cha Gonna Do About It," and a cover version of "Sha La La Le" released in Australia by the Ted Mulry Gang. Having listened to the CD, I can understand why they were such an influence on the punk scene of the late Ninteen-Seventies - it's as raw as a prison shower. In the past I've been reluctant to purchase CDs from the Universal Masters Collection range, as they tend to omit key songs and single A-sides. This release however has almost all the DECCA A-sides, and a good selection of B-sides ("It's Too Late," "Grow Your Own," "Almost Grown," "Understanding.") There's "Shake," "Come on Children," "Sorry She's Mine," "You'd Better Believe it" and "Own Up Time" from the group's self-titled debut album, and "That Man" and "Plum Nellie" from the band's first compilation album, `From the Beginning,' released in 1967. Unfortunately it lacks the final DECCA single. "Patterns"/"E to D." There is a glimpse, though, of the Small Faces that was to come in "My Mind's Eye." I would have liked to have heard "You Need Loving" from the first album, the group's rewrite of Willie Dixon's 1962 composition for Muddy Waters, "You Need Love." A group called Led Zeppelin also rewrote the song (or "sampled" it, as we would say today) as "Whole Lotta Love." My only criticisms of this CD are that the songs don't appear in chronological order (I like to hear how a band's sound develops), and that variants such as "French EP versions" should only appear on rarity collections, not on compilations designed for first-time buyers. Otherwise, this is an excellent choice among the many Small Faces compilations that have been released.
Just an addendum to my comment regarding the "French EP version" of "What'cha Gonna Do About It" - I've since discovered that Small Faces collectors say that the French EP versions that appear on CD today are actually taken from acetates of alternate recordings. The actual French EP versions of Small Faces songs have yet to resurface on CD.