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5.0 out of 5 stars "Do You Want A REAL Ultimate SMALL FACES Collection......?", 16 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Immediate Years (Audio CD)
In advance of the imminent release of the gigantic 2014 deluxe SMALL FACES box set, here's a guide on how to obtain a REAL Ultimate SMALL FACES Collection with what I consider the best previous reissues, and at the end we'll compare it to the value of the new 'HERE COMES THE NICE: The Immediate Years 1967-1969' boxed set. But first a little background......

There is probably no other rock group that has so many reissues to their name than THE SMALL FACES. This is due to the fact that the surviving members of the group, Ian McLagen and Kenny Jones, and the heirs of the late Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane didn't even begin to receive royalties from their work until well in to this century! Most of their financial problems were due to their notorious ex-managers, Don Arden (father to Sharon, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh?) and Andrew Loog Oldham, who literally bankrupted them. Oldham's Immediate Records label was actually funded by what should of been their royalties. It also doesn't help that even now the rights to their music is split in half, Universal owns their early Decca material and Charly owns the Immediate Records catalog, but at least now the surviving band members have a say in their releases. That certainly wasn't the case before the settlement, as exemplified but the myriad of re-re-re-re-reissues of their core catalog and the dozens of compilations, some done with care and others shoddy and haphazard. Here's a guide to what I think are the very best, and put together collects almost all of their commercially released output on Decca and Immediate......

on DECCA: Small Faces: 40th Anniversary Edition, From The Beginning and Ultimate Collection (Disc One)

The 23 Track '40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION' of their first album on Decca comes in a nice digipak with great remastered sound. There are 9 exclusive tracks including B-Sides, non-album singles and alternate versions released only on French EPs......

'FROM THE BEGINNING' the 19 track "2nd album" released by Decca to cash in when they signed with Immediate, has 12 exclusive tracks including more French EP versions and a BBC Session track. The band was not happy at the time that Decca was trying to "steal their thunder" by releasing the (originally) 14 track LP, in fact, "My Mind's Eye" was originally recorded during their first Immediate session but was given to Decca to fulfill their contract......

'ULTIMATE COLLECTION' is a two disc set and only the second SMALL FACES collection to feature both their Decca and Immediate sides (see 'THE AUTUMN STONE' below). Disc One, the 25 Track "The Decca Sessions" has only 4 exclusive tracks, but completes their released recorded output on Decca......

on IMMEDIATE: Small Faces: 35th Anniversary Edition, The Darlings Of Wapping Wharf Launderette

Although there are two 2013 versions of 'SMALL FACES (1st Album)' on Universal (UK) and Charly (US), I recommend the 48 Track 2002 Castle/Sanctuary 'SMALL FACES: 35th ANNIVERSARY EDITION' jewel case version. It comes in a nice slipcase, has three more tracks, and a better booklet which you can reverse if you are in the mood for the 'THERE ARE BUT FOUR SMALL FACES' U.S. cover art. There are 17 exclusive tracks including the rare "Album Sampler" promo and the original 14 track album's mono mix......

1999's 'THE DARLINGS OF WAPPING WHARF LAUNDERETTE' is named after the official fan club's moniker and was the first Immediate material compilation officially approved by the band, and the first to use the original tapes. It contains 16 exclusive tracks including their first hit single for Immediate, "Here Comes The Nice" (#12 UK), "The Universal" (#16 UK), "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" (#36 UK), and rare and alternate versions including P.P. Arnold's cover of "(If You Think You're) Groovy" with the boys as her backing group.....

With these five releases you'll have ALMOST all of their commercially releases output on Decca and Immediate. If you want to go all the way, you'll need......

'OGDENS NUT GONE FLAKE' Although all it's tracks are on the 'WHAPPING WHARF' collection, ever since the initial LP release in the now famous round album cover it's been a popular collectable. There have been many many re-releases of this seminal quirky whimsical psychedelic concoction, but there are two essential versions. In 2006 Sanctuary/Castle released it in a metal tin bringing the iconic cover art to life. There were three discs included, one mono, one stereo, and a third containing an hour long BBC Documentary. The 2012 Charly release also has three discs, Disc One contains the stereo mix, Disc Three contains the mono mix, and Disc Two features 13 rare tracks from the recording sessions. It comes in a round cardboard "tin" that while nice it doesn't have that certain "cachet." Both come with inserts mimicking the original round LP cover, and the Charly release has coasters with all the album art on each side. They both sound great, so it's a toss-up to personal preference. Being the fan that I am, I own both! The only thing I can't understand is why the producers of the recent reissues didn't think of adding a DVD with the footage of them performing Side Two of 'OGDENS' on the British TV show "Colour Me Pop?" All the extraneous material on both 3CD sets could fit on 2CDs easy. That would have made it a REAL ultimate version (at least you can see this footage on the essential ALL OR NOTHING 1965-1968 DVD)......

Lastly we come to THE AUTUMN STONE and BBC SESSIONS 1965-1968. 'THE AUTUMN STONE,' a hodgepodge "best of" featured their hits from both labels and was originally released as a 2LP set. Unfortunately for collectors three live cuts, "Whacha Gonna Do About It," "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "If I Were A Carpenter," are not on any of the above releases. The 'BBC SESSIONS' contains 15 songs and 5 short interviews recorded live on "Auntie Beeb" and are in excellent sound quality for their age......

The new limited edition (of 3000) 'HERE COMES THE NICE: The Immediate Years 1967-1969' box set contains only four CDs with 75 tracks total, and as per the title, nothing from their years at Decca. CD#1 consists of their worldwide single and EP tracks, all of which can be found on the above releases. CD#2 & #3 contain unreleased material, but only work tapes and alternate versions, nothing "ground-breaking." CD#4 contains rare and unreleased tracks, but again most of the rare tracks are on previous releases. Two vinyl 7" singles, an EP and an acetate also contain previously released tracks, bar one. There's a 72-page hardcover that contains a track-by-track illustrated guide, rare and unpublished photos, sleeve notes by Mark Paytress and written contributions from Robert Plant, Paul Weller, David Bowie, Nick Mason and others. There is also a booklet will all their lyrics. The replica memorabilia includes two posters, the press kit for 'OGDENS NUT GONE FLAKE,' five postcards, and two art prints from the "Itchycoo Park" photo sessions......

In conclusion, if you were to obtain all the above stand-alone releases, new and used (no lower than Very Good condition), on Amazon US it would run you an estimated $130. On Amazon UK it would come out to about £110. If you skipped the somewhat superfluous stand-alone 'OGEDENS' or 'AUTUMN STONE' and 'BBC' it would be even less. The new limited edition set is currently prices $144.00US on Amazon US. If you're a rabid SMALL FACES collector you probably won't mind shelling out for it just to get all ephemera, but for the same amount of money you could obtain 99% of their commercially released music. I guess it all depends if you like your music on a shelf or in you ears......
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Feb 2014 09:00:13 GMT
Your review has nothing whatsoever to do with the 1995 "Small Faces-The Immediate Years" boxed set. It should have been posted on the product page for the 2014 "Small Faces-Here Come The Nice" box.
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John H. McCarthy
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Frogtown, PA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 868