Life at 33 1/3: Four friendly little heads all dizzy

0
547

Small Faces: Small Faces (Immediate)

Small Faces thought they had entered paradise as they left Decca for Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records.  And who could blame them?  Unlimited studio time, their little heads all dizzy from the fun-packed joints and even funnier stuff they consumed.  They were literally high on inspiration and light on patience, keeping everything they recorded brief.

This album contains 14 songs, none of them except the B-side “Talk To You” released as singles.  All the tracks are so short that you barely get time for a taste before the next song starts.  The album offers laidback friendliness, the band bustles through their fascinating world of cockney humour, vaudeville, R & B, pop and psychedelia light.  It is their most versatile album by far.  But it would not have hurt if they had included the hit single “Here Come The Nice”.

Dizzy as they were in their little heads, they tended to be a bit lazy and uncritical, and some of the songs do appear slightly unfinished. A nice album anyway.

The American record companies preferred to include hits on albums, so they normally butchered British albums, removing tracks and replacing some of them with the artist’s latest singles.  The results most often were disputable.  The Beatles suffered a lot, but with “Small Faces”, for once, they did the album a favour in every possible way.  Better title (“There Are But Four Small Faces”), superior sleeve, but most important of all, a much stronger record.

They removed seven of the 14 tracks (including some of the most whimsical) and replaced them with three smashing A-sides and two B-sides, all of them fabulous.  There’s no way you can quarrel with an album that’s got “Here Come The Nice”, the trippy delight “Itchycoo Park” and the absolutely awesome slice of soul pop, “Tin Soldier”, on it.  The B-sides “I’m Only Dreaming” and “I Feel Much Better” are also better than anything that was thrown out.

So there you have it: “Small Faces” is a very nice and summery 1967 kind of album.  But “There Are But Four Small Faces” is the one you should try to hunt down on ebay.

Released: June 1967

(All tracks written by Marriott/Lane, unless otherwise noted)

*All lead vocals by Steve Marriott except where as noted*

Side 1

1.”(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me” – 2:16

2.”Something I Want to Tell You” – 2:10 (lead vocal by Ronnie Lane)

3.”Feeling Lonely” – 1:35

4.”Happy Boys Happy” – 1:36 (Instrumental)

5.”Things Are Going to Get Better” – 2:39

6.”My Way of Giving” – 1:59

7.”Green Circles” (Marriott/Lane/Michael O’Sullivan) – 2:46 (lead vocal by Ronnie Lane)

Side 2

1.”Become Like You” – 1:58

2.”Get Yourself Together” – 2:16

3.”All Our Yesterdays” – 1:53 (lead vocal by Ronnie Lane)

4.”Talk to You” – 2:09

5.”Show Me the Way” – 2:08 (lead vocal by Ronnie Lane)

6.”Up the Wooden Hills to Bedfordshire” (McLagan) – 2:05 (lead vocal by Ian McLagan)

7.”Eddie’s Dreaming” (Marriott/Lane/McLagan) – 2:54 (lead vocal by Ronnie Lane)

USA version (There Are But Four Small Faces):

Side 1:

1.”Itchycoo Park” – 2:50

2.”Talk To You” – 2:08

3.”Up the Wooden Hills” (McLagan) – 2:04

4.”My Way of Giving” – 1:58

5.”I’m Only Dreaming” – 2:25

6.”I Feel Much Better” (Marriott/Lane/McLagan) – 3:57

Side 2:

1.”Tin Soldier” – 3:23

2.”Get Yourself Together” – 2:15

3.”Show Me the Way” – 2:08

4.”Here Come The Nice” – 3:03

5.”Green Circles” – 2:51

6.”(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me” – 2:14

Personnel:

Steve Marriott – lead vocals, guitar

Ronnie Lane – lead & backing vocals, bass guitar

Kenney Jones – drums

Ian McLagan – keyboards