Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The 1960's UK "mod" squad
running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 12/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are a number of compilations available for 'The Small Faces', including complete anthologies from their label 'Immediate', which the band recorded for between 1966 and 1968. This particular collection, 'All Or Nothing', is unique in that it comprises all the tracks recorded by the band save those that appear on their two officially released albums, their self-titled debut, and their opus, 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake'. I must confess to having very little familiarity with the band, which is true for most Americans as 'The Small Faces' had much greater success in their UK homeland, scoring 14 Top 40 songs. They only had one Top 40 song in the U.S. Nevertheless, this band was the breeding ground for artists well-known to Americans, in particular lead singer and guitarist Steve Marriott (who would front 'Humble Pie' before the 1960's closed) and bass player Ronnie Lane. The band also went through a transition that saw one album released with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on guitar before simplifying their name to 'The Faces'.
My only previous connection to 'The Small Faces' before hearing this disc was their 1968 number 16 U.S. hit, 'Itchycoo Park', which reached number 3 in the UK the summer previous. Its psychedelic pop sound made it a perfect number for the Summer of Love. That song doesn't appear on this disc, but the b-side does. I actually purchased the 45 rpm vinyl recording of 'Itchycoo Park', but it received little play once I heard the flip side. 'All Or Nothing' offers two versions of this song, 'Tin Soldier', one of a number of songs on the disc that give free rein to Marriott's ability to thrash and wail with profound intensity, a sound that became characteristic of the best releases by 'Humble Pie' such as 'I Don't Need No Doctor'. One version features only the instrumental backing, and the other is live. The studio version with vocals (resplendant with lines like "I got to know I belong to you, do everything that you want me to", and "sing any song that you want me to sing to you") isn't included, and that is the best version. The instrumental version is interesting, and the music can certainly stand on its own, and while the live version included vocals it is compromised by excessive crowd noise and a slightly overbearing organ. Nevertheless, I'm quite pleased to own both of these versions.
'The Small Faces' only number one UK hit, 'All Or Nothing' is included in a live version. There are also two covers of Tim Hardin compositions, including a sterling live rendition of 'If I Were a Carpenter'.
There are a number of surprising aspects to the disc. I was surprised to find that 'The Small Faces' were quite accomplished in a musical sense. There is great diversity on this collection, ranging from quasi-blues numbers ('Every Little Bit Hurts', offered in studio and live versions, the live version being over six minutes in length), to sweet acoustic ballads (the opener, 'Autumn Stone'), to horn-laden instrumentals ('Wide Eyed Girl On the Wall', 'Collibosher'), to novelty songs ('The Universal'), and a spate of thrashing rock and roll classics ('Don't Burst My Bubble', 'Tin Soldier'). Marriott's capacity to sing convincingly in all these genre's is rather impressive. And the band wasn't adverse to recording very short tracks. The twenty-three tracks time out at a total of 66 minutes, so we're averaging less than three minutes a song. Five songs are under two minutes, and three more are 2:22 or less.
'All Or Nothing' starts out strong. The first 10 tracks are all hear-em-again keepers. The middle section is weaker, but the live tracks finishing up the disc are quite entertaining. Even songs you might consider 'misses' often have redeeming segments, such as unique vocal sounds or instrumental variations. Despite their celebration of diversity in instrumentation and genre, the band's sound is decidedly organ-heavy. Their organist, Jimmy Winston, is able to create many moods, but he is especially adept and noticable when parlaying a snarling and funky rock or even heavy-metal groove.
Liner notes are by music writer Bruce Eder, and he does a nice job outlining the band's history, and giving pertinent information on a number of individual tracks. Unfortunately no lyrics are included, and the date and location of the live tracks is a mystery. Fortunately, that is the only area where Immediate was chintzy."