70s reunion album isn't Ogden's - but it's worth a listen
Max R. Tomlinson | San Francisco, Ca United States | 06/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While this is not a stellar effort by the Small Faces, particularly when stacking it up against their earlier work, there are a few great tracks (especially if you like Steve Marriott's trademark vocals): "Find it", a rock-and-soul number with an infectious riff, great drums, Marriott's classic soul-shout, all topped off by a blistering guitar solo, "Never Too Late", with tasty gospel backing a la Blackberries, and "Lookin' for a Love", another rock-soul number that shows Marriott really wanted to be an R-n-B singer (that's the real R-n-B BTW).
If you're new to The Small Faces, forget Playmates and get their first Decca album (simply titled 'Small Faces' - not to be confused with their first Immediate album by the same name) then get Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. Each album showcases the Small Faces at their best, the Decca years (R-n-B + power-pop) and the Immediate years (psychedelia). Their original 60s work was their best, complemented by Ronnie Lane's songwriting.
This album was pretty much a money thing with none of the band members feeling too great about it if one trusts Ian McLagan's account in his book 'All The Rage'. Humble Pie's Rick Wills fills in for Ronnie Lane - an impossible act to follow. The cover alone makes it a bargain bin special. But anyone who has the 60s catalogue and still hungers for more of Marriott's terrific vocals will want to pick up Playmates. Even in reduced circumstances the man could sing like no one else and - let's face it - he was the Small Faces."
bass boy | Arkansas | 11/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
Bassist Rick Wills, who is filling in here (and on the 78 in the Shade LP) for an absent Ronnie Lane (who started the reunion but left before the record was made) didn't play in Humble Pie. Greg Ridley was the bassist for Humble Pie. Wills played on one Roxy Music LP in the mid-1970s and would eventually join Foreigner after these two Small Faces reunion LPs.
Do get the Small Faces' "Small Faces," "There Are But Four Small Faces" and "Odgen's Nut Gone Flake" CD, and then move on to Humble Pie's "Performance: Rockin' the Filmore," "Rock On" and the new "Definitive Collection," as well as Ronnie Lane's "Anymore for Anymore" CD, Ronnie Lane's and Pete Townshend's "Rough Mix" CD and all four of the Faces albums ("First Step," "Long Player," "A Nod's As Good As Wink ... To A Blind Horse" and "Ooh La La." You'll be fine after that ...."
Why Did They Bother?
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 04/21/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the early Sixties, the Small Faces were a mod band in the same vein as the Who. They would eventually release such classic albums as THERE ARE BUT FOUR SMALL FACES and OGDEN'S NUT GONE FLAKE. By 1969, the original band dissolved.
On paper, this 1977 reunion had promise. With Rod Stewart going solo and Ron Wood joining the Stones, the Faces were left with Ian McLagan (organ) and Kenney Jones (drums). With the reissue of two Small Faces' classics in 1976 just having gone Top 40 in the UK ("Itchycoo Park," #9 and "Lazy Sunday," #39), Steve Marriott joined McLagan and Jones along with former Peter Frampton bassist Rick Wills.
The album opens with the Marriott-penned "High and Happy" and certainly invokes the old Small Faces' sound, but it is weakened by throwaway lyrics: "Been on the road for about ten long years/I've seen spring in Des Moines, I've seen laughter and tears/But I'm still around to say to you today/I'm high, I'm happy and I hope to stay that way." Another Marriott tune, "Saylarvee," attempts to capture the bloozy sound of the Stewart-era Faces and is one of the album's more engaging tracks. The lone cover, a remake of the Bobby Womack hit "Lookin' for a Love," isn't bad, but my expectations for this album were much higher. Overall, this album has little to recommend it. While Marriott may have been the front man of the original band, Ronnie Lane was its heart and soul. Without him, this effort is average at best. I purchased this on vinyl when it was first released, and there's a reason it had since gone out of print. It's just not that good. For completists only."