Thursday, December 11, 2014

Small Faces

Ian McLagan passed away recently.  Here's a Rolling Stone article on him.   He's not exactly a well known name even to those of us that follow music pretty closely.  He was a keyboardist for the British band, The Small Faces.  There was also a Fresh Air  podcast interview with him done earlier in 2004 talking about growing up in England and how he came to join the band The Small Faces, which I thought was pretty interesting. 

I first became aware of The Small Faces with their Ogdens' Nuts Gone Flakes album.  I was attracted to it because when it was initially released, it came in an unusual album cover-- sort-of a gatefold, circular album cover shaped like a tobacco tin.  As you unfolded the album cover there were pictures of the band, and nice colorful psychedelic artwork, and the music inside was a bit strange, yet pretty accessible, and  just as inviting if not moreso.  It was a real underrated gem along the lines of the Rolling Stone's Beggars' Banquet, the Beatles' White Album and so forth.  It was also conceptual on the flip side of the album too, which told this odd fairytale-like story about "Happiness Stan." Another draw to the album was the vocals by guitarist, Steve Marriott, who could really belt out a song.  Previously Marriott also had some minor acting roles with a 18-month run in London's West End as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! before the Small Faces had gotten together.

They had a few hit singles starting out with "Here Come The Nice" and "Itchycoo Park," both great songs. But I think Ogdens' was the record that solidified their sound and provided their audience.  The band didn't last long, however, with that configuration as Marriott left and formed the band, Humble Pie, with guitarist, Peter Frampton.  The remaining members of The Small Faces, picked up a new front man and singer, Rod Stewart and Rod Wood as replacements.  That era of the Faces was okay, but something had changed, and I quit following them after they first couple of albums.


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