Guide to British Music of the 1960s

January 2000

CD Review

The Small Faces- BBC Sessions



It took some time coming but the Small Faces BBC radio sessions are now available on CD. All the songs with one exception are already available in some form or other but these are in live performance. Very little Small Faces live material is available so this CD fills a large gap. Some of the songs have appeared on bootlegs over the years. This fact highlights "the ones that got away" such as The Temptations' Get Ready. However, Jump Back is a new tune to Small Faces listeners, credited to Steve Marriott on the track listing but, in fact, a Rufus Thomas song. Other cover versions include Brenda Holloway's Every Little Bit Hurts, Marvin Gaye's Baby Don't Do It and Tim Hardin's wonderful If I Were A Carpenter. Sam Cooke's Shake is one of the CD's highlights. This was often a Small Faces set opener with the late Ronnie Lane belting out the vocals. 

The Small Faces were a great R&B band, whether it was their own songs or covers of standards. Most of the tracks on this CD come from the first album or thereabouts when the band was signed to Decca Records. In the live context of the BBC Sessions, the songs take on an extra raw edge that cannot be duplicated on record, even though they got very close. Those not familiar with the Small Faces may even recognise the sixth track You Need Love (surely You Need Loving) as the inspiration for Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Nevertheless, the Small Faces' version was not entirely original, having been "heavily influenced" by a Willie Dixon song.

BBC Sessions covers most of the early singles including Whatcha Gonna Do About It and Sha-La-La-La-Lee before moving on to Marriott/Lane material such as Hey Girl and the number one hit All or Nothing. The b-side of the latter, Understanding, is one of the highlights of this CD. The first three tracks feature the group's original organ player Jimmy Winston before he was replaced by Ian McLagan.

There is a gap of almost two years between most of the songs and the final three. These tracks show a distinct change in the band's style from the raw R&B of the Decca years to the Ogden's era. Of the three songs in the final session for the BBC's Top Gear, only one is a Small Faces' original, Lazy Sunday. However, the two cover versions highlight the strength of Marriott's vocal performance.

The CD finishes with interviews with Steve Marriott and Kenney Jones. These help to give the songs an historical context although they would have sounded better "in context." The interviews end by introducing the next song so why not lead into the song rather than the next interview? the interviews sound far more dated than the music which has lasted and still sounds fresh and raw.

This CD contains the first "new" Small Faces material for over 30 years. However, it it worth a place on the shelf as it takes the Small Faces sound beyond what is already available on record or CD. Wonderful though the studio material is, the Small Faces were a live act and the BBC Sessions goes some way, though not all the way, to capturing this. This is how the Small Faces really did sound and it highlights just how good they were as musicians.


Released: 1999
Strange Fruit SFRSCD087

Essential Tracks:

  • Jump Back

  • Understanding

  • If I Were A Carpenter

Track Listing:

  1. What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  2. Jump Back
  3. Baby Don't You Do It
  4. Shake
  5. Sha-La-La-La-Lee
  6. You Need Love
  7. Hey Girl
  8. E-D
  9. One Night Stand
  10. You'd Better Believe It
  11. Understanding
  12. All or Nothing
  13. If I Were A Carpenter
  14. Lazy Sunday
  15. Every Little Bit Hurts

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