Guide to British Music of the 1960s

June 1999

CD Review

The Small Faces - The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette

 

Surely not another Small Faces compilation CD. Well what makes this one different? To put it simply, it was only recently that the group succeeded in securing their royalties and that was only after Ronnie and Steve had both died. Therefore much of the Small Faces material released more recently is legitimate and the band receive their dues. Furthermore, the tracks have been remastered, giving them a clarity and power not evident on the budget issues. Recommendation: no matter how much Small Faces you have in your collection, the is the definitive anthology covering the years on Immediate Records.

This also scores over the previously available Immediate Years boxed set as it contains virtually no filler. There is one version of each track from the Immediate recordings with the exception of the heavy rocker Wham Bam Thank You Mam (wrongly labelled as Wham Bam Thank You Man) which is an alternate stereo mix and the US single version of Mad John. There are also two recording that were previously unavailable, The War of the Worlds and Take My Time. These are both instrumentals and actually add little to the existing body of work on this CD. The PP Arnold single (If You Think You're) Groovy is included as it is a Marriott/Lane composition and features backing by the band. This is a great track.

As stated earlier, Darling of Wapping Wharf Launderette contains all the Immediate tracks including singles, album tracks and some rarities. The entire contents of the Small Faces, the first album on Immediate (Making Time September 1997) follows the singles I Can't Make It and its b-side Just Passing and Here Come The Nice. There is then a short break for the two excellent singles Itchycoo Park and the absolutely stunning Tin Soldier. The latter may be less well-known but it is by far and away the most popular Small Faces tracks with reader of Room for Ravers, the Small Faces Web page and it was recently voted tenth best single of all time by readers of the UK magazine Mojo. Tin Soldier combines the great elements from all four members of the band. If you don't know this one you haven't lived. By the way, it's PP Arnold on the backing vocals here.

What comes next shows just how far the Small Faces were able to progress given their new freedom, if not cash, through the Immediate deal. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake was partly new Small Faces album and partly concept, much better than even Sergeant Pepper by the way. The tracks finishing disc one of this CD set represent side one of Ogden's, the true highlights being Afterglow (Of Your Love), a song Marriott thought was little more than a soppy love song, and Ronnie Lane's Song of a Baker. The best-known song though finishes the disc. Lazy Sunday is one of the band's best known songs even though they did not want it released as a single. They felt, maybe correctly, that it made the band more music hall then rock or psychedelic. Great track though!

Disc two starts with the concept second side of Ogden's. The narration is by Stanley Unwin and this adds an important element to the story of Mad John. Like some of the tracks on side one of Ogden's, we can again witness the roots of heavy rock through songs like Rollin' Over. After the high of Ogden's it was difficult for the band to progress. Marriott moved towards heavier rock and eventually Humble Pie and the remainder of the band teamed up with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to form the Faces. However, they managed to complete some wonderful songs, many of which were issued as The Autumn Stone, a compilation of latter work and a strong track itself. A personal favourite is the cover of Tim Hardin's Red Balloon. The remainder is made up of rarities and oddities but there is some good material here.

So this is the best recorded version of the Immediate material and stands head and shoulders above the earlier budget reissues. If you weren't a fan before, you will be afterwards.

mp, May 1999

Released: 1999
Sequel Records, Castle Music

Essential Tracks:

  • Tin Soldier
  • Lazy Sunday
  • Don't Burst My Bubble

Track Listing:

Disc One

  1. I Can't Make It
  2. Just Passing
  3. Here Comes The Nice
  4. Talk To You
  5. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me
  6. Something I Want To Tell You
  7. Feeling Lonely
  8. Happy Boys Happy
  9. Things Are Going To Get Better
  10. My Way Of Giving
  11. Green Circles
  12. Become Like You
  13. Get Yourself Together
  14. All Our Yesterdays
  15. Show Me The Way
  16. Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire
  17. Eddie's Dreaming
  18. Itchycoo Park
  19. I'm Only Dreaming
  20. Tin Soldier
  21. I Feel Much Better
  22. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
  23. Afterglow (Of Your Love)
  24. Long Agos and Worlds Apart
  25. Rene
  26. Song of a Baker
  27. Lazy Sunday

Disc Two

  1. Happiness Stan
  2. Rollin' Over
  3. The Hungry Intruder
  4. The Journey
  5. Mad John
  6. Happy Days Toy Town
  7. The Universal
  8. Donkey Rides, A Penny, A Glass
  9. Wham Bam, Thank You Mam
  10. The Autumn Stone
  11. Collibosher
  12. Red Balloon
  13. Call It Something Nice
  14. Wide Eyed Girl on the Wall
  15. Don't Burst My Bubble
  16. Every Little Bit Hurts
  17. Picaninny
  18. The Pig Trotters
  19. The War of the Worlds
  20. Take My Time
  21. Mad John (US single version)
  22. (If You Think You're) Groovy (as PP Arnold with the Small Faces)
  23. Wham Bam, Thank You Mam (Stereo Mix)

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