Guide to British Music of the 1960s

September 1997

CD Review

The Small Faces - Small Faces


Like last month's reviewed CD, Revolver, the first Small Faces album on Immediate Records represented a mid-career major turning point. Like Revolver, it matched innovation with a commercial sound. The Small Faces had signed to the new Immediate record label where they had been promised ample studio time and space to develop their creativity. This compares with the commercial pressure of Decca and the difficulty of playing live when all one could hear was screaming girls.

It is the album that showed a distinct maturity in song-writing and arrangement. There is a consistency in the work and all the songs were less than three minutes making them easy to listen to. The CD release of the album adds tracks not on the initial release but which did appear on a US-only release, There Are But Four Small Faces. These include the hit singles Here Comes the Nice, Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier. The former had been released as a single and reached number twelve in the UK chart shortly before the album's release.

(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me had been planned as a single although this was shelved for legal reasons relating to the group's Decca contract. Aside from this and the tracks added later, there were no regular UK singles on the album. Steve Marriott sings again on Feeling Lonely where he also played the harpsichord. Green Circles has been described by some as the groups first nod towards psychedelia. Sung by Ronnie, the group played it on the German Beat Club programme. The band's chauffeur who lived with most of the band in Pimlico is credited as a co-writer on this track.

Get Yourself Together is one of the group's most popular songs although it appears that it was never played once the recording had been done. It never made the live set. The Small Faces fanzine, Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette, takes its name from Steve Marriott's market trader banter at the beginning of All Our Yesterdays. Ronald "Leafy" Lane, is the darling of Wapping Wharf launderette. Talk to You had earlier appeared as the b-side to Here Comes the Nice and was a live favourite.

Ian McLagan makes a rare singing appearance on Up The Wooden Hills to Bedfordshire. This song features layers of keyboards and guitars and its different feel makes it one of the Small Faces most under-rated songs. The album ends with Ronnie Lane singing Eddie's Dreaming, another multi-layered song.

While the original album did not feature any singles, the group was about to release two remarkable 45s. Both of these, and their b-sides, are included on the CD release of the album. Itchycoo Park is perhaps the best known Small Faces song while Tin Soldier is widely regarded as their greatest work. The latter was originally written for fellow Immediate artist PP Arnold. However, when she raved about it, the band realised that if it was that good they should be doing it themselves. Itchycoo Park was remarkable for the first use of phasing on the drums. The title came from the local name for Manor Park in East London, where the band came from.

mp, August 1997

  • Released: July 1967, Immediate
  • CD Re-release: 1997
  • Highest UK chart position: 12

Essential Tracks:

  • (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me
  • Green Circles
  • Up The Wooden Hills To Bedforshire

Track Listing:

  1. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me
  2. Something I Want To Tell You
  3. Feeling Lonely
  4. Happy Boys Happy
  5. Things Are Going To Get Better
  6. My Way of Giving
  7. Green Circles
  8. Become Like You
  9. Get Yourself Together
  10. All Our Yesterdays
  11. Talk To You
  12. Show Me The Way
  13. Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire
  14. Eddie's Dreaming
  15. Here Comes The Nice*
  16. Itchycoo Park*
  17. I'm Only Dreaming*
  18. Tin Soldier*
  19. I Feel Much Better*

* Extra tracks on 1997 CD release only

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