Guide to British Music of the 1960s

February 2016

CD Review

The Small Faces - The Decca Years


After 2014's The Immediate Years a compilation of the Small Faces' output for Decca including rare and unreleased tracks has been much anticipated. Although most of what is present in this 5CD set is already available, the compilation certainly does not disappoint and is an ideal companion to the 2014 Immediate release. Like the Immediate release, this boxed set has been overseen by Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan.

There were two distinct periods in the Small Faces' career. These are distinguished by different record companies, different managers, a different approach to recording and a different musical style. The Decca period showed the Small Faces moving from fresh-faced Mods to one of the UK's top groups, producing superb self-penned songs. The influence of the R&B and soul they had been listening to is very clear. However, there are also the seeds of a transition towards a more "English" sound that touches on psychedelia in places. The second Immediate period would cement this change and take the band further forwards towards a heavier rock sound. In fact, some of the tracks included here appeared in their finished form on the Small Faces first Immediate album.

Discs two and three are the two albums released on Decca. These have been available on CD for some time and also as "improved" versions so there is nothing new here. The integrity of the original albums remains intact as no additional tracks have been included on these two CDs. The first disc comprises all the Decca A and B sides, including some alternate versions. In some cases these are slightly different to the LP versions. This first CD is a great body of English R&B showing just how good Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane were as songwriters. Few bands could muster such as consistent string of great singles

The fourth disc of Rarities & Outtakes does not deliver the "wished for" unheard tracks which suggests they may not exist on tape or the sound was not of sufficient quality. However, there are alternative versions of well-known tracks as well as early versions of some tracks that appeared later on Immediate on the Small Faces (Immediate) album.

The fifth disc BBC Sessions is an extended and improved version of the CD that was released in 1999 although some of the tracks on the earlier disc are omitted here. Presumably this is because they were later songs recorded for Immediate and beyond the scope of this set. The BBC tracks provide a very good indication of what the band would have sounded like live. They are full of raw power and the Sam Cooke cover Shake, in particular, shows the Small Faces with Ronnie Lane on lead vocal in full flow. The interviews with Brian Matthew are great listening as the band are fresh and new. Marriott notes that the band has been together eleven weeks and hope they will make a few singles before they split up! Much of this CD has not been heard previously in the UK or for many years. The Joe Loss sessions had been recorded by a fan on a reel to reel recorder while some of the BBC transcription discs were intended for broadcast outside the UK.

While there is little new here to excite the dedicated fan, the new versions of well-known tracks and the bringing together of all the Decca tracks in one luxury package make this a great addition to the collection and one which will compliment 2014's The Immediate Years.

Released: 9 October 2015

Track Listing: 

Disc One: Singles and B-sides

  1. What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  2. What's a Matter Baby
  3. I've Got Mine
  4. It's Too Late
  5. Sha-La-La-La-Lee (mono)
  6. Grow Your Own
  7. Hey Girl
  8. Almost Grown
  9. All or Nothing
  10. Understanding
  11. My Mind's Eye
  12. I Can't Dance With You
  13. I Can't Make It (session version, mono)
  14. Just Passing (mono)
  15. Patterns
  16. E Too D
  17. Don't Stop What You're Doing (Alternate version)
  18. Come on Children (French EP version)
  19. Shake
  20. One Night Stand
  21. You Need Loving

Disc Two: First Album

  1. Shake
  2. Come on Children
  3. You Better Believe It
  4. It's Too Late
  5. One Night Stand
  6. What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  7. Sorry She's Mine
  8. Own Up Time
  9. You Need Loving
  10. Don't Stop What You're Doing
  11. E Too D
  12. Sha-La-La-La-Lee (mono)

Disc Three: From the Beginning

  1. Runaway (mono)
  2. My Mind's Eye
  3. Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
  4. That Man
  5. My Way of Giving
  6. Hey Girl
  7. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me?
  8. Take This Hurt Off Me
  9. All or Nothing
  10. Baby Don't You Do It
  11. Plum Nellie
  12. Sha-La-La-La-Lee
  13. You've Really Got a Hold On Me
  14. What'Cha Gonna Do About It

Disc Four: Rarities and Outtakes

  1. Come on Children (alternate version)
  2. Shake (alternate version)
  3. You Better Believe It (alternate version)
  4. Own Up Time (alternate version)
  5. E Too D (alternate version)
  6. Don't Stop What You're Doing (alternate version)
  7. What's A Matter Baby (alternate version)
  8. What'Cha Gonna Do About It (alternate version)
  9. Sha La La La Lee (stereo)
  10. Runaway (alternate mix, stereo)
  11. That Man (alternate mix)
  12. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (alternate mix)
  13. Picanniny (backing track)
  14. Hey Girl (alternate version)
  15. Take This Hurt Off Me (alternate version)
  16. Baby Don't You Do It (different version)
  17. My Mind's Eye (early version, mono)
  18. Talk To You (Take 5, backing track)
  19. All Our Yesterdays (Take 7, backing track)
  20. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me (alternate take 2)
  21. Show Me The Way (take 3, backing track)
  22. I Can't Make It (take 11, backing track)
  23. Things Are Going To Get Better (take 14, session version)

Disc Five: BBC Sessions (extended version of original release)

BBC Studios, Saturday Club, 23 August 1965

  1. Interview with Steve Marriott
  2. What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  3. Jump Back
  4. Baby Don't You Do It

Joe Loss Pop Show 14 January 1966

  1. Sha La La La Lee
  2. What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  3. Comin' Home Baby
  4. You Need Loving

Steve Marriott Pop Profile Interview

Saturday Club 14 March 1966

  1. Shake
  2. Steve Marriott interview
  3. Sha la La La Lee
  4. You Need Loving

Saturday Club 3 May 1966

  1. Steve Marriott interview
  2. Hey Girl
  3. E Too D
  4. One Night Stand

Saturday Club 3 August 1966

  1. You'd Better Believe It
  2. Understanding
  3. Steve Marriott interview
  4. All or Nothing

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