Guide to British Music of the 1960s

August 2006

CD Review

The Small Faces - Small Faces

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The power of the opening number is indicative of what follows on this, the debut album by the Small Faces. The Small Faces were all genuine Mods and so a cover version of Sam Cooke’s Shake represented the true sound of the band and gave an impression of what they were like live. Much of their live set consisted of R&B and soul classics. This was the music the band listened to and their own songs, mostly written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, followed a similar direction. E Too D and Come on Children sound like they were sung by a black Stax artist, not a couple of young lads from the east end of London. Marriott, in particular, would emerge as one of the greatest English vocalists of his generation. Ian “Mac” McLagan is present on around half of the tracks with the remainder featuring original keyboard player Jimmy Winston. However, it is Mac who is shown in the cover picture.

The first hit single is one of the album’s stand-out tracks. What’Cha Gonna Do About It remains a firm favourite with Small Faces fans. It was based on the two-note riff of Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, effectively with new lyrics. This established the Small Faces as one of the most exciting groups of their day.

The second single, I’ve Got Mine, did not appear on the original album but is included here. This is a Marriott/Lane composition which failed to chart despite being featured in the film Dateline Diamonds. The follow-up single Sha La La La Lee, written by Kenney Lynch and Mort Schuman returned the band to the charts. Hey Girl, included here as a French EP track, put the Marriott/Lane writing combination into the charts for the first time and the group never looked back after that.

The album has a very cohesive feel and is probably very representative of what the band sounded like on stage at the time. Jamming on Booker T numbers was a feature of the live set and some of their own compositions on this album reflect that. The aforementioned E Too D and Come in Children are certainly in that vein. Own Up Time, Grow Your Own and Almost Grown feature Mac on keyboards doing his best Booker T Jones style. Robert Plant was certainly listening to this album. Steve Marriott may have been influenced by the likes of Willie Dixon when writing You Need Loving but Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love is almost a word-for-word copy. Alongside the R&B covers, the group’s own songs had the same power with Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane belting out their vocals.

The Small Faces completed three official albums during their brief existence. While Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and Small Faces on Immediate Records may usually gain more of the plaudits, the first album on Decca Records is certainly a gem as it represented that the band sounded like live. It was very true to their Mod influences and must rank amongst the best debut albums.

This is the second time that this album has been issued on CD and it marks the 40th anniversary of the original release in 1966. The 1996 release included a number of additional tracks that had appeared on French EPs and were not previously available in the UK. This new version has had all the tracks remastered as well as more French EP tracks included. There is a total of eleven extra songs. This is complimented with a 20-page booklet.

Release date: 1966

CD Release Date: 2006

Essential Tracks:

  • What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  • Come on Children
  • Sorry She's Mine

Track Listing:

  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
  9. You Need Loving
  10. Don't Stop What You Are Doing
  11. E Too D
  12. Sha La La La Lee

    Extra Tracks on CD:

  13. What's a Matter Baby
  14. I've Got Mine
  15. Grow Your Own
  16. Hey Girl
  17. Almost Grown
  18. What'Cha Gonna Do About It
  19. Come on Children
  20. Shake
  21. Own Up Time
  22. E Too D
  23. Hey Girl

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