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Tin Soldier - The Steve Marriott Anthology

Released: 30 January 2006

Sanctuary

 

 

Track Listing:

Disc One

  1. Consider Yourself
  2. Give Her My Regards
  3. Money Money
  4. What'cha Gonna Do 'Bout It (French EP version)
  5. I've Got Mine
  6. Hey Girl
  7. You Need Loving
  8. All Or Nothing
  9. Understanding
  10. I Can't Dance With You
  11. I Can't Make It
  12. Here Come The Nice
  13. Get Yourself Together
  14. Green Circles (Italian vsn) *
  15. Don't Burst My Bubble
  16. Tin Soldier
  17. Lazy Sunday
  18. Rolling Over
  19. Afterglow (Of Your Love)
  20. The Universal
  21. Donkey Rides, A Penny, A Glass
  22. Me, You & Us Too (demo of Wham Bam…)
  23. The Autumn Stone
  24. Every Little Bit Hurts (BBC version)

Disc Two

  1. Natural Born Bugie
  2. Buttermilk Boy
  3. Alabama 69
  4. Down Home Again
  5. Every Mother's Son
  6. Drown In My Own Tears (edit)
  7. Big Black Dog
  8. Live With Me
  9. Theme From Skint
  10. A Song For Jenny
  11. I Don't Need No Doctor (single edit)
  12. You're So Good For Me
  13. 30 Days In The Hole
  14. Get Down To It
  15. Say No More
  16. Groovin' with Jesus
  17. Rally With Ali
  18. Funky To The Bone
  19. Fool For A Pretty Face
  20. Teenage Anxiety

Disc Three

  1. Midnight Of My Life
  2. Early Evening Light
  3. Lookin' For A Love
  4. Lend Us A Quid
  5. Soldier
  6. Cocaine
  7. High and Happy
  8. Brown Man Do
  9. Daddy Rollin' Stone
  10. Lonely No More
  11. Cockney Rhyme
  12. Big Train Stop At Memphis (live)
  13. My Girl (live)
  14. Watch Your Step (live)
  15. If You Find What You're Looking For
  16. Phone Call Away
  17. Knocking On Your Door
  18. Poll Tax Blues
  19. I Won't Let You Down
  20. Bigger They Come, Harder They Fall
  21. Stay With Me Baby 
Room for Ravers review:

It has been a long time coming but the Steve Marriott Anthology, Tin Soldier, is finally available. This was originally due to accompany the Steve Marriott biography It’s All Too Beautiful. The 3-CD set covers three distinctive times in Steve Marriott’s career. However, this is not a greatest hits CD. There are major hits that are missing while the CD does include a number of rarities.

The first CD consists mostly of Small Faces tracks. This was, arguably, Marriott’s most successful period when the East End’s Fab Four produced a string of classic singles and their highly original albums. However, even before the Small Faces entered the chart, Marriott was a recording artist. He made his debut in the original cast of Lional Bart’s Oliver playing the Artful Dodger, a classic piece of casting. Some might say that the Marriott version of Consider Yourself sounds out of place here. However, this could not be further from the truth. Apart from the importance of “completion”, the Cockney charms of the song from Oliver recurred frequently throughout Marriott’s career, most notably on Lazy Sunday. He was signed as a solo artist, issuing Give Her My Regards with Imaginary Love before forming his first band The Moments. Money Money/You Really Got Me failed to break the band, particularly as the Kinks version of the latter was much better. By now, Marriott had become a Mod and he teamed up with some other Mods to form their own band, the Small Faces.

His time in the Small Faces not only showed that he was one of England’s greatest singers but also, with Ronnie Lane, one half of a great songwriting partnership, for many on a par with Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards. He was also a pretty good guitar player. The Small Faces tracks included here are a good indication of the breadth of musical direction covered by the Small Faces from the R&B powerhouse of the earlier “Decca” years to the more experimental and heavier direction of the time on Immediate Records. The French EP version of the debut single What’Cha Gonna Do About It kicks off the Small Faces tracks. This is more powerful than the versions on the single and the first album. The follow-up single, a group composition called I’ve Got Mine, inexplicably failed to chart but, after Ian McLagan replaced Jimmy Winston on keyboards and the group had a hit single written for them, there then followed a string of great Marriott/Lane compositions. Hey Girl, the sole number one single All or Nothing and I Can’t Make It showed that this was a hit-making machine. Even the blatant drug references of Here Come The Nice were missed by the BBC’s censors. A strange omission is probably the Small Faces’ best–known single Itchycoo Park. While Ronnie Lane may be due more of the credit for the song, it is a great Marriott vocal performance and one of the anthems of the 1967 Summer of Love. The inclusion of the Italian version of Green Circles is also  somewhat surprising, not because it is a rare Italian-language version, but the fact that it is clearly a Ronnie Lane song with less input from Marriott.

As the Small Faces honed their craft in the Immediate studios, the musical direction became heavier. Tin Soldier is, without doubt, Steve Marriott’s greatest moment although the appeal of the song relates to exemplary performances from all the band members. This was all four Small Faces on top form to create a classic piece of rock music. Rollin’ Over and Don’t Burst My Bubble were also guitar driven heavier pieces that were indicative of one of the directions in which music was moving in towards the end of the decade. Don't Burst My Bubble was released relatively recently despite being recorded at the time of the Small Faces Immediate album. It has since become a favourite of Small Faces fans.  Another rare track included here is Me, You and Us Too. This was the demo version of Wham Bam Thank You Mam. However, the Mijit also showed that he is more than capable of writing love songs with the great Afterglow (Of Your Love) and The Autumn Stone. The final track on the first CD is a cover of Brenda Holloway's Every Little Bit Hurts. The version included is taken from the BBC Sessions release and includes PP Arnold on backing vocals. A standard number in Small Faces live shows, this shows off Marriott's voice at its absolute peak.

The sound of Marriott changed dramatically in 1969 when he launched Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. Marriott had been looking to broaden his horizons he felt that the Small Faces was not the place where he could achieve this. Recruiting Jerry Shirley from Apostolic Intervention and Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth, Humble Pie debuted with Natural Born Bugie. This showed that Humble Pie would be very different to the bands from which the members had come. Certainly there was a heavier sound which had become apparent in the latter days of the Small Faces but this was mixed with other influences such as blues and country. Not surprisingly, Humble Pie went down a storm in America even if UK audiences did not warm to their sound to the same extent. There are highlights of the second CD that include a live version of Ashford & Simpson's I Don't Need No Doctor which is taken from Humble Pie's superb Performance - Rockin' the Filmore. 30 Days in the Hole is also a Pie classic with its throaty Marriott vocals. Go for the Throat indeed. Get Down To It is a superb track from the Eat It album. This features the backing vocalists the Blackberries who, like PP Arnold, had previously been Ikettes. A notable omission at this point is the excellent Black Coffee where Marriott was accompanied again by the Blackberries. Here he was returning to his love of soul music. The pace and tone change again for the following track Say No More. The folky feel of this song, much like the Small Faces' version of Red Balloon, suits Marriott's voice extremely well and shows that this is another vocal style that he can handle with ease.

The third disc covers a mix of different bands headed by Steve Marriott. He never regained the position he was in with the Small Faces and Humble Pie but the quality of his singing was always there. Early Evening Light provides ample proof of this. Similarly, Joe Brown's Soldier tells the story of a soldier questioning his role. An unusual element of this track is the lack of guitar as he is backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. However, the quality of the songs had become more patchy. Looking for a Love is played well with some excellent guitar work but, although he puts much into it, this is not Steve's best vocal performance. His singing is closer to screeching and this means that the sensitivity in his voice is lost. This is despite the help of former Pie men Clem Clempson and Greg Ridley forming part of Steve Marriott's All Stars.

The Small Faces reformed in the mid-1970s. Ronnie Lane lasted only briefly and was replaced by Rick Wills. This line-up made two albums, of which there are four tracks here. These are certainly decent tracks but, apart from the personnel involved, there is little resemblance to the 1960s version of the band. However, Marriott and Lane did get back together for the Majic Mijits album. For many years, this was unreleased and the subject of myths but, as Lonely No More testifies, it was worth waiting for.

During the 1980s, much of Steve's time was spent touring around the pubs of the UK with the Packet of Three. This included Jim Leverton and Jerry Shirley. Packet of Three played a mix of Small faces, Humble Pie and other material. Other line-ups with Steve Marriott included the Next Band, the DTs and the Official Receivers. Again, Marriot's vocals dominate both his own material and a set of superb covers such as The Temptations' My Girl and Bobby Parker's Watch Your Step.

Two of the final tracks are taken from Steve Marriott's reunion with Peter Frampton shortly before he died. Since leaving Humble Pie, the band he founded with Marriott, Peter Frampton had gone on to massive success as a solo artist, particularly in the US while Marriott ended up penniless and playing pubs and clubs.

This is a superb collection of tracks that does full justice to the talent of Steve Marriott. There will always be arguments about which are the best tracks to include but the compilers have done a good job of showcasing the mijit's talents.

Record Collector:

*** Small Face with huge talent

The first fruits of Steve Marriott's recording career emerged when he was just 13, appearing on stage in a hit West End musical. He was already a charismatic performer when he played such a number of roles during the run of Oliver!, that he was chosen to lay down the Artful Dodger's songs for the soundtrack, which was released in 1960. Consider Yourself is the opening song on this collection - one which gathers together enduring hits, lesser-known album material and a few previously unissued pieces - including a foray into Italian and a demo.

The first CD is nearly all about Marriott's brash and effervescent glory years with the Small Faces, with most of the group's notable triumphs revisited - although the trawl omits Sha La La La Lee, My Mind's Eye and, madly, Itchycoo Park. The second disc is entirely devoted to Humble Pie, and the third instalment rounds up a mixed bag of projects under Marriott's own name - punctuated by reunions with The Small Faces, Ronnie Lane and Peter Frampton.

The zenith of Steve's sojourn in the pop and rock spotlight was reached with a string of classic singles that bore the Marriott-Lane writing credit. Considerable colour and character were therefore lost when he took his leave - and the lively repertoire exemplified by the raucous Mod ebullience of All or Nothing the nudge-nudge psychedelia of Here Come the Nice and the music hall charm of Lazy Sunday gave way the the redoubtable but somewhat less eclectic endeavours of supergroup Humble Pie.

Although Marriott's vocal splendour still lurked o-call after its heyday, the evidence presented here supports the suspicion that it was unleashed rather more sporadically in later manoeuvres. And the past increasingly looms heavy in the memory, as matters travel towards a conclusion tragically sealed in 1991 by his untimely death in a house fire, a scant few years before near-godlike status was bestowed upon him by the Britpop fraternity of that decade.

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