Small Faces - Big Hits
The Small Faces survived because they went into pop before the mod scene died. And how! Their music from this period fo the band's development is pure pop from the sixties, with songs like "Sha La La La Lee" with its call and respond refrain, or "Whatcha Gonna Do ‘Bout It". However, the Small Faces never stood still musically and their sound changed as the band developed. They ended up, as the live version of "Wham Bam Thank You Mam" demonstrates, moving towards the heavy blues based rock of the late sixties. Had they survived, they may have gone on to follow a career path similar to the Stones.
In the sense that they have a chameleon-like quality to their music, their career follows the same path of others of their era, many of whom have had much greater recognition for their work. Bands such as the Kinks and especially the Rolling Stones trod similar paths but achieved longer-lasting recognition. The Yardbirds did something similar but only because they morphed into Led Zeppelin. Incidentally, Jimmy Page had originally intended to use Steve Marriot as the frontman for the new band he was forming - the band which eventually became Led Zeppelin - but was threatened with extreme violence by the unsavoury characters who surrounded the Small Faces if he persisted.
In between those phases of pop and blues rock, the Small Faces went through a period of making some incredible tracks, tracks which should be remembered by all for their originality, their power, their style and their pure downright catchiness. Who could forget the gloriously silly theme and sound of "Lazy Sunday"? Or what about the wonderful title, catchy hooks yet sinister undertone of "Itchycoo Park"? And yes, let us not forget either the wonderful love song, "All Or Nothing" which manages both to be uplifting and downcasting all at the same time. The vocalising on this is full of emotion, raw and powerful with just the right edge of desperation. And then there is "Afterglow (Of Your Love)", a track which is sensual and erotic and which never got banned mainly because people didn't really know what it was all about.
This album represents a first class compilation covering one of the Sixties' largely forgotten outfits. The influence of the Small Faces is often overlooked but can be found in artists as diverse as Rod Stewart, David Bowie and T. Rex. And they made some great music as well. Music which deserves to be appreciated and listened to more than it actually is.
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