ARTIST: Small Faces
TITLE: Small Faces (1966 album)
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #3 UK
SINGLES: Whatcha Gonna Do About It (#14 UK), Sha-La-La-La_Lee (#3 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Shake (Sam Cooke cover)
LINEUP: Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan. Jimmy Winston was the original keyboard player and played on five tracks). UK singer Kenny Lynch contributed some backing vocals.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Mod’s band, this album captured the sound and frenetic energy of a Mod show in the UK.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Maybe more so than the Who, the early Small Faces were a quintessential Mod band, capturing the high-energy R&B and rock beloved by that sub-section of UK teens. Steve Mariott’s vocals and guitar playing could ignite a crowd into a fervor, and the rhythm section of Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane held the beat and got the Mods dancing.
It’s a fun sounding album. It’s maybe a little dated, but the energy is contagious and even the lesser and lesser known songs have a spirit to them. They knew how to get a hook going, such as their debut single “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” and they could cover Sam Cooke without embarrassing themselves.
They’d grow and expand out being pure Mod and into psychedelic pop and rock (though “Come on Children, a shambling but endearing original, shows the way towards that sound), but this is the spirit of Small Faces in 12 tracks.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “You Need Loving”, their ‘original’ is based off of the same blues track (“You Need Love”) that Zep purloined for “Whole Lotta Love”). Plant’s vocals in that song sound a bit like Marriott’s, especially at the end of the song.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. A version with some tracks from a French EP.
GRADE: B+: It’s fun. Sometimes that’s what you need!