Monday 30 January 2012

THE SMALL FACES: Deluxe Reissues...


On May 7th 2012, Universal Music Catalogue is set to release deluxe editions of the four albums released by The Small Faces during their short but highly creative and eventful lifetime between 1965 and 1969.

The albums in question: SMALL FACES, Decca, April 1966; FROM THE BEGINNING, Decca, June 1967; SMALL FACES, Immediate, June 1967 and OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE, Immediate, June 1968 are each released as deluxe two-disc editions with the notable exception of OGDEN’S which has now been expanded to three discs.

All newly re-mastered, these definitive editions carry both the mono and stereo versions of the albums, plus related non-album singles and alternate versions many of which are previously unreleased or released for the first time on CD. In the case of OGDEN’s, there are separate discs for the mono and stereo formats and a third disc of previously unreleased material – early session versions, alternate USA mixes, instrumentals and the previously unreleased backing track “Kamikhazi”.

Complete with rare photos and memorabilia, each album package includes liner notes by Mark Paytress featuring entertaining and fascinating new interviews with the surviving members of the Small Faces, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones.

It was Andrew Oldham who coined the phrase ‘there are but four Small Faces’, the group establishing its familiar line up of Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan in November 1965, once McLagan replaced Jimmy Winston behind the keyboards. McLagan joined within three months of the group’s debut single “Watcha Gonna Do About It” (reaching No. 14 in the charts in September 1965) adding the final ingredient to their distinctive sound.

Over the next two years The Small Faces achieved truly iconic status with a series of hits that included “Sha La La La Lee”, “All Or Nothing”, “My Mind’s Eye”, “Itchycoo Park” and “Lazy Sunday”, their celebrity heightened by their flamboyant appearance and bigger than life personalities, their sound shifting from explosive, spirited ‘mod’ anthems to memorable psychedelic pop culminating in the artistic triumph that was OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE.

Never short on controversy, following a contractual dispute, The Small Faces left Decca for Andrew Oldham’s Immediate label around May 1966, hitting the charts for Oldham’s label straight away with “Here Comes The Nice”. Decca retaliated by releasing the first in a series of spoiler singles and the album FROM THE BEGINNING. It was a collection of outtakes, singles and works in progress which, despite its untidy origins, more than holds up today. Immediate responded by rush-releasing its own debut album by the group just two weeks later, confusingly titled SMALL FACES. In the battle of the LP charts, Immediate won out, reaching the No. 12 position to Decca’s No. 17.

The most celebrated Small Faces LP, OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE was easily their most successful, enjoying a six-week run at the top of the UK charts during June and July 1968. Originally packaged in an elaborately designed round sleeve like a tobacco tin, it signaled the arrival of the Small Faces as a bona fide ‘album band’, a brilliant achievement just months ahead of the group’s acrimonious collapse within a year of its release.

The Small Faces have since taken their place alongside the likes The Who or the Kinks as one of the most fondly remembered, original and wonderful British groups of the 60s. Their best loved songs are still on rotation to this day, “Itchicoo Park” and “Lazy Sunday” both re-charting in the 70s while the individual reputations of both Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane have grown considerably since their untimely deaths. Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan have enjoyed success in their own right and, of course, with Ronnie Lane, were founder members of members of The Faces.

This series of reissues, the most complete editions to date of the Small Faces four classic albums, is a testimony to a truly original group whose influence is as great today as it was during its lifetime.

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