Faces / Rod Stewart

Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners

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Throughout the first half of the 1970s, attending a Faces gig was one of the best things you could do with your time. So, when news of the live album Overtures and Beginners first hit the streets, the sense of anticipation sky-rocketed -- only to be brought tumbling back to earth once the album was released, and it was discovered that even gods could be human sometime. From the ghastly cover on in, a lackluster performance, a dodgy selection of songs, and so on. If ever an album had "contractual obligation" written all over it, then Overtures and Beginners was it. (And it was one, by the way.) The band had always possessed a reputation for sloppiness, but most nights that was allayed by their sheer sense of style. Not here -- it's sloppy from start to finish, and the worst thing is, it really didn't need to be. The group's latest B-side bore a phenomenal live version of the old Temptations number "I Wish It Would Rain." The album packed the same song, but from a different show -- and guess what? It was so markedly inferior that it could have been a different group altogether. Which it may have been. The Faces' most recent U.S. tour was beset by bad moods, squabbles, and alienation, with every show walking a knife-edge around the shifting alliances and tempers of the musicians. One word out of place, one mistimed gesture -- the most insignificant thing could wreck an entire show, and that's apparently what happened the night they recorded this album. Unfortunately, posterity has little time for explanations. The Faces never made a worse record than this one.

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