Small Faces


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This two-disc set, evidently produced under the auspices of the surviving members of the Small Faces, is part of the newest wave of CD releases that are multimedia affairs. The first disc is a 26-minute CD made up of the ten appearances that the Small Faces made on the German Beat Club and Beat Beat Beat television programs between September 28, 1966, and April 27, 1968. In those days, the two programs were exceptional in that most of the guests played live. Given the absence of a definitive Small Faces concert album, these tracks should be invaluable to serious fans of the band, and about half of this disc is precisely that -- they might not sound exactly the way they did in concert, but it's got to be close; they're loud and raw, and surge like thunder on the songs "All or Nothing," "Hey Girl," and "Sha La La Lee." The 1966 appearances show the Small Faces at their peak as an R&B band -- maybe the best in England at the time (with apologies to the Rolling Stones and the Who) -- while the later songs cast them in a trippy, psychedelic mode. "Itchycoo Park" and "Lazy Sunday" are very obviously mimed to the studio tracks, as the phasing of the drums on the former is identical to that on the single; "Tin Soldier" is really live, however, and captures the group in a transcendent moment in performance, grinding away while Steve Marriott screams like a dervish. The second disc purports to contain the video clips that accompany the audio heard on disc one -- perhaps others will have better luck getting it to play on their computers, or downloading the Quicktime program that will supposedly play it.

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