Sunday, 20 May 2012

“Small Faces” (Immediate LP) DELUXE EDITION by SMALL FACES. A Review Of The June 1967 Album Now Remastered & Reissued On A 2012 2CD DELUXE EDITION.


"…What Did You Do There? I Got High!"

Monday 7 May 2012 sees the UK release of a whopping four DELUXE EDITIONS for Small Faces fans (15 May 2012 in the USA) - and while number 3 in the pack lacks the celebrated glory of it’s illustrious follow up ("Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake") – "Small Faces" is for many fans 'the' criminally forgotten LP on Immediate Records. This DELUXE EDITION of it however is not without its niggles…

Here are the finite details for Universal/Sanctuary 278 134-5:

Disc 1 (52:47 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 14 are the MONO version of "Small Faces" - their 3rd studio album released 23 June 1967 in the UK on Immediate Records IMLP 008
BONUS TRACKS (15 to 22):
"Here Comes The Nice", "Itchycoo Park", "I'm Only Dreaming", "Tin Soldier", "I Feel Much Better", "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me (Alternate Mix)" (20), "Eddie's Dreaming (Alternate Mix)" (21) and "Green Circles (Take 1: Alternate Mix 3)" (22)
[Note: 20 to 22 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED VERSIONS]

Disc 1 will also allow fans to line up the 3 x UK 7" singles that were issued (in Mono) around the LP (track number after title):
1. Here Comes The Nice (15) b/w Talk To You (11) – released 2 June 1967 on Immediate IM 050
2. Itchycoo Park (16) b/w I'm Only Dreaming (17) – released 4 August 1967 on Immediate IM 057
3. Tin Soldier (18) b/w I Feel Much Better (19) – released 2 December 1969 on Immediate IM 062

Disc 2 (53:54 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 14 are the STEREO version of "Small Faces" - on Immediate Records IMSP 008
BONUS TRACKS (15 to 23 – all are Stereo except 21 and 23 which are Mono):
"Just Passing", "Itchycoo Park", "Here Comes The Nice", "Don't Burst My Bubble", "Things Are Going To Get Better (Alternate Version)", "I Can't Make It (Session Version)", "Green Circles (Alternate Take 2)" (21), "Tin Soldier" and "(If You Think You're) Groovy (Backing Track)" (23)
[Note: 21 and 23 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED Versions]

UK and USA LP Differences:
The American LP was belatedly released in February 1968 as "There Are But Four Small Faces" in Stereo (only) on Immediate Z12 52002 - and with different artwork front and rear. Also to accommodate their lone US hit single "Itchycoo Park" (lyrics above) – the tracks were jiggered around giving "Itchycoo Park" pride of place as Track 1 on Side 1. Essentially the US album dropped 7 tracks of the English LP ("Something I Want To Tell You", "Feeling Lonely", "Happy Boys Happy", "My Way Of Giving", "Become Like You", "All Our Yesterdays" and "Eddie's Dreaming") - took the remaining 7 and added on the 5 non-album sides of the 3 x British 7" singles mentioned above to make a 12-track LP. To sequence the AMERICAN LP in 'both' MONO and STEREO from this 2CD DELUXE EDITION you line the tracks up as follows:

MONO (CD 1)
Side 1:
1. "Itchycoo Park" (16)
2. "Talk To You" (11)
3. "Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire" (13)
4. "My Way Of Giving" (6)
5. "I'm Only Dreaming" (17)
6. "I Feel Much Better" (19)
Side 2:
1. "Tin Soldier" (18)
2. "Get Yourself Together" (9)
3. "Show Me The Way" (12)
4. "Here Come The Nice" (15)
5. "Green Circles" (7)
6. "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me" (1)

STEREO (CD 2 – note – see Omissions)
Side 1:
1. "Itchycoo Park" (16)
2. "Talk To You" (11)
3. "Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire" (13)
4. "My Way Of Giving" (6)
5. "I'm Only Dreaming" [see Omissions]
6. "I Feel Much Better" [see Omissions]
Side 2:
1. "Tin Soldier" (22)
2. "Get Yourself Together" (9)
3. "Show Me The Way" (12)
4. "Here Come The Nice" (17)
5. "Green Circles" (7)
6. "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me" (1)

OMMISIONS:
Eagle-eyed collectors will notice that the 35th Anniversary 2CD set that came out in 2002 in the UK on Sanctuary has 48 tracks - while this 2012 2CD Deluxe Edition has less - 45. The three that are missing are "I Can't Make It" and "Just Passing" – a 3 March 1967 UK single-only release on Decca F 12565 – it's been put on the "From The Beginning" Deluxe Edition (as befits the label). The 3rd missing track is called "Album Sampler" on Immediate AS 1. It was a 1-sided UK-only Promo 45 issued just prior to the album's release and contains Mono excerpts of 5 songs with 'groovy' advert dialogue about 'aware minds' – it runs to 3 minutes and rather clumsily it's been left off here. To add insult to injury this legendary £200+ rarity is pictured on Page 10 of the booklet. 

There are minor artwork niggles too. The 2002 CD had a card wrap with the UK artwork on the outside (which is right and proper), but rather cleverly the foldout inlay inside featured 5" artwork for the US "There Are But Four Small Faces" LP as its lead page with the rear LP artwork on the back page. This new booklet relegates the American front cover to a snap shot on Page 21 and the rear sleeve has disappeared altogether. Worse than that however is the missing STEREO versions of "I Feel Much Better" and "I'm Only Dreaming" (on the 2002 2CD set) which would have allowed American fans to sequence their version of the album complete. All these exclusions are a tad sloppy to say the least. Music wise – the point would be that if you want "Album Sampler" and especially those 2 Stereo versions – then don't throw away that old Sanctuary issue just yet.

UNRELEASED:
As already highlighted above there are 5 PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED VERSIONS - unfortunately the liner notes don’t make any reference to them. In fairness to Mark Paytress – he probably didn’t have access to what was being lined up for the release as he composed his appraisals – but again – it short-changes the fans info-wise. What is here however is very good. The "Green Circles" outakes are excellent and the mythical "Groovy" track now appears as a 'backing track' when some thought it didn't exist at all.

PACKAGING:
The first thing you notice about this Deluxe Edition is the quality of the reproduction. The album sleeve pictured on the 2002 Sanctuary double had slightly faded colours – no such mistake here. The front sleeve repro is really crisp - beautifully done - as are the superb images in the booklet. The inner flaps of the foldout digipak have Melody Maker and Record Mirror reviews from 1967, the original mono LP label is reproduced beneath the see-through plastic trays and each CD is a different picture disc. The 24-page booklet is gorgeous – rare European picture sleeves for "Tin Soldier" and "Here Comes The Nice" (the German issue of this is a belter), pictures of ultra-rare Emidisc Acetates, publicity shots of The Small faces with Immediate label notables like PP Arnold, Chris Farlowe and Twice As Nice - and even an Olympia Sound Studios master-tape box. The new liner notes are by respected writer MARK PAYTRESS and are filled with facts and recent interviews with Jones and McLagan. It’s a lovely thing to look at and a solid read.

SOUND:
But the real meat for fans will be the NEW REMASTERS from best-ever sources and overseen by surviving members of the band - KENNEY JONES and IAN McLAGAN. Tape Research and Recovery is by ROB CAIGER, Tape Restoration and Transfer from Analogue is by ROB KAYLACH and Mastering by NICK ROBBINS. The punch is fantastic especially on fan favourites like "Get Yourself Together", that great guitar opening on "Talk To You" and the psychedelic swirl of "Green Circles". I find the sonic difference between the MONO and STEREO mixes is marked – I thought "My Way Of Giving" in Mono is fabulous - while the opening "Darlings Of Wapping…" dialogue and brass of "All Our Yesterdays" is HUGE in Stereo. The drums, bass and acoustic guitars on "Up The Wooden Hills…" sound amazing - as does the piano-happy intro to the album finisher "Eddie's Dreaming". Fans will love the clarity on the brilliant singles – gems like "Tin Soldier" and "Here Comes The Nice".

To sum up – part of me feels I should dock a star for those sloppy exclusions – but I've been enjoying the listen too much (the sound and overall presentation just 'so' good). This double also made be bite the bullet and acquire the first two Deluxe Editions as well – the Decca sets "Small Faces" and "From The Beginning" - and I can report that they’re truly gorgeous too.

Will we ever know their like again – I doubt it. In fact the dialogue in the "Album Sampler" promo bragged that the Small Faces were "small of stature, but great of music…" – and on the strength of these reissues – you have to say that the Immediate Records motormouth was absolutely on the money. It really is "all too beautiful…"

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