Tuesday, 29 May 2012

“Small Faces” (Decca Debut LP) DELUXE EDITION by SMALL FACES. A Review Of The May 1966 Decca Records Album Now Remastered & Reissued On A 2012 2CD DELUXE EDITION.

"Happening Now!”

Monday 7 May 2012 sees the UK release of a whopping four DELUXE EDITIONS for Small Faces fans (29 May 2012 in the USA for this and the "From The Beginning" sets) - and their blistering debut album still holds an unparalleled affection for lovers of the best Sixties Mod band in the world.

Here are the finite details for Universal/Sanctuary 276 528-0:

Disc 1 (42:28 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are their MONO debut LP "Small Faces" - released 6 May 1966 in the UK on Decca LK 4790 (peaked at No. 3 on the LP charts)
BONUS TRACKS (13 to 16):
"I've Got Mine" (13), "What's A Matter Baby" (14), "Grow Your Own" (15) and "Patterns" (16)

Disc 1 will also allow fans to line up the 4 x UK 7" singles that were issued (in Mono) around the LP (track number after title):
1. Whatcha Gonna Do About It (6) b/w What's A Matter Baby (14) - released 6 August 1965 on Decca F 12208 [Note: A-side written by Kenny Lynch and Mort Shuman]
2. I've Got Mine (13) b/w It's Too Late (4) - released 5 November 1965 on Decca F 12276
3. Sha–La-La-La-Lee (17) b/w Grow Your Own (15) - released 28 January 1966 on Decca F 12317
4. Patterns (16) b/w E Too D (11) – released 26 May 1967 on Decca F 12619

Disc 2 (37:38 minutes):
1. Come On Children (Alternate Version) [Mono]
2. Shake (Alternate Version) [Mono]
3. You Better Believe It (Alternate Version) [Mono]
4. It's Too Late (Alternate Mix In Electronically Reprocessed Stereo)
5. Sorry She's Mine (Alternate Mix In Electronically Reprocessed Stereo)
6. 6. Own Up Time (Alternate Version) [Mono]
7. E Too D (Alternate Version) [Mono]
8. I've Got Mine (Alternate Mix In Electronically Reprocessed Stereo)
9. Grow Your Own (Alternate Mix In Electronically Reprocessed Stereo)
10. Sha La La Lee (Stereo Version)
11. Don't Stop What You're Doing (Alternate Version) [Mono]
12. Patterns (Alternate Mix In Electronically Reprocessed Stereo)
13. What's A Matter Baby (Alternate Mix) [Mono]
14. Whatcha Gonna Do About It (Alternate Version) [Mono]
Tracks 4-5, 8-9 and 12 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (Stereo Versions) ON CD

INCLUSIONS/OMMISIONS:
The 2006 Universal 40th Anniversary single disc reissue of "Small Faces" had 11 bonus tracks – the only absence is "Hey Girl (Alternate Version)" because it's been moved to the "From The Beginning" Deluxe Edition. Also the 5th Decca single that would have fit the 1966-1967 timeframe released on the same day as the album - "Hey Girl" b/w "Almost Grown" (6 May 1966 on Decca F 12393) is moved to that double too. Fans should also note that according to ROB CAIGAR who oversaw these reissues – any missing/straggler tracks on this and the other 3 x double-editions will probably turn up on a SMALL FACES box set due later in 2012. That box set will also feature more unreleased/related stuff – and again from the best sources.

PACKAGING:
I raved about the superlative 24-page booklet in the "From The Beginning" double – it's the same here. Properly gorgeous colour reproductions of 7" picture sleeves from Germany, Sweden, France and Australia, Rave and Beat Instrumental magazine covers, a 6 August 1966 EMI Acetate of "What 'Cha Gonna Do About It", colour publicity shots of the boys larking about, trade adverts, Melody Maker reviews and even two fantastically evocative pictures of the fab four shopping for Mod clothes in 60t's Carnaby Street. The new liner notes are by respected writer MARK PAYTRESS and are filled with facts and recent interviews with Jones and McLagan. There's a set of 4 gorgeous colour photos of the band – one to each flap - and beneath each see-through CD tray is the 1967 unboxed red Decca label LK 4790 for the original British LP (Side 1 and 2). Even the CDs themselves are picture discs. It's 'so' well done.

It should be noted that there's memorabilia stuff in the 20-page booklet of the original single disc that isn't in here – so you might not want to throw that issue away just yet. But again – and I can’t reiterate this enough – this is one of the sweetest looking booklets Universal has ever done - and I can't help but think that awards may be on the horizon for the sheer quality of presentation on offer here…

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 album itself has always been a perfect snapshot of Sixties Beat Britain - and still stands up to this day as a good listen. The clarity of the opener – a cover of Sam Cooke's "Shake" – is great – the bass and drums now so clear. I've always loved the band-penned double of "It's Too Late” followed by "One Night Stand" – both now sounding punchy and dynamic. "E Too D" has that great guitar opening - sounding as powerful as The Who – I love it. And the singles are killer too – especially fan-favourite B-sides like "I've Got Mine" - and who wouldn’t want to hear the instrumental floor-filler "Grow Your Own" instead of the overplayed A-side "Sha-La-La-La-Lee".

UNRELEASED:
Having lived with MONO for over 40 years – the CD debut of 'Electronically Reprocessed Stereo' versions of "It's Too Late" and "Sorry She's Mine" will come as a bit of a shock. The same effect doesn't quite work so well for me on "I've Got Mine" – but the sonic kick off "Grow Your Own" in some form of Stereo is blowing me away – worth the price of admission alone (that sucker's going on our CD shuffle soonest). And even though it's almost too dense in some ways – I'm also digging "Patterns" in Stereo too. The other Mono takes I've had before and they’re always been hugely enjoyable – but it's without doubt the Stereo cuts that will have fans jumping up and down on kitchen lino sprayed with talcum powder.

To sum up – an absolute belter – in fact I've really loved all four of these 2012 2CD DELUXE EDITIONS – up there with the superlative KINKS Deluxe Edition reissues of 2011.

As the Decca advert reproduced on Page 2 of the booklet screams – the Small Faces are "Happening Now!" Well here's to a second time around because this is a sweetheart of a release – and you can't help but think that The Artful Dodger (Steve Marriott) and Plonk (Ronnie Lane) would have approved big time. Congrats to all involved...

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