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Thursday, 26 December 2013
"Here Come The Nice" by SMALL FACES - (2014 Charly/Immediate 4CD Box Set with Memorabilia) - A Review by Mark Barry...
***** (5 Stars)
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"…Close My Eyes And
First things first - anyone
expecting this box set to give them straightforward reissues of the four Small
Faces albums covering the 'Immediate' label period should look elsewhere (for
details on those see the PS below). What we have here is an entirely different
January 2014's "Here
Come The Nice" by SMALL FACES is a full-on vaults trawl - a 4CD Deluxe
Presentation Box Set comprising of 41 Previously Unreleased tracks. In fact the
full 75-song compliment has been newly remastered from the original studio
multitrack session tapes for this release. The entire project was overseen by
surviving band members IAN McLAGAN and KENNEY JONES - helped by project manager
JEAN-LUC YOUNG. A team of three - NICK ROBBINS, ROB KEYLOCH and ROB CAIGER- have handled the remastering with
scrupulous tape sourcing promised by this team of revered Audio engineers who
also did all four of the much-praised 2012 Universal/Sanctuary 'Deluxe
"Here Come The
Nice" by SMALL FACES is on Charly/Immediate CHARLY 170 BX (Barcode 803415181032)and although
initially rumoured on the Net to be a US-only release due to licensing issues -
it is now a 28 January 2014 Worldwide release. Housed in a 10" x 10"
hard card box - it's a limited edition of 3000 with the certificate inside
signed by Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan. Here's a (very) detailed breakdown of
18. Donkey Rides, A Penny A
Glass (7" single version)
19. Afterglow of Your Love
(7" single version)
20. Wham Bam Thank You Mam
All were issued as 7"
single versions/edits around the world and are in MONO. The liner notes also
advise which were used on the Mono variants of the albums. None are unreleased
but timing errors on old CD reissues have been corrected.
Disc 2: "Small Faces In
The Studio - Olympic, BBC & Trident Sessions - Part 1"
18 Tracks - 52:17 minutes. 1.
Shades of Green (Take 4 Instrumental)
2. Green Circles (Take 1)
3. Green Circles (Take 1 -
Alternate Mix 1)
4. Anything (Tracking
5. Anything (Backing Track)
6. Show Me The Way (Stripped
7. Wit Art Yer (Tracking
8. Wit Art Yer (Backing
9. I Can't Make It
10. Doolally (Tracking
11. What's It Called?
12. Call It Something Nice
13. Wide Eyed Girl (Take 2)
14. Wide Eyed Girl On The
Wall (Alternate Mix)
15. Donkey Rides, A Penny A
Glass (Stripped Down Mix)
16. Red Balloon With a Blue
Surprise (Take 5)
17. Red Balloon (Alternate
18. Saieide Mamoon (Tracking
All tracks are previously
unreleased versions - 1 to 3 and 10 to 12 are MONO - all others are STEREO.
Disc 3: "Small Faces In
The Studio – Olympic, IBC & Trident Sessions – Part 2":
16 Tracks – 49:47 minutes:
1. Wham Bam Thank You Mam
2. I Can't Make It (Stripped
3. This Feeling Of Spring
4. All Our Yesterdays
5. Talk To You (Alternate
6. Mind the Doors Please
7. Things Are Going To Get
Better (Stripped Down Mix)
8. Mad John (Tracking
9. A Collibosher (Take 4)
10. Lazy Sunday Afternoon
11. Jack (Backing Track)
12. Fred (Backing Track)
13. Red Balloon (Stripped
14. Kolomodelomo (Take 1)
15. Donkey Rides, A Penny A
Glass (Alternate Mix)
16. Jenny's Song (Take 2)
All tracks are previously
unreleased versions - 4 to 10 are MONO - all others are STEREO.
Disc 4: "Alternate Small
Faces Outtakes & In Concert", 21 Tracks, 63:31 minutes:
1. Itchycoo Park (Take 1,
2. Here Come The Nice (Take
1, Stereo Mix)
3. I'm Only Dreaming (Take 1,
4. Don't Burst My Bubble
5. I Feel Much Better
6. Green Circles (Take 1 –
7. Yesterday, Today &
Tomorrow (Alternate Mix)
8. Piccanniny (Alternate Mix)
9. Get Yourself Together
10. Eddie's Dreaming (Take 2
– Alternate Mix)
11. (Tell Me) Have You Ever
Seen Me (Take 2 – Alternate Mix)
12. Up The Wooden Hills To
Bedfordshire (US Alternate Mix)
13. Afterglow Of Your Love
(Alternate Single version)*
14. (If You Think You're)
Groovy – THE LOT (featuring PP Arnold & Small Faces)
15. Me You & Us Too
16. The Universal (Take 1,
17. Rollin' Over (Live)
18. If I Were A Carpenter
19. Every Little Bit Hurts
20. All Or Nothing (Live)
21. Tin Soldier (Live)
Tracks 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12
and 13 are Previously Unreleased. Tracks 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 are Live from
the Newcastle City Hall on 18 November 1968 and are from the Pye Studio master
tapes with pitch and speed corrected. Tracks 4, 6 and 12 to 15 are MONO - all
others are STEREO.
The 75-page colour hardback
book has a Foreword by Pete Townshend of The Who and liner notes by noted
writer Mark Paytress with contributions from Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Rob
Caigar, Tosh Flood, Barry Green, Gered Mankowitz, Ken Sharp and Jeff Slate.
There are many other Rock celebrity names with quotes as well. As a
coffee-table book it’s properly gorgeous and the last set of pages in
particular (51 through to 69) are beautifully done - featuring song-by-song
annotation of the highest quality with new info and great colour photographs.
Speaking of photography - I
have to admit to massive disappointment at the rather dull-looking 'Lyrics'
book. Apart from some full-page Repros of rare single and album artwork - the
rest of it is all sepia-tinted black and white photos with not a jot of that
great Sixties colour in evidence anywhere (rather like the terrible booklet in
The Rolling Stones “London Years” box set). I suspected licensing costs at
first (too cost prohibitive) - but its worse. According to Gered Mankowitz (who
photographs are long since associated with the band) - Immediate got loads of
full colour negatives but Gered never got them back. He was left with only a
handful of colour negs literally and boxes of black and white. Hence all that beautiful
colour artwork, all that great Sixties look, all that cool promo stuff appears
to have been lost or chucked. I say this because after the beautiful colour
images in the hardback - the dark pages of 'Lyrics' with all the images faded
into the back of the text (making some of it almost unreadable) comes as a real
visual let down. But - and I should stress this - they've done a classy job
with what they've had to work with.
There’s also a paper repro of
the "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" Press Kit - a three-way fold-out 1967
rarity which pictures the album, the band and lists their personal details as
well as some witty Immediate blurb and words.
There are 2 facsimile foldout
posters in colour - a Live Gig Poster for Newcastle City Hall, June 8th with
Gary Walker & The Rain, P.P. Arnold, The Nice & The Sect with John Peel
as compere and a foldout advert poster for "Tin Soldier" single on
Immediate IM062 (essentially the Picture Sleeve of the British issue).
There's Two Gered Mankowitz
Fine Art Prints - the boys holding the Itchycoo Park sign (in colour) and four
children holding the same sign upside down (in black and white)
There are 5 x Immediate
Postcards - photos on front and adverts for singles and albums on the other
The signed certificate is
presented on a repro of A Tape Box
The 4 x 7" singles are:
1. "Mystery" -
Repro of a 1-Sided Emidisc Acetate (on Black Vinyl) delivered to Andrew Loog
Oldham in 1967. It was intended to be a single but withdrawn. A handful of the
acetates were made.
2. "Album Sampler"
- Repro of the rare UK promo 'Immediate AS 1' album-sampler for the "Small
Faces" LP in a Immediate Label Bag on Red Vinyl (this was not on the
DELUXE EDITION of "Small Faces"). It has excerpts from 5 tracks with
British DJ Tommy Valance introducing in between tracks. The original is very
3. Itchycoo Park EP - repro
of a rare 1967 French 4-track Immediate Records Extended Play 45 on Blue Vinyl
- tracks are Itchycoo Park/I'm Only Dreaming/Green Circles/Eddie's Dreaming
4. Here Comes The Nice EP -
repro of a rare 1967 French EP on Immediate Records Extended Play 45 on White
Vinyl. Tracks are Here Come The Nice/Became Like You/Talk To You/Get Yourself
Finally there's a full-sized
INFO PAGE on the rear of the box but of course like so many of these US issues
it falls off the moment you remove the shrink-wrap which is a pain.
CD 1 is all MONO and features
UK and worldwide single releases - and right from the "Here Come The
Nice" opener - you can hear the quality - very clean and full of presence.
"Talk To You" is just stunning as are the rarely heard single edits
of "Mad John" and "The Journey" (coupled as a single in
Australia). The sheer mono whack of "Rollin' Over" still sends chills
up my spine ("where at man!" indeed!).
CD 2, 3 and 4 is where the
fun begins. Most tracks on CD2 are stop-start studio run-throughs with cool
Londoner wide-boy dialogue in between takes - "...I've broken a string
man!", "...This will be Take 24...", "...Go up an octave
Ronnie...", "...bit faster Ken..." or "...we can do better
than that!" - and so on. "Wit Art Yer" turns out to be Take 1 of
"I Can't Make It" (full of rocking effects guitar and swirling
keyboards) which in turn leads into a superb Alternate Stereo take of the song
proper. The slang-named "Doolally" has Marriott shouting
"Hey!" throughout its multiple stops and starts and there's some
amazing heavy lead guitar on Take 9 of "Call It Something Nice".
A string of great alternates
open Disc 3 while Take 1 of "That Feeling Of Spring" mainlines you
right back to the Summer of 1967 with all its echo and giggling. The brass
instrumental "All Our Yesterdays" sounds like a Magical Mystery Tour
outtake while the Alternate of "Talk To You" in rocking Stereo is so
Sixties I can smell the Joss sticks. "Mind The Doors Please" is
essentially a 5-minutes drum solo superfluous to anyone's requirements - but
far better is a trio of tracks that feel like you're eavesdropping on an
acoustic unplugged Small Faces session - "Things Are Going To Get
Better", "Mad John" and "Fred". I liked these a lot -
intimate and stripped down.
Another belter and
compilation fave of mine is the rocking instrumental "Collibosher" -
which was on both the "Autumn Stone" double album and opened Side 2
of the "In Memoriam" LP. Here we get Take 4 and fabarooney it is too.
Another shocker is the genuine tenderness in Take 2 of "Jenny's Song"
where Marriott sounds like he's Terry Reid doing the gorgeous "May
Fly" ballad from 1969. Disc 4 opens with a trio of complete initial stereo
takes which are only slightly different brill nonetheless and even more
impressive is the rarely heard Mono Northern Soul smack of "(If You Think
You're) Groovy" track by The Lot which is P.P. Arnold with The Small
Faces. But for me the highlight of the entire set is proper remaster quality
given to "Me You And Us Too" which is "Wham Bam Thank You
Mam" under another name and with different lyrics. It absolutely rocks and
encapsulates what I loved about the band's sound at that time (I think it's
been on previous CD reissues of dubious origins but never sounding this good).
The live stuff is drenched in panting screaming girls and raucous to say the
least - but more than anything you get the sheer sonic assault of the band and
what a ludicrously exciting live act they were. Impressive trouser snakes
Following on from the opening
paragraph - it has to be said out loud that this is 'fan stuff' - the casual
listener will find it all a bit wearing. I thought CD2 was the weakest of the
unreleased stuff (bit cheeky called a 36-second segment a track) but CD3 and 4
more than make up for it. Overall - these are minor complaints and the box has
been worth the wait.
For a band so notoriously
mishandled down through the decades - there’s a real sense of people making
sure this reissue comes up to muster. And as I drool over the hardback book and
listen to that cool Take 1 of "Itchycoo Park" in Stereo once more - I
wonder will we ever see their like again. At least this box set remembers them
with style and class.
It really was all too
The four albums from the
period are available as follows - "Small Faces" (Immediate Label) and
"Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" are already issued as 'Deluxe Editions' (see
my 2012 reviews for those 3CD and 2CD sets) and there is very little
duplication with the content of this box. Third is the American LP "There
Are But Four Small Faces" which can be sequenced from the 2 DELUXE
EDITIONS and the 4th is the sought-after double album "Autumn Stone"
which is rumoured to be a DE in 2014 in its own right (we'll believe that when
when we see it).
PPS: There is also a very
tasty VINYL EDITION of the the whole Box Set also as a LIMITED EDITION