Thursday, 21 August 2014

"A Nod's As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse" by FACES - A Review Of Their 1971 Album - Now remastered In Japan-Only Onto A 2010 SHM-CD...





This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LQKMC6I

"...My Mum She Likes You...Thinks You're Swell..." - A Nod's As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse by FACES (2010 Japan-Only SHM-CD Remaster)

There are some albums you genuinely can't be rational about. You only have to see the LP artwork and you're a pile of dribbling mush in need of a chair. People will ask you to be reasonable and rational as you rant and rave about their aural merits - but it won't work. In our humble abode the 3rd platter by the Godlike Faces "A Nod's As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse..." is one such record. I've loved it for over 40 years and this stunning new remaster of it has only made matters worse...

Released in Japan June 2010 as part of a 5-album SHM-CD reissue campaign - Warner Brothers WPCR-13841 (Barcode 4943674098200) is a 5" card repro of the UK artwork (36:25 minutes) complete with the rare fold-out colour poster that came with original November 1971 LPs. There's an Obi band, an inner booklet that reproduces the lyrics and little else (no photos) and a re-sealable plastic outer that needs to be handled with care because its so easy to catch the sleeve or CD when replacing it.

The format used here is the SHM-CD (Super High Materials) - it doesn't require a special CD player to play it on (it's just a better form of the CD format itself). The disc (which is in a protective plastic inner) is heavier in weight that the standard CD and picks up the nuances from the transfer better. But the big news for fans is the exclusive ISAO KIKUCHI remaster - which trumps everything that's gone before. I've had the standard WEA CD from the 1990s and the Audio Fidelity supposed remaster - both are good but never great - and like so many of their lack-lustre releases - the AF issue lacks any real muscle and sounds dead. No such problem with this monster - the detail is fabulous and it rocks like a mother.

"Miss Judy's Farm" opens proceedings with naughty-boy riffage in the left speaker and then bursts into your room - it feels like The Stones on a really good "Sticky Fingers" day. But the remaster and clarity really ups a notch on the rocker "You're So Rude" and the sweet ballad "Love Lives Here" where Rod's vocals are superb and Ronnie Wood's guitar to the fore. There is a small amount of hiss on each of the tracks but that only gives the 'live-in-the-studio' Glyn Johns production a warmth and natural swagger that serves it well. Side 1 finishes on the mighty "Stay With Me" - issued as 7" single with my favourite Faces track ever on the flipside - Ronnie Lane's gorgeous "Debris". What a song - and it sounds huge. Side 2 gives us a raucous cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" in that ramshackle Faces fashion - while "Too Bad" is the hidden boogie nugget on the album - a brilliant slice of Seventies Rock if ever there was one. It ends with Ronnie Wood's slide guitar on "That's All You Need" which is astonishing.

There's talk from the people who brought us the Small Faces DELUXE EDITION 2CD sets of 2014 CD reissues for the FACES - Deluxe Editions that will include outtakes and alternates - but we will have to wait and see... In the meantime - there's this superlative remaster and the others in this series to be getting on with.

At their Rock 'n' Rolling champagne-guzzling best - the FACES were probably the only band in the world to rival The Rolling Stones - who let's face it - were in their prime also in 1971 and 1972. A fabulous reissue and I love owning this equine wonder...

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