Friday, 28 August 2015

"1970-1975: You Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything..." by FACES [featuring Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane, Ron Wood, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones] (2015 Warner Brothers/Rhino 5CD Mini Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...




"...Had Me A Real Good Time...And Other Domestic Short Comings..."

FACES fans are going to love 'and' hate this. "1970-1975: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything..." is both truly exhilarating and sappily infuriating at the same time. The upside is that it contains stunning remastered music with some shockingly good extras but it’s missing edits when there was room on the 'Singles' disc and it’s presented in a truly small beer way - when this best of British bands deserved the full brewery (and it's not cheap either). To the good news first...

On the 4CD Rhino Book Set "Five Guys Walk Into A Bar" from 2004 - you got 3 tracks out of 10 from the 1st LP, 5 out of 9 from the 2nd and all of the 3rd and 4th LPs bar three (as well as a hefty wad of 30+ Previously Unreleased - I reviewed it years back). Here the temptation is all 4 studio albums newly remastered in their entirety and each bolstered up with great Previously Unreleased material not available anywhere else. There’s also a 5th bonus disc with 9-tracks that mops up those 'Stray Singles' and a rare NME Flexidisc track. There’s a lot to get through - so lets get this box set's tartan trousers down and have a peek at its Bollinger-stained boxer shorts (if you get my drift)...

UK and US released Friday 28 August 2015 – "1970-1975: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything..." by FACES is a 5CD Mini Box Set on Warner Brothers/Rhino R2 550009 (Barcode 081227954239) and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 - "The First Step" – 70:11 minutes:
1. Wicked Messenger
2. Devotion
3. Shake, Shudder
4. Stone
5. Around The Plynth
6. Flying [Side 2]
7. Pineapple And The Monkey
8. Nobody Knows
9. Looking Out The Window
10. Three Button Hand Me Down
Tracks 1 to 10 are their debut studio album "The First Step" – released March 1970 in the UK on Warner Brothers WS 3000 (reissued December 1971 on Warner Brothers K 46053) and March 1970 in the USA (as "First Step") on Warner Brothers WS 1851. The British LP had the words FACES centred on the front cover of its gatefold but because this set is US based it uses American artwork where the band were wrongly called SMALL FACES (the band they used to be).

BONUS TRACKS (all Previously Unreleased):
11. Behind The Sun (Outtake) (Jones/Lane/McLagan/Stewart/Wood)
12. Mona – The Blues (Outtake) (Lane/Wood)
13. Shake, Shudder, Shiver (Lane/Wood) (BBC Session recorded 9 March 1970, broadcast 28 March 1970 on John Peel's "Top Gear" Radio 1 Program)
14. Flying (Take 3) (Stewart/Wood/Lane)
15. Nobody Knows (Take 2) (Wood/Lane)

Disc 2 - "Long Player" – 67:18 minutes:
1. Bad 'N' Ruin
2. Tell Everyone
3. Sweet Lady Mary
4. Richmond
5. Maybe I'm Amazed (Live)
6. Had Me A Real Good Time [Side 2]
7. On The Beach
8. I Feel So Good (Live)
9. Jerusalem
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 2nd studio album "Long Player" released March 1971 in the UK on Warner Brothers WS 3011 and February 1971 in the USA on Warner Brothers WS 1892. Tracks 5 and 8 were recorded live at The Fillmore East in New York (no date specified) – two more live versions from that date have been included as Bonus Tracks (13 and 14).

BONUS TRACKS (All Previously Unreleased):
10. Whole Lotta Woman (Outtake) (Marvin Rainwater cover)
11. Tell Everyone (Take 1) (Lane)
12. Sham-Mozzal (Instrumental – Outtake) (Jones/Lane/McLagan/Wood)
13. Too Much Woman (Live) (Ike & Tina Turner cover)
14. Love In Vain (Live) (Robert Johnson cover)
[Notes: 13 and 14 are live and were recorded at The Fillmore East in New York on the same date that 5 and 8 on the album were – no date specified]

Disc 3 - "A Nod's As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse…" – 45:07 minutes:
1. Miss Judy's Farm
2. You're So Rude
3. Love Lives Here
4. Last Orders Please
5. Stay With Me
6. Debris [Side 2]
7. Memphis
8. Too Bad
9. That's All You Need
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 3rd studio album "A Nod's As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse..." released November 1971 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56006 and in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2574. It was credited in the USA as "A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse" and that front cover artwork is used for this reissue.

BONUS TRACKS (both Previously Unreleased):
10. Miss Judy's Farm (Live)
11. Stay With Me (Live)
[Notes: both were recorded 28 September 1971 and Broadcast 6 October 1971 on John Peel's "Top Gear" Radio 1 Program]

Disc 4 - "Ooh La La" – 46:36 minutes:
1. Silicone Grown
2. Cindy Incidentally
3. Flags And Banners
4. My Fault
5. Borstal Boys
6. Fly In The Ointment [Side 2]
7. If I’m On The Late Side
8. Glad And Sorry
9. Just Another Honky
10. Ooh La La
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 4th and final studio album "Ooh La La" released April 1973 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56011 and March 1973 in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2665.

BONUS TRACKS (All Previously Unreleased):
11. Cindy Incidentally (BBC Session)
12. Borstal Boys (Rehearsal)
13. Silicone Grown (Rehearsal)
14. Glad And Sorry (Rehearsal)
15. Jealous Guy (Live)
[Notes: "Cindy Incidentally" was recorded 12 February 1973 and Broadcast 1 March 1973 on "BBC Radio One Club". The cover version of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" was recorded at The Reading Festival in the UK on 25 August 1973.

Disc 5 – "Stray Singles & B-Sides" – 40:38 minutes:
1. Pool Hall Richard – a non-album single released in the UK 30 November 1973 on Warner Brothers K 16341 as the A-side
2. I Wish It Would Rain (With A Trumpet) – a Temptations cover version issued as the non-album B-side to "Pool Hall Richard". It was recorded live at The Reading Festival in 1973
3. Rear Wheel Skid – the non-album B-side to "Had Me A Real Good Time (Edit)" released 13 November 1970 in the UK on Warner Brothers WB 8018 and 21 October 1970 in the USA on Warner Brothers WB 7442
4. Maybe I'm Amazed – a non-album 3:40 minutes 'studio version' - released 6 April 1971 US 7” single on Warner Brothers WB 7483. It's a cover of a Paul McCartney song and the full 'live' version at 5:32 minutes is on the "Long Player" album.
5. Oh Lord I'm Browned Off – the non-album B-side to "Maybe I'm Amazed"
6. You Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take The Dog For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Short Comings) – a non-album UK 7" single released as the A-side 11 November 1974 on Warner Brothers K 16499 and (as an edit) 22 January 1975 in the USA on Warner Brothers WBS-8066. It was reissued in the USA (also as an edit) 28 May 1975 on Warner Brothers WBS-8102.
7. As Long As You Tell Him – the non-album B-side to "You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything..."
8. Skewiff (Mend The Fuse) – an instrumental non-album B-side to "Cindy Incidentally" issued 9 February 1973 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 16247 and 5 February 1973 in the USA on Warner Brothers WB 7681.
9. Dishevelment Blues – a non-album exclusive track recorded 5 April 1973 for the UK 'NME Magazine, April 1973' issue – it was issued on a one-side flexi that came free with the Music Paper.

The Mini Box Set contains five singular card sleeves inside and a foldout inlay. Bluntly it feels cheapish. The attached 62-page colour booklet that came with the FACES Book Set "Five Guys Walk Into A Bar..." from 2004 was a fabulous fan-fest rammed to the gunnels with foreign picture sleeves, press clippings, live photos, badges, teeshirts, Warner Brothers memorabilia and all manner of boozy tour shenanigans. Here we get a three-way fold out slip of paper with track credits and absolutely nothing else! Each of the original vinyl albums (in the UK especially) had elaborate packaging – the first in a gatefold, the second in a 78" stitched sleeve with its own custom label, "Nod" came with a massive fold out poster and "Ooh La La" famously had the folding 'lips' sleeve with a lyric poster inside as well – none of it is reproduced here.

As if to add insult to injury (and with no offence to our good American friends) but this most British of Rock 'n' Roll bands then gets the 1st and 2nd LPs represented here in single sleeve 'American' artwork both of which have all the aesthetic impact of a wet rag. They couldn't even be bothered to produce a gatefold on the first. I suppose the tan label CDs on all four studio-albums (aping the original issues) is a nice touch - while the singles set gets a Warner Brothers Burbank Label – again a good idea. The artwork also prints the bonus tracks on the rear of each single card sleeve in the same print as the original - so I suppose that makes them a tiny bit interesting (the fifth CD has nice artwork too). But it all feels like small beer when surely this is a 70ts band that deserved the best WEA could offer. If Rhino were able to do the packaging business by the Faces in 2004 - then why not in 2015? Anyway - let’s get to the Audio - which is thankfully blindingly good...

It doesn't say when the DAN HERSCH and BILL INGLOT remasters (done at Digiprep from Flat Analogue Tapes) were carried out (no dates provided) but I suspect these are the 2004 versions. The good news is that they 'rock'. These CDs sound great even if they're hissy on the 1st and 2nd albums (how they were recorded). Hersch and Inglot have handled huge swathes of primo WEA material across the years for Rhino - Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding to name but a few legends. But I bet these Top Audio Engineers got their transfer jollies digitally preserving this catalogue. The power of the band is realised - muscular, clear and full of that 'live-in-the-studio' feel that original Producers Glyn Johns, Mike Bobak and Ron Nevison got for the Faces at the time. Each album has fantastic audio moments – "Stone" on "First Step", "Sweet Lady Mary" on "Long Player", the stunning Side 2 opener "Debris” (and "Stay With Me" B-side) on "Nod" and the lovely overlooked ballad "Glad And Sorry" on "Ooh La La". I'll presume that fans already know how good the studio albums are so I'll get stuck into the cool extras...

The bonus tracks on "First Step" are shockingly good. The first "Behind The Sun" is 5:30 minutes long as is just as good if not better than anything on the album (and it sounds utterly amazing here). Both it and the second helping here "Mona – The Blues" were recorded after the LP's release on 12 May 1970 in Hollywood. "Mona – The Blues" starts with shouts and comes on like a barroom brawl is about to break out at any minute – another five-minute slide boogie winner with piano and no vocals (it later turned up on the 1976 Soundtrack LP "Mahoney's Last Stand" by Ron Wood and Ronniw Lane). The audio on the BBC Session of "Shake, Shudder, Shiver" is good rather than great - but the Rock 'n' Roll power of the band is amazing. We're now treated to a duo of sublime versions of "Flying" and a more Piano-orientated cut of "Nobody Knows" – wow!

As if to reinforce what a bunch of hairy-assed reprobates they really were – "Whole Lotta Woman" (a Marvin Rainwater cover done in British Rock 'n' Roll style) opens with giggles and drunken screams to "...turn the tape machine on and let's get it going!" The session then launches into that effortless Stones swagger The Faces seemed to be able to conjure up at the drop of a hat. This is the kind of outtake that will make fans weak at their elderly knees. A very shambolic Take 1 of "Tell Everyone" gets an outing where both Lane and Stewart are clearly trying to get a feel for the melody - and begin getting there towards the end. But we now get a true kick in the nuts – an instrumental Ron Wood Guitar version of "Had Me A Real Good Time" called "Sham-Mozzal" and my God am I grinning from ear-to-ear. This is true fabulous stuff and it sounds stunning too (where has this sucker been all these years). Continuing in Rock mode we get an incendiary live version of an Ike and Tina Turner song "Too Much Woman" wrongly credited in the inlay as being by Ronnie Lane. With terrific audio it's 5:29 minutes of Wood riffing away while Stewart shows why he had the best damn larynx on the planet at the time (there's also a cool Kenney Jones drum portion).  Their cover of Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain" doesn't have great audio really but as it sounds like "Let It Bleed" Stones – I can so understand why it's here...

I'm always disappointed that 1971's mighty "Nod" never seems to have even a single outtake or alternate version – so what were offered here are two workmanlike versions of "Miss Judy's Farm" and "Stay With Me" from an unreleased BBC Session. They’re good – they are – but they're hardly sparkling (even if they were recorded on my 12th birthday!). 
At least the 'Stray Singles' disc gathers up those wicked B-sides - like the three rough and tumble instrumentals "Rear Wheel Skid",  "Oh Lord I'm Browned Off" and "Skewiff (Mend The Fuse)". And after years of playing that crinkled 1973 NME Flexidisc – I can now hear the slow "Dishevelment Blues" in all its Bluesy glory (the boys essentially goofing in the studio - with wild guitar from Ron Wood). And how good is "Pool Hall Richard" backed with its live cover of The Temptations classic "I Wish It Would Rain" complete with Soulful brass.

So there you have it – good and bad – mostly good it has to be said. The remastered albums are fabulous and those Previously Unreleased goodies genuinely exciting. It's just a shame about the ASDA packaging (docked a star for that) when with a little imagination this mini box set could have been a Fortnum & Masons hamper you covet...and that would truly have been something worth getting drunk and disorderly about...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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