Sunday, 2 February 2014

“Greatest Hits: The Immediate Years 1967-1969” by SMALL FACES (2014 Charly/Immediate CD [20 Tracks] and LP [17 Tracks] Compilation of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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As a consolation prize for those who can’t/couldn’t afford the lavish but pricey "Here Come The Nice" multi-disc Box Set (4CDs, 7" singles and loads of repro memorabilia) - here comes this fabulous single disc compilation that is essentially CD 1 from that motherlode (the singles disc). Here are the details...

UK released Monday 17 February 2014 - "Greatest Hits: The Immediate Years 1967 - 1969" by SMALL FACES is on two formats - the 20-track CD (54:15 minutes) on Charly/Immediate CHARLY 654 X (Barcode 803415765423) - while the 17-track VINYL LP on Charly/Immediate CHARLY L 126 (Barcode 803415182619) is a LIMITED EDITION with the first 2000 copies on 180-Grams Blue Vinyl.

Both CD and LP feature 7" single mixes (all in MONO) from the UK and around the world and breaks down as follows (Tracks 3, 4 and 8 from the CD are not on the LP version):

1.  Here Come The Nice
2.  Talk To You - (Tracks 1 and 2 are the A&B-sides of the UK 7" single on Immediate IM 050 released 2 June 1967)
3. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me - (B-side of a rare Thailand EP "Get Yourself Together" and the opening track on the Mono version of the "Small Faces" LP) - NOT ON VINYL VERSION
4. Something I Want To Tell You - (Withdrawn 7" single mix - the version on the "Small Faces" LP features and new Vocal Take and mix) - NOT ON VINYL VERSION
5. Get Yourself Together - (B-side to the French "Here Come The Nice" EP - A-side to a Thailand EP)
6. Become Like You - (B-side to the French "Here Come The Nice" EP)
7. Green Circles - (B-side to a French and Uruguay)
8. Eddie's Dreaming (B-side Edit) - NOT ON VINYL VERSION
9. Itchycoo Park - Immediate IM 057 (UK A-side, released 4 August 1967)
10. I'm Only Dreaming - (B-side of 9)
11. Tin Soldier - Immediate IM 062 (UK A-side, released 1 December 1967)
12. I Feel Much Better - (B-side of 11)
13. Lazy Sunday - Immediate IM 064 (UK A-side, released 5 April 1968)
14. Rollin' Home (Part II Of Happiness Stan) - (B-side of 13)
15. Mad John (Single Version) - (an extended version of the song on "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" - released as a single A-side in 1969 in Australia)
16. The Journey (Single Version) - (B-side of 15)
17. The Universal - Immediate IM 069 (UK A-side, released 28 June 1968)
18. Donkey Rides, A Penny A Glass - (B-side of 17)
19. Afterglow Of Your Love - Immediate IM 077 (UK A-side, released 7 March 1969)
20. Wham Bam Thank You Mam (Double A with 19)

Fans will know from the box set that a near five-year search was undertaken to get the best tapes - with speeds and edits brought back to their original states. Supervised by surviving band members IAN McLAGAN and KENNEY JONES alongside Series Producer ROB CAIGER and Executive Producer JEAN-LUC YOUNG - the newly minted remasters by ROB LEYLOCH and NICK ROBBINS sound fabulous - full of presence and power and that centered punch only MONO gives you. In some respects this CD alone will surely go a long way to convincing even the hardest of hearts that The Small Faces were a stunning singles band.

The hardback book digipak (with the now familiar SF logo sticker) gives us a really lovely 24-page colour booklet with track-by-track annotation from Rob Caiger and Tosh Flood (edited text from the larger box). There’s repros of music magazine reviews, adverts, personal snaps, those great foreign picture sleeves and a little self promotion for Deluxe Editions of “The Autumn Stone” (due in September 2014) and Vinyl Versions of “Ogden’s” and the USA LP “There Are But Four Small Faces”.

While the big hits like "Itchycoo Park" with its novel use of phased guitars and the genius of “Lazy Sunday” will be first ports of call - this compilation throws up criminally overlooked nuggets like "Donkey Rides, A Penny A Ride" (lyrics from it title this review) and the sonic assault of "Wham Bam Thank You Mam". Deep level fans will also chew up the rare versions of "Mad John" and "The Journey". I also love the continuity of the MONO sound - it has a power all of its own - great stuff. I took one look at that cheeky-chappy photo on the cover and I ordered up the LP too (it's a limited edition and will sell out fast).

What a band - and what a blast it is to see their musical legacy be celebrated so well at last. I suspect few will feel different...

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