Long Ago's And World's Apart - A Tribute to Small Faces - 1996
Review by Complete Modness, Select Magazine, september 1996
As Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones has often remarked, the story of the matching mod quartet is one of immense tragedy. Stitched up by unscrupulous management, frontman Steve Marriott left in 1968 at the height of their fame, and neither he nor the Faces that followed recaptured the original magic. When Ronnie Lane was already too ill with multiple sclerosis to take part, an ill-judged '70s reunion involved the tall bassist from Foreigner. Marriott died in a house fire in 1991, and with Lane struggling to pay Texan medical bills, the breezy stylishness of Itchycoo Park seems far away.Hence this well-timed tribute album to help out the ailing Plonk, and contrary to the usual grimness of tribute albums, there's much to recommend it. Mataray's I've Got Mine threatens like The Who at their most paranoid, while the 60ft Dolls turn The Universal into woozy, country-style pub rock - just like Steve would have wanted - before going all hallucinogenic courtesy of guest axeman Martin Carr. Even better, PP Arnold (backing vocalist on Tin Soldier in 1968, continuity fans) and Primal Scream make b-side track Understanding into a loose slice of Tamla stampage, with her voice closer to Marriott's r n b shout than any OCS groin-straining or Nigel Dodgy yelps. A Gallagher should be on here, you suspect, but Weller's instrumental Home Grown gives the guvnor's stamp of approval. If there's occasional lapses into Stars in their Eyes over-faithfulness (Gene, Whiteout), be thankful the threatened Blur cover of Lazy Sunday never made it. Pawning the one-off nature of the band's white soul heyday, none of these solid covers really improve on the originals but as a demonstration of continuing affection and esteem for the East End modfathers, it's strangely heartwarming. You'd think Ronnie's well-off '60s chums could have rallied round more. But in sober retrospect, a nostalgic showcase would have stymied the top mod spirit of a band who never had a chance to spoil their own legend.
02. Understanding - Primal Scream with PP Arnold
03. I Can't Make It - Dodgy
04. It's Too Late - B.L.O.W
05. My Mind's Eye - Northern Uproar
06. I've Got Mine - Mantaray
07. Afterglow - Changing Man featuring Kenney Jones and Mick Talbot
08. The Universal - 60ft Dolls featuring Martin Carr
09. Become Like You - Granny Takes a Trip
10. Song of a Baker - Ocean Colour Scene
11. Rollin' Over - Whiteout
12. Almost Grown - Kenney Jones All Stars featuring Paul Weller and Mick Talbot
13. Talk to You - Hyperglo'
14. Here Comes the Nice - Buzzcocks
15. That Man - Ride
16. Autumn Stone - Gene
This feature showcases the Small Faces tribute album on Nice Records. The album had sold more than 30,000 copies by January 1997 and raised more than £60,000 for Ronnie. It even made the compilation album top 20 in the UK.
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