A guest posting from George Forsyth

ron-wood-faces

The Faces made four albums and one live album. Plenty to choose from for a ten-track ICA. Even discarding that live album (Coast to Coast, not very good).

The first album, First Step, seems to get some quite unfavourable reviews, and of course this is entirely wrong. There’s elements of early heavy-metal in there, a legacy I suppose of Rod Stewart’s time with the Jeff Beck Group (whose album Truth is remarkably similar to that first Led Zeppelin album), and you can hear that on one of the tracks below (Flying). There’s some great slide-guitar playing from Ronnie Wood (on “Stone”), and one of those knock-about-good-time-rock songs (“Three button hand me down) which I suspect is the kind of song that most associate with The Faces, and a sound that came to the fore in the last two albums (A Nod’s As Good As A wink.… and Ooh La La).

The second album, Long Player, is in the same as First Step, then came A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse, followed by Ooh La La. One track below is one of those examples where a cover version is better than the original. At the same time as the Faces were making these records, of course, Rod Stewart was pursuing his own solo career and releasing some belting albums, which featured the rest of The Faces as backing musicians on some of the tracks.

Someone (i’m sure some of you will know to whom I refer) once said to me, when we were inspecting a friend of mine’s collection of 7-inch singles that had been entrusted to me whilst said friend was living in a retreat, that it was the most fun he’d had whilst keeping his clothes on. I’d like to say that spending a few hours in my Music Room listening to The Faces comes second to that, but it would not be true. Another thing I noticed in my hours of solitude, albeit a very noisy one, was Ronnie Wood’s guitar-playing, it has much more prominence than it does on all those rubbish Rolling Stones records of which he’s been a part.

The Faces have never had one of those reunion tours, but an incarnation of them has played a couple of concerts (2010 &2011). With Mick Hucknall doing the vocals. I’ll leave it you to supply your own list of expletives.

So here’s ten tracks, and as Judge Judy frequently says “PUT YOUR LISTENING EARS ON!”

1. Three Button Hand Me Down – from the first album First Step, and what might be seen as that trademark Faces sound

2. Stone – from First Step, with I think Ronnie Laine on lead vocals

3. Flying – from First Step, an early heavy metal track(?), and a great guitar riff. Toptastic track.

4. Bad ‘n’ Ruin – from Long Player, the second album, and a track that has a great opening line (Mother don’t you recognise your son). And another great riff.

5. On The Beach – from Long Player. This sounds as if it could be on Exile On Main Street. Well, I think it does. And more fine slide guitar from Ronnie Wood.

6. Maybe I’m Amazed – a live track from a BBC concert. And one written by Paul McCartney, and this is better than his version. There’s also a live version on the Long Player album.

7. Miss Judy’s Farm – track 1 from the third album A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse. I did not want to include this here, I suppose everyone knows it, but it’s sucha great song, that opening is so strong, it just had to be on the ICA.

8. That’s All You Need – last track from As Nod’s As Good As A Wink.

A Nod’s As Good As A Wink is a splendid album, a fine early 1970s rock album, and one of those albums you should never tire of putting on. On another occasion I could easily have chosen two different tracks from it. Of course, rather perversely, I’ve put, in effect, three tracks from the preceding two albums on this ICA

9. Fly In The Ointment – from Ooh La La

10. If I’m On The Late Side – from Ooh La La

As I said at the top, there’s only four studio albums, and I bet you can get them AND get change from a £20 note, so don’t waste money on a Best Of collection, just get the lot. And if anyone out there has that 4CD set Five Guys Walk Into A Bar that was released about ten years ago, and is tired of living, just send it to me.

George