Small Faces was the second LP of that name issued by the band in the space of a year, a fact that -- coupled with its release a year later in America in somewhat modified form as There Are But Four Small Faces -- has always confused fans of the group's work. This particular album was the Small Faces' Immediate Records debut, and caught the group in the transition from an R&B-based mod band into a psychedelic-oriented outfit. They were still finding their way along the trail from sweaty, soul-drenched James Brown- and Otis Redding-inspired covers and originals to flower-power trippiness, and the short running time and the relative lack of Steve Marriott lead vocals (Ronnie Lane is out front on three of the 14 numbers, in addition to the presence of an instrumental) reveal that they were still laboring to find a sound and a collective voice with which they were comfortable, amid other activities (lots of gigs plus playing on other artists' work as the unofficial Immediate Records house band). The short running time didn't prevent this from being a pretty imposing album, however, especially in its original British edition. "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me" would probably have been a single but for the fact that Steve Marriott and producer Andrew Oldham gave it away to a quartet of Small Faces admirers called the Apostolic Intervention -- no matter, for it made a strong album opener and a great lead-in to "Something I Want to Tell You" and the ballad "Feeling Lonely," which slides into the heavier-weight instrumental rocker "Happy Boys Happy," which showcases Ian McLagan's keyboards and Kenney Jones' drums. "My Way of Giving" was a superb soul shouter that could have been a B-side in the group's earlier phase, but the real treat is the bejeweled, soaring, spaced-out dream account of "Green Circles," with its beautiful lead piano and exquisitely spacy choruses, leading to a tough, crunchy-textured bridge and finale. Side two opened with "Become Like You," a trippy acoustic guitar-dominated psychedelic ballad, leading to the elegant opening strains of the punchy "Get Yourself Together" and the funny, Cockney-flavored "All Our Yesterdays," with its heavy brass and trumpet embellishment. "Talk to You" was another Marriott soul belter, and "Show Me the Way" was a superb harpsichord workout for McLagan, who got an even better break on "Up the Wooden Hills to Bedfordshire" amid Marriott's acoustic guitar strumming, all closing on the delightfully trippy, upbeat "Eddie's Dreaming" (which featured Georgie Fame's band supporting the quartet).... ............................................. [I'm sorry...Rapidshare deleted the link (see comments) & I don't dare to upload it again...Also "goodbye" to their masterpiece "Ogdens'NutGone Flake" mono & stereo versions, I was planning to post as a SF epilogue these days...]
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