Category: Faces

Faces – A Nod’s As Good As a Wink…to a Blind Horse

ARTIST: Faces                                                             faces-a_nod_is_as_good_as_a_wink-to_a_blind_horse_album_cover

TITLE:  A Nod Is As Good As a Wink…to a Blind Horse

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #6 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: Stay with Me (#17 US, #6 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Miss Judy’s Farm

LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The commercial breakthrough for the band, though many probably thought it was another Rod Stewart solo record when they heard the single.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Faces and Rod Stewart were so intertwined in the early 70’s that unless Ronnie Lane was singing, or if it was an acoustic song, people mixed them up. “Stay with Me” definitely was a hit, following on the footsteps of Stewart’s big solo hit single and album this same year.

Though this is a Faces record through and through, since Ronnie Lane sings three songs, including the great “You’re So Rude” and “Debris”. He adds a bit of temper to Stewart’s blazing hot vocals. However, the two styles, and Stewart’s solo success led to tension between the two.

The first side and the opener of side two (“Debris”) are great, and then the record slides on by with a cover of “Memphis” that’s just perfunctory. Stewart was writing a lot of songs at this point, and may have just run out of good ones. Still, this is the best Faces record and definitely belongs in any 70’s rock collection.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was a poster included in the original pressing of the album, full of sex, drugs, and other bad habits taken on the road.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple of BBC sessions

GRADE: B+:  The second side let me down.

Faces – Long Player

ARTIST: Faces   Long_Player_(Faces_album_-_cover_art)

TITLE:  Long Player

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #29 US, #31 UK

SINGLES: Had Me a Real Good Time, Maybe I’m Amazed

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Bad ‘n Ruin

LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Boozy, off-the-cuff rock band makes record that sounded like a lot of fun to make, but the sum is less than the parts.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Faces were terrorizing rock-and-roll venues everywhere with their freewheeling shows and their boozy antics. They sounded like a lot of fun, and they were a lot of fun.

While their first record sounded like they weren’t ready to cut loose, they definitely did here. The classic is “Bad ‘n Ruin” which is just a hell of a rock-and-roll song. “Had Me a Real Good Time” is the aftermath of that song, and it’s just as fun, and was pretty much the ethos of the Faces in a nutshell.

The issue though is that the album seems unfinished. They added on two live cuts, including Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed”. While those are nice, they disturb the flow of the album. Also, there’s a couple that seemed tossed off just to make the numbers. That diminishes the fun quotient a bit.

 NOTES & MINUTIAE: The live cuts were made at the Fillmore East.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with some extra tracks including two more from the Fillmore. They really could have done a studio side and a live side and kicked serious tail.

GRADE: B:  I’m big on continuity and sequencing, and despite some great material there’s not a lot of continuity here.

Faces – First Step

ARTIST: Faces FacesFirstStep
TITLE: First Step
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #119 US, #45 UK
SINGLES: Flying
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Um…maybe Three Button Hand Me Down
LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Three Small Faces plus two ex-Jeff Beck Group form boozy party band, release first album to crickets. That would change, and soon.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When Steve Mariott formed Humble Pie, the rest of the Small Faces were left behind. When Jeff Beck decided to change direction – Wood and Stewart needed a band. The Faces were formed (though some copies still called them the Small Faces, contracts I think…)..

This band was way different from the poppy psychedelic Small Faces. Wood brought along a blues presence, and Stewart gave them a powerful voice. Lane and company were a great rhythm section.

The issue with this album is material. They chose a great Dylan cover (“Wicked Messenger”) and songs like “Flying”, “Three Button Hand Me Down” and “Around the Plynth” were great. The rest are kind of generic and forgettable and that brings the album down. But the high points were enough to show the world this band had a future.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Stewart had a solo starting at the same time – the Faces backed him up on most of the cuts. The Faces soon became the party band, while Stewart’s solo stuff was more serious at first.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: They released a new version in 2015 with a couple of outtakes and BBC sessions.

GRADE: B: Half good, half meh. But the good is great!