The Upshot: The four studio albums from Rod, Ron, Plonk, Kenney and Mac return to print via a rather sweet 5-disc box set, including rarities. A 5-out-of-5 stars collection.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Well, it’s about time. And it took a fine archival label like Rhino, whose bosses apparently appreciate the value of reintroducing the classics, to do it. “It” of course being the reissue of each of the Faces original studio albums in a digibox format that includes everything released during the band’s brief tenure as well as loads of extras guaranteed to make completists and enthusiasts salivate with joy and delight.
During their lifetime, the original quintet — singer Rod Stewart, guitarist Ron Wood, bassist Ronnie “Plonk” Lane, keyboard player Ian “Mac” McLagan, and drummer Kenney Jones — were often dismissed as a live band, a snide way of saying their studio albums weren’t quite measure up to their collective potential. Happily, this brilliant box set dismisses that notion, thanks to its smorgasbord of ragtag rockers and tear-soaked ballads, the best of which found them traipsing the divide between rock, folk, country and even vaudeville in terms of showmanship and pure populist appeal. Of the four original albums included herein — a fifth disc gathers outtakes and B sides in addition to the add-ons accorded each of the other albums — their sophomore set Long Player is clearly their peak, having seen them progress from The First Step, a tentative beginning credited to the yet to evolve Small Faces. Nevertheless A Nod Is As Good As A Blind Horse and Ooh La La are both worthy of acquisition, the former for “Miss Judy’s Farm” and Debris,” the latter for the title track, “Cindy Incidentally” and “Glad and Sorry.”
Of the bonus tracks, the instrumental jams that comprised most of their flip sides are, not surprisingly, most throwaways, but live takes on John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and the blues standard “Love In Vain” stand out, along with various rehearsals and BBC sessions that capture the band in its natural environs. A companion piece to previously issued retrospective Five Guys Walk Into a Bar, 1970-1975 You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything is as inspiring as its title implies and absolutely essential to boot.
DOWNLOAD: “Ooh La La,” “Cindy Incidentally,” “Debris”