SMALL FACES – There Are But Four Small Faces (Deluxe Edition)

Album: There Are But Four Small Faces

Artist: Small Faces

Label: Charly

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Small Faces 6-24

www.charly.co.uk

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

One would think a reissue of any single Small Faces album would be seen as somewhat redundant given the recent release of the massive Here Come The Nice box set, a collection which encompasses much of the band’s output on Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records label. In truth, these are the songs that are most essential. Whether in the stereo, mono and alternate mixes included here, they represent the best the band had to offer, the far more heralded Ogdens Nut Gone Flake notwithstanding. Still, it betrays a certain overall ignorance that when the best albums of the sixties are mentioned, There Are But Four Small Faces is often overlooked. When it comes to the Brits, it’s the Beatles, the Stones, the Who and the Kinks that get the most mentions, while the Small Faces are generally considered the also-rans, even when compared to their successors, the Faces.

Hopefully now that oversight can be corrected. In fact, There Are But Four Small Faces still stands as one of the best British albums of the era. The most eloquent example of the Steve Marriott/Ronnie Lane songwriting axis, it was the album that best represented the band’s multiple strengths overall. A compilation of the group’s early Immediate output offered only for American audiences, it boasted both of their big hits — “Itchycoo Park,” their sole Stateside chart entry, and the stunning “Tin Soldier” — as well as the songs that became the hallmark of their stunning sound. It was the whiplash rhythms of “(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me,” “My Way of Giving,” “Here Come the Nice” and “I Feel Much Better” that best represented the Small Faces’ full-on frenzy, and which still offer a testament to their brilliance these many years later.

So let there be no doubt. Those who wonder about the need to repurchase this repackaged double disc should consider the subtle differences in the mixes, the excellence of the accompanying booklet and the handful of alternative versions of certain select songs. Mostly though, it offers a judicious way to acquire an essential album in its entirely and to recall a legacy that ought not be overlooked any longer.

 DOWNLOAD: “Tin Soldier,” “(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me,” “My Way of Giving”

Go here to read our recent interview with the band’s Ian McLagan.

Leave a Reply