The First Step (Remastered) Faces
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- 1Wicked Messenger04:08
- 3Shake, Shudder, Shiver03:15
- 5Around The Plynth05:51
- 7Pineapple And The Monkey04:25
- 8Nobody Knows04:06
- 9Looking Out The Window05:02
- 10Three Button Hand Me Down05:47
Info for The First Step (Remastered)
The Small Faces offer a rare example of a band that underwent significant changes in personnel and musical focus yet succeeded in both incarnations. Founding singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left the band in 1969 to start Humble Pie. His replacements were a singer and a guitarist--in the individual persons of Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. The band continued as The Faces, their first outing retaining the 'Small' adjective for the sake of continuity.
Where the original Small Faces had been a quintessential British mod band, the reconfigured group instantly emerged as a boozy party band. „First Step“ perfectly captures this new direction. All five members contribute to the songwriting in various capacities. The only outside material on the album is Bob Dylan's 'Wicked Messenger,' which slithers out of the gates with dirty slide guitar, sexy organ, and thundering drums. The Faces went onto enjoy the stateside success that had eluded their earlier incarnation. But Stewart's burgeoning solo career relegated the band to the shadows, and The Faces eventually dissolved.
„The notorious sloppiness of the Faces was apparent on their debut, almost moreso on the cover than on the music, as the group was stilled billed as the Small Faces on this 1970 debut although without Steve Marriott in front, and with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood in tow, they were no longer Small. They were now larger than life, or at least mythic, because it's hard to call an album that concludes with a riotous ode to a hand-me-down suit as larger than life. That was the charm of the Faces, a group who always seemed like the boys next door made good, no matter where next door was. Part of the reason they seemed so relatable was that legendary messiness - after all, it's hard not to love somebody if they so openly displayed their flaws - but on their debut, it was hard not to see the messiness as merely the result of the old Faces getting accustomed to the new guys. Fresh from their seminal work with Jeff Beck, Rod and Ron bring a healthy dose of Beck's powerful bastardized blues, bracingly heard on the opening cover of 'Wicked Messenger,' but there's a key difference here; without Beck's guitar genius, this roar doesn't sound quite so titanic, it hits in the gut. That can also be heard and Rod and Woody's 'Around the Plynth,' or 'Three Button Hand Me Down,' which is ragged rocking at its finest. Combine that with Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan finding their ways as songwriters in the wake of the Small Faces' mod implosion, and this goes in even more directions. Lane unveils his gentle, folky side on 'Stone,' McLagan kicks in 'Looking Out the Window' and 'Three Button Hand Me Down.' All these are moments that are good, often great, but the record doesn't quite gel, yet that doesn't quite matter. the Faces is a band that proves that sometimes loose ends are as great as tidiness, that living in the moment is what's necessary, and this First Step is a record filled with individual moments, each one to be savored.“ (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG)
Rod Stewart, lead and harmony vocal, banjo
Ian McLagan, piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano, harmony vocal
Ronnie Wood, lead and rhythm guitars, harmonica, harmony vocal
Ronnie Lane, bass, rhythm guitar, lead and harmony vocal
Kenney Jones, drums
Recorded August 1969-January 1970 at De Lane Lea Studios, London
Engineered by Martin Birch
Produced by The Faces
When Steve Marriott left the Small Faces in 1969, the three remaining members brought in guitarist Ron Wood and lead singer Rod Stewart to complete the lineup and changed their name to the Faces, which was only appropriate since the group now only slightly resembled the mod-pop group of the past. Instead, the Faces were a rough, sloppy rock & roll band, able to pound out a rocker like "Had Me a Real Good Time," a blues ballad like "Tell Everyone," or a folk number like "Richmond" all in one album. Stewart, already becoming a star in his own right, let himself go wild with the Faces, tearing through covers and originals with abandon. While his voice didn't have the power of Stewart, bassist Ronnie Lane's songs were equally as impressive and eclectic. Wood's rhythm guitar had a warm, fat tone that was as influential and driving as Keith Richards' style.
Notorious for their hard-partying, boozy tours and ragged concerts, the Faces lived the rock & roll lifestyle to the extreme. When Stewart's solo career became more successful than the Faces, the band slowly became subservient to his personality; after their final studio album, Ooh La La, in 1973, Lane left the band. After a tour in 1974, the band called it quits. Wood joined the Rolling Stones, drummer Kenny Jones eventually became part of the Who, and keyboardist Ian McLagan became a sought-after supporting musician; Stewart became a superstar, although he never matched the simple charm of the Faces.
While they were together, the Faces never sold that many records and were never considered as important as the Stones, yet their music has proven extremely influential over the years. Many punk rockers in the late '70s learned how to play their instruments by listening to Faces records; in the '80s and '90s, guitar rock bands from the Replacements to the Black Crowes took their cue from the Faces as much as the Stones. Their reckless, loose, and joyous spirit stayed alive in much of the best rock & roll of the subsequent decades.
Lane was diganosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1970s but continued to work. He relocated to Austin, Texas in the 1980s and worked until the disease claimed his life in 1997.
MacLagan also relocated to Austin, where he became an integral part of the city's vibrant music scene. In addition to leading his own group, the Bump Band, he collaborated with musicians—well known and obscure—in recording sessions and on the stage. He suffered a stroke on December 2, 2014, and passed away a day later.
This album contains no booklet.