Mod supremoes The Small Faces are about to go under the microscope again with Immediate Records reinjecting life into their back catalogue as you have never heard or seen it before. However, before this a taster 4 track 7” EP entitled Four To The Floor released via Acid Jazz Records featuring 4 instrumental cuts, with approval from the last living face Kenny Jones, is a cute rebirth of vital music of the period.
The story is well told that at the start of the bands short lived but well-loved career all four faces thrived off the Hammond organ of Ian McLagan so the rest of the band, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane and Kenney Jones, could live out their Booker T and the M.G.’s sound fantasy. Just to touch on the quality of the sound here the guitars are crisp, the bass is warm, the drums empathic and the Hammond is up close and personal. The work done by the people at Immediate is quite fantastic, whetting the appetite for their future releases.
Starting with the organ wig out of Grow Your Own, Jones the drumming child prodigy, his drum fills here reek of hours honing his art to perfection, with the band comfortably able to arrange their sound around his backbeat. Own Up Time starts with another emphatic drum break similar to early work of Keith Moon, the track has slight traces of The Who Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere with guitar feedback edging out the Booker T influence out the door. Almost Grown is mod dancefloor heaven. Starting with the quick stop start ‘Du du du du dah’, this track will never not appeal with its almost northern soul charm as they invite the B3 back through the door.
Plum Nellie is the heaviest track, an almost slowed down version of I’m A Man, no doubt an influence on Robert Plant who would go on to cite seeing The Small Faces as a catalyst for Led Zeppelin getting their groove on. Marriott blitz’s the guitar with almost Jimi Hendrix showmanship, is it any wonder Marriott is heralded as one of the great underrated guitarists of his generation? Most might recognise him for his cheeky chap Lazy Sunday waffling’s, but if you look deeper into his efforts you will recognise the work he performed as being outstanding.
Overall a quite refreshing revaluation of the early work of these 4 legendary musicians, with artwork that depicts those classic 60’s 7” singles, this is an absolute must for collectors and new fans alike. Acid Jazz boss Eddie Piller (whose Mum was in charge of the original The Small Faces fan club) is set to interview Jones for his Modcast Weekender event making sure an afterglow of affection will continue for many more seasons yet.
Four To The Floor can be purchased from the Acid Jazz website.