The most amazing three years in the history of rock and roll music.
Unlike most rock and roll DVDs these days, The Small Faces:
Under Review is more a documentary approach to the history
of the group, and a critical analysis of their singles and albums.
From "What Cha Gonna Do About It?", with its riff stolen
discretely from Solomon Burke to the wickedly rollicking "The
Universal", this brief history of one of the finest of the mod
scene's bands is informative and highly entertaining. It seems from
the very second that Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane
formed The Small Faces with Kenny Jones and Jimmy
Winston that there was an extraordinary spark that aimed the band
toward stardom, not only in the East End of London, but across the
rock'n'roll world. The band had its own unique style, pulled from
various musical and social sources, and the amazingly mature and growly
voice of Steve Marriott.
The obvious parts of the early history of the band are spoken, such
as the dramatic influence of American R'n'B music, and Booker T
And The MGs in particular. In the view of those around them, and
their biographers, for the first four singles and the first record,
they were just a London version of Booker T, playing pop numbers -
with the notable exception of their second single, the dark and headily
psychedelic "I've Got Mine", which drew nothing but disparagement
from their manager at the time, Don Arden. In reality, this
track was a bit ahead of its time, as the Yardbirds would go
on to record music of this sort in just a few months time. The breakout
track "All Or Nothing" is well represented here, with stories
from many folks who witnessed the band move to the next level of musical
freedom and expression.
The psychedelic year is freely explored with the amazing "Here
Comes The Nice" and the oft-misunderstood "Itchycoo Park".
The critics view of the band's swing from R'N'B pop group to hippy
psychedelic group is enlightening, and in retrospect sheds a bit
of light on the other bands that were happening at the time. The
glory of "Tin Soldier" is brought out and lit up in a
way that most listeners wouldn't really get to on their own. Let's
not forget the maniacal absurdity of "Lazy Sunday" or
the obscure thoughts behind the band's final single, "The Universal".
As well as revealing some insightful stories about the band, the
DVD shows some amazing archival footage of the band performing, including
an amazing version of "What Cha Gonna Do About It?" from
Studio Hamburg when the band was only a year into their career. Another
of the highlights of the DVD is listening to Keith Altham,
NME journalist and editor from 1963 to 1971, talk about the various
characters on the mod scene, from the managers to the artists. Also
included on the DVD is "The Hardest Small Faces Quiz In The World
Ever", as well as an exhaustive discography featuring singles,
albums, DVDs, guest appearances, and Steve Marriott's solo recordings.
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