Friday, March 14, 2014

Flashback Friday: A nod is as good as a wink... by Faces

So - it's 1971 or so. The Yardbirds, which featured three of the finest guitarists in rock - Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page - have broken up. Jimmy Page is regrouping as the New Yardbirds with John Paul Jones, and a pair of unknowns - Robert Plant and John Bonham. Jeff Beck has formed his own version of the Yardbirds with an unknown Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. While Jimmy Page's group would go on to become Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck's group would record two amazing albums - Truth and Beck-ola - and disband.

Meanwhile, one of England's beloved psychedelic bands - The Small Faces - were having issues of their own. They had just disbanded after losing their founding guitarist/vocalist and were trying to figure out what to do. Somehow they hooked up with the remnants of the failed Jeff Beck group and became the Faces. (Possibly over a shared love of alcohol - Faces live performances were notorious for including a real bartender on-stage!)

Although their first couple of albums were tentative, their live shows were anything but. It wasn't until their 3rd album - A Nod Is As Good As A Wink... To A Blind Horse - that they really captured their live sound on vinyl. If you only know Rod Stewart from his 80's mega hits, you'll be pleasantly surprised here. Rod wasn't the only vocalist - Ronnie Lane provides a nice counterpoint to Rod's vocals. This album is pretty much a winner from start to finish - a "ragged but right" album. You can hear echos of this record in many of the bands influenced by the Faces: The Replacements, Guns N' Roses, The Black Crowes, and Pearl Jam.  

You can hear it here:
A Nod Is As Good As A Wink... by Faces (Xbox Music)

Sadly, the increasing popularity of Rod Stewart's concurrent solo albums - especially a song called "Maggie May", which featured members of the Faces - overshadowed the rest of the band, and they fell apart soon after this album was released, bowing out with one final album "Ooh la la".

So - grab a beverage, give this a spin, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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