The Firm of Jones, McLagan, Lane and Marriott
Listen/Download – The Small Faces – Tin Soldier
I hope all is well on your end.
I have some stuff to take care of this Friday, so I’m going to try to make this brief.
The Small Faces were without question – at least in my fevered mind – one of the most important British bands of the 60s.
They were not only possessed – by virtue of their collective talents – of a monumental creative power that allowed them to exist as paleo-Mods with a taste for American soul, as well as masters of a certain brand of R&B infused psychedelia following a parallel track alongside that of the Beatles, but betrayed by a discography that while packed from end to end with amazing recordings was unfortunately brief, and often eclipsed by the divergent paths of the bands members after the dissolution of the original organization, I.e. many more heads are wrapped around the Faces and Humble Pie than have ever heard a Small Faces record (other than the ubiquitous and somewhat falsely representative ‘Itchykoo Park’).
Outside of the UK – where they attained a much higher level of notoriety than they did here in the States – their catalog is the property of hardcore Mod/garage types who rightfully worship at the four-cornered monolith of Marriott/Lane/McLagan/Jones (as did a certain young, leather-lunged mod named Plant who built an entire career lifting the Small Faces version of Muddy Waters’ ‘You Need Love’).
Though I swear by pretty much everything they did during their short (no pun intended) existence, one record looms above all others, that being ‘Tin Soldier’.
Both the greatest Marriott/Lane composition and the band’s finest recording, ‘Tin Soldier’ is a poetic, powerful love song as well as a lesson in the use of dynamics in the rock’n’roll setting. Opening with the steady tick-tock of Kenny Jones’s drums and Steve Marriott’s initial statement of the lyric, ‘Tin Soldier’ alternates between a certain rough plateau, and short, explosive segments marked mainly by Marriott’s guitar and Ian McLagan’s earthy electric piano.
It’s as close to a work of genius as was created during the mid-60s, including the works of the aforementioned Fabs, the Stones and everyone else, big and small that were making magic in the recording studios of the United Kingdom.
All hail the Small Faces and those that sail with them.
See you on Monday.