The talent level of Small Faces was unusually ahead of its time way back in the ’60s. When everything was mostly centered in pop/rock with an intent to achieve TOP40 radio play, Small Faces managed to be a band set apart, and yet, do exactly what every band attempted. Small Faces were Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagen, and Kenney Jones. As a band, their music was top-notch, yielding hits like “Itchycoo Park” (yeah, you know the song!), “Here Come the Nice”, “Lazy Sunday”, and others.
After a brief stay with Decca Records, the immensely popular quartet signed with Immediate Records in the UK, a label formed by Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham. During their short 2-year stint (1967-1969) with the label, the band released four memorable albums including the classic Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake (1968). (To this day, that album is a regular spinning disc on my turntable.) Their fourth album, The Autumn Stone (1969), was released after Steve Marriott left forcing the remaining three to acquire Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to refresh to Faces. (That lineup was as memorable as Small Faces, if not as influential.)
With the wealth of Small Faces material on those four Immediate Records albums, it is no surprise that eventually some smart reissue label would reach in and create a brilliant and enduring Box set to memorialize them.
On January 21 of 2014, Charly Records, a long standing reissue label, released several iterations of a set that gathered Small Faces hits. The largest of the two sets, Here Come The Nice, was a massive 4CD set that didn’t jerk around. With 75 remastered songs, a 72-page hard-bound book, three colored-vinyl singles, lyric book, posters, postcards, and other quality items, it is a set to be sitting on your shelf…THE set, actually.
However, if this was not something that you needed or were willing to spend the money for, Charly also issued a 20-track hard-bound Greatest Hits collection. Called The Immediate Years 1967-1969, this smaller set provides newly remastered A & B-sides, all from the original Mono master tapes. What is found here, musically, are adored songs like “Here Come the Nice”, “(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me”, the lone US hit, “Itchycoo Park”, the excellent “Lazy Sunday”, and more. Some surprises here include single edits of “Mad John”, and “The Journey” (both from Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake), and a B-side edit of “Eddie’s Dreaming” from Small Faces, their 1967 Immediate Records debut. Also included is a single edit of “Afterglow Of Your Love”, an alternate version of Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’s “Afterglow”. That single was issued after the band dissolved, achieving a modicum of success in the UK charts.
Of particular interest are the pages found in the set. Filled with memorabilia that include photo single sleeves, label shots of the UK spindle 45s, and a brilliant listing of each song on the set including a paragraph related to each track.
Simply, you can’t go wrong with The Immediate Years 1967-1969, more so with the limited Super Deluxe Edition of Here Comes the Nice.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to get on with me neighbours…”
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Label: Charly Records
Availability: 1CD Hardbound Book-Set