Jul 6, 2009
SMALL FACES - FROM THE BEGINNING (DECCA 1967) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 14 bonus
From The Beginning was released in 1967 as a spoiler by Decca, the Small Faces' old label, to coincide with the release of their new album on the Immediate label entitled Small Faces (confusingly, the only album they made for Decca was also self-titled). The Small Faces did not especially appreciate the gesture, and made a point of specifically discouraging people from buying From The Beginning in the advertising for their new album.
From The Beginning contained all the hits they had had with Decca (What'cha Gonna Do About It, Sha-La-La-La-Lee, Hey Girl, All Or Nothing and My Mind's Eye), available on any number of compilations, alongside a number of previously unreleased recordings. These and are now the chief attraction of this album.
The Small Faces had one line-up change while they were with Decca, when in October 1965 Jimmy Winston left and was replaced on keyboards by Ian McLagan. Although the Decca album Small Faces depicted Ian McLagan on the cover when it was released in May 1966, Jimmy Winston played on five or six of the tracks, recorded before his departure, and largely comprising their stage act of the time.
Unfortunately, it seems not to be known when these outtakes were recorded but the stage favourite Baby, Don't You Do It (a Marvin Gaye cover) has Jimmy Winston on lead vocals and guitar so some others may well have been recorded before October 1965, possibly the bizarre but interesting version of Runaway and the excellent takes on Don Covay's Take This Hurt Off Me and the Miracles' You've Really Got A Hold On Me. Both of these demonstrate what a fine band they were, and what a great vocalist Steve Marriott was. Indeed one wonders why space could not be found for some of these recordings on their first album. After Ian McLagan joined, they began to put Booker T-style instrumentals on their B-sides, so the cover of Plum Nellie here probably features him rather than Jimmy Winston on keyboards.
The album also included earlier versions of songs they re-recorded for Immediate, including My Way Of Giving, which they had handed over to Chris Farlowe for a single, and (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me...