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From Rolling Stone - 07 Aug 1997

UK Rock Acts Fete Small Faces on Nice Charity Set
by Paul Sexton
Billboard, 07 Sept 1996

One of the groups most often cited as an influence by Britain's cutting-edge talent is in line for a belated tribute.

Monday (2) saw the U.K. release of "Long Agos And Worlds Apart," a tribute album to the Small Faces featuring versions of their songs performed by such modern rock favorites as Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, Dodgy, Primal Scream, Gene, and Northern Uproar.

The album stands in recognition of the '60s U.K. chart stars who emerged from the mod milieu of their early days to produce some of the decade's most enduring singles. The band members became respected protagonists of an experimental pop style by the time they split in early 1969, paving the way for the early '70s good-time rock of the Faces.

The album will appear on Nice Records, an independent label distributed by Vital, which was set up to oversee this project. Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones, later of the Faces and the Who, is a principal at the label, along with Bob Morris and John Cousins, the latter of whom represents bassist Ronnie Lane, organist Ian McLagan, and the estate of former vocalist Steve Marriott, who died in 1991. Nice will ensure that all royalties go toward research into multiple sclerosis, the disease Lane has suffered from since the early '80s, and toward treatment for Lane himself.

A limited vinyl edition of the album will be available, and sponsorship for the release has been secured from apparel company Levi Strauss & Co. Says Morris, "It's a charity record, and we need to get as high a profile as possible. Vital Distribution has reduced its fee; everyone is helping out. The artists were great. The thing is that they were all fans."

An agreement was also recently reached to give the band and its representatives complete artistic control over the Small Faces' catalog.

Says Morris, "It's probably going to be the first thing connected with the Small Faces that they actually have some sort of control over, and the money's going where it should be."

Jones has also negotiated a deal with merchandising company Underworld to debut official Small Faces merchandise. Morris hopes for a U.S. release of the tribute album, revamped with new tracks from other acts.

"Itchycoo Park" provided the group with its only top 20 U.S. single early in 1968. Four Small Faces albums reached the Billboard album chart, but none peaked higher than No. 159, the position achieved by the band's acclaimed U.K. chart-topper "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake," also in 1968. Marriott went on to achieve considerable U.S. success with Humble Pie.

The tribute record--which consists mainly of remakes of Small Faces album tracks and B-sides, rather than their more famous U.K. hits, such as "Lazy Sunday" and "Itchycoo Park"--also sports a track by the mysteriously named Reservoir Mods. The band's members include Jones and the "modfather" who name-drops the Small Faces in interviews more than most of his colleagues, British ch art regular Paul Weller.

Ocean Colour Scene bassist Damon Minchella says that the band (whose "Mosely Shoals" album is certified platinum, having sold more than 300,000 copies in the U.K.) agreed to take part when they learned that the record would benefit Lane.

"He never got what he deserved, and now he needs the money," says Minchella. "We'd been playing "Song Of A Baker' [the band's track on 'Long Agos And Worlds Apart'] live for a while, and we were recording our album at the time anyway, so it was no problem. They were a big influence on us, and once you're a musician, you realize they're a root to what you are."

Minchella adds that Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock used to travel with Marriott's autograph in his pocket. "He used to sleep with it," he says.

"Long Agos And Worlds Apart" will be in stores 30 years almost to the week after the Small Faces enjoyed their one week at the top of the U.K. singles chart, when "All Or Nothing" held sway in September 1966.

Aug. 19 saw the Small Faces tribute performed live at the Powerhaus, a north London venue. Contributing artists performing there included Northern Uproar and Jones. In addition, Ocean Colour Scene played "Song Of A Baker" at its recent appearance on the Oasis bill at Knebworth.

Morris adds that plans are afoot for an EP. "It will have some tracks from the album, and a couple of new tracks yet to be confirmed," he says. "There were quite a few people who wanted to contribute but didn't have time: people like Kula Shaker, the Bluetones, Noel Gallagher--there are a lot of people in the wings."

 

 

 


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