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Had Me A Real Good Time: The Faces: Before, During & After by Andy Neil (2011)

OP53119From amazon.com

Hardcover, 405 pages of text, 5 page Introduction by the author, 15 pages of FACES and related selected discography, 7 pages of BBC radio and TV appearances, 13 pages of concert listings from 1969-1975, plus acknowledgments, Bibliography, Source Notes, and an Index. Also included are 32 pages of b&w photos throughout the book.

The author, Andy Neill, has written a number of liners notes for The Who, a book on that band, and also writes for Mojo Magazine, and Record Collector. He has interviewed a number of people from the era in question, and has done extensive research about The Faces, using many period interviews in order to get a better picture of the band during their hey-day.

Formed out of The Small Faces (who released a couple of fine albums) and The Jeff Beck Group (likewise), The Faces were all about good time r’n’r that combined a devil may care attitude, and enough musical chops to see them through. The band was never truly popular in England as in the U.S., where audiences took them to heart as they stormed across America, with their woozy-boozy take on r’n’r.

The foundation of this book is based around quotes from band members, those close to the band, and people connected to the music business during the band’s relatively short reign. While there’s nothing startlingly new here, for fans of the band (like me) it’s an inside look into a band that was all about having a good time on stage-sometimes at the music’s (and the audience’s) expense. Beginning with the member’s early days growing up, the book moves into the formative stages and various bands that would lead to The Faces. The use of period interviews (especially during the 70’s), woven into a full picture of the band, gives an accurate feel and flavor of the era, the music, and the many musicians during those exciting formative days of rock in England, and, to some extent, America-where the band toured extensively.

The background of events during these formative years is a good foundation for the many bands forming at the time. We follow various Faces members as they coalesce around the initial stirrings of r’n’r, and the various bands of the era. Neill has done a pretty good job of blending the disparate interviews into one big picture that flows along nicely. All the ups and downs, The Small Faces, The Jeff Beck Group, the albums by those bands, The Faces’ overwhelming desire to have a good time on stage, the eventual splintering (Stewart said when Ronnie Lane left the band the spirit was gone) of the band-it’s all here.

If you’re a fan of the band this book will help you relive those glory days when the band would (sometimes literally) stagger on stage and launch into one of their alcohol-fueled rock or soul tunes-sometimes to crank up the fire power, and sometimes to lose their way. The group’s desire to have fun (Stewart would launch soccer balls into the crowd, or the band would sing some old English drinking song for example) sometimes produced less than stellar performances. If you’ve seen the band a number of times (as I was lucky enough to do), you know that some nights they were on blistering r’n’r form. Other nights (or even during the same concert) their sloppy drinking habits carried over into sloppy performances. But it was all in good fun, and you couldn’t help but leave with a smile on your face. And this book brings it all back and into sharper focus.

If you’ve never experienced the band live, or never heard their music extensively, this book may be lost on you. Their albums gave some indication of their approach to music and performing. But on stage is where the band truly made their reputation, and reading this book brought back a lot of good memories. But it’s also a look into an era that will never be repeated. If you missed out on those times for whatever reason, this book will give you a good idea about those few years when The Faces stormed across America not just giving a concert, but a good time to everyone lucky enough to experience them live. The Faces were never a truly important band compared to other groups, but on a good night they were a combination of a powerhouse band and an on-stage party. This book is a welcome addition in just about anyone’s library of r’n’r.

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May 24, 2013 Posted by | Book Had Me A Real Good Time: The Faces: Before During & After by Andy Neil | , | Leave a comment