|THE SMALL FACES-Here Come The Nice/Talk To You Germany Columbia C 23 524 1967|
It's tough to choose a favorite Small Faces song, even harder to choose a favorite Small Faces European picture sleeve 45! I've owned, probably over three dozen SF's picture sleeve EP's/45's and today's topic is both one of their coolest looking sleeves and one of their best tunes.
The sleeve, a German pressing, is a work of art. Mac and Ronnie are wearing some boss three button suits, Steve has a white Levi's jacket and is investigating a pair of aviators shades, Ronnie's got on desert boots and Kenny is wearing a brilliant looking pair of striped shoes and a striped long sleeved tennis shirt with a pair of (presumably) white Levis. How fucking cool is that?
I'll save you all the SF's history lesson and get down to business. The band's keyboard player Ian McLagan has stated that "Here Come The Nice" came from repeated listenings of Lord Buckley's "The Nazz" (aka "Here Come The Nazz") with liberal dosings of hash at the band's communal pad at 22 Westmoreland Terrace, Pimlico, London. The band's code word for stoned just also happened to be "nice" and one of their catch phrases was "it's nice to be nice". You can groove on the hysterical spoken word piece below by Lord Buckley, with or without herbal enhancement, it's your choice. In a time where the BBC were allegedly upset by song lyrics like John's Children's "Desdemona" or The Beatles "I Am The Walrus" the notion that a band could manage to not only get airplay but reach #12 in the U.K. pop charts in June 1967 with a song about a drug dealer without getting banned or censored is nothing short of amazing! The delivery is perfect with some excellent harmonies by Ronnie and Mac backing Steve's typically soulful lead vocal track while the percussion and subtle Hammond build a solid layer beneath it all.
The flip side, "Talk To You", is equally brilliant stuff with some great piano licks by Mac (backed up by some cool Hammond beneath it all). Steve's vocals are as soulful as ever with string backing vocals from Ronnie and Mac. The number holds the distinction of being the band's first B-side to grace an LP as well (it appeared two weeks later on their second album, their untitled debut Immediate LP,IMLP 008).
Both sides appear pretty much eveywhere but I strongly advise you hear them in Mono on the double 35th anniversary edition CD of their second LP.