Saturday, December 8, 2018

10 More Groovy (Or Not So Groovy) Small Faces Covers

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1. THE BIRDS (Australia)-"Rene" Australia 45 Clarion MCK-3474 1970
Two former member's of a late era line up of Ron Wood's band The Birds (and were also allegedly members of The Clockwork Oranges) relocated to Australia where through guile or outright chicanery they started a band there called The Birds who cut three singles for the Clarion label (all of which were covers). Their second 45 was a limp version of Marmalade's "I See The Rain" backed with this reading of "Rene" from "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake". It's not very interesting because it sounds like a drunken sing-along, in every sense of the word complete with someone playing spoons, kazoo (or is it a comb and paper), jars and vocals that sounds like one of those records a footie team made in the 60's. Sadly there's no version of YouTube so you'll have to take my word for it (I heard it on a CD EP of the bands three Clarion singles).

2. TONY JACKSON GROUP-"Understanding" Portugal E.P. Estudio EEP 50 013 1967
Ex-Searcher Tony Jackson cut this raw version of "Understanding" for a rare as hell 1967 Portuguese E.P. on the primarily fado label Estudio. I daresay there hasn't been such an amazing Small Faces cover out there as this one! Interestingly the band's Dennis Thompson had played with Steve Marriott in his first band The Frantics.

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3. RONNIE BIRD-"Hey Girl" French E.P. track Phillips 437.239 BE 1966
Gallic singer Ronnie Bird's weak French language version of the band's fourth single is fairly uninspired save the musical backing which at one point kicks into a Who inspired barrage of slashing guitar, thrashing drums and some Nicky Hopkin's style piano. Not the best but worth a listen.

4. TEDDY ROBIN & THE PLAYBOYS-"All Or Nothing" LP track Hong Kong "Not All Lies" Diamond SLP-1030 1967
Hong Kong's Teddy Robin & The Playboys included this competent note for note cover of the band's first #1 as a track on their debut LP. It's not at all un-listenable and reminds me of a lo-fi American garage pop reading.

5. TWICE AS MUCH-"Green Circles" UK LP track "That's All" Immediate IMCP 013 1968
Immediate record duo and in house songwriters David Skinner and Andrew Rose tackled the trippy 2nd LP Faces tune on their 2nd and final appropriately titled LP "That's All". Wrapped in beautiful orchestration it distances itself from the psychedelic whimsy of the original and transforms itself into a pop-psych masterpiece.

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6. PUSSYCAT-"Ce N'est Pas Une Vie (Sha La La La Lee)" French E.P track  RCA Victor 86.161 1966
Gallic ye-ye groover Pussy Cat cut this French language version of the band's third single on her first E.P. in 1966 alongside covers of tunes by The Moody Blues and The Swinging Blue Jeans. Not too shabby and certainly above Ronnie Bird's piece of merde cover of "Hey Girl".

7. THE BARRON KNIGHTS-"An Olympic Record (Track 1)" UK 45 Columbia DB 8485 1968
The U.K.'s comedy beat group The Barron Knight's took their usual knack for re-writing tracks for laughs by changing the lyrics to "Lazy Sunday" to a tune about the Olympics. It's only about a quarter of the song itself as their numbers are usually just medley's of a variety of pop standards of the day given new words, and this ones no different.

8. THE LITTER-"Whatcha Gonna Do About It" US LP track "Distortions" Warick 671 1967
Also cut by Florida's The Evil the same year (on Living Legend 108 and a few months later as Capitol 2038) Twin Cities, Minnesota garage legends The Litter included this raw reading of the SF's debut 45 on their album "Distortions".

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9. THE STILLROVEN-"Have You Ever Seen Me" US 45 August 102 1968
Minnesota's Stillroven were some of the United States most devoted Anglophiles and followed their 7 inch of a mondo obscure Simon Dupree and The Big Sound cover "Little Picture Playhouse" (August 101 in November 1967) with this track found on the SF's debut US LP "There Are But Four Small Faces". Vocally it's a bit weak as it's out of the lead singer's key but the backing is tight and the enthusiasm is 110%.

10. GEORGE MARTIN-"Itchycoo Park" UK LP track "British Maid" United Artists SULP 1196 1968
Alongside covers of tunes by The Beatles, Traffic and Procol Harum Sir George and his "orchestra" cut a cover of the Small Faces hit for his UK LP "British Maid" (titled "London By George" in the US). It's slightly muzaky but the surprising organ and regal woodwinds among the strings and horns add a "Swinging London" feel to the groovy kitsch going's on here. Unfortunately there's no video on YouTube.

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