The Small Faces ~ So I’ll Just Groove Along Quite Naturally

December 5, 2014

In Memory of Ian McLagen  – 1945 – 2014

Are you sitty comfy bold two square on your botty?

Then I’ll begin………

Long before Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood got together to form the Faces in the early 70’s there was a pop group in England called The Small Faces who  formed in the early 60’s and had hits glore in the UK.

Original members included singer Stevie Marriott who had a spit~in~your~eye attitude leading on three other renegades ~ Ronnie “Plonk” Lane on bass, Kenney Jones on drums, and Ian McLagen on keyboards. The latter three were to join Rod the Mod and Ronnie Wood in the Faces after the Small Faces broke up and Stevie Marriott went on to form Humble Pie. The Faces first album First Step was released in the USA as the Small Faces.

They were called The Small Faces because they were all no taller than 5′ 6″ and they performed some of the most raucous R&B and soulful music this side of the Wapping Wharf with influences such as Booker T & the MGs, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke. They also looked good with a great image, and were the Mod kings of swinging London,  the boys had clothing accounts at all the best shops in Carnaby Street while the rest of us Mods & Rockers fought it out in Brighton.   

The Small Faces early hits are classic slices of Mod Pop, ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’, ‘ Sha La La La Lee’, and ‘All or Nothing’ all released on Decca Records. By 1967 the groups songwriting had began to mature and a change of record label from Decca to ex Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s new Immediate Records allowed them to not play live so much and have more studio time and artistic freedom just like the Beatles with Sgt. Pepper as the flower power era dawned.

Starting with ‘ Here Comes The Nice ‘ The Small Faces blazed a spectacular coloured soundscape across the sky. The truly remarkable Itcycoo Park (their only US hit) was followed next into the charts by Tin Soldier. This is my all time favourite song, full of passion it still today explodes out of the speakers with former Ikette  P.P Arnold on backing vocals spurring on Stevie Marriott to one of the greatest UK soul performances ~ ever!

Everyone nowadays talks about Pete Townsend and Ray Davies being the great spokespersons and class observers of the British 60’s generation  but I think we should take our hats off to Stevie and Ronnie as great songwriters as well!

I remember buying ‘Lazy Sunday’ with Stevie’s cockney voice and the great sound effects on the record while staying at my Aunt Alice’s in Bournemouth on the south coast of England and I must have driven her crazy playing that song and the B side ‘ Rollin’ Over ‘ maybe over a thousand times that Easter weekend.

Their last single to just make it into the Top 30 was ‘ The Universal ‘ and what a truly unique record it is! Partly recorded in Stevie’s back garden with dogs barking in time it features a crazy clarinet part and a Chet Atkins style guitar solo and it’s totally uncommercial but they still made it on to Top of the Pops for a memorable performance.

Like most of the British bands from the 60’s the Small Faces 45 rpm records have great B ~ sides like ‘ Talk to You’ with a powerful passionate Marriott vocal and ‘ I’m Only Dreaming ‘ a beautiful love song with a light arrangement and once again sang with great soul by Mr. Marriott.

B~side ‘ I Feel Much Better ‘ starts with Ronnie Lane’s bass ~ the baddest sound this side of the Watford Gap with P.P. Arnold once again supplying the backing vocals and a great fade at the end of the record. ‘ Rollin’ Over ‘ comes on like a steamroller coming at ya with a killer brass section and Kenney Jones really showing what a great drummer he is and Ian McLagen as melodically inventive on the keyboards as ever and on top of all that another epic vocal from Stevie Marriott.                                         

Donkey Rides A Penny A Glass ‘ always reminds me of my school holidays at my Dad’s caravan on the Essex coast on those hot summer days! grooving along quite naturally. Brilliant!

Then to top it all off and to light the candles on their cake the boys produced the classic  ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake ‘ album released on May 31st 1968. I remember that day was full of sunshine as I travelled to Barking in Essex by bus to buy this extraordinary record with its round artwork sleeve ( a first ) and  the fairy~tale story of Happiness Stan on Side Two of the record narrated by Stanley Unwin in his own strange but unique Unwinese language taking us all off to another world!. This album sounds fantastic in mono.

A brilliant album full of great songs and east end music hall humour that was overlooked in North America but which is full of the a deep joy and thorkus, a great laugh ‘n’ tittery for the heart as Stanley would say.

God bless em all!       Long ago and worlds apart

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Beatmerchant Record Store – December Opening Hours

November 5, 2014

 The Beatmerchant Record Store Opening Hours for December 2014.

Tuesday to Saturday – 10am to 6pm

Sunday – 11am to 5:30pm

Monday – 11am to 5:30 pm

Closed Christmas Day

Boxing Sale Sale – 11am t0 5:30pm

Looking for new releases and classic releases – then look no further. sunglass christmas

Where else can you go for a good selection of CDs, Vinyl Records & DVDs.

We are now fully stocked
for Christmas in all areas, Vinyl Records, Compact Discs, Posters, DVDs
Music and Films, T Shirts and all the unique goodies we have for sale.
So come and shop early to avoid disappointment.

 

Lastly, Don’t forget to get in your Beatmerchant Beat Club cards for our
special Christmas draw prize for a unique piece of artwork which will
take place in the store on Saturday December 20th at 2pm.

See you all soon                                                                                  billy 5

Frankie Neilson
The Beatmerchant Steveston Village
604 204 0044


MUSIC at the CANNERY ~ STEVESTON VILLAGE ~ HARPDOG BROWN

July 2, 2014

 

Music at the Cannery ~ Steveston Village ~ Last Show 2014

Music at the Cannery Summer Series at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston Village on 4th Ave  we present the final show on Friday August 29th ~ HARPDOG BROWN and Jordan Edmonds on guitar

Master Blus Harpist Harpdog Brown will be joined on stage by super blues guitarist Jordan Edmonds.  
Admission by Donation and show starts at 6:30 pm Sharp!

With 7 sold out shows so far  this summer ~ Be there by 6:10 pm to get a seat.

Admission by Donation. Rain or Shine the show goes on! Outdoors or Indoors

Frankie Neilson 604 204 0044

 


A Young Person’s Guide to What’s Important in Life

September 5, 2013

REBELLIOUS MUSIC

Music is for young people and it plays an important part in our growing up and youth. There is nothing better than seeing an exciting live concert with your mates and enjoying yourself. The music you love in your teens will stay with you for the rest of your life. The teenager has played a strong role in changing attitudes in fashion and our parents throughout the decades. Looking back it started with the young girl teenager audiences call bobby soxers that swooned over the first teen idol Frank Sinatra in the 1940’s and wore the poodle skirts and rolled their socks down to their ankles.

Then came Elvis Presley and rock n roll in the mid 50’s and he changed everything drawing from his country roots as well as black Rhythm & Blues which really upset the establishment and when he first appeared on the Ed Sullivan TV show he could only be seen from the waist up as his wiggle of the hips was thought to be too sexual and might cause a riot! which is what the teenagers really wanted. Great to see the old black & white footage of Elvis doin’ this thing! and driving the young girls crazy! Sad he let them cut his hair and joined the army.                     

Then the Beatles hit the world in the early 60’s and made everything that came before them look out~of~date overnight and the world has not been the same since and rightly so, but it seems that all generations including today’s youngsters love the mop tops and we certainly sell more Beatles stuff in the store than anybody else. Finally for the first time since the second world war the economy was getter better all the time (it couldn’t get much worse) and the British teenagers had some money in their pocket and spending power for records and clothes and anything their parents didn’t like the youngsters loved. ha ha

Enter the punk scene in the mid 70’s as a reaction to the pomp of stage shows by Led Zeppelin and Sex_PistolsPink Floyd, you didn’t need to know how to play the guitar or drums just get up there and make a noise! With the Sex Pistols and the Clash leading the charge out of the UK with a rebellious sneer on their faces and a brand new fashion look which is still around today and still looks brilliant! Joe Strummer who never made a bad record leading the Clash to America and beyond and Johnny Rotten who was the perfect front man as the band imploded behind him just like it always would somewhere in the States and it’s a shame Sid Vicious took it all too serious as Malcolm McLaren made off with the money.

Now it’s your turn young people.



Genuine CD sound quality drawing music lovers back

December 14, 2012

Genuine CD sound quality drawing music lovers back

to the Beatmerchant.

amywinehousesteveston.jpg

Frankie Neilson of The Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston, which offers CDs and vinyls, such as this Amy Winehouse album.

Martin van den Hemel photos
By Martin van den Hemel – Richmond Review
Published: January 13, 2012 11:00 AM
Updated: January 13, 2012 11:47 AM
 
History has a way of repeating itself, and so it appears with the predicted demise of CDs since downloading music from the Internet became a multi-billion dollar industry.

 Big box music store HMV recently closed its store at Richmond Centre mall after gradually placing less and less emphasis on its music CD collection. And HMV tried to fill a void left by the closing of A&B Sound in Vancouver.

 But business has never been better for Frankie Neilson, owner of The Beatmerchant Record Store in Steveston, a specialty music store in the heart of the fishing village.

 “I think the big box stores…haven’t survived because they haven’t been giving people what they want. They stock all the same stuff,” said Neilson.

 Much like when CDs came on the scene in the 1980s, many pundits wondered how long it would take for vinyl albums to become extinct. And although vinyl albums aren’t being mass produced anymore, there’s no shortage of demand from audiophiles seeking the authentic sound quality they offer.

 Similarly, downloads from iTunes for play on iPods and other MP3 players doesn’t have the same quality and range of sound offered by music CDs or vinyl records.

 Neilson said one customer walked in after spending thousands of dollars on iTunes downloads, but had nothing to show for it and is now buying vinyl.

 Aside from better sound quality, having something you can hold, along with the signature artwork on CD jackets, along with additional content such as lyrics, that can’t be replicated by online downloads.

 Beyond that, people miss going to a store and chatting about music with people who are knowledgeable about it, he said.

 Over the past five years, Neilson said it’s a shame that the technology is becoming more important than the music itself.

 “The music is what’s important, not the technology,” he said.

 

Ralph Mace ~ How I Became A Spider From Mars

November 15, 2012

It has been over 40 years since the release of David Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY single in the UK, a record which was to launch the career of probably the most innovative, charismatic and talented English rock star.

At the time of its release, 1969, I had recently joined the staff of the pop music department at Philips Records in London where they were riding high in the charts with a string of number one hits with such artists as Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield and Manfred Mann. Philips were also ever alert for new talent to help compete against the other major UK companies, EMI, Decca, Polydor and Pye Records. One of Philips new signings was David Bowie, who had been previously signed to Decca Records without any outstanding success. 

At the beginning of the swinging sixties, London was exploding with live music, mini skirts, trendy fashions and young people making their mark everywhere, there was a confidence and vitality in the air which is hard to imagine today. All over the country there were music venues presenting, Pop, Folk, Jazz, R&B Soul  and  Blues and it seemed that every pub in most cities had some live act performing most nights.

Part of my job at Philips was to arrange promotion and concert appearances in Europe for their artists and this meant I needed to know and understand what all these new artists were about. David Bowie was, and still is for that matter, a sort of music chameleon. In 1969 his music and performances had mainly been folk orientated with various stabs at the pop market. He was writing a lot of songs and was trying to form a group and find a musical image and sound that would suit him best. An important part of David’s set up at this point was his American girlfriend Angie who was full of ideas as to what was needed for success and would all the time be hassling managers, promoters and record companies to do more to promote Bowie. They were not making much money then and in the midst of all this, David and Angie decided to get married having their wedding breakfast with cans of beer and coke in my office.                                                                                           

Fortunes were to change  with the record SPACE ODDITY which, like all new releases at Philips was put on the plug list for radio plays and to gauge its success ~ in air play and record sales ~ and was reviewed at our weekly marketing meeting. The only effective way of promoting any new record in those days was for it to be heard on the radio and that was mainly the old stuffy BBC which had woken up a bit after the pirate radio stations ruled the waves for a couple of years, but now airplay was even more difficult to get in a country now exploding with pop music and scores of new releases and artists every week. Unlike today, there was no iTunes or YouTube to help promote, no computers and music was enjoyed either on a 45 rpm vinyl record or 33 rpm vinyl record or at a live concert.

After several weeks SPACE ODDITY had received no airplay and had virtually no sales and there was calls to stop promoting it to the radio stations at our weekly marketing meetings, but for one promotion man Dick Leahy a young man who would later run his own company GTO Records and be the mentor for the up and coming George Michael. Dick refused to drop the Bowie single saying that it was too good a record to drop. His persistence finally paid off with a few plays at  BBC Radio One which stated the bandwagon rolling and which became stratospheric when the BBC used SPACE ODDITY as the background music to the TV news reports of the first landing on the moon by Apollo 11 in July 1969 and the record took off like a rocket ~ sorry! I suppose the idea that an astronaut might just float away into space fired up the public’s imagination.                            

By 1971, David’s star was well set in the firmament and he began preparing tracks for a new album to be recorded at the now famous Trident Studios in St. Anne’s Court, just off Wardour Street in the heart of Soho’s Red Light District, just down the street from the Marquee Club. By then I had moved to my new job at Famous Music, which was part of Paramount Pictures across the road from Trident. David and his producer, Tony Visconti, regularly called in to see me and they invited me to attend any of the recording sessions if I wished. One evening, after work, I did just that. David and all the group were in the control room trying to overdub a new keyboard part which Visconti had written to be played on the moog synthesizer, a new revolutionary instrument at the time and one which had recently been made famous by the Moody Blues and Walter Carlos on his Switched On Bach album. The moog part for “Memory of a Free Festival” which appeared on the self ~ titled album David Bowie was a little tricky, it needed pianistic fingers and none of the group made a very good job of it. After several of them had tried their fingers at it, I suggested to David that if they wanted to get home before breakfast it might be a good idea for me to take a stab at it. David smiled and nodded and I sat down before the new moog keyboard for the first time. My fingers were in pretty good shape in those days and after a couple of trail runs we had the moog part in the can. Then the parts for several further songs appeared and I put these tracks down too.

When the album, The Man Who Sold The World, was released the credits on the back of the album cover listed : DAVID BOWIE: guitar, vocals; TONY VISCONTI: Electric bass, piano, guitar; MICK RONSON: guitar,; MICK WOODMANSEY: drums; and RALPH MACE: Moog Synthesizer.           

And that’s how I became a SPIDER FROM MARS

Ralph Mace ~ November 2012


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