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August 27, 2015

Lets start the Faces build up..


posted by Mike Walton

To celebrate the release of The Faces box set 'You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything [1970-1975]' And the Faces reunion gig on September 5th, Dan Perreira has come up with a re imagined track listing for the very first Faces 'Best of' album Snakes and Ladders...

( or what could have made for a much more interesting Faces compilation album )

In October of 1976 came the release of the very first Faces "best of" compilation cleverly titled "Snakes and Ladders" it's release coming nearly a year after the group had broken up (so why the long delay in it coming out?!). Ronnie Wood had mention in a interview for Creem magazine in November of '75 that he was working on a Faces collection to be issued sometime in the following year. The tracks for "Snakes" were probably chosen by Wood ( it seems ). Sadly, Instead of one final Faces studio album the long time fans got a "best of" as a going away gift. The Snakes and Ladders LP is flawed in that it doesn't contain certain important tracks that would make it onto any fans "best of" list. "Three Button Hand Me Down", "Too Bad" and "Borstal Boys" are all missing just to name some essential favorites. And how come there are no Ronnie Lane sung numbers included like his masterpiece "Debris", since it's generally considered one of the Faces best songs. Why include "Pineapple and The Monkey"( suspiciously, a Ron Wood self-penned number ) instead of say "Wicked Messenger" from First Step? With room for just twelve tracks, the inclusion of "Pineapple" seems like a mistake. It's a nice Booker T. and the MG's sounding instrumental and is one of the musical highlights on First Step. Still, out of the fifty plus studio tracks that the band issued during it's life time, hardly worthy of being on a single "best of" Faces record. And really, what Faces fan wouldn't already own the four studio albums anyway? The two reasons to actually buy "Snakes" would have to be to get the singles "Pool Hall Richard" and "You Can Make Me Dance" on an album ( and maybe for the short version of "Real Good Time" ). Instead of this unnecessary "best of" collection what they should of released was an album of all their non - LP B sides and loose tracks that were not available on any of the Faces albums at the time. Something along the lines of what The Who did with their Odd's and Sod's rarities album from '74. Wouldn't that have made for a more interesting and relevant offering for the die hard Faces fans as well as the casual listener? I have discovered that there were exactly a dozen Faces recordings that were not available on any of the Faces long players back then. For instance, the the three instrumental 45 flip sides," Rear Wheel Skid", "Oh Lord I'm Browned Off" and "Skewiff ( Mend The Fuse )", the studio version of "Maybe I'm Amazed", "Jodie" the taken away track from a Faces session and put on the second side of Rod's" Oh No Not My Baby" hit ( AND CREDITED TO THE BAND ON THE LABEL!! ). The live performance of "I'm Losing You" from the various artists Reading Festival '73 album ( actually, recorded in Anaheim or Los Angeles, California on Oct. 17th or 19th of that year and can also be found as an extra track on the cassette version of the live Coast To Coast album! ). The recorded for a laugh more than anything else "Dishelvement Blues" would make it on there also. And I would have included the extremely rare Faces radio station vinyl 7" with two terrific promotional radio spots for "Long Player" ( each lasting 50 seconds ), they are both so good that I can't believe that it didn't make it onto another boxed set! Of course, the A and B sides of the last two Faces singles would be featured. Now, I think that this would have made for a fine group of tracks that nearly equal the classics First Step, Long Player, A Nod is As Good As A Wink... and Ooh La La. Another issue I have with " Snakes" is the cover... I like it's concept, and several of the snapshots that were taken by Tom Wright during the very last tour are all really good, but the photos seem to suggest a live release. And why is Ronnie Lane not pictured anywhere on the jacket and yet plays on TEN of "Snakes" twelve cuts! This is not at all right and he deserves more respect then that. Tetsu "the new boy" is featured even more promintly than both Mac and Kenney and plays on just two cuts ? And why is Jesse Ed Davis on the cover when he doesn't play on any of the Faces tracks?
With both a great title and concept cover the only thing missing is a good and useful selection.
So what about my version of Snakes and Ladders?

1) Poolhall Richard
2) Jodie
3) Maybe I'm Amazed ( studio version )
4) Two radio spots for the "Long Player" album
5) Rear Wheel Skid
6) I'm Losing You ( live at the Reading Festival '73 )
7) You Can Make Me Dance,Sing Or Anything
8) I Wish It Would Rain ( live from Reading Festival '73 )
9) Oh,Lord I'm Browned Off
10) Dishelvement Blues
11) As Long As You Tell Him
12) Skewiff ( Mend The Fuse )

And yes, I understand that just about all of the tracks listed above are available on the Five Guys set and also on "the new" You Can make Me Dance... boxed sets, but those are just gatherings of everything and for me an album of ten or twelve tracks that work well together is more of an art form. Besides, who really has the time to listen to a whole box set in one sitting?
Give me a single disc instead any day!

Dan Perreira

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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