The Small Faces: Rod Stewart (vocals, banjo); Ron Wood (guitar, harmonica, bass); Ronnie Lane (guitar, bass); Ian McLagan (piano, organ); Kenney Jones (drums).
The Small Faces offer a rare example of a band that underwent significant changes in personnel and musical focus yet succeeded in both incarnations. Founding singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left the band in 1969 to start Humble Pie. His replacements were a singer and a guitarist--in the individual persons of Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. The band continued as The Faces, their first outing retaining the "Small" adjective for the sake of continuity.
Where the original Small Faces had been a quintessential British mod band, the reconfigured group instantly emerged as a boozy party band. FIRST STEP perfectly captures this new direction. All five members contribute to the songwriting in various capacities. The only outside material on the album is Bob Dylan's "Wicked Messenger," which slithers out of the gates with dirty slide guitar, sexy organ, and thundering drums. The Faces went onto enjoy the stateside success that had eluded their earlier incarnation. But Stewart's burgeoning solo career relegated the band to the shadows, and The Faces eventually dissolved.
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