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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Small Faces, The - 1978 78 In The Shade
Small Faces, The - 1978 78 In The Shade

ARTIST: Small Faces, The
ALBUM: 78 In The Shade
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: K 50468
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2005, Wounded Bird, WOU 9171


LINEUP: Steve Marriott - guitar, vocals * Ian McLagan - keyboards, vocals * Rick Wills - bass, vocals * Kenny Jones - drums, vocals

Additional Musicians: Ronnie Lane - bass * Jimmy McCulloch - guitar * Madeline Bell, Sam T. Brown, Vicki Brown, Helen Chappelle, Liza Strike - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Over Too Soon * 02 Too Many Crossroads * 03 Let Me Down Gently * 04 Thinkin' About Love * 05 Stand By Me (Stand By You) * 06 Brown Man Do * 07 Real Sour * 08 Soldier Boy * 09 You Ain't See Nothing Yet * 10 Filthy Rich

A real head scratcher and a reunion that should never have happened, the Small Faces regrouping in 1976 was a disaster from the start. Original Face Ronnie Lane left the band before the ball started rolling and in the year of punk - 1976, few if any teenagers wanted to know from a band of former '60s geezers. Throw in some truly awful material and the resulting album 'Playmates' released in early 1977 was a complete non-starter. Gone was the charming '60s pop that made Small Faces so special in favor of a pubby blues rock more in line with guitarist Steve Marriott's previous outfit, the mighty Humble Pie minus the material. Fortunately with the cards stacked against the band, the tour did good business especially in Europe where Small Faces dug in their heels as both a headliner and opening act for the Doobie Brothers. With a second album in the works, on a bender Marriott infamous for his boozing lured troubled Wings guitarist Jimmy McCulloch from Paul McCartney to the Small Faces camp only to find McCulloch was even more fucked up than anyone knew.

The Songs
McCulloch didn't last long having already started the downward slide that would lead to his death a year later, but his guitar and vocals can be heard throughout '78 In The Shade' which made for a better album but not by much. Again, this would have made for a great Humble Pie long player four years earlier and 'Thinkin' About Love' is as good as it gets with a great chorus and bluesy vibe while 'Soldier Boy' finds the Small Faces in a gospel ballad mood and four minutes too long in my opinion. According to legend, the band recorded an orchestral version on the song with David Foster which was far more dramatic, but with the tapes lost it will never be heard. Album closer and pub rock sing-a-long 'Filthy Rich' ironically sums up what Small Faces were not. Despite Marriott in fine voice and giving it a go for old times sake, '78 In The Shade' was the wrong album at the wrong time and never had a chance to entice a record buying public already wooed by punk and disco.

In Summary
There would never be another Small Faces album and most would agree it was for the best. Following another European tour drummer Kenny Jones would move on to The Who replacing the late Keith Moon while Rick Wills found a long running spot in Foreigner. Steve Marriott reformed Humble Pie with some commercial success only to fade into a drug and alcohol induced haze throughout most of the '80s and '90's. Prior to his tragic death in 1991, Marriott traveled to the states meeting with Peter Frampton and the potential of reforming Humble Pie for a third time. What might have been? Sadly he never saw his influence on a long list of guitar players, or the 'Brit pop' movement of the mid 90's and bands like Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene which owed a huge debt to the original Small Faces. Pick up a 'best of' for the real deal.

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